Do plastic buckets ever need a blow off?

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zippyslug31

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Feel a little silly asking, but something that I've always wondered.
Almost without fail for my 5 gallon batches, my primary is a 6.5-7 gallon plastic bucket.... and without fail I've always started with a blowoff tube just out of habbit and "just in case". I've never seen the head build close to the lid so yesterday, after sitting for a couple of hours post-pitching, I just pulled the tube thinking I was being far too cautious. I'm gambling a little bit since yesterday was the first time I've used some washed yeast (and the first time using a starter). This morning the airlock is doing it's thing, and pretty active at that, but it's performing as designed.
Nothing splattered to the ceiling nor walls, so I tend to think I'm ok just start with the airlock in the future (unless I start in my carboy of course).

So.... assuming the airlock doesn't clog for some unknown reason, the good 4" to 6" of airspace is more than enough for just about anything I would make including a high OG brew, right?
Thinking of doing a barleywine soon and just wondering.
 

llazy_llama

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With that much headspace, you should be fine. Should be. For me, it's not worth the risk. I had a massive blow off once, and I stick with blowoffs for anything I haven't already brewed. It's up to you if you want to take that chance, but I don't see any advantage to using an airlock over a blowoff tube.
 

JPicasso

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Yes, Buckets may need a blowoff tube.

Occasionally, my airlock will be full of wort, sometimes will find it on top of the lid.
I mostly make brews around 1.050. Just depends.

Never had an "explosion" though.
 

Hugh_Jass

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I've had krausen reminants on my 6.5 gal. bucket lid from WLP 400.

I'd guess it would depend on the yeast strain and how much you like to roll the dice.

I've taken to leaving the lid unsealed until the active fermentation is complete.
 

camiller

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Another brewer I know had a bucket that the airlock got clogged and the lid exploded such that he ended up having to clean the ceiling.
 

Revvy

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Does this answer your question? :D



That's not "ring around the collar" on the shirt dontjaknow, that Old Bog Road Brown ale pitched on a Bell's Amber Ale cake (of bottle harvest bell's yeast from a buddy of mine.) It went "boom" pretty early.
 

joety

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Rev, what size tubing is that over the airlock and is that better than trying to shove something through the grommet.

I ordered the rubber grommets for my vittle vault that you suggested a few weeks ago, finally, but i'm still debating how to incorporate a blowoff hose if needed.
 

Revvy

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Rev, what size tubing is that over the airlock and is that better than trying to shove something through the grommet.

I ordered the rubber grommets for my vittle vault that you suggested a few weeks ago, finally, but i'm still debating how to incorporate a blowoff hose if needed.
It's whatever the standard size for a bottling wand...that's where I sacrificed it to when I mounted my wand on the spigot...it just has a small slit on the end.

I used to post my 3 piece blowoff all the time, 1 thing to do is tho saw or break the criss-cross off the bottom of the airlock...I do it to all mine anyway. It prevents any gunk or hop pieces from clogging it.
 

llazy_llama

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Rev, what size tubing is that over the airlock and is that better than trying to shove something through the grommet.

I ordered the rubber grommets for my vittle vault that you suggested a few weeks ago, finally, but i'm still debating how to incorporate a blowoff hose if needed.
I'm guessing the tubing he's using is 5/16". That what I have, and it fits snugly on the inside of a three piece airlock. You can get it crammed directly into the grommet of most buckets, but it's kind of a pain. Much easier just to run it under hot water for a minute, then stick it on a 3-piece.

3/8" tubing should work too, but won't be as airtight.
 

KYB

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I had an airlock on mine and it was bubbling hard. Bubbled some of the whiskey out of the top, so I put a blowoff on it for a couple days then it died down and switched back to the airlock. I already had some tubing I had from lowes and luckily it fit perfectly in the hole when i took the grommet out (1/2" outer diameter I think). Peering in the hole it didn't look like anything got too high. Better to be safe than sorry right? I mean, why not?
 

ifishsum

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Murphy's law says that the time you decide to skip the blowoff, you'll have a explosive fermentation....

but I've never actually needed one on my buckets.
 
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zippyslug31

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Thanks for all the insite everbody.

As to the "why not" sentiment, well I thought I was being overly cautious and thought why not just leave the primary alone and start with the airlock instead of futzing with the bucket since it's never an issue anyway.
What I didn't realize is that most EVERYBODY ELSE is also starting with a tube! LOL

When I get home tonight I'll stick the tube back on...... hopefully I won't have to post pictures of my newly redecorated dining room! =(
 
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zippyslug31

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Murphy's law says...
Yeah, that's what I was worried about being this was my first yeast reuse/starter batch.

It didn't blast off like I was expecting given it was a starter, so I just figured..........

Hopefully won't be learning the hard way.
 

Saccharomyces

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YES.

Pitched 3L starter of Wyeast 1028 London Ale, twice fed, into 5 gal of Maharaja clone at 1.102 in a 7 gallon bucket. That yeast was HUNGRY, the next morning it was blowing off like a mofo. I cut the bottom T off of a 3pc airlock and rigged a blowoff tube just in case, and dropped in some foam control drops through the airlock hole. Cleaned up the huge yeast mess.

If I wouldn't have caught it in time I'm sure there would be four more pieces of space junk up there in orbit -- the three piece airlock and the bung. :D

Or maybe five including the lid... :eek:
 

Couevas

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Back in the early days, before I knew anything of blowoffs, I fermented a hefe in a bucket. It went nuts to say the least.

After the krauzen began bubbling out of the airlock, I cleaned it and replaced. It happened again. I then discovered blow-off tubes and got a tube that fit in the airlock hole. It wasn't enough. At this point the lid was bulging hard, even with the blow-off.

I duct-taped the lid down and went to bed.

The next morning I was cleaning a mess off the walls and ceiling. It had blown the lid off with a blow-off tube and duct tape.

Goes to show you that even a blowoff might not be enough. I go with a 1 inch (IIRC) tube stuffed in the mouth of the carboy now. No more attacks of the blob.
 

rico567

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I use the standard 6.5 gal plastic bucket for fermenting. I use nothing but an airlock. I got a couple of foamouts in the first half-dozen batches, until I learned to pitch at lower temperatures and my 61F basement does the rest. No further issues. I've brewed a large variety of extract beers, and the airlock works fine. Normally the trub line never comes more than halfway between the liquid and the lid.

The one exception to this rule was last June, when the basement flooded two days after I started fermenting an imperial stout. All that newly-fallen water coming in raised the basement temperature, and the next morning I heard the lid blow off the bucket. I replaced the lid and put in another sanitized airlock. Less than an hour later, the lid blew again. I just replaced the lid and put a sponge soaked in Star San over the hole. That stout is just now coming into its own....I call it the Flood Stout, and it's very good.
 

bottle-o-jeff

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I've also had a hefe blow the lid off of a 6.5 gallon bucket. Yeast and wort all over the walls, and the lid was about 6 feet away (I heard it bounce off of the air conditioning vent, that's what woke me up). Hefe's ferment vigorously.
 

Bernie Brewer

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It depends on the yeast, the pitching rate, fermentation temperature, how well you oxygenated the wort, and prolly a bunch of other variables. Bottom line: When in doubt, use a blowoff.

OTH, you're not a REAL brewer until you've used a mop on the ceiling.......:D
 

llazy_llama

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As to the "why not" sentiment, well I thought I was being overly cautious and thought why not just leave the primary alone and start with the airlock instead of futzing with the bucket since it's never an issue anyway.
Oh that's not the case at all. If you believe that, you're due for an exploding bucket lid any day now. ;)

As Bernie pointed out, most of us have had to clean ceilings now and again. I've had to stand on a chair to scrub mine before, and I don't plan on doing that again any time soon. :drunk:
 

Indy418

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Much easier just to run it under hot water for a minute, then stick it on a 3-piece.
Yuuuup... sometimes you gotta learn that one the hard way after spending 20 minutes tryin to jam some plastic down a hold where it don't wanna go.
 

BioBeing

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Yes they do! This is 5.25 gallons of SWMBO Slayer in a 7 gallon bucket. This is a well known vigorous fermentor, but I did not think it would climb out of this bucket. See the bulging lid?

 

Bernie Brewer

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Yes they do! This is 5.25 gallons of SWMBO Slayer in a 7 gallon bucket. This is a well known vigorous fermentor, but I did not think it would climb out of this bucket. See the bulging lid?


Ha! Is that a recent pic??? Hope you have a mop at the ready..........:ban:

Edit: Thought it's not bulging, the fermenter in the background could use a blowoff as well.
 

Kungpaodog

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Yes they do! This is 5.25 gallons of SWMBO Slayer in a 7 gallon bucket. This is a well known vigorous fermentor, but I did not think it would climb out of this bucket. See the bulging lid?

I've had exactly that happen. I rigged a blow-off hose and fell asleep to rhino farts emanating from my basement. Music to my ears.
 

joety

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Ok, slightly OT but related. I've not tried a lager but plan on that being one of my next few brews, as soon as I can clear space for the carboy in the keezer. Assuming I launch cold (seems to be Yooper's preference), is there ANY chance of a blowout? I'm thinking a cold launch makes for a slow ferment and "no" and I'd really like to avoid the blowoff bucket and the room it takes up in the keezer.
 

BioBeing

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I snapped that pic, then added blow-off to both. The second bucket was just a little slower, but it was getting there. I needed the blow-offs on there for about a week. I tried swapping them back out after about 6 days, and filled another airlock with krausen. Took a sample last night at 9 days, and it is down at 1.013, so I think the worst might be over now. :D Wit yeast is active!

 

mgortel

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So the little holes in the lid of the airlock get clogged?

The "bottleneck" is not the part of the airlock that fits through the grommet...obviously?

I guess I better do this blow off hose on my next batch which wil be a stout......:D
 

DansBrew

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I almost had a blowout with my dunkel last month... had krausen in airlock, and it was stuck to the lid. Airlock almost clogged. Wife would have been pissed!
 

Myrdhyn

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It depends on the yeast, the pitching rate, fermentation temperature, how well you oxygenated the wort, and prolly a bunch of other variables. Bottom line: When in doubt, use a blowoff.

OTH, you're not a REAL brewer until you've used a mop on the ceiling.......:D
I seriously hope I'm never a real brewer.
 
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