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Old 01-21-2013, 08:24 PM   #1
Jan 2013
Dallas, TX
Posts: 6

Hi All -

Long time reader, first time poster. On Friday night, my roommate and I brewed our third batch of beer which was our first specialty grain batch: A Dogfish Head 60 Minute IPA clone. Everything during the brew went very smoothly, had an OG of 1.064 and we pitched our yeast (Nottingham Dry Ale) at 70 degrees after rehydrating for 15 minutes. We threw the fermenter (6.8 gallon plastic bucket) with an airlock in the closet and let the yeasties go to work at 68 degrees.

At 3:30 AM on Saturday night I heard a loud bang that woke me up and I went to check on the beer. The fermentation was so active that the lid/airlock had blown off. . The krausen was everywhere and the bucket was back down. I quickly cleaned off the bucket lid and airlock and replaced it as the bucket was back down to about 5 gallons in the fermenter. I thought 1.8 gallons of headspace would be plenty. After going back to sleep, 1 hour later I hear another explosion. Same thing had happened. I cleaned off the bucket lid and just set it back on the bucket. The krausen was still foaming out and I just thought it would be best to let it go and this point. It was 4:30 in the morning and I did not have the sense of what I should do at this point, as I did not want to keep going through the same process every hour.

Finally, it was around noon of the next day and we had the sense to rig a blow off tube for our fermenter. We used our siphon hose, threw that with a stopper where the airlock should be and ended it in a bucket of water. As soon as we placed the rigged blow off tube into the bucket, we noticed that it was still fermenting very actively as bubbles and krausen were being blown off at a steady rate. We finally had it under control and the siphon rigged into the blow off tube has been working ever since.

I am just wondering what my risk of infection was after the second time the lid blew off and I just placed the lid over the fermenting beer for about 7 hours. I am thinking that of course it is possible that it was infected, however, I am hoping the very active fermentation blowing off the CO2 prevented this from happening. I understand this was probably not the best way to handle it but seeing as it was 4:30 in the morning, I was not thinking correctly.

This taught me a lesson to always use a blow off tube and not think 1.8 gallons of headspace above the beer/krausen will be enough.

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Old 01-21-2013, 08:53 PM   #2
Bensiff's Avatar
Mar 2008
, Washington, the state
Posts: 4,944
Liked 402 Times on 319 Posts

Now you have learned to use a blowoff hose instead of an of the first rights of passage to becoming a brewer. Next is a bottle bomb, but we will tackle that down the road

Ideally, you would have wanted to use a sanitizer after cleaning off the lid so hopefully you did. The whole infection thing is way overblown, you have positive pressure pushing outward so bugs in the air aren't likely to be able to settle into the fermenting beer, even if they did they landed in an environment with a good amount of alcohol and hops which are both highly unfriendly to most spoiling bugs. About the only bug that is common that can live in this environment is brett, and that isn't necessarily a bad thing. But, more importantly you will have likely drank the entire batch before brett could take hold and do anything.

Welcome to brewing and the site...go over and introduce yourself in introductions, that is a good way to get some contacts with your local homebrewers.

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Old 01-21-2013, 08:54 PM   #3
Mar 2012
Rathdrum, Idaho
Posts: 992
Liked 147 Times on 111 Posts

Probably not infected. Germs aren't ninjas, they can't fight their way past all that gas coming off the beer. Your temp may be a tad warm though. Look into fermenting cooler and try to hit the lower end of the yeast happy temp range for IPA.

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Old 01-21-2013, 09:01 PM   #4
aarong's Avatar
Jan 2012
Newport, RI
Posts: 220
Liked 22 Times on 19 Posts

Originally Posted by kaconga
Probably not infected. Germs aren't ninjas, they can't fight their way past all that gas coming off the beer. Your temp may be a tad warm though. Look into fermenting cooler and try to hit the lower end of the yeast happy temp range for IPA.
The germs would have to fall in the beer. With the gas expelling from the brew and the krausen(which you might have) will most likely prevent an infection.
Fermenting: Northern English Brown Ale
Keg: Saison
Bottle: empty
Vissani fermentor build

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Old 01-22-2013, 01:12 AM   #5
Registered User
Dec 2012
Dayton, Ohio
Posts: 591
Liked 55 Times on 47 Posts

That's the best "blow-off" story I have ever read ! Nice write-up Tx !!!
Too bad it happened - not a good nights sleep by your account.

It'll probably be fine. And I think it is worth the risk to follow through with the batch. One of the best Belgian Triples I have ever had started just like yours.

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