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Old 01-23-2013, 12:55 PM   #11
Nov 2010
Solway, MN
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Temperature of the initial ferment has a lot to do with whether you have blowoff or not. I start my ales at about 62 and have always had a very slow ferment with one bubble per second (if the lid on the bucket seals well) being the fastest. I do move the fermenter to a warmer location once the ferment slows because the yeast can quit on you if they stay that cool.

If you pitch your yeast when the wort is still warmer with the intent on cooling it in the fermenter by putting it in a cool place you may have yeast activity that is so strong that you can't get the temperature down.

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Old 01-23-2013, 01:14 PM   #12
Jan 2011
Fredericksburg, VA
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right sizing blah blah. That seems to be the consensous. I'd also like to ask do you have a 5 gal mark on your carboys so you know you are only putting in 5 gallons? I usually go about 5.25 to 5.5 in my bucket (at 6.5).

This matters because instead of having 1 gallon (about 20% of the beer) as head space, the 5.25 would reduce it to 3/4 gallon (about 14%). Not that there is anything magical about 20% head space, it seems more a rule of thumb.

I personally think that the 20% rule is more important in a carboy because I suspect as the foam gets to the narrowing, the sides give it more support/less bridging. So while the height needed in a carboy might be more, the narrowing might help with keurausen(sp?) support/retention and increase blowouts, but that is a guess, nobody has tested this.

I'd suggest that if you don't have an aversion to plastic, go with a bucket and rack if you want. There are some larger buckets - 7 and 7.9gal. The 7.9 are sold with wine kits in mind, but no reason you couldn't use it.

If you don't like plastic, then the fermcap-s or other anitfoaming agent would be the way to go (I have no experience with those)

Is it beer yet? Also as far as it goes, once the yeast is pitched it is beer (legally) and once it has errupted, I bet you have enough alcohol in it to count as a week beer practically.

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Old 01-23-2013, 01:30 PM   #13
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Feb 2011
Florida, NY
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I would say its a combination of 2 factors. The biggest being the smaller Carboy capacity... It's kinda given that if you ferment in a 5 gallon Carboy and it blows off ( which it probably will ) you will loose some part of your capacity as the Krausen takes away hop debris and oils proteins and liquid content of the beer. The solution is either smaller batches in the 3.5 gallon capacity for a 5 gallon carboy or use a 6.5 gallon Carboy. I use 6.5 gal capacity for all my primary ferments and rarely have blow off issues. The second which is not really a problem is the high gravity of your beers.... I have found the higher the gravity and assuming proper pitching in my expierence leads to super vigorous fermentation. Now that said I wouldn't stop brewing higher gravity beer I would just figure a bit higher starting volume lets say 5.75 gallons in primary, hook up a blow off and figure you'll loose a bit but will still have at least 5.25 when all is said and done. Happy brewing.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:35 PM   #14
Nov 2012
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I have found that 7.9 gallon plastic buckets with a good seal, to make 5.5 gallons, and yes marked so you know what you are adding... airlock right off the bat, no blow off tube needed. Waste not, want not. I am starting to switch from glass to plastic and I like it.

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Old 01-23-2013, 01:40 PM   #15
Dec 2011
Culpeper, VA
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Are all theses yeasts you are using "top cropping"?

Most of my beers use US-05 or Nottingham yeast and with those yeasts fermenting at 65F I never even have to install a blow off for 5.5 gallons in a 6 gallon carboy, ever!

Now the Wyeast 3787 I used a couple weeks ago on my first Belgian...whole different story! I lost about 1/2 gallon to blow off on that one. :/
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:45 PM   #16
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May 2012
Canaan New Hampshire, NH
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Originally Posted by MalFet View Post
Are you opposed to using Fermcap-S?
I'm not opposed to it and it seems that's what I have to do. so, as others mentioned, I do realize a larger head space reduces the amount of wort lost during fermentation BUT 4 of my carboys are 5 gallon, 1 is 6 gallon and 1 is 6.5 gallons. I'm not about to upgrade to 6.5 gallon carboys across the board so I certainly feel like fermcap is my next option at least until I invest in more larger carboys.

Originally Posted by kh54s10 View Post
What temperature do you have at the height of fermentation. If you ferment at the lower end of the yeasts range I find that I get less blow off. I make 5.25 gallons in a 6 gallon better bottle and the least I ever got to the bottling bucket was just under 5 gallons. That one was the largest blow off combined with a larger than normal amount of trub.
I generally ferment all beers at 65. My basement keeps 50-60 year round so I could start fermentation in there and just assume it's going to take longer due to the lower temp. I rarely ferment anything above 70F

Originally Posted by BobbiLynn View Post
I have found that 7.9 gallon plastic buckets with a good seal, to make 5.5 gallons, and yes marked so you know what you are adding... airlock right off the bat, no blow off tube needed. Waste not, want not. I am starting to switch from glass to plastic and I like it.
I think everyone has the right idea. Buy a bunch of 8 gallon buckets from the LHBS, mark the 5 gallon fill line on each of them and use Fermcap-S and that should reduce this issue.

1. I am aware of the head space issue but was hoping there was a way to still keep using 5 gallon carboys (since I have 4 of them) without this but maybe I'll just designate those as secondary fermenters from here one out
2. Higher gravity beers are going to be more vigorous and most of the beers I do are 1.080 and higher so I really just need to use bigger buckets
3. I have fill lines marked on my 6 and 6.5 gallon carboys so I'm doing right at 5...

Thanks all for the advice. It's weird I don't see this topic too much here but glad to know I'm not alone.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:52 PM   #17
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Mar 2012
Mohave Valley, Az
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Buckets, 6 1/2gal or bigger for 5 gal, problem solved.
I also start my fermentation temps off at about 60 to 62 deg, after 3 to 4 days raise to 65 deg. IMO this helps too.
All my fermenters start out in a swamp cooler to help slow down the rise of active fermentation temps.

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Old 01-23-2013, 01:59 PM   #18
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Mar 2010
Oklahoma City
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With 6.5 gallon buckets your problem (most likely) would be solved. Too much beer in too little of a container, there's nowhere for the krausen to go but up and out.

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Old 01-23-2013, 01:59 PM   #19
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Jul 2011
Them Scary Woods, FL
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+1 to the Fermcap. It's a liquid anti-foaming agent that's also good for eliminating hot break boil overs. Food safe, odorless, tasteless, settles into your trub.

Since i've been using it, i've never had a krausen peak over 1" in my 7 gallon plastic buckets, even on oxygenated high gravity beers. No need for a blowoff tube, I just use airlocks with grain alcohol in them.

It seriously works when you use 2 drops per gallon. It must be refrigerated so make sure if you buy it from your LHBS that it comes out of a fridge.

Fermcap. Don't brew at home without it.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:59 PM   #20
Jan 2011
Fredericksburg, VA
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adamjackson - use the 5 gallons as primaries on smaller batches, test runs, etc. if you want to try 2 different yeast sets, make one boil and then split into 2 smaller batches with different yeast, or dryhop one etc.

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