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Blow-Offs, how to avoid?

I now have three home brews under my belt since starting this hobby back in February and with each one I have had a violent fermentation. I am wondering if there are any tips to possibly avoid this on my next brews.

To give you some insight my first three brews were the one gallon kits of the Honey Porter, Honey Ale, and Caribou Slobber. Each one went through a blow-off which caused a loss of about an inch of brew.

Something I have considered is to just get a 2 and a half gallon fermenter and see if that will help contain things.

Any thoughts?

A larger fermenter is a good start. Make sure you are keeping your fermentation temperatures under control as well-down in the mid-upper 60’s is good. With one gallon batches you may be overpitching the yeast a little as well-it’s not a big deal unless you want to brew certain types of beers where yeast/fementation flavors are very important, like german wheat beers and some belgian styles. Then yeast counts and fermentation temperatures can make a big difference.

+1.
About 27 years ago (at which point I had already been homebrewing for 15 years) I switched to a seven gallon primary vessel for my 5 gallon brews and except for 2 incidents early on when I overpitched re-used yeast that had just come from a prior batch, I’ve not had any issues with blowouts (it was a matter of dialing in how much repitched yeast to use for a given beer).
I haven’t used a blowoff tube since then.

I agree with the above. Your fermenter should be big enough that you don’t have to worry about blow-offs, and how big that is depends on the fermentation temperature. Keep the temperature lower and you’ll get a much less violent fermentations. But most importantly, you’ll get much better tasting beer.

I guess this is just part of the learning process, but I was really just following the instructions of the kits, which advised to poor half the yeast packet directly into the carboy. Should I start the yeast in a sugar solution first?

Currently, I don’t have much control over temperature other than to use a place that is room temperature. For the first batch I brewed it was in the garage, in our pantry, which usually got down into the 40’s and 50’s at night (this was in February in the central valley).

No, but you could rehydrate it if you want.

Get a Cool Brewing bag and some 2L soda bottles filled with water, or use a swamp cooler type setup, temperature fluctuations aren’t the greatest for yeast, ideally the temperature curve should either stay flat or gradually raise and then gradually lower.

Consider how I handle fermentations. I use 2 - 8 gallon stainless brew kettles for 5 gallon batches. One for the mash water/boil, one for the sparge water. The one with the sparge water is normally the one used as the fermenter. I no longer use blowoff tubes and secondary in a bucket.

I started out just like you… but IMHO blowoff tubes etc… are gimmicky money makers and I won’t go back to pressurized fermentation with an airlock, it’s just too much to clean and not worth the hassle.

IIWY, I’d ferment in the boil kettle if it’s big enough or get the bigger bucket like you suggest.

It’s a real shame that brewing retailers promote fermenting in containers that are too small, just to sell a piece of tubing.

No, but you could rehydrate it if you want.

Get a Cool Brewing bag and some 2L soda bottles filled with water, or use a swamp cooler type setup, temperature fluctuations aren’t the greatest for yeast, ideally the temperature curve should either stay flat or gradually raise and then gradually lower.

Consider how I handle fermentations. I use 2 - 8 gallon stainless brew kettles for 5 gallon batches. One for the mash water/boil, one for the sparge water. The one with the sparge water is normally the one used as the fermenter. I no longer use blowoff tubes and secondary in a bucket.

I started out just like you… but IMHO blowoff tubes etc… are gimmicky money makers and I won’t go back to pressurized fermentation with an airlock, it’s just too much to clean and not worth the hassle.

IIWY, I’d ferment in the boil kettle if it’s big enough or get the bigger bucket like you suggest.

It’s a real shame that brewing retailers promote fermenting in containers that are too small, just to sell a piece of tubing.[/quote]

To be clear, the tubing came with the starter kit from northern brewer. Actually the kit came with two tubes. One to use with the autosiphon and the other to be used for blow-off situations. Both pretty much come in handy, especially if one is dirty from one of the steps and another one is needed in a pinch.

[quote=“KnoticalBrewer”]I now have three home brews under my belt since starting this hobby back in February and with each one I have had a violent fermentation. I am wondering if there are any tips to possibly avoid this on my next brews.

To give you some insight my first three brews were the one gallon kits of the Honey Porter, Honey Ale, and Caribou Slobber. Each one went through a blow-off which caused a loss of about an inch of brew.

Something I have considered is to just get a 2 and a half gallon fermenter and see if that will help contain things.

Any thoughts?[/quote]
I assume you’re making those 1 gallon batches in a 1 gallon jug. If this is the case, you will have a blow-off every time. Get a larger vessel. Your insight to get a 2 1/2 gallon fermentation vessel will work just fine. Also, as already mentioned keep the beer in an area a bit cooler than the temperature you want. Those little yeasties will create heat once they get to eating.

[quote=“Hades”][quote=“KnoticalBrewer”]I now have three home brews under my belt since starting this hobby back in February and with each one I have had a violent fermentation. I am wondering if there are any tips to possibly avoid this on my next brews.

To give you some insight my first three brews were the one gallon kits of the Honey Porter, Honey Ale, and Caribou Slobber. Each one went through a blow-off which caused a loss of about an inch of brew.

Something I have considered is to just get a 2 and a half gallon fermenter and see if that will help contain things.

Any thoughts?[/quote]
I assume you’re making those 1 gallon batches in a 1 gallon jug. If this is the case, you will have a blow-off every time. Get a larger vessel. Your insight to get a 2 1/2 gallon fermentation vessel will work just fine. Also, as already mentioned keep the beer in an area a bit cooler than the temperature you want. Those little yeasties will create heat once they get to eating.[/quote]

Thanks for the insight. It is good to know I am not really doing anything wrong.

I figure if I get the bigger fermenter I can always use the smaller one as a secondary, should I want to do a two stage brew.

Thanks again.

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