Homebrewers Association | AHA Forum

General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: tomsawyer on May 10, 2011, 12:27:26 PM

Title: Fermcap S
Post by: tomsawyer on May 10, 2011, 12:27:26 PM
I got some and used it this last weekend on three boils and it worked great.  I love being abel to walk away from the pot when it gets close to boiling.

My question is, how does this stuff work?

Also, are there any potential negative side effects?
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: richardt on May 10, 2011, 02:10:56 PM
I love FermCap-S.  It helps prevent foaming and boilovers by affecting surface tension.  It also keeps the krausen under control (don't need as much headspace)--no wasted beer in blow off tubes, no clogged or blown airlocks.  I'm able to easily brew 4.5 gallons in a 5 gallon corny keg with a fermenter lid and 3 piece airlock.  The same is true for my plastic fermentor buckets.  The "high-water mark" ring of trub in the fermentor is no more than an inch or so above the beer.  I do brew in a temp-controlled fridge which does help keep the fermentation under control, as well.
I've not noticed any detrimental effects (e.g., beer foam height or retention, lacing, flavor, aroma).

You can still get boilovers even with FermCap-S.  Two situations come to mind:
1.)  Boiling your starter wort in the Erlenmeyer flask--really watch the wort as it gets close to boiling and reduce the flame/energy or move the flask off of the burner ASAP (while wearing protective oven mitts on both hands, of course!).  I have a ceramic stovetop, so I sometimes move half of the flask off the burner to help control the rate of heat transfer as we approach boiling.
2.)  Bringing your first runnings to a boil while sparging.  The first runnings are more concentrated (higher SG) and more prone to boiling over.  It is easily neglected while your attention is directed towards collecting the second runnings.  Be sure to add the FermCap-S right away and transfer some of the second runnings ASAP to help dilute the first runnings (prevents scorching and boilovers, IMO).
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: denny on May 10, 2011, 02:52:03 PM
As much as I love Fermcap S, I've started looking for alternatives since I learned that the manufacturer really intends for beer using it to be filtered before consumption.  I recently ordered some Fermcap AT, which I understood to be different and able to be used in unfiltered beers.  After further research, it appears that might not be the case.   It looks like either version of Fermcap attaches itself to yeast and fermenter and walls and doesn't actually end up ion the beer, but there's enough conflicting info to make me keep looking for the real answers.

Here are some discussions about it...

http://www.probrewer.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=5587&page=3

http://www.probrewer.com/vbulletin/showthread.php?t=2060

http://hbd.org/discus/messages/1/50540.html?1303949027
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tygo on May 10, 2011, 03:07:15 PM
Hmm, that's a bummer.  After reading through those links I'm a little queasy about using fermcap in the primary.  I could do without it there but I really like to use it when I'm boiling starters.  I guess the two or three drops I put into the starter wort wouldn't carry over to much of a concentration by the time it gets to the glass.   So maybe I'll continue to do that.

But I'm going to think pretty hard before I add it to the fermenter again.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tomsawyer on May 10, