Airlock as blowoff failure

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snail

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So I made an AHS Hobgoblin Clone the other day. Fermenting didn't start for about a day. But it took off when it did. I ended up putting a blow off on it because it was going into the airlock. I did a makeshift one with the airlock and putting a tube into it. Well apparently the tiny holes at the bottom of the airlock got clogged from the vigorous fermentation and I didn't know it. I go to take the blowoff/airlock off last night POW beery, hoppy, chunks all over me, the walls, the rug. I'm sitting there with my thumb pressing down on the bung so actual beer won't come out. I call my wife down and she starts laughing at the spatter of beer residue on my face. I put the airlock back in and foam just starts spraying into the container of water for the blowoff. It stops and starts on and off. So I take it outside knowing this isn't going to end well, and take out the bung. Beer just starts shooting out like a fountain. It slows down and whats left in the carboy is half liquid and the top half is all foam. My beer is ruined..... :( I guess I won't be using an airlock as part of my blowoff anymore...
 

Yooper

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the beer isn't ruined! It's still fermenting, and it's fine. There's lots of foam because it's fermenting.

What most people do is cut off the end of the airlock, so that small opening is gone, and the airlock doesn't clog. It's like it's got little crosspieces in there, and once those are removed, hops don't clog it as easily.

I don't do that, though- I've only need a blow-off tube twice ever, and both times I just jammed sanitized tubing right into the hole.
 
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snail

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Yeah thats what I'm going to do next time is just put the tubing right into the bung instead of using the airlock.

When I brought the beer outside and took out the bung, beer just shot out of the carboy until the carboy was about half full. Because of all the commotion all that foam built up.
 

conpewter

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I cut the crosspieces off my airlocks just in case, but I've yet to need a blow-off. Probably because I generally ferment on the lower end of the yeast's range (temperature wise). If I ever brew a Belgian or a hefe I'll probably have to use a blowoff since those like higher temps and more esters.
 

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Yeah thats what I'm going to do next time is just put the tubing right into the bung instead of using the airlock.

When I brought the beer outside and took out the bung, beer just shot out of the carboy until the carboy was about half full. Because of all the commotion all that foam built up.
Trust me, it's still ok. You just have half as much beer as you did yesterday. Put the airlock back on (no chance of a blow off now since you have plenty of headspace!) and keep it in the mid-60s.
 
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snail

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I never thought about it clogging the airlock.....and this is what happens when you don't. I couldn't imagine if the top blew off and all that beer came out inside the house!! The mess was big enough, I had hop smeg on the wall on the opposite side of the room. I couldn't imagine half a carboy of beer on the floor. At least I learned from my mistake!
 

stokems

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Last year I madea stout and it happened to me in my living room. It was abloody mess, hop gunk and stout all over the wall and cieling. It happened to be Mothers day morning when "Old Stoutfull" erupted. My wife was pissed and I ended up painting the living room that summer. Sucked. Learned from my mistake and now use 1 inch blow off tube.
 

jezter6

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So I made an AHS Hobgoblin Clone the other day. Fermenting didn't start for about a day. But it took off when it did. I ended up putting a blow off on it because it was going into the airlock. I did a makeshift one with the airlock and putting a tube into it. Well apparently the tiny holes at the bottom of the airlock got clogged from the vigorous fermentation and I didn't know it. I go to take the blowoff/airlock off last night POW beery, hoppy, chunks all over me, the walls, the rug. I'm sitting there with my thumb pressing down on the bung so actual beer won't come out. I call my wife down and she starts laughing at the spatter of beer residue on my face. I put the airlock back in and foam just starts spraying into the container of water for the blowoff. It stops and starts on and off. So I take it outside knowing this isn't going to end well, and take out the bung. Beer just starts shooting out like a fountain. It slows down and whats left in the carboy is half liquid and the top half is all foam. My beer is ruined..... :( I guess I won't be using an airlock as part of my blowoff anymore...
That's why I prize a few of my older airlocks that are a solid tube without coming down to that point with a few holes in it.

Drill that bastid out so that you have a solid flow and use that. Otherwise, get a nice monster hose that fits right in the neck of the carboy. :)
 

flyangler18

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There's always my personal favorite - sanitized tinfoil or a sanitized inverted small glass jar.
 

AJ_in_HD

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oh man!! I had this happen to me yesterday! I brewed on Sunday and by Monday morning my 3piece was spewing foam. After removing the airlock more foam spewed out of the hole in the lid and I didn't have any other choice but to remove the lid and clean it as well.

I didn't think to use a blowoff hose until after lunch time as I was frazzled and had to go to work. After attaching blowoff hose to airlock (hole in lid too big to put tubing in there) the tip of airlock clogged just like it did for the OP. The worst part for me was when i removed the airlock to clean the tip, the grommet fell into the beer! I dipped my whole arm in StarSan and had no other choice but to slowly immerse my arm in the beer and fish for the grommet...luckily it was essentially on the trub and i found it quickly.

Today the vigorous fermentation seems to have subsided to a strong but less foamy perk. Man after all this I really hope i didn't introduce anything bad to the beer.
 

GunnerMan

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Your arm will give your beer that "zest" it's been missing! You guys have me on the floor laughing, "Old Stoutful," classic.
Ive never had a blowoff but I do ferment in my bathtub but it has a nice paint job so I line it with a plastic dropcloth. This plugs up the overflow port as well(which is good because it allowes me to get water level all the way to the top of my beers) but one day I was filling the tub and forgot about it.

Yup I had niagra falls in my bathroom, two carboys were on their side floating with beer leaking out the airlock. Water was running out into the hallway and kitchen, it was a disaster. I must have scooped up 40 gallons off the floor.

The beer was great though...
 

danorocks17

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Last year I madea stout and it happened to me in my living room. It was abloody mess, hop gunk and stout all over the wall and cieling. It happened to be Mothers day morning when "Old Stoutfull" erupted. My wife was pissed and I ended up painting the living room that summer. Sucked. Learned from my mistake and now use 1 inch blow off tube.
+1 for the 1inch blow off. I use that as well. If that thing gets clogged, we've got some major problems :D
 
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snail

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How do you use a the 1 inch tube? Do you just put it in the top of the carboy and the tube is big enough that there is a air tight seal? I mean it's wide enough to fill the whole opening?
 

wilserbrewer

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How do you use a the 1 inch tube? Do you just put it in the top of the carboy and the tube is big enough that there is a air tight seal? I mean it's wide enough to fill the whole opening?
Yes...exactly...just insert the large tube into the carboy neck.
 

ggoodman

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Glad to hear im not the only one, my first batch we fermented in a 5 gallon carboy. came home to find the majority of the beer on the ceiling. Not a drop on the carpet though.
 

michaelm

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How do you use a the 1 inch tube? Do you just put it in the top of the carboy and the tube is big enough that there is a air tight seal? I mean it's wide enough to fill the whole opening?

Reality of it is the tube doesnt need to be airtight really.... just snug enough it doesnt fall in.... If you need a blow off hose your beer is fermenting hard enough that its blowing enough co2 to keep any nasties from making it in alive..... once is calms down a bit then you can just pull the hose and re stop with a sanitized stopper and airlock......
 

CBBaron

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Next time pull the airlock out and replace with a siphon tube. I won't guarantee that the tube will not plug but there is a lot lower likely hood.

Craig
 

retired_young

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Funny stories. I was just in the same predicament. I ferment in a plastic bucket, and at 3am, awoke to the BOOM of the lid popping off. Cleaned everything up including the airlock, hoping I was past the worst of it. 5am, another BOOM blew the lid back off. By that time sleepless, I rammed my racking hose through the airlock rubber stopper and into a Pyrex of water. I couldn't believe how much total volume bled out, almost an inch from my fermenter before things settled down. The Pyrex was dense with yeast.

I want to try an experiment. Has anybody tried something like this: Sanitize a good sized glass jar. Rig the lid with two stoppers, one for the blow-off tube to go IN, and one for an airlock with vodka in the bubbler. While doing my boil, I'll "pasteurize" fresh water and let it cool in the sanitized jar. As blowoff enters the jar, pressure should bubble off through the airlock. When the vigorous fermentation stops, I should have a yeast starter ready to go, right?
 

flyangler18

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I want to try an experiment. Has anybody tried something like this: Sanitize a good sized glass jar. Rig the lid with two stoppers, one for the blow-off tube to go IN, and one for an airlock with vodka in the bubbler. While doing my boil, I'll "pasteurize" fresh water and let it cool in the sanitized jar. As blowoff enters the jar, pressure should bubble off through the airlock. When the vigorous fermentation stops, I should have a yeast starter ready to go, right?
You are describing, at least partially, a technique called 'top-cropping'.

Check this out: Top cropping yeast from a carboy. - ALEiens Homebrew Club

It works exceptionally well.
 
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