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Did I just screw my beer?

Yesterday I brewed a dogfish 90 minute clone… I did a yeast starter and last night brewed it and put it in a 6 gallon bucket for primary. This morning when I woke up I discovered that it was foaming over out of the side of the bucket. It looks like my airclock clogged causing the lid of the bucket to pop up a bit (less than 1/32") and allow some krausen to overflow out the side. It wasnt a complete mess, nothing the towel under the bucket couldnt handle. I quickly fashioned a blowoff tube and all is ok.

My concern is that with krausen blow off, I have allowed bacteria to be introduced into my beer. Am I being paranoid, or is this a real possibility? I know only time will tell definitively, but what do you guys think?

Thanks

This is a very common question asked by new homebrewers. We get it here all the time. Don’t worry. Your beer should be fine. At this point in the fermentation process, your beer is mostly expelling carbon dioxide, and it’s not at all likely to take in any wild bacteria that will ruin it. If it were a few days into the process, you might have more reason for concern. But if you just seal it back up now, you shouldn’t have any problems. It does sound, though, like your fermenter doesn’t have enough headspace to allow for a high krausen. So I’d highly recommend fashioning a blowoff tube with a water-filled runoff vessel of some sort, to allow for the crud coming off the top of the beer to get out of the fermenter. This is very easy to do, and to learn if you don’t know how yet.Just go to YouTube and look up a video on the subject, or search this site for a tutorial. Relax and carry on.

Thank you for your response… I feel better.

I had already fashioned a blowoff valve exactly like you suggested, its working perfectly now. This is my fist blow over with the 6 gallon bucket, I though I had enough space… guess not.

Here is a quick little video of the blowoff

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-NhskRnEks

You should be fine. RDWHAH

Next time try moving the fermenter in a cooler location. Cooler temps make better beer and will also be less likely to blow…

[quote=“zwiller”]You should be fine. RDWHAH

Next time try moving the fermenter in a cooler location. Cooler temps make better beer and will also be less likely to blow…[/quote]

+1

After my first couple years of brewing, I realized just how important proper fermentation temperature control was to the quality of the finished beer, and I got that under control. I haven’t had a need to use a blow-off tube since, and the beer is MUCH better.

But with regards to your initial question: bacteria and spoilage organisms spread passively. They arrive in the beer by falling or getting blown in. If stuff is getting pushed out of the fermentor, they can’t swim against the tide to get in.

Thanks guys… good to know. The room where its fermenting is a steady 65-66 degrees… I figured that was pretty good… guess not

Mark

[quote=“mmessier2”]Thanks guys… good to know. The room where its fermenting is a steady 65-66 degrees… I figured that was pretty good… guess not

Mark[/quote]

wow, unless I am wrong that sounds like a pretty good temp range to me.

Not way out of range at all. Did you measure wort temp before pitching? That’s the crucial one.

I think I am leaning with Zwiller on this one.
I BET your beer is just fine. having said that, if there is any reason you have overly active fermentation, if your room temp is 66-68 then I would instead point to your pitching temp.

Pitching temp was probably around 75… too high?

Mark

[quote=“mmessier2”]Pitching temp was probably around 75… too high?

Mark[/quote]
Yes. That is likely the culprit. You should pitch at fermentation temperature or a few degrees cooler; never warmer.

+1

Some pertinent info for you: A glass carboy full of wort at 75F in a fridge and it will take about 8-12 hours to reach 65F. 4-6 hours if you have a t-stat on the fridge set to 32F. Double these figures for lagers to mid 40s. I would guess it take a full 24 hours to acclimate to a room at 65F. Perhaps someone can give us data on plastic buckets? Anyway, it takes longer than you would think… Nearly all my beers are chilled to 70-80 and get an overnight “rest” in the fridge to ensure proper pitch temperature (except when I brew in the winter) ALWAYS measure temp before pitching.

What yeast did you use?

Great info guys. Next batch I will make sure I chill that wort even more before I pitch the yeast.

I used White Labs WLP002 English Ale yeast.

Mark

[quote=“mmessier2”]Great info guys. Next batch I will make sure I chill that wort even more before I pitch the yeast.

I used White Labs WLP002 English Ale yeast.

Mark[/quote]
That yeast works well at higher temperatures, meaning high 60s. So the really good news is, you may have lost some beer to overflow, but the flavor will probably be fine.

Thank you guys, I really appreciate it

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