Lost 1/2 gallon of AHBS Stone Ruination IPA due to foam. :(

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7Enigma

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Well this was my first really heavy beer I've made (done about 6-7 batches before, none over ~6-7% alcohol content. The Ruination by Stone (clone kit from Austin Home Brew) is 8%, and has a tremendous amount of hops (4.5oz in boil, 2 oz in secondary) which may or may not contribute to the massive loss.

It was recommended due to the high level of fermentables to double pitch, and so I used 2 packets of the dry yeast recommended. I've always had a nice krausen layer, but since I use a 6.5gallon primary, only one time for a short bit did I enter the airlock with the foam. Well this batch was a different beast. In about 12 hours the krausen layer had risen to the neck (3-4 inches above the liquid level), and by morning it had gone into the airlock (thank god there was no blockage or I would have been reporting a 6.5gallon glass beer bomb in my basement). As it was I took off the airlock and proceeded to watch all of yesterday gallons upon gallons of foam streaming out of the mouth of the carboy. There was so much CO2 production you could actually put your cheek up to the hole and feel a constant cool breeze that if you took a quick snort was pure CO2.

So I'm thinking that the double pitching of dry yeast is an obvious cause as there was twice the yeast amount fermenting, but I'd really like to avoid this in the future. That 1/2 gallon of waste is expensive! Not to mention tasty. I would like to avoid this, and I've heard there are some drops or something to prevent the krausen layer from getting extremely high correct? (or was that just during boiling of the wort?) Is it something that will affect the taste/headiness of the beer?

I would hate to imagine what would have happened if I didn't see check on it and remove the airlock, and in this situation a simple blow off tube in a bucket of bleach water would have still caused me to lose a large amount of beer.

The layer has now fallen back overnight and I reconnected the airlock (had put a plastic baggie loosely over the mouth to prevent contamination. From my starting volume of about 5 1/4 gallons, I'm down to 4 1/2 - 4 3/4. I don't think I should add water when I transfer to secondary because the foam that was coming out probably contained fermentables (tasted like beer, but obviously very acidic from the CO2), and so I don't want to water it down to get back to my 5 gallon level.

Any thoughts for this non-beginner who in this instance feels like one? :eek:
 

jjp36

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Since i started using these I have yet to have another boilover or need for a blowoff tube. I recently fermented a hefe using a pretty large starter, and the krausen never rose above about 2 inches. Its pretty awesome stuff.
 
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7Enigma

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Thanks jjp36, I had looked at that but thought it would only work during the boil and not in the fermenter. Any affect on the head retention after pouring from a primed bottle?

And did you use it during the boil or put it in after? I'm wondering if for it to get mixed in well it has to be hot instead of just a drop or two into the primary...
 

Figbash

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You might try switching to a liquid yeast. I'm not sure what the reason is, but every dry yeast I've pitched has resulted in a violent fermentation requiring a blow off tube. This has not been the case with the liquids yeasts. Try a liquid yeast next time. You'll have a much larger selection and it won't blow your beer out the top of the fermentor.

I use liquid yeast exclusively now and make my own cultures to keep the cost down.

Tom
 
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7Enigma

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Figbash,

Typically dry yeasts have significantly more yeast than the smack-packs, and so that is why you won't get the same fermentation rate. Unless you have a large starter culture, and incubate the culture well (to keep them healthy and active), a dry pack of yeast is hard to beat for pure alcohol conversion. I use dry due to cost, extremely small chance of contamination, and ease of use (30min hydration with a bit of wort prior to pitching to give them a nice rest period, makes them very happy).

I think I'll probably order a bottle of the anti-foaming formula (once I hear back that it doesn't negatively affect the head of the beer), and probably go back to a single package of yeast, even when doing higher grav beers.

Probably would have been better off just dumping the dry packets into the fermenter (since it would have resulted in a lower viability of the yeast), but that kind of defeats the purpose of using 2 packs in the first place!
 

conpewter

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Depending on your system you may need to add it(foam control drops) during the boil and again into the fermenter. Since my boil kettle drain is on the bottom and I use a CFC I don't usually need to put any in the fermenter. For a big RIS or Hefe I'd still put a drop or two in the fermenter just in case.
 

jjp36

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Thanks jjp36, I had looked at that but thought it would only work during the boil and not in the fermenter. Any affect on the head retention after pouring from a primed bottle?

And did you use it during the boil or put it in after? I'm wondering if for it to get mixed in well it has to be hot instead of just a drop or two into the primary...
I haven't added it to the fermenter yet, only during the boil. The effects seem to carry over. But on the bottle it says that you can add it during either the boil or during fermentation.

So far I've used it on a hefe, IPA, a Scottish 80/- and a 1.070 chocolate oatmeal stout and none of them have blown off. Head retention is unaffected as far as i can tell. The Scottish should be done bottle conditioning tonight, i'll crack one when i get home and post a pic.
 

Figbash

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Figbash,

Typically dry yeasts have significantly more yeast than the smack-packs, and so that is why you won't get the same fermentation rate. Unless you have a large starter culture, and incubate the culture well (to keep them healthy and active), a dry pack of yeast is hard to beat for pure alcohol conversion. I use dry due to cost, extremely small chance of contamination, and ease of use (30min hydration with a bit of wort prior to pitching to give them a nice rest period, makes them very happy).
I think you have it backwards.Dry yeast packets will typically provide 50 to 70 billion cells where a White Labs tube or Wyeast smack pack will contain around 100 billion. If it's strictly a numbers thing, the liquid yeast should be the one with a violent fermentation, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Tom
 

ericm

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I think you have it backwards.Dry yeast packets will typically provide 50 to 70 billion cells where a White Labs tube or Wyeast smack pack will contain around 100 billion. If it's strictly a numbers thing, the liquid yeast should be the one with a violent fermentation, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Tom
dry yeast comes in several commonly available size packets; the 11.5 g size has about 200 billion cells
 

jjp36

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I think you have it backwards.Dry yeast packets will typically provide 50 to 70 billion cells where a White Labs tube or Wyeast smack pack will contain around 100 billion. If it's strictly a numbers thing, the liquid yeast should be the one with a violent fermentation, but that doesn't seem to be the case.

Tom
From everything i have read, I think dry yeast always has a higher cell count then liquid.
 

Brewin_the_goods

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I just added my double IPA to the secondary yesterday and the krausen was within a
1/2" of the airlock, I used the White Labs Liquid yeast with no starter.
 
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7Enigma

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I just added my double IPA to the secondary yesterday and the krausen was within a
1/2" of the airlock, I used the White Labs Liquid yeast with no starter.
Wait, what? You're not supposed to transfer to secondary until the fermentation has reached your final gravity (or if not measuring S.G. at least until the krausen layer has subsided and the majority of airlock activity has ceased). If you have that much activity, it should have stayed in the primary or you risk the possibility of not fully fermenting and the potential for bottle bombs if the priming sugar wakes up some dormant yeast.
 
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7Enigma

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dry yeast comes in several commonly available size packets; the 11.5 g size has about 200 billion cells

That's what I've always been told and from reading this forum for over a year always seems to be the trend. You can definitely make a liquid starter with a higher count, but just using those smack packs there is going to be less yeast present than a dry pack (also depends on how you hydrate the dry pack to get the highest viability).
 
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7Enigma

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I haven't added it to the fermenter yet, only during the boil. The effects seem to carry over. But on the bottle it says that you can add it during either the boil or during fermentation.

So far I've used it on a hefe, IPA, a Scottish 80/- and a 1.070 chocolate oatmeal stout and none of them have blown off. Head retention is unaffected as far as i can tell. The Scottish should be done bottle conditioning tonight, i'll crack one when i get home and post a pic.
Thanks for the reply, that's exactly what I wanted to hear. I'll definitely be ordering the drops the next time I put in an order (my last order had the Stone Ruination IPA and I also ordered a Rogue Mocha Porter which shouldn't be near the violent foamer)!

I have no need for the drops during the boil since I use a turkey frier and only do partial (4 gallon) boils, but I will be putting a drop or two in the fermenter for sure on anything questionable.

What a great forum! :rockin:
 

taylornate

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That's what I've always been told and from reading this forum for over a year always seems to be the trend. You can definitely make a liquid starter with a higher count, but just using those smack packs there is going to be less yeast present than a dry pack (also depends on how you hydrate the dry pack to get the highest viability).
You can make a starter with however many cells you want. You can do this with dry or liquid yeast.
 
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7Enigma

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You can make a starter with however many cells you want. You can do this with dry or liquid yeast.
Of course; the point was that a standard smackpack or liquid yeast vial contains less yeast than a standard dry packet. You can culture either to larger numbers before adding, but this doesn't make a lot of sense with dry yeast as the benefit of dry is the lack of work and worry about contamination.

My typical hydration period for dry yeast is about 30min. This involves sanitizing a container with ~1/2 cup of water, putting in 2-3 tablespoons of the wort as I'm boiling it (this helps to get the temp of the water up to ~95F or so), then dumping the yeast on top of the liquid. I then cover the container with aluminum foil to prevent contamination (not sterile but it doesn't really need to be with billions of yeast in there). I let it sit for ~10 minutes while some of the yeast naturally sinks to the bottom (depending on yeast type some prefer this method rather than immediately stirring into the solution). After the 10min wait I take a sanitized fork and wisk the mixture until frothy (making sure to get every dried yeast into the mixture). Then I cover again with the foil and put it onto a warmed burner (I have those ceramic top ones that are flat, I'll turn the burner on high for about 10-15 seconds then off). The surface should then be warm to the touch which will hold the temp in the container steady. I'll give it another frothing right before I dump it into the fermenter, and then swirl the carboy so the yeast is evenly distributed. About 20-30min after this is all done I'll swirl the container one more time to get the yeast throughout the entire container (it tends to settle and I'd like to think it works better when in suspension for a bit longer). That small effort allows for the highest viability with the yeast's transistion from spore to weather-balloon. ;) It takes about 90min for a new yeast cell to bud, so hopefully that 30min gave it a nice jumpstart before even beginning to deplete the oxygen supply (and deal with the high concentrations of sugar/hop oils of the wort). Sounds like a lot of work when you type it up, but really most of the time it's as I'm walking back into the kitchen to grab something or when I'm just waiting for the next step.
 

conpewter

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Please explain.
The foam control settles out once the wort stops moving around (due to boiling or fermentation) since I get almost every drop of liquid out of my boiler and into my fermenter that carries along a lot of the foam control as well. It then gets kicked up during active fermentation and controls the kruasen in the fermenter.
 

Figbash

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From everything i have read, I think dry yeast always has a higher cell count then liquid.
According to John Palmer in "How to Brew", dry yeast contains about 6 billion cells per gram. That's 75 billion for a 15 gram packet and Wyeast claims 100 billion in their smack pack. Anyway, my original point was that in my experience, liquid yeast tends to produce a less violent fermentation than dry yeast which is what the OP was interested in. If he wants to reduce the amount of foaming, a liquid yeast may be worth trying.

Tom
 

ericm

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According to John Palmer in "How to Brew", dry yeast contains about 6 billion cells per gram. That's 75 billion for a 15 gram packet and Wyeast claims 100 billion in their smack pack. Anyway, my original point was that in my experience, liquid yeast tends to produce a less violent fermentation than dry yeast which is what the OP was interested in. If he wants to reduce the amount of foaming, a liquid yeast may be worth trying.

Tom
huh, you're right; palmer says 6 billion per gram... mr malty (jamil) says 20 billion per gram, based on his own cell counts (Proper Yeast Pitching Rates) I wonder who's correct? :confused:
 

ericm

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Interesting...Fermentis's data sheet on Safale US-05 says 6 billion per gram viable cells at packaging.

http://www.fermentis.com/FO/pdf/HB/EN/Safale_US-05_HB.pdf

Danstar Nottingham says 5 billion per gram:

http://www.danstaryeast.com/tds/nottingham.pdf

Looks like maybe us dry yeasters are not pitching as much as we think.
I wonder how Jamil got the numbers he did with his counts?

