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Too much fermentation?

We started a Belgian wit brew, closely following the directions. After one day the air lock was jammed with “froth” from the fermentation. This occurred three different times during primary fermentation (about a week), each time replacing the clogged airlock with the spare (sanitized) airlock.

What happened?

Thanks.

(We’re midway through secondary fermentation and plan to bottle in 3-4 days (after two weeks total).

You are describing a “blow off”. The very same thing happened to me when I brewed a Belgian Wit, my 1st all grain brew. The room temp was around 70 degrees. What is the temp of the room you fermented in?

Also, when I had the blow off, I pulled the airlock and put some sanitized tubing in the bung, and ran the other end into some sanitizer in a bucket.

BTW, it turned out fantastic.

Temp was typically between 72-74 degrees (hall closet) during fermentation. Probably too high, but tough to control.

I’m betting it will turn out awesome.

The high temps made for a very active fermentation. You may also get some off flavors and harsh alcohol notes from it. Time should help mellow them out.

Here is some ideas for keeping your temps in the mid 60’s

viewtopic.php?f=1&t=103505&p=917359&hilit=swamp+cooler#p917359

[quote=“paultuttle”]Y

Also, when I had the blow off, I pulled the airlock and put some sanitized tubing in the bung, and ran the other end into some sanitizer in a bucket.

BTW, it turned out fantastic.[/quote]

This is how I do it. I have a RyePa in the fermenter that has been bubbling steady in to a bucket of sanitized water for 7 days. It was ready to tell me the bubbler wasn’t going to cut it about 36 hrs after pitching the yeast. nice steady bubble once a second, even at the low end of the yeast temp range.

In the end, keep an eye on your batch a few times a day for the first couple of days.

Way too high! If your ambient temp is 72-74, the beer could be as much as 10F higher due to the exothermic properties of fermentation.

I agree that the temperature had something to do with how active the fermentation was, but that temp. may not be too high for a belgian wit. Some belgian strains, especially some of the saison strains are commonly used at temperatures that make most brewer’s nervous. Phil Markowski in Farmhouse Ales has a picture of one of the fermentors at Brasserie Dupont with the thermometer pegged at 30 degrees C ( about 86 F). I would not be at all surprised if your beer turns out just fine. Some of the normal rules don’t necessarily apply with belgian beers and yeast. When things warm up this time of year, I tend to brew saisons and wits in part because I don’t have to worry so much about warm temps.

If it was the NB kit and used the recommended yeast (3944), the recommended temp is between 62 and 75. Usually you want to ferment at the lower end of the range, especially at the beginning of fermentation.

Fermenting at what could be close to 10 degrees above the recommended is likely going to result in a nasty beer that will give you a bad headache. Letting it age for a long time may make it mellow.

True to a degree, but those beers start much cooler and are allowed to rise to those temps to finish out.

True to a degree, but those beers start much cooler and are allowed to rise to those temps to finish out.[/quote]

Dupont’s strain does seem to be somewhat unique, but they don’t actually start cool, the entire primary fermentation is at high temperatures, and Markowski ferments at 78-80 from the start with that strain in his own brewery. From Markowski’s book; “exceeding the limits of fermentation temperature may not result in Armageddon after all. Indeed, pushing the envelope beyond what I previously thought was a wise and prudent brewing procedure that often resulted in a more authentic beer.”

I would definitely like to hear how this batch turns out :slight_smile:

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