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Primary fermentation in carboy

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brelic

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Until now, I've always used a bucket with loose fitting lid for primary fermentation (open fermentation, I guess it would be called).

But I keep seeing people talk about blow off tubes and fermenting in the carboy. My question is this: I don't have a blow off tube, but can I do primary fermentation in a glass carboy using the airlock?

The carboy is 6gal and my batches are usually 5gal. I'm thinking the 1gal headspace would be enough for the kraeusen, no? And is an airlock appropriate for this purpose?

Thanks!
 

Ridge Runner

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Until now, I've always used a bucket with loose fitting lid for primary fermentation (open fermentation, I guess it would be called).

But I keep seeing people talk about blow off tubes and fermenting in the carboy. My question is this: I don't have a blow off tube, but can I do primary fermentation in a glass carboy using the airlock?

The carboy is 6gal and my batches are usually 5gal. I'm thinking the 1gal headspace would be enough for the kraeusen, no? And is an airlock appropriate for this purpose?

Thanks!
Yes you can primary in a 6gal carboy. Although I've had krausen push through the airlock on my 6.5gal carboy. When that happens there is so much gas being pushed out of your fermenter that nothing nasty can get in. Just clean everything up and spray with sanitizer and attach your airlock. For an easy blowoff tube setup either get a piece of tubing and shove it in the carboy opening or do what I did and cut the "X" off the bottom of the airlock post. Install the carboy bung and airlock then take some tubing and place it on the center post of the airlock. Run your tubing into a jar of sanitizer and your good to go. After high krausen remove the blowoff and attach a regular airlock. I always use a blow off for at least 5 days. You can do it!!!;)
 

llazy_llama

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Honestly, I wouldn't risk it unless you were repeating a recipe you'd already made and you knew that it didn't have huge krauzen. I recently made an IPA using a carboy for the primary, and even with quite a bit of headspace, it still exploded all over the place. Having done this once, I won't be doing it again ever.

It's easy enough to get a blowoff tube from your LHBS, or any of the online suppliers. It's only a few bucks, don't risk your carpet/ceiling.

If you decide that you just can't scrape together 3 bucks for a blowoff tube, absolutely do cut off the bottom end of your airlock and be prepared to clean. Put towels down on the floor under your carboy, and if it's a big high-grav beer, prepare for a mess.
 
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brelic

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Thanks for the advice guys...

Ridge Runner, I might try that, or look at my LHBS. I do have lots of extra tubing, now I'm just trying to really visualize your suggestion :)

Is there really a huge advantage doing a closed fermentation over open fermentation?
 

madewithchicken

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I just made the mistake of using a 6 gallon carboy for 5 gallons of IIPA. Long story short everything clogged and i ended up with hops on the ceiling.

But i have used it for many other brews. my best advise is to buy a 3 foot of hose at home depot.
 

Ridge Runner

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If you decide that you just can't scrape together 3 bucks for a blowoff tube, absolutely do cut off the bottom end of your airlock and be prepared to clean. Put towels down on the floor under your carboy, and if it's a big high-grav beer, prepare for a mess.
Clean what?:confused: The mess goes through the airlock and tubing into the jar of sanitizer.
 

BrewDey

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Blowoff tibes are pretty easy to put together. I use carboy caps with two openings (one straight up for an airlock-the other at an angle-perfect for a blowoff tube). This makes it really easy to switch to an airlock once the kreusen falls. I personally love using glass as the primary-it's fun to watch!
 
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brelic

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Is there a good picture somewhere? I still don't really understand the set up.. i.e. the tube going into the jar of sanitizer?
 
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brelic

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Yes you can primary in a 6gal carboy. Although I've had krausen push through the airlock on my 6.5gal carboy. When that happens there is so much gas being pushed out of your fermenter that nothing nasty can get in. Just clean everything up and spray with sanitizer and attach your airlock. For an easy blowoff tube setup either get a piece of tubing and shove it in the carboy opening or do what I did and cut the "X" off the bottom of the airlock post. Install the carboy bung and airlock then take some tubing and place it on the center post of the airlock. Run your tubing into a jar of sanitizer and your good to go. After high krausen remove the blowoff and attach a regular airlock. I always use a blow off for at least 5 days. You can do it!!!;)
Ok, now I get it. Thanks for the picture too, btw.

So, why do I need to cut off the X at the bottom of the airlock post? And when you say run the tubing in a jar of sanitizer, do you just mean sanitize the tube, or have it lead to a sanitizer jar?
 

Ridge Runner

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Ok, now I get it. Thanks for the picture too, btw.

