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Air lock near disaster

4/10/ up at 4:30 for work. Airlock was jammed full of sludge (not sure of the technical name), had stopped working, and outside of lid had
sludge from the airlock that had leaked. The lid was also domed out like it was about ready to pop. Put fermentor in bath tub, and removed
airlock. Alot of pressure came out. I cleaned and sanitized the airlock, and some hoses for bottling. I jammed a hose inside of the airlock,
and put it back in fermentor bucket. I then filled a mason jar 1/2 full with sanitizer and put other end of hose in it. Soaked a paper towel
in sanatizer and wiped down lid. poured a little sanatizer onto lid. came back in 10 minutes and it was already bubbling. Girlfriend checked
on it of and on all day and it was fine. As of 5:30 tonight, it is still going off/ bubbling every second.

Sorry, these are my brew notes. Easier to just copy paste everything. Has this every happened to anyone, and if so…did I do the some what right thing??

I’m sure you’re fine. Sounds like you did the right thing. Biggest thing is making sure everything is clean and sanitized. Seems like you did that. So much CO2 was escaping from your bucket that I doubt there was anyway that anything could have gotten in there. Just my 2 cents.

Sounds like you’re just fine. I recently brewed an Imperial Stout that painted my ceiling and tried to kill me. You got off easy :slight_smile:

I am sure that if i had not needed to get up for work, that it would have blew up all over everything. this was the only thing I could come up with this early in the morning.

Thanks for the input!

Congratulations on avoiding this:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UgfubawsrcM

I’ve posted this video on forums before but it’s always worth doing again. Just out of curiosity how much wort went into the bucket and how big was said bucket? I know when I first started brewing I was in money saving mode so I was fermenting in a 5 Gallon carboy and I had blowoffs for damn near every beer I made until I finally shelled out for a 6.5 Gallon.

It was a 5 gallon batch of Blackberry honey wheat. i have a 6.5 gallon bucket i use to ferment in. Ive had issues in the past using my 5 g carboy, but i thought I was safe for sure this time! Guess i learned never to asume that!

Wow; that much action on a Blackberry Honey Wheat. You didn’t mention fermentation temperature, do you keep track of that with one of those stick on strips? Higher temps can lead to a faster and more vigorous fermentation in my experience.

I am lacking the stick on strip. I have a thermometer on the mirror in the bathroom, and my other one, the one I use to brew with, is right beside the bucket. they are both reading 71*/72*. I haven’t brewed in along time. this is my first batch in almost 2 years. I picked this recipe because it was simple. I was surprised that I got this much activity from this batch. I did add 2 lbs of honey at flame out. Not sure if thats the cause of all this blow over or not.

I brewed a straight-up brown ale last year (in a 5 gallon carboy) with S-04 that tore into it. Blew at least a half gallon of beer/suds through the blowoff hose, overflowed my blowoff container (half-gallon juice bottle with maybe a quart of water in it), ran all over the counter, down the front of the cabinets, and made a big puddle on the floor. That took quite a while to clean up.

Now I have the bigger better bottle, and I still get some blowoff although much more controlled. So welcome to the big blowoff club!

As of now I only have the 6.5 g bucket, and a 5g carboy. Ive been researching the BB’s. Are they harder to clean? do they hold a smell more than a bucket/ glass carboy? Im wanting to brew again next weekend, but i feel like i shouldn’t do anything unless i use a blow off tube. Do different yeast strains cause more/ less action? i pitched a White Labs wlp320.

The very same thing happened to me a couple of months ago with a Belgian Wit. I did what you did, pull the airlock, shoved a hose in and into a bucket at the other end. Turned out fine. Of course, the cleaning and sanitizing happened too.

90% of the time your 6.5G bucket should be good if you pay more attention to temp control. Remember that the temperature of your fermenting beer is going to be higher than the ambient temperature of the room during the initial stages of fermentation. If you’re already doing it in the bathroom you could keep it in the tub (if you have one) with a bit of cool water in it to help regulate the temperature.

I’ve only been using a better bottle this year, and the trick that I learned to clean them (from other forum entries here) is to use oxyclean, and then put a square cut from an old t-shirt inside the carboy, and shake it around, swirl, etc to use it like a soft scrubber to get all the crud out. Actually seems easier and more effective than glass carboys with a carboy brush, no force needed other than its own weight. Since the BB’s are plastic they will scratch much easier so brushes are a no-no. The BB is also made from some plastic that is supposed to repel dirt.

Other trick with the BB is to put it into a milk crate, as picking one up with beer in it will make it suck airlock juice back into the carboy.

i use a blow off hose on every batch. just in case, after a day or two i will swap it out for an airlock. usually not necessary, but its a good habit that will avoid those type of situations

i agree with what has been said above. your beer will/should be just fine. also there is a product called fermcap that will keep krausen down

good luck and happy brewin’ :cheers:

Things are still going good. Still using a blow off tube and the fermentation is still going strong. I discovered my bucket is a 7.8 g, not a 6.5. Rookie mistake! Thanks for the BB info, and the temperature input on how to lower it. I am using my extra bathroom for my fermentation room. I plan on brewing our hosts Big Honkin Stout next weekend, once I free up my fermenter. I will be using a blow off tube right from the start. Im hoping for a better start with fermenting! Thanks again everyone… CHEERS!

Stitch, if those therms say 71* your beer is likely ferming at 76*+ which is WAY to high… Like mentioned, if you are in the bathroom already put it in some water with a t-shirt/towel in the water to lower those temps. Search swamp cooler for more info or ideas.

Wow Loopie, i didnt realize there is that much of a temp increase. that makes me think that this batch will be ruined. What does the tshirt/towel do for the temps? My fermentation has slowed a bit. its been going since monday @ 8:30. Should i jsut let this one go and pay closer attention to my next batch? Should I pitch my next yeast at the lower end of its temp range? Is there any good way to get a temp reading inside the fermenter?

usually the higher the gravity, the hotter it gets inside the fermenter. i usually assume a 5 degree increase on normal gravity ales. the core of the carboy is always warmer than ambient temperature. dont dump it, if its drinkable, drink it. im sure it will be fine, but it is a learning experience for next time. definitely pitch yeast at the low end of the temperature range. a wet tshirt will cool the fermenter. similar to wearing a wet t-shirt in the wind, evaporation will give a cooling affect. to get it even colder you can put a fan on the wet t-shirt.

also a proper pitching rate is important at cooler temperatures. go to www.Mrmalty.com and use their yeast pitching rate calculator to determine how much yeast you need for a given gravity

As of last night, this beer is giving off an awful smell from the blow off tube. I opened the bucket and it smells so bad. plasticy/rubbing alchoholish smell. ive read this could be because of higher temps when fermenting. Im letting it go till the weekend. Bummed out here.

Stitch, wait for it to finish out and it might be alright. If it is bad don’t give up. Use it at a learning experience.

+1 with S.Scoggin. I have heard some people have hit 15* below ambient with the fan tech.

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