Fermentation pressure blew seal - what to do?

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Hi all ... sorry for the long post, but this is my first "crazy brewing story" and I wanted to remember all the details... :D

I just started my second batch of kit beer in the Coopers fermenter seen here: Coopers Microbrewery Kit | Beer Making Kit. The fermenter is a 30L (7.9 gal) and the recipe makes 23L (6 gal) of beer. The extra-large fermenter supposedly has enough headspace that you don't need a blow-off hose, so it just has an airlock attached to the screw-on lid. My first batch came and went with almost no bubbling through the airlock. On my second batch, though, it's been another story. By the morning of day 2 I had LOTS of bubbling and a ton of beautiful krausen.

But in the evening, almost exactly 48 hours after pitching, I noticed a problem: a chunk of krausen had blown up into the airlock, and clogged it. With nowhere else to go, the bubbling wort had been seeping out under the lid gasket, and dripping out over the sides of my fermenter.

It was easily solved. I removed the airlock (covered the hole in the lid with plastic wrap to keep nasties out while the airlock was gone) and cleaned, sanitized and refilled the airlock before putting it back in. Soon, the airlock was bubbling away again, and I haven't had anymore seepage through the lid - except for a few small drips that I'm pretty sure is just stuff that got up into the threads of the screw-on lid and is slowly coming out.

My question is this: how concerned should I be about the seal on my fermenter? The lid is still closed, and it feels tight enough ... but there is wort in the threads. Since liquid has basically "blown" the gasket, do I now need to treat this as an "open" fermentation? My plan was to leave the beer in fermenter for 3 weeks before bottling (no secondary - I don't have one yet) but I'm not sure if that's still a good idea since the seal might be broken.

Or, should I leave it in the fermenter for a week or so until the bubbling slows down ... then take the lid off, clean and check the gasket and reseal it for the last two weeks? I know that would increase the chance of infection ... but no more than I'd have if I opened it to rack it, right?

I welcome any opinions on this. Thanks!
 

COLObrewer

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If the airlock is bubbling, your lid seal is fine, even if it's not sealed the yeasties are creating enough CO2 to push out any badness and blanket the wort. If you feel you absolutely have to clean the seal, then you should do it now while more active fermentation is going on as opposed to later when there is less activity to push out the badness (mainly oxygen). Personally I would just leave it as is for a three weeks since you have no secondary, but, what temperature is it at? I always like to secondary (or condition) colder after primary fermentation is complete.
 
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shawnbou
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Thanks, COLObrewer. I guess that makes sense - if the seal wasn't sealed, I should be seeing more lid leakage instead of airlock activity. I'll keep watching it to make sure the airlock stays active and the sides don't drip, but otherwise I'll plan on leaving it alone.

The temperature is currently right at 72F/22C. Should I try to keep it cooler for the last two weeks?

Finally, I'm thinking that a blow-off hose might be a good accessory to have for my next batch, despite the best intentions of the Coopers manufacturers. Has anyone out there ever needed or used a blow-off hose with the Coopers fermenter, or have any advice on what I should look for?

Thanks!
 

EvilTOJ

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It didn't blow a seal, it's just a little icecream. Your batch is perfectly fine. If you can, I'd get the fermentation temp down to 68º or so. blowoff tubes are wonderful things, I tell ya.
 
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shawnbou
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Great news - I love ice cream!

Good advice ... I'll see what I can do about the temperature and also plan on rigging up a blow-off for my next batch. I wasn't sure about the size of the airlock hole on my fermenter lid (all these Australian metric measurements on my gear LOL) but it looks like a standard 3/8" hose should fit into it so I should be able to get that going for next time.

Thanks! :mug:
 
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