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Thar She Blows!

This is the second time my 6.5 gallon fermenter has had a blow out. This time I wasn’t around when it shot my airlock across the room. The problem is I don’t know how long it was exposed to the air without the airlock. Regardless I cleaned up the mess and cleaned the airlock with some PBW and rinsed it with some starsan and put it back on. I think the crazy activity is done, I hope anyway.

My question is; is my ale at risk of going bad because the airlock was not on for a period of 3-12 hours?
See photo.

You will be fine. It was pumping out enough co2 to allow any issues.

Ah, the memories…before I became smart and started using a blow off tube for every batch for just that reason.

Oh, so you’re saying I’m dumb??

Thanks! :cheers:

My Belgian triple did the same thing. And my American wheat just blew it’s top four days ago. Both started with an air lock. With the triple I replaced the air lock with a blow off tube, then after a few days I thought all was good and replaced the blow off tube with the air lock. Well, I had another mess to clean up, and put the blow off tube back on. I left it on until about the fourth week then went back to the air lock. With the American wheat that blow off tube is staying on until it is done in four weeks. I am taking the advice of a well schooled member of this forum and leaving it alone.

Oh, so you’re saying I’m dumb??[/quote]

Maybe just misinformed. :wink:

I also use a blow off tube every batch. I’ve pulled off blow tube on a hefe after a couple of days, and still ended up with beer on the ceiling.

I usually leave one on for two weeks just because I need it for the next brew. If I get a vicious blow off, I’ll pull it sooner for cleaning.

Perhaps that’s an indication of too warm a fermentation temperature.

I would agree about the warmer temperatures. Before I bought the chest freezer I fermented my Belgian triple a little too warm and had a mess. This time I thought I would be safe using my chest freezer with the Johnson controller set at 61 degrees. I could not believe it when I opened the lid to check the activity. Krausen was oozing out the air lock and down the sides. I was using a three piece air lock. This was the first time using that type. I thought maybe I filled it with too much vodka. It was filled half way. I think from now on I am going with the blow off tube right from the start. Maybe switch to the airlock when I start checking gravity after four weeks.

I have to admit, the temp on the carboy was 76. The room it is in is 68. Does fermentation generate heat?

yes

fermentation certainly creates heat.

Next time try to keep your ale fermentations in the low to mid 60’s. You will like the results better.

you can do this cheap and easy by using a “swamp cooler”

^^^ It can raise the temp 5+ degrees.
Some yeasts are more prone to blow off (3068). Overfilling a carboy will cause a blow off, although yours didn’t seem too full.
High temps are likely the issue.

^^^ It can raise the temp 5+ degrees.
Some yeasts are more prone to blow off (3068). Overfilling a carboy will cause a blow off, although yours didn’t seem too full.
High temps are likely the issue.[/quote]

It’s because it’s a 6.5 gallon carboy. There is plenty of head space there for Kräusen. My problem was I wrapped it with a towel which held the heat in and created a domino effect in a way. Anyway I learned something with this batch, keep an eye on the temp! :idea:

I have cleaned up my fair share of yeasty goop (hated it!). And as a rule of thumb I always run a blow of tube during primary. Those little airlocks are good for Secondary and that’s just my $.02. and I bet your beer will be fine.

Cheers!!

Oh, so you’re saying I’m dumb??[/quote]

Nope, hopefully just learning. I was dumb and got smart quickly after cleaning a few messes.

Not to start another bucket versus carboy debate, but I’ve never had a problem using the 7.9 gallon buckets and I don’t use blow off tubes, even with barleywines, big belgians, and “imperial” versions of classic styles. I use buckets for that reason, plus much easier to clean and the fact that I eliminate the risk of opening a major vein or artery from a shattered carboy.

  • 1 to reading up on appropriate fermentation temperatures. After sanitation, arguably the single most important factor in brewing good beer.

Just curious, what brand / strain yeast were you using? As previously stated some kick off more violently than others. I have never had a problem with 1056, but pitch British Ale II under the same conditions and you will have a blow off. Play it safe, use a tube and control your temps.

Sorry for the late reply: I used a Belgian Abbey II (Wyeast 1762). Beer is turning out better than I thought it would. although it took a long time to bottle condition, it is finally getting there. One positive thing is that the beer is very clear with no sediment. I’m not sure if the blow-off had anything to do with that. Anyway, I think the major problem was that I let the temp get out of control. Room temp means nothing. The fermentor went up 10 degrees higher than the room temp was and having it wrapped in a towel probably held the heat in creating a domino effect.

I think I will use the swamp bath idea to control the temp on this batch the next time I brew it.

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