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Old 03-05-2013, 01:41 PM   #1
OhReally
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Default Too much water in blowoff rig?

Hi all-

On Sunday I whipped up another batch of Belgian Honey Wit. I pitched in my WLP400 starter, aerated, and put it to bed. Last time I made this recipe it clogged the airlock, so I figured I'd set it up with a blowoff rig from the get go. Then... nothing. Not a whiff of activity within 24hrs. I thought it was maybe the ambient area temp (68, not exactly cold), so I moved it to a warmer area.

I check back in this morning, and still nothing. So I went to dump some of the water out of the blowoff bowl, and suddenly a bunch of bubbles came out! It seems that the water was too deep and providing too much resistance for them to escape. So, in effect, it's likely that there's been 36 hours of activity and carbon dioxide building up. Now that there's less water to move through, it's now bubbling away nicely.

Anyone else had this experience? Will this lack of ventilation do anything weird to it? I hope not, because I'm looking forward to it. 10 bucks says that RDWHAHB is the answer.

Cheers


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Old 03-05-2013, 10:17 PM   #2
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Not sure what the exact circumstances were, but it would take a great deal of resistance to stop bubbles from being released from a blowoff rig (given normal activity after 36 hrs after pitching). What type of primary fermenter were you using? Most likely gases found an easier path to escape and once you moved your fermenter, you displaced volume in it to cause the bubble release. Just my 2 cents.


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Old 03-06-2013, 05:48 PM   #3
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I agree. To add even 1 psi of backpressure your water would need to be 28 inches deep, and the yeast can work at much higher pressure (when you're bottle conditioning they're at ~30 psi)
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Old 03-08-2013, 01:56 PM   #4
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A little off-topic, but an experience leading to using less blowoff water.

Blowoff tubes can suck that water into your fermenter if you're cooling the beer prior to pitching yeast. I use a 1" tube for blowoff and have measured out how much water it takes to fill about 12" length of that tube. The blowoff tube is always submerged in a mason jar making an airlock and there's not enough blowoff water to get back into the fermenter before the siphon naturally breaks.
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Old 03-08-2013, 02:05 PM   #5
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Quote:
So I went to dump some of the water out of the blowoff bowl, and suddenly a bunch of bubbles came out!
I am guessing the CO2 was infused into the blowoff water and agitation that released the bubbles.
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Old 03-08-2013, 04:53 PM   #6
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Was there activity in the fermenter? I would go by the krausen and movement in fermenter more than the bubbles.
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Old 03-09-2013, 09:02 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ACarver View Post
Not sure what the exact circumstances were, but it would take a great deal of resistance to stop bubbles from being released from a blowoff rig (given normal activity after 36 hrs after pitching). What type of primary fermenter were you using? Most likely gases found an easier path to escape and once you moved your fermenter, you displaced volume in it to cause the bubble release. Just my 2 cents.
Quote:
Originally Posted by zachattack View Post
I agree. To add even 1 psi of backpressure your water would need to be 28 inches deep, and the yeast can work at much higher pressure (when you're bottle conditioning they're at ~30 psi)
Damn physics! You and your pascals and millibars and whatnot! Actually, now that you say it, that actually make a whole lotta sense. A decent fermentation would be more than enough to displace that water.

I use 6.5 gal. BB Ale Pails, and the lid's on tight. I made a 1.5L starter and the expiration date on the WLP400 was May 30, 2013, but then had to transport the flask -- starter and all-- to another location (8 min. drive), so maybe the sunlight or something else funky happened in between. I've come to the conclusion that it might just be bad yeast (despite the expiration date and me making a starter).

I'll keep an eye on it and give it some time, but we'll see... I'm not exactly thrilled with how it's been behaving so far. That, and it spent 24 hours sitting in an 80 degree closet (bucket thermo read 77), so this whole thing might be for naught in the long run. We'll see.

Quote:
Originally Posted by kpheasey View Post
Was there activity in the fermenter? I would go by the krausen and movement in fermenter more than the bubbles.
Yeah, I haven't looked in the fermenter yet; I've been doing this long enough to know that the bubbles aren't the best measure of activity. I'll probably pop the lid next week and see how it's doing, maybe give it a swirl.

Thanks for the feedback, y'all!

Cheers


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