Yeast Shooting out the Airlock of my Primary

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chs9

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First post, here it goes...

My roommate and I have finally moved away from brewing from premade "kits" and chose a belgian golden ale clone to brew ourselves - I don't remember the name, I can look it up when I get home.

Anyway, so it requires 8 lbs of DME for a 5 gallon boil - more than twice as much as comes with those kits. So, brewed it up 5 days ago and it was pumping out CO2 like crazy, way more than our prior beers have. Today, we woke up and a bunch of wet yeast (~1/3 cup?) spooged out of our S-shape airlock. We rinsed it out and put it back in the primary fermenter (a food grade bucket). A pressure head built in a few minutes and it started bubbling at a reasonable pace, maybe 1 bubble per 30-60 seconds. Then it went nuts and bubbled out a huge amount of CO2.

My problem is - it seems that the head is so viscous that co2 bubbles are able to grow to relatively large sizes before they're able to escape, and we have had this yeast eruption. What can we do? We were talking about transferring it to the secondary tonight (a 5 gal glass carboy) so that the airlock is higher above the head. Any suggestions? Is there some way to prevent this in the future?

Thanks

EDIT: We're fermenting in a 6.5 gallon bucket with an S-type airlock. The bucket is in a T controlled bath in a large cooler where we maintain ~66-70 F. We're using a Wyeast Belgian Abbey II yeast, I don't know the number offhand.
 

kingmatt

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First post, here it goes...

My roommate and I have finally moved away from brewing from premade "kits" and chose a belgian golden ale clone to brew ourselves - I don't remember the name, I can look it up when I get home.

Anyway, so it requires 8 lbs of DME for a 5 gallon boil - more than twice as much as comes with those kits. So, brewed it up 5 days ago and it was pumping out CO2 like crazy, way more than our prior beers have. Today, we woke up and a bunch of wet yeast (~1/3 cup?) spooged out of our S-shape airlock. We rinsed it out and put it back in the primary fermenter (a food grade bucket). A pressure head built in a few minutes and it started bubbling at a reasonable pace, maybe 1 bubble per 30-60 seconds. Then it went nuts and bubbled out a huge amount of CO2.

My problem is - it seems that the head is so viscous that co2 bubbles are able to grow to relatively large sizes before they're able to escape, and we have had this yeast eruption. What can we do? We were talking about transferring it to the secondary tonight (a 5 gal glass carboy) so that the airlock is higher above the head. Any suggestions? Is there some way to prevent this in the future?

Thanks

EDIT: We're fermenting in a 6.5 gallon bucket with an S-type airlock. The bucket is in a T controlled bath in a large cooler where we maintain ~66-70 F. We're using a Wyeast Belgian Abbey II yeast, I don't know the number offhand.
Just attach a blowoff tube to it and put the other end in a jar of starsan or water. I wouldn't rack to a secondary if the beer is still fermenting because you don't want to lose any yeast in the process...
 

Pilgarlic

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If you don't have a blowoff, or don't know how to configure it with your grommeted lid, take the airlock out and cover the grommeted hole with sanitized aluminum foil, put the bucket into a larger container that can take overflow for you and let it go. You might want to loosen the lid, too, and simply let it rest on the bucket. Once the krausen is no longer being expelled, tighten the lid and replace the sanitized airlock. But get the airlock out before it clogs completely and your lid blows off.
 

samc

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Blowoff hose as kingmatt suggests.
I don't like blowoffs for the mess and the foam takes some of the yeast out of the fermenter.

future you can use Fermcap foam control ( i don't)
larger fermenter (i do) 11 gallons in a 15 gallon fermenter = no blowoff
temperature control helps in many cases
 
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chs9

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Thanks for the advice. I've seen blowoffs in lots of pictures of homebrew labs, but I always just assumed they were easy, cheap airlock replacements. I didn't realize they served a different purpose.

Thanks again, I'll hit the hardware store as soon as I get out of the office.
 
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chs9

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True, but this dry, dry, dry New Mexico air would just evaporate all our beer away.
 
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