So, why do I need to cut off the X at the bottom of the airlock post? And when you say run the tubing in a jar of sanitizer, do you just mean sanitize the tube, or have it lead to a sanitizer jar?
You cut off the X so krausen and hop gunk doesn't get clogged there, thus causing quite a mess. I actually cut mine a little above the x with a hacksaw to make the opening a little larger. Yes, sanitize the tubing and put that tube in the jar of sanitizer. I switch to a regular airlock filled with Vodka after about 5 days usually. I don't trust a jar of stagnant water more than about a week.:mug:
 

CrazyBrew

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Is there a good picture somewhere? I still don't really understand the set up.. i.e. the tube going into the jar of sanitizer?
1 1/4" O.D. Clear vinyl tubing (from any hardware store - in plumbing section). This fits perfectly into the opening of a glass carboy. Then put the other end into a bucket with star-san or vodka. Here's a pic of a primary that I just started yesterday. And it's a good thing I have a blowoff tube!! Look at all the krausen. :D After 3 or 4 days when the violent fermenting stops replace this with an airlock.

 

Eastside Brewer

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Is there a way to use a blow off tube in combination with the Ranko probe thermometer? I have always used an bung with 2 holes to accommodate the air lock and the probe, but I also always have a huge mess to clean up after in my fridge.

Eastside
 
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brelic

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1 1/4" O.D. Clear vinyl tubing (from any hardware store - in plumbing section). This fits perfectly into the opening of a glass carboy. Then put the other end into a bucket with star-san or vodka. Here's a pic of a primary that I just started yesterday. And it's a good thing I have a blowoff tube!! Look at all the krausen. :D After 3 or 4 days when the violent fermenting stops replace this with an airlock.

Thanks for that ElGuapo. I noticed you mention Star-san... I use it to sanitize my bottles and equipment, but it does say on the packaging that the solution is ineffective after 24 hours. Does that cause any problems?

What about using something like iodophor (pink stuff)? Is there danger for suckback or anything like that?
 

CrazyBrew

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Thanks for that ElGuapo. I noticed you mention Star-san... I use it to sanitize my bottles and equipment, but it does say on the packaging that the solution is ineffective after 24 hours. Does that cause any problems?

What about using something like iodophor (pink stuff)? Is there danger for suckback or anything like that?
Sorry for the late response I just saw your question. The main point (as I understand it) is to complete a closed blowoff system. In the first few days of fermentation (the time in which you are using the blowoff tube) there will be so much C02 that there won't be any "suck back." Problems....nawww there shouldn't be. You could also use cheap vodka just to be sure.
 

llazy_llama

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Clean what?:confused: The mess goes through the airlock and tubing into the jar of sanitizer.
Just to clarify what I said,

If you decide that you just can't scrape together 3 bucks for a blowoff tube, absolutely do cut off the bottom end of your airlock and be prepared to clean. Put towels down on the floor under your carboy, and if it's a big high-grav beer, prepare for a mess.
I said that if he doesn't use a blowoff, he should be prepared for a mess.

Also, Star San is still effective after 24 hours, assuming that the pH is <3.5. Using distilled water will ensure that your Star San remains effective for at least the length of primary fermentation. Barring that, you can use tap water and you'll most likely be fine. Suckback through a blowoff tube is minimal, almost nonexistant, and Star San with tap water should last at least a few days unless you have some crazy high pH tap water. Barring both of those, you can just use cheap vodka. I use 1/2 gal growlers for my blowoff container, so it would take me much more vodka for me than is worth the price.
 

MarsingRedneck

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Honestly, I wouldn't risk it unless you were repeating a recipe you'd already made and you knew that it didn't have huge krauzen. I recently made an IPA using a carboy for the primary, and even with quite a bit of headspace, it still exploded all over the place. Having done this once, I won't be doing it again ever.

It's easy enough to get a blowoff tube from your LHBS, or any of the online suppliers. It's only a few bucks, don't risk your carpet/ceiling.

If you decide that you just can't scrape together 3 bucks for a blowoff tube, absolutely do cut off the bottom end of your airlock and be prepared to clean. Put towels down on the floor under your carboy, and if it's a big high-grav beer, prepare for a mess.
I would think one of these would work fine for setting a carboy in so there is little to no cleanup. Am I thinking wrong?

Code:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Homz-17-Gallon-Rope-Handled-Tub-Set-of-8/21690863
 

wingedcoyote

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I would think one of these would work fine for setting a carboy in so there is little to no cleanup. Am I thinking wrong?

Code:
http://www.walmart.com/ip/Homz-17-Gallon-Rope-Handled-Tub-Set-of-8/21690863
I haven't had one yet, but apparently lots of people have had airlocks take off with enough force to hit the ceiling and splatter a whole room. So... maybe just try the blowoff. :D
 
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