Crisis Averted! Maybe?

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StrangeHaze

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Relatively new brewer here, only have about 8 brews under my belt but I recently upgraded to an Anvil Foundry and to jump in right away, I brewed a Hefeweizen over the weekend. It was the all grain kit on MoreBeer to be exact with the Lallemand Munich Classic Wheat Ale yeast. 6 lbs white wheat malt, 4 lbs 2-row.

Process went great on Monday, loving the new setup and look forward to many more brews. I hit the expected 1.046 OG, though with about 1 gallon less into the fermenter, but still happy with the outcome so far. I transferred 4.7 gallons into the 7 gallon carboy and pitched the yeast at 76 degrees.

When I got home from work yesterday (24 hours after pitching), I was eager to check the status and fermentation was very active, krausen was the highest I've seen it but still had a gallon of headroom. Checked it this morning before heading to work, and thank God I did because it was coming out of the airlock. Some further reading and not being satisfied with just cleaning the airlock and returning it, I thankfully had the right size hose to create a blow off tube from the 3-piece airlock. I managed to avoid a crisis there. Air is coming out the pitcher with StarSan as expected, but the pressure is still so great in the carboy that it pushed the rubber stopper out. I tried using tape to hold it in place and the stopper isn't popping off now but air is still escaping and krausen leaking out.

I'm hopeful this is just another RDWHAHB situation, but due to my inexperience I have to ask, do I need to be worried? I don't think there's anything else I can do, but I do worry about the exposure and possible infection at this point.

In my readings, I hear about the blow off tube often but I have never had the krausen remotely high enough so figured I wouldn't have to worry. Clearly I was wrong and will be looking at creating a more permanent blow off tube solution going forward. Hope any other new brewers that read this heeds the advice from experienced brewers and get a blow off tube.
 

IslandLizard

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Wheat beers and their yeasts are notorious for creating tons of krausen.

Are you controlling your fermentation temps at all?
Doing that will tame the activity, becoming more manageable. Also makes better beer.

BTW, it's not air coming out of the fermenter, it's CO2!

I thankfully had the right size hose to create a blow off tube from the 3-piece airlock.
Even 1/2" ID tubing can be too restrictive, especially when lots of krausen gets into it.

You could remove the airlock, just stick a 1" hose into the carboy opening for blow-off. Wrap some sanitized plastic wrap around the connection area, and hold it in place with a rubber band. If pressure becomes too high it will be able to push it out. Which is way better than the alternative... boom!

But controlling your ferm temps is where you should start.
 
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StrangeHaze

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Good thought, I'll go to Home Depot after work and find larger tubing. Definitely sounds too restrictive. Right, sorry, CO2, not "air". Thanks! The "boom" is what I was very much afraid of. Not just the amount of cleanup, but my wife has celiac disease so she can't consume gluten and we store food a few feet from where I have the carboy. She would have been far from thrilled if it decided to sneeze gluten everywhere.

Unfortunately, being new to the hobby, I don't have the capability to control fermentation temps. It's high on the list.

Thanks again IslandLizard!
 

hotbeer

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I've been using 7/8 inch ID tubing for blow off tubes since about my third batch. Haven't had a blow out since. Admittedly 7/8" might be over kill, but they didn't have 5/8ths or 3/4 ID the day I went looking.

Vinyl in that size is very stiff to bend. But it can be heated in boiling water till it softens and then you can bend it into your desired shape and hold it in that shape on a peg board, or tie it to a wire rack in the shape you desire till it cools. It'll keep that bend and shape somewhat for a while.

If the bend tries to collapse while forming it, then just put a flat piece of something on either side, like a popsicle stick and bind that snug to get the collapsed part opened.

I have had to make my own holes in stoppers and put holes in the fermenter lids to fit the stoppers. However if you can find an OD tube to fit your carboy without using a stopper, that'd probably be ideal.
 

bracconiere

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someone here i forget who, gave me the tip to use vittels vaults as a fermenter....in the future, maybe some thing like this for more head space then a carboy?



and if you're spendy, a milk can is GREAT! :mug:
 

Sam_92

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A very simple way to keep your fermentation temps in range is to place your fermenter in a rubbermade type container and freeze some water bottles to place in it. I used to do that all through the summer then we lived in an apartment and the ambient temp would be up around seventy.
 

IslandLizard

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A very simple way to keep your fermentation temps in range is to place your fermenter in a rubbermade type container and freeze some water bottles to place in it.
Excellent!

When I need additional fermentation control, aside from my dedicated ferm chamber, I use a variation on that:
A large (~120 quart) igloo beverage cooler, it easily fits two 6.5 gallon brew bucket fermenters side by side, filled with enough water to just not start to float the full fermenters. That water jacket is a huge heat sink, drawing off heat generated by fermentation. I dope that water jacket with 1 or 2 frozen water bottles once or twice a day to keep the ferm temps (inside the fermenter) stable, around 66F (or 68F).

The whole "system" is covered under a few moving blankets or a sleeping bag, and placed in my lower level bathroom, which is underground, stable temps all year round.
 
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