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Fermentation Overflow - Help please

I made my first small batch (1 gallon) today following the directions all the way. I am making the Bourbon Barrel Porter. The instructions said to use the airlock or to run tubing into a cup of water. So I used the airlock included in the kit. It has been about 6 hours and there is brown foam rising out of the top of the airlock and running down the sides of the 1 gallon bottle. Having anticipated this I had from the beginning placed the 1 gallon jug inside a large container, so the mess is not a real issue. What I need to know is… do I need to do something to save the beer? Can I let in continue as it wants or do I need to remove the airlock and replace it with ‘blow off’ tube running into a container of water?

Thanks for any helpful (and hopefully quick) recommendations on this.
All the best !

I would install the blow off tube. Air locks can get cloged and get blown out by the pressure.

For your next brew, you might consider getting a 2 gal plastic bucket for fermentation. I do 1.5 gal batches in a 2gal bucket and haven’t had a problem.

Your beer isn’t ruined. As long as there is foam going out, there is no way for contaminants to swim against the tide and get in. Clean and sanitize the blow off assembly, then replace the airlock.

Very good advice for the next brew. You want to have at least 25% more space in your fermenter than the size of the batch, and there is no problem if you have twice as much. That said, also try to keep the fermentation temperature down by putting the fermenter in a cooler location. That will reduce how vigorous the yeast are, which will reduce the foaming, but more importantly it will produce cleaner tasting beer. Keeping it in the 60s for most ales is ideal.

Thanks all. I will look around for a larger jug for next time. It is surprising that the Northern Brewer made this recipe for the one gallon jug if it won’t work in the one gallon jug. I have gone back and read the reviews for this recipe kit and apparently this is a common problem. I wish I had read that earlier, but still not sure what I would have done differently since I was following the instructions that came with the kit.

“Clean and sanitize the blow off assembly, then replace the airlock.”
Can I take it off entirely to clean and sanitize it without ruining the beer? Can it be left with just the hole in the screw on cap open while I clean and sanitize the blow off tube?

Also, when you say to replace the airlock, do you mean to go back to it instead of the blow off tube? It wasn’t very effective last night, but maybe these hours later the fermentation will have settled down enough that I can go back to it.
Thanks again for all your help and advice!

I addition to my question in the previous reply (which I hope someone will answer since I am sooo clueless in my first brew effort) …

Can anyone recommend a 2 gallon? Is it really as doable to split a one gallon batch into two one gallon jugs for fermentation? One gallon jugs are easier to find it seems.

“Is it really as doable to split a one gallon batch into two one gallon jugs for fermentation?”

It is possible, but our loses will be doubled. As it is a 1 gallon batch will get you maybe 8 12oz bottles.

NB and Mid West both have 2 gallon plastic fermenters. 5 galolon fermenters are readily availible. In between is anyone’s guess.

Yes, you can just take off the airlock, clean and resanitize it, then put it back on. Cover the top with a piece of aluminum foil right off the roll while it is off - aluminum foil processing will kill any microbes, and they have no chance to get back on before you unroll it.

Go by a bakery and see if they have any 2 gallon buckets you can have. A lot of bulk food products come in buckets that size that make great primary fermenters for 1 gallon batches. You will have to either keep the lid on loosely while you ferment, or drill a hole and install a grommet to the lid which will fit an airlock. NB sells the grommets for bucket lids.

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