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Calm after the storm (aka blowout)

Hi everybody! I’m new to brewing (third batch and I started on all-grain brewing with an Anvil Foundry) and I’m really catching the bug … I’m starting to get the general idea of how all of this works. With this batch, I really wanted to give my yeast a healthy environment to do their work, so I invested in a heat pad and a controller, since my basement is sitting in the mid-to-low 40s. I also decided to oxygenate my wort with a wand and really took my time rehydrating my yeast before I pitched it …

Well, I think my efforts may have worked too good. I was literally flabbergasted by the fermentation activity last night. I’ve never seen anything like it. I took a video to share with my family, so please excuse the childlike wonder as I gazed upon it in utter astonishment. (I brewed it up Friday evening and into Saturday 1 a.m.ish, and this video was taken Saturday night.)

This morning (Sunday at 9 a.m.) I went down there to marvel at it some more and it blew it’s top. Thank God I had a towel down there and my jacket, as it turned a potentially catastrophic mess into a manageable one. I acted fast and replaced the airlock with a blowoff tube into a bucket of sanitized water, and the activity level was still pretty aggressive until about 10 a.m But now, it’s just bubbling a couple bubbles a minute. Is it normal for such violent fermentation to be followed by a calm amount of bubbling? Or, is there reason for concern?

Another thing we could talk about would be the old jacket I wrapped around my carboy. I wasn’t able to get the temps up past about 62 degrees down there, so I wrapped it up to bring it to 69 (then) but now I have it at 68. For as much as I’ve read, the appropriate temperature is between 68 and 74 for fermentation. But then, I’m reading it might be beneficial to lower it down into the upper 50s during the stationary phase?

This is my first post so it’s kind of exciting. I looked all around the forums to see if this was already discussed, but I think it’s a bit to specific. In any case, I look forward to discussing the ins and outs with everyone! I order the Blackberry Milkshake IPA for my next batch! It sounds incredible. This whole thing is …

~ Nate

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Exciting stuff. great to see your post @Nate. What yeast are you using? Heavy flocculations. You might want to make a blow-off tube for future batches.

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Hi @Squeegeethree! I used LalBrew Windsor with this one. Is the heavy flocculations normal and healthy? I’ve never seen anything like that in my three whole months of brewing :slight_smile: Does it have anything to do with the heat pad I have below it? It’s a 25w one. I wouldn’t think such low heat would cause that amount of movement.

I’m definitely going to make a more permanent blow-off tube. I saw one post where they just used a 1" diameter hose and ran it from the carboy to a bucket with sanitized water. I think I might try that next time, I really don’t want this to happen again. I’m learning a lot with each batch though, that’s for sure.

~ Nate

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I’ve never used a heat pad but I’ve fermented at all types of temperatures so I doubt the heat is the cause. Healthy yeast count and plenty of fermentables yields lots of activity. Windsor is a low flocc yeast so the clumps are surprising. Always something to learn.

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For that particular yeast, which I’ve used before, I would start on the low side of temps…like 62-63* for the first 72 hours and the gradually warm up to 68–72 * to allow it to finish. I’ve had Windsor take off like a cheetah and breach the carboy neck in the first 18-24 hours. In fact this is a good temp plan IMHO for most typical ale yeasts. Others may dissent as is their purview :joy:

The temp ranges provided by these companies are for the most rapid growth, I’ve concluded, not the best temps for good beer making. If you fermented Windsor at 74* you’re asking for a fermentation like " liftoff at Cape Canaveral"…and hot fusel alcohols…it’s a exothermic reaction and just gets hotter.

Welcome to NB’s Forum! Catching a bug like this home brewing one is inescapable!!
Since you have a very cool basement, you are one foot up on many beginners… Fermenting on the cool side of many yeasts is where you get the best results… for clean brews…
So as you move forward in your brewing endeavors, don’t hesitate asking questions… there ARE many here that have been where you are at…
Sneezles61

Thanks @voodoo_donut and @sneezles61! All great info going forward. Two traits I possess are patience and a desire to make the best beer I can. I don’t mind waiting for weeks and weeks to do it. I thought landing in the temperature range would make the yeast happiest (for lack of a more professional term lol) and would grow the healthiest?

If I generally keep temps on the cool side though, will the yeast be ok? It almost sounds like a general methodology of keeping things cool would result in better beer that takes a bit longer, which I don’t mind. But how cool is too cool if the recommended temperature is 68 to 74 degrees? I failed miserably at my Raspberry Ale last time and I thought it might be because of temperatures, but maybe it was all the other things I did wrong.

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As stated above, the lower 60’s will provide controlled initial fermentation with clean taste(no fusel/hot alcohols). Much colder than that will stress ale yeast. (Lager yeast and Kviek/hot head strains are quite a different discussion).
Generally stay away from temps much higher than 67-68* with typical ale yeasts. My experience. Some exceptions apply…saisons…hefes(cool =clove, hot=banana, bubble gum) etc…

!yeast is quite a wormhole of information!

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Voodoo has it covered…
With that being understood, The yeast will generate heat during the fermenting process…I will aim for 5*F below the “low temps” for this reason… I like clean brews and didn’t quite develop a taste for the Heffe’s and Saisons… but thats my creature defect only…
Keep reading about the different styles… say you take a month to read up on Saison’s… buy an assortment of them… try them… An excellent podcast by Denny and Drew (general discussion) will help you understand a bit more… (those guys are a cornerstone to home brewing)…
Sneezles61

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Thanks guys :slight_smile: I really appreciate the mentorship and guidance!

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Welcome to the forum!
Only thing I would add is watch your headspace on your fermenter. Some yeast strains are real lively and require decent amount of headspace. Looking at you Wyeast 3068/White Labs 300…. When I used carboys I ALWAYS started with a blow off tube to be safe.

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