I generally use the pitching calculator at mrmalty.com for both dry and liquid, and if dry really has that much less then I guess I've been underpitching when using dry yeast...
 

jjp36

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According to John Palmer in "How to Brew", dry yeast contains about 6 billion cells per gram. That's 75 billion for a 15 gram packet and Wyeast claims 100 billion in their smack pack. Anyway, my original point was that in my experience, liquid yeast tends to produce a less violent fermentation than dry yeast which is what the OP was interested in. If he wants to reduce the amount of foaming, a liquid yeast may be worth trying.
Tom
6 billion cells/gram x 15 grams = 90 billion not 75.

I don't think liquid or dry yeast actually matters when it comes to amount of krausen produced. I would imagine it would be more of a product of the wort composition/temp/fermentation container and the specific strain of yeast. FWIW all the blow offs I've had have been with liquid yeast. The worst one being the Wyeast 3787 high gravity.
 
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7Enigma

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6 billion cells/gram x 15 grams = 90 billion not 75.

I don't think liquid or dry yeast actually matters when it comes to amount of krausen produced. I would imagine it would be more of a product of the wort composition/temp/fermentation container and the specific strain of yeast. FWIW all the blow offs I've had have been with liquid yeast. The worst one being the Wyeast 3787 high gravity.
I'll agree with you there (about it not mattering in terms of amount of krausen whether it's liquid or dry), but I do think the number of yeast directly relates to amount of krausen (more than temp). 100 yeast will produce 10X the CO2 as 10 yeast, and that CO2 has to go somewhere (out the airlock). Temperature will definitely have an effect (100 yeast @ 55F are going to produce less CO2 than 100 yeast @75F), but I'm willing to bet if I had only pitched one pack instead of two I wouldn't have lost near as much beer (the fermentation would have also taken longer obviously).

Interesting on all the different data on yeast/gram between the difference sources.
 

viking999

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I don't really have experience with high gravity brews, but aren't there special strains of yeast that keep active in high alcohol environments? With those I don't think there would be any need to pitch extra yeast and end up with a super fast early fermentation. If none of those strains produce the flavor you want, then I guess you just have to deal with the loss, find a way of controlling krausen with additives, or get a bigger fermenter (my favorite solution :rockin:).
 
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7Enigma

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Yup, there are higher alcohol tolerant strains, it's just that there are some nutrients the yeast only has a certain amount of and can become "spent" ;) and slow/stop fermentation. Typically the higher grav beers recommend double pitching to avoid this issue as each yeast is only required to ferment 1/2 the amount of sugars. In theory a single yeast could ferment the entire batch, but in practice we really don't give them all the nutrients for a long-lived life. We just want them to convert the sugar to alcohol, go dormant, and have the last little push to carbonate our beers once bottled.

Some places (like AHB) sell a yeast fuel that is supposed to have nutrients and such to alleviate this problem, but for the price, I'd rather just pitch another packet of yeast. I just need to get those anti-foaming drops to prevent the beer loss.
 

jjp36

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Some places (like AHB) sell a yeast fuel that is supposed to have nutrients and such to alleviate this problem, but for the price, I'd rather just pitch another packet of yeast. I just need to get those anti-foaming drops to prevent the beer loss.
Technically, in the long run i think the most cost effective solution would be just using 1 packet of yeast and making starters.

I also use the Yeast nutrient that AHS sells, and you can get a pound of it for about the same price as a pack of yeast. You only use 1 teaspoon/gallon, so it lasts quite a while. So far i'm on my 9 batch and the bottle isn't even half empty yet. I use this one. I have yet to have to experience a slow or stuck fermentation.
 
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7Enigma

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Well I had planned to bottle last weekend, but something happened during the fermentation and after moving the carboy upstairs to rest overnight before racking and bottling, the fermentation started up again. Not just airlock activity, I'm talking churning of the whole brew. So I swirled the carboy to make sure everything was back in suspension in the hopes of a rapid finish.

