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Skimming to prevent boil over

I’ve had trouble in the past with boil over and recently a friend suggested that I try skimming off the foam that forms as the wort is heating up. I tried it and it really helped. So is this an acceptable practice? Will it change the final beer any? Any reason to add the skimmed stuff back in later once the boil has started?

Nope. A lot of people skim the scum, no reason to add it back.

You can also use a spray bottle of water to squirt the foam that will stop it also, however I skim.

I’ve heard that foam control product works pretty good but I have never used it. I fill my 25 gallon Megapot right up to the top and never boil over. It might be due to the large diameter or my burner only being 58,000 BTU but I never have a problem.

The Fermacap product works well in the boil pot. A squirt bottle is also effective.

If you wanted to skim go ahead. It’s proteins that will settle out if you let the kettle sit before transferring to a fermenter, or get caught in a strainer if you strain the wort.

Thanks for the answers. So far skimming has worked every time so I’ll probably stick with it. I think the main problem is that I have the burner running too high and by the time it starts to boil turning down the gas doesn’t help enough.

[quote=“bistro37”]I think the main problem is that I have the burner running too high and by the time it starts to boil turning down the gas doesn’t help enough.[/quote]I think you nailed it.

If you have a thermometer on it, just turn down the gas as you approach boiling. I usually leave it wide open to 205-210F then turn it down and leave my hand on it until the boil settles into a nice groove.

My pot doesn’t have a thermometer on it but I do check it when it seems to be getting close. I’ve also thought about using a pressure gauge on the gas line so that I can try to dial in the gas a little better. Anyone doing that or see problems with it?

I throw in a small portion of my bittering hops just as the boil starts; breaks the surface tension.


99.9999% success rate so far.

I keep an eye on my pot and if the foam starts growing too fast I turn the heat down a bit and just blow across the surface. Once the foam stops this rising up process (for me within 10 minutes of the start of boiling) it will stop creating more foam and I can crank the burner up higher again. Never had a boil over yet.

Boilovers can happen real easily. I had a minor one last night, even with a 20 gallon pot. I was making a AG version of Innkeeper and I normally start heating the first runnings while I am batch sparging the mash. While the sparge was sitting, I walked away for 3 minutes to go get my hops together and got back to a mess. I had the top on to help it heat quicker and thus it did.

I had less than 3 gallons in the pot

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