First brew a disaster! What went wrong?

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selliott97

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I got my first brew in the fermentor two night ago and not even 48 hours into the fermentation my batch is ruined. I checked it this morning and found my air lock lying on the floor next to the fermentor and the top of the fermentor was consumed in a mushroom shaped head of yeast. I checked the temp on it and it was at 74 which is about 9 degrees higher than it should have been. Other than that, I followed the recipe nearly to a "T", I couldn't find the Wyeast that the recipe called for so I used what the proprietor at the local homebrew supply said would be a suitable substitute. I think I did an excellent job of keeping everything clean and steril through out the brewing process so my only guess is that the temp was just too high. Any ideas?
 

ChshreCat

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It's not ruined! Put the lid back on, put in a blowoff tube and get the temp down. Might have a few off flavors from the temp being up, but it's NOT RUINED!

You just had a very active ferment with the temps up and your airlock got clogged.
 

phrogpilot73

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No need to panic, it's not ruined. The same thing happened to my RIS, and it was my first blowoff. Clean everything up, sanitize and rig a blowoff tube. My RIS turned out just dandy and it's in the keg as we speak.
 

McGarnigle

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Temp was probably too high, but not ridiculously so.

What was the size of your fermentor and your batch? You may have needed to use a blow hose rather than an airlock.

As Cheshire Cat says, this isn't a big problem.
 

phatuna

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put your ferm bucket in a cooler with water in it. see if it will fit in one of your coolers. fill the cooler a few inches w/ water and throw a bit of ice into the cooler, put your fem bucket in. put a t-shirt over your ferm bucket so that the bottom of the shirt is in the water.

this will cool it down at least 5 degrees. put ice in a couple of times per day.
 

Munsoned

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put your ferm bucket in a cooler with water in it. see if it will fit in one of your coolers. fill the cooler a few inches w/ water and throw a bit of ice into the cooler, put your fem bucket in. put a t-shirt over your ferm bucket so that the bottom of the shirt is in the water.

this will cool it down at least 5 degrees. put ice in a couple of times per day.
+1 Putting your fermenter into a bucket or some other container might also help contain some of the mess of a blow off, assuming it doesn't spray everywhere from too much pressure in the carboy...
 

Homercidal

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LOL! We've all done it. Just read up on blow-off tube and rig one up. I'd clean and sanitize the lid if it's a bucket, otherwise just sanitize the lip of the carboy.

You might not even get off flavors if you are lucky!
 
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selliott97

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Whew, I am glad to know that it is not a complete loss. Luckily I waited on dumping it to see what kind of feedback I received here and I am glad I did. I didn't have time to put it back together, had to get to work, so I took all your guys advice and had my roomate bath tub with cold water, sanitize and put the airlock back on it. This thing had a crazy active fermentation going on but I not expecting this to happen. It was blowing CO2 out the airlock at a very rapid rate, probably every 5-10 seconds or so within the first 12 hours. Will fab up a blow-off tube tonight and stick that on there. Thanks for all the feedback, I appreciate it. Will let you all know how it turns out when it's done. Thanks again.
 

malkore

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Brewing requires 3 things:

Science
Creativity
Patience

one and two are the easiest because you usually have a recipe, and a set procedure to follow.
patience however...as they say, is a virtue. just gotta learn to ride it out. So you did good in waiting to dump it, just work on not panicing so much next time :)
 
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selliott97

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And was there another explosion when you got home before rigging the blow off?
I haven't rigged up my blow off tube yet, I am still at work. Just talked to my roomate a couple hours ago and he said there hasn't been a second blow-off yet. Will see in 45 minutes when I get home.
 

DuffmanAK

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Alrighty, I only asked since I've had Cooper's Ale yeast go crazy on me before (also before I started payign close attention to temps).

Likely your beer will be just fine, it might have a slightly strange flavor from the high fermentation temps, but shouldn't be bad at all. My first brew had a very similar experience. It also came out with a slightly off flavor, but well, it's all gone and I enjoyed drinking it.
 

McGarnigle

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I used Safale S-04 Dry Ale Yeast. The recipe called for Wyeast 1214 Belgian Abbey. The proprietor at the homebrew shop said it was a suitable replacement.
Really? You're brewing a Belgian style beer?

You buried the lede.
 

Peregris

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If you are indeed brewing a Belgian style beer then the higher fermentation temps might be good - they might give you an approximation of some of the flavor profiles you're looking for. The trouble is - no matter what the LHBS guy said, Safale is not a substitute for a Belgian yeast. Many of the flavors one looks for in a style come from the yeast, and Safale will not give you Belgian flavors.
 

SumnerH

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I used Safale S-04 Dry Ale Yeast. The recipe called for Wyeast 1214 Belgian Abbey. The proprietor at the homebrew shop said it was a suitable replacement.
Yeah, this is not a suitable replacement at all. S-04 is a London ale yeast suitable for a wide range of simple ales. Wyeast 1214 is the yeast used by Chimay, it's a big, fruity Belgian yeast.

IF you had to use a dry yeast, Safbrew T-58 is the best of a dismal lot as a replacement.

That said, your beer still has a good shot at being tasty. It just won't have some of the complex esters that a truer to style Belgian would have.

But I'd be wary of the LHBS's recommendations in the future.
 
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selliott97

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I think where I went wrong was that I was taking advice from the owner via the store clerk who was talking to the owner on the phone. He didn't really know what he was looking for and just grabbed what he thought he was being told to grab and I, knowingly took a risk and went with it. Unfortunately, I live in central Alaska and there aren't but two stores to choose from that I know of.

I am indeed brewing a Belgian Abbey, or at least that was my intention. I guess all that remains is to see how it turns out. I got the blow-off tube made up yesterday afternoon and everything seemed to be going fine. There was still plenty of activity going on and I feel confident that I won't have any more blow-off issues as I used a 1" id hose. Chalk it up as a learning experience, after all, hands-on experience is the best way to learn.
 
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