I think the combination of massive amounts of yeast and the 2 oz of dry hops caused the yeast cake to get covered prematurely and so the movement upstairs and bump up in temp saved me from bottling some bombs.

This beer brewed 2 weeks in primary and a full week in secondary when this was discovered. Even though I dry hopped in the secondary there was no way I was going to bottle while the batch was still active. So I let it go this week and yesterday took a reading. It came out ~ 1.016-1.018. My hydrometer is probably meant for wine as the numbers are really close together and so it's tough to say for sure. The recipe says it should be 1.012 but with the violent fermentation at the beginning I have no clue whether this would be possible. The churning has stopped and everything looks to have settled out so today after work I'll be bottling the batch. Just in case I will be wrapping the cases in plastic and putting them in a large rubbermaid container to prevent a messy cleanup if a bomb goes off. I'll also pull a bottle about 2-3 days after bottling to see if they are under a lot of pressure.

I hope the additional time in the secondary with the dry hops doesn't cause an off flavor, but this batch will be aged in the bottles for a long time before being consumed (Stone's site I believe claims they age their Ruination IPA in bottles for 9 months before release to the public).


Wish me luck.
 

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great information, and I have a question to the OP. Did you do anything as far as adding water to bring it back up to 5 gal when transferrring to your secondary? Brewing a AHS La Fin Du Monde Clone (OG 1.085), and had to dump the blowoff 3 times in the first 48 hours. Since then, all is quiet, no head, and about 2.5 inches below my 5gallon mark on the carboy. Any suggestions? Leave and transfer to secondary?
 

Austinhomebrew

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Sounds like you have a perfectly healthy fermentation. This is why we sell the 8 gallon bucket as a primary. The 6.5 gallon carboy is too small. Especially if you make a high gravity beer or want your beer to have a healthy fermentation. They need to make an 8 gallon carboy.

Forrest
 

tdogg0413

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Sounds like you have a perfectly healthy fermentation. This is why we sell the 8 gallon bucket as a primary. The 6.5 gallon carboy is too small. Especially if you make a high gravity beer or want your beer to have a healthy fermentation. They need to make an 8 gallon carboy.

Forrest
yeah, definitely a healthy fermentation, of course double pitching the yeast likely helped. Just didn't know if there was anything I could, or should, do about losing the beer. Should I add water to bring it back up to the 5 gal mark, or just writoff the missing beer as "the rest will be really good!" Thanks Forrest.
 
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7Enigma

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Do NOT ADD WATER! :) All you'll do is water down your beer. What's lost is gone forever (the reason for my sorrow at the beginning of this thread). You're not losing water when it goes out the fermenter, you're losing wort which is essentially unfinished beer. So just consider it a shame and bottle when ready (or secondary if you are planning that).

One thing I wanted to mention that I don't think I did in this post since it's so old is I went ahead and got a bottle of the food-grade silicone for use as an antifoaming agent. You add 1-2 drops per gallon at the end of boiling and it is supposed to prevent this from happening (or at least lessen it quite a bit). I got it from AHS and used accordingly and it did absolutely nothing for me when I did a similar recipe. A real bummer since I was hoping to have my cake (continue using my 6.5 glass fermenter) and eat it too (not lose much/any).

Oh well. Beer turned out fantastic btw.
 

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thanks for the info, I was not planning on adding water, after reading a few more form threads. Will take a gravity reading when transferring to secondary. Should be in a keg in a week or two. My first beer, Sam Adams Summer Ale had almost no blowoff, and none loss, so this was definitely a bummer, especially since it's my first kegging experience.
 

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Best thing to do is use a larger primary fermenter because the yeast were behaving correctly. If you didn't lose beer then the fermentation would not have been so healthy. You want a healthy fermentation so a larger fermenter will let you have it without losing beer.

Forrest
 

tdogg0413

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yes, and you're right, they need to make an 8 gallon carboy! By the way, moved to secondary just now, and the Gravity measured about 1.01, a little low (1.015), but I'll take it. thanks again.
 
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