Coping with beer loss

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JeffD1

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Hi everyone,

So I just brewed a huge imperial stout (OG 1.105) and I lost 1.5 gallons through the blowoff tube because of the vigorous fermentation. How do I prevent this in the future?

To give more details: It was a 5.5 gal batch (reduced to 4 gal) that I put in a 6 gal carboy. I added pure oxygen (which I know will make the fermentation more vigorous), kept the temp in the correct range, and I used a 1" blowoff tube.


Thanks,

Jeff

Edit: I think I answered my own question. I just remembered about Fermcap. Is this the solution? I've never tried using an antifoam product before.
 

texcan2000

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I've never noticed losing beer through a blowoff tube. Certainly some is lost but a gallon, wow. Mine seems to be mostly yeast. How close to the beer level was your tube?
 

ilikeguns

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where did the 1.5 gallons go? on the bottom of your ferm chamber? Was your blowoff tube somehow seated too low and create a syphon?
 
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JeffD1

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where did the 1.5 gallons go? on the bottom of your ferm chamber? Was your blowoff tube somehow seated too low and create a syphon?
Yeah I was surprised too...I've lost some beer in the past, but never this much. I've also never brewed such a huge beer and I am not very experienced with adding pure oxygen.

It was overflowing my small blowoff bucket and landed in another container I had set up just incase. My blowoff bucket was above the carboy so no chance of a syphon.

There was probably about 5 inches of head space before it started fermenting.
 

Newsman

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Get a bigger fermenter. Seriously. A 6 gallon fermenter is not big enough for something like this. Try getting one of the 7 gallon fermenters. Granted you can't watch the ferment in the opaque plastic fermenters, but at least you won't have to worry about losing beer. :)
 

Cyclman

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I oxygenate all my beers, make big beers, don't typically have 33% headspace (I typically have 5.5G in a 6.5G carboy), and with temp control (I like to start ales at the bottom of the yeast temp range) never have had significant beer loss though the blowoff (yeast, yes, but never beer). Never used fermcap.

Maybe lower your ferm temps?
 

day_trippr

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[...]To give more details: It was a 5.5 gal batch (reduced to 4 gal) that I put in a 6 gal carboy. I added pure oxygen (which I know will make the fermentation more vigorous), kept the temp in the correct range, and I used a 1" blowoff tube. [...]

Before you succomb to chemicals...

- As already mentioned, a 6g vessel is seriously undergunned for fermenting huge brews.

- You mention temperature control - but was that of the air surrounding the fermenter, or the fermenter temperature itself? Running a warm fermentation just compounds the headspace problem. As well, yeast have recommended temperature ranges, and you could work the lower half with less boisterous results.

- Finally, make sure your pitch is sized correctly given the yeast and OG. Over-pitching won't help conserve wort in the fermenter.

I do double imperial stouts at least four times a year, 5.5g into 6.5g carboy, in a ferm fridge with the controller probe strapped to the carboy and well insulated from external influence. I almost never even get color in the blow-off catcher, never mind lose measurable wort...and I don't use chemicals...

Cheers!
 

J343MY

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what yeast did you use, and what temperature did you ferment at?

I think fermentation temperature was your main issue. If fermenting in a larger fermenter is not an option, fermenting as cool as the yeast will allow you for the first couple days is your best bet to prevent this. Also you could try using a yeast that is a less violent fermenter, like California ale.

And maybe try a smaller blow-off tube. I'm not sure if it will make any difference, but its possible.
 
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JeffD1

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Thanks for the help! Those are good suggestions. I used us-05 and fermented around 65 (which was the beer temp). I think that is a violent yeast, and I wasn't at the lowest temp range. I did pitch the right amount according to yeastcalc.
 
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