Crazy fermentation on overpitched yeast - thoughts?

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Packie

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So, I've only brewed about 10 times, but I've never seen a fermentation like this.

I brewed a 5 gal. Blind Pig clone from a Northern Brewer kit on Sunday afternoon. By Monday morning, it had blown the top off the airlock and krausen-ed all over the place. I replaced it with a blowoff tube and let it carry on. Yesterday it appeared it was starting to slow a bit and the krausen level dropped, so I thought about putting the airlock back on. Glad I didn't - it's now Thursday morning, and it's STILL giving the blowoff tube a workout, and the StarSan bucket is still bubbling away. (See pic below.)

How'd I get here? Well, my dime-store analysis of my other crappy beers has usually pointed to under attenuation, for various reasons. This time, I went to the extreme and pitched two yeast packets (White Labs California WLP001) instead of one to see what would happen. Not only that, I bought a stir plate and made a starter out of it to boot. I was not gonna let under attenuation be a problem this time! (I know about the pitch rate calculator, but I haven't gotten that far in my beer-making journey to really investigate how that all works yet.)

For what it's worth, the temp had run a little hot in the first few days - around the 73-degree mark - though it's now fallen closer to the more appropriate 68 by yesterday. I don't currently have a great way to cool during fermentation (will be fixing that with a forthcoming Father's Day present), so I just put it on my basement floor.

Any thoughts on how this is all gonna turn out? Is this fermentation unusual? Or is this normal and I just haven't experienced what a good fermentation looks like before? Was the double yeast pitch + starter an overcorrection that will ruin the batch? Regardless, I'm enjoying the show, but I'm just not sure what I've done here, so curious what the opinions are.

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JohnSand

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I think your beer will be fine. I've had some beers blow off, generally big ones or fast yeasts. I also use the basement floor to adjust temperature at times, though I have a ferm fridge now. You could use a water bath for better temp control. If that's insulation around it, I suggest unwrapping it to keep it cooler. If you need light protection, use something thinner.
Welcome aboard, good luck, keep us posted.
 
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Packie

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I think your beer will be fine. I've had some beers blow off, generally big ones or fast yeasts. I also use the basement floor to adjust temperature at times, though I have a ferm fridge now. You could use a water bath for better temp control. If that's insulation around it, I suggest unwrapping it to keep it cooler. If you need light protection, use something thinner.
Welcome aboard, good luck, keep us posted.
Cool thanks.

Yeah, I had actually read about water baths just the other day and will try that next time.

Yes, that's an insulator/light protector, but I only put it on after the high temp had dropped this week to try to stabilize it. (I've read big temp changes during fermentation can be bad.) Plus, now it's dialed into the recommended fermentation temp range, so I don't want it to drop any further.
 

DBhomebrew

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For what it's worth, the temp had run a little hot in the first few days - around the 73-degree mark - though it's now fallen closer to the more appropriate 68 by yesterday.
Where are you measuring temperature? Are those numbers the ambient air temp or the temp of the beer itself?

Fermentation creates its own heat. A few or more degrees higher than ambient air. The bigger the gravity or volume, the bigger the difference between wort and ambient temps.
 
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Packie

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Where are you measuring temperature? Are those numbers the ambient air temp or the temp of the beer itself?

Fermentation creates its own heat. A few or more degrees higher than ambient air. The bigger the gravity or volume, the bigger the difference between wort and ambient temps.
Well, funny story. I have a temp controller and thermowell that had popped off from the krausen the first morning after brewing. I put it back on and it immediately popped off again. So then I got really forceful with it and ... poof ... the entire stopper/thermowell dropped into the carboy. So, unless there's a viable way to get it out, I guess this is the last batch of beer in that carboy!

Anyway, I currently have the temp sensor taped directly to the carboy and underneath the protective insulation jacket.
 

duffy5018

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Are you talking about this kit?
It has an OG of 1.086. That kind of fermentation is pretty normal for that big of a beer. I wouldn't worry and you probably, unless you made two 2-L starters, did not overpitch.

Let it ride.
 

DBhomebrew

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So then I got really forceful with it and ... poof ... the entire stopper/thermowell dropped into the carboy. So, unless there's a viable way to get it out, I guess this is the last batch of beer in that carboy!
 
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Packie

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Are you talking about this kit?
It has an OG of 1.086. That kind of fermentation is pretty normal for that big of a beer. I wouldn't worry and you probably, unless you made two 2-L starters, did not overpitch.

Let it ride.
It was actually this one from MoreBeer. Haven't used their kits before until now. But this is apparently put together in conjunction with Vinnie at Russian River. The listed OG is 1.066-70 and ended up at 1.055, though not sure why it was lower.

 
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Packie

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Oh nice. Not sure if it will work as well with a thermowell attached to the stopper, but will give it a shot. Thanks!
 

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