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First time brewing is my brew ok?

Brewed my first beer Saturday (caribou slobber). About an hour after pitching the airlock was bubbling its butt off. Krausen was building but would collapse before getting to close to the top. Woke up Sunday morning to find a carboy covered in krausen and a failed airlock. I immediately switched to a blow tube and now there seems to be very little krausen from what I can see through the gunked up walls, and I’m only getting one small bubble from the tube about every minute. Did the airlock failure harm/contaminate my brew? Is this amount of blowoff normal/ok?

Don’t worry, it happens. Completely normal for the bubbling to slow down as the yeast eats through the available sugar. Should be fine.

You wont know for sure until you drink it but you will probably be okay, at least that has been my experience.

Good luck!

I see more and more of these questions. Not intended solely at OP but why don’t people start with the blow off tube? Just makes sense to me.

Yep. After my first batch, I’ve used a blowoff tube to start every batch since then. It’s amazing how far that fermentation lock can fly. And how big a mess it can make…

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I have used a blow off tube for every one of my three brews. Just reading on here about the bad things that can happen helped me make up my mind. I will use one for every brew. Better to be safe than sorry.

gotta keep the fermentation cool!

Even in brewing high gravity stouts, BW’s, tripels, and braggots, keeping the ferment (not the ambient temp) in the mid 60’s and I’ve never had a blowoff and use airlocks almost exclusively…but the comment has merit, you can use the same plastic tubing you use for your siphon for a blowoff. Usually fits right in the bung hole (hehheheh) depending on outside diameter of the tubing.

[quote=“Pietro”]gotta keep the fermentation cool!

Even in brewing high gravity stouts, BW’s, tripels, and braggots, keeping the ferment (not the ambient temp) in the mid 60’s and I’ve never had a blowoff and use airlocks almost exclusively…[/quote]
Same here. I haven’t used a blow off tube in nine years now, not since I realized that cooler fermentations make better beer and make blow off tubes unnecessary. Win-win.

[quote=“rebuiltcellars”][quote=“Pietro”]gotta keep the fermentation cool!

Even in brewing high gravity stouts, BW’s, tripels, and braggots, keeping the ferment (not the ambient temp) in the mid 60’s and I’ve never had a blowoff and use airlocks almost exclusively…[/quote]
Same here. I haven’t used a blow off tube in nine years now, not since I realized that cooler fermentations make better beer and make blow off tubes unnecessary. Win-win.[/quote]

Ditto with me. Even though I’m still a newbie, because of temp control I’ve never used or needed a blow off tube. Although it’s only been a dozen or so batches since I graduated from about a decade of Mr. Beer, I spent a lot of time reading this forum (and other sources such as 'How to Brew") before attempting my first five gallon batch. It’s not only helped me brew better beer, I now understand why so many of the Mr. Beer batches were terrible and avoid the pitfalls. I wish I read/knew of these resources before, lol. I just relied on the vague directions that came with the Mr. Beer kit.

My first thought when reading the OP’s comment was high ferment temps. Quick take-off, fast active fermentation and drop-off within a day or so. Probably not ruined, but not as good as it could have been. To the OP, keep reading and learning and taking notes on brew day. Each batch will probably get better and better as you dial in your process. :cheers:

Thanks to everyone for the advice. The thermometer on the carboy read 74* when fermentation started and since dropped to 70*. I’ll be sure to keep my future batches cooler and will probably start with a blowoff for safe measure. As for this one, I’ll keep my fingers crossed and hope for the best.

Has anyone had any issues keeping water/sanitizer/vodka in the airlock? Maybe I’m just lazy, but I use a 3 piece airlock turned into a blow off with a piece of siphon hose just so I don’t have to worry about the airlock going dry. I have recently gotten a better handle on my temps, just wondering if I should give airlocks another go.

Thanks,
-Tony

Re the OP, I had the same experience with the Caribou Slobber extract kit as my first attempt back on 1/11/14 and initially it wasn’t very good with various off flavors including an unpleasant banana odor and taste, and what the highly esteemed spouse( HES ) felt was a plastic odor. Ouch!

Fast forward 3 months and all is well, it is very good and my friends and the HES all enjoy it. My bottom line advice is to give it plenty of time before giving up on it. It has rounded out into a good (if not great) session beer.

True. But if your fermentation vessel is big enough, you don’t need a blowoff tube at all.
I stopped using a blowoff tube altogether more than 25 years ago and haven’t had an overflow since then.

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