Is it lost?

What went wrong? Was this supposed to happen? Should I throw it out? What do I do now?

Moderator: slothrob

Is it lost?

Postby jcassady » Thu Jan 01, 2004 9:06 pm

Hello all, I'm a newbie to brewing and I think I may have lost my first batch of beer. My two previous batches have been pretty good but the OG on both was between 1.040 and 1.049, so this time I decided to make a batch that would be a little stronger so here is what i have:
4 lbs wheat DME
3 lbs light DME
3 lbs rasberry puree
all in all I had an OG of 1.066 and i pitched my yeast when it got to 75 degrees it was WhiteLabs Abbey Ale, this was Sunday. The fermentation started up nicely by Monday morning. I neglected checking on it again until Tuesday after work and noticed a very very active fermentation compared to my last two batches the water in my 3 piece air lock was discolored (foam). Well I had forgotten something I had read about it clogging your air lock and exploading, and when I came home Wednesday after work guess what, the lid had blown off the fermentor.

So, I cleaned up the lid and airlock and resanitized it and put it back on and within 10 minutes the airlock was bubbling again. Today, Thursday I get home and find the airlock all discolored again, so I have taken it out, put in a hose and put the end of the hose into a vase of water.

My question is do you think it batch got contaminated when the lid blew off the first time? I don't know how long the lid was off could have been as long as 16 hours. It does still seem to be fermenting though, but does that mean anything? Any advise, or suggestions would be great.

Thanks, Jim
jcassady
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2004 8:53 pm
Location: Gillespie, IL, US

Must have been a mess

Postby jayhawk » Thu Jan 01, 2004 10:58 pm

Wow, sounds like you had quite the blow up! Don't be to quick to write the batch off. There are a few breweries around (in the UK mainly I think) that use open fermentation techniques for producing their beer. In fact, I believe there is a forum member who swears by open fermentation for his home brewing too. The reason this can be done is because the yeast is pumping out a constant flow of CO2 and also forms a protective blanket of foam on top of the beer that makes it tough for bacteria to get a hold on the wort. When the foam dissapates after the primary stage, most of the sugar has been fermented into alcohol, which further helps to protect against bacterial infection. It sounds like you had good yeast/fermenting activity while the lid was off, so I think the batch has a very high probability of being just fine.

Welcome to the forum and good luck. You have come to the right spot for brewing tips and info. Keep checking in and asking questions.

Chris
jayhawk
Strong Ale
Strong Ale
 
Posts: 472
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2001 12:05 am
Location: Vancouver, BC, CA

Nah....

Postby BillyBock » Thu Jan 01, 2004 11:32 pm

It's probably going to be a keeper. I've had a nuclear ferment that clogged the airlock, and blew the lid right off of the bucket. By the time I found it and was cleaning the airlock, it was still foaming out of the airlock hole violently.

Wheat tends to make ferments a little more foamy. Fruit sugars give ferments extra oomph. Couple this with your 75F ferment, and wham! nuclear ferment. As Jayhawk said, the constant flow of CO2 will make it difficult for nasties to grab hold. The important thing is to make sure you don't have an exploding carboy--that would suck. You might consider using a larger primary vessel next time to account for the foamage.

v/r
Bill
BillyBock
Imperial Stout
Imperial Stout
 
Posts: 561
Joined: Sun Dec 31, 2000 11:37 am
Location: Ohio

I agree with previous posts.

Postby Brewer2001 » Fri Jan 02, 2004 1:25 am

Jim,

I worked in a brewery this summer that used nothing but open fermenters. The brewer swore by them, 14 bbl dairy tanks with jackets and covers. They work fine and make good beer. However they are in their own room, that is loaded with CO2, that was a %#$@! to work in. The tanks were also a %#$@! to clean, on CIP.

Now about your ale, you know what not to do next time, it should be ok if the fermentation was as vigours as you said. Your alcohol level in this batch should be fairly high, all working in your favor. The one thing you should do is to try and keep your fermentation temperature down below 70 deg. F (68 deg. F is better), this will help to reduce the fusel alcohol and ester production.


Good brewing,

Tom F.
Brewer2001
Double IPA
Double IPA
 
Posts: 170
Joined: Fri Sep 07, 2001 12:56 am

Thanks

Postby jcassady » Fri Jan 02, 2004 7:48 am

Thanks for your words of wisdom, and encouragement. Just to let you know, I pitched at 75, but the fermenter hangs out in my coat closet which stays betwwen 66 and 71 degrees. The good news is the explosion only got my coats and not the little lady's.

I still have activity in the blow-off setup so I'm thinking you guys are right and its all going to be OK.
jcassady
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2004 8:53 pm
Location: Gillespie, IL, US

RDWHAHB

Postby canman » Fri Jan 02, 2004 7:50 pm

I ferment in buckets with the top just sitting there. Never had a contaminated batch ever. I consider an explosive ferment and the mess that goes with it a trophy of sorts. Brew On!!!
canman
Pale Ale
Pale Ale
 
Posts: 55
Joined: Sun Dec 29, 2002 9:40 pm

Still not out of the woods

Postby jcassady » Sat Jan 03, 2004 6:02 pm

OK, so I put the lid back on the fermenter and hooked up a blow-off hose and put the end in a vase. Its been bubbling away nicely now since Wednesday. I thought I would check out its progress today to see about taking a gravity reading and possibly racking into the secondary. To my suprise though there is still a good 1.5 inches of foam on the beer.

Is this a result of the explosion or possibly the fruit juice? Is it a bad idea to just take a sterial spoon and scrape it off?

Thanks, Jim
jcassady
Light Lager
Light Lager
 
Posts: 25
Joined: Thu Jan 01, 2004 8:53 pm
Location: Gillespie, IL, US

Why?

Postby jayhawk » Sat Jan 03, 2004 6:23 pm

Racking the beer is fine, just be prepared for another stage of foam up as C02 is released as the beer enters the secondary. But as far as scooping the foam out of the primary, don't bother. Why would you want to do that? The foam is a healthy part of fermenting, and when you siphon you are drawing liquid from under the foam and most of the foam will dissipate as the level of the beer drops as you transfer. I suspect the fruit is probably causing such a rockin' ferment, so just let the yeast do its thing. At this point you just have to sit back and let the process do the work. I know how tough it is to wait. When I first started out I was constantly peeking and poking around in the beer as it was fermening. It is risky though to keep messing with it a lot because you increase the chance of contamination. You don't need to worry about gravity readings until the ferment stops to see if you hit your target. I tend to not even bother with readings anymore unless I am trying to perfect a recipe. So keep your paws out of there unless you are transferring or packaging the beer.
jayhawk
Strong Ale
Strong Ale
 
Posts: 472
Joined: Tue Dec 25, 2001 12:05 am
Location: Vancouver, BC, CA


Return to Brewing Problems, Emergencies, Help!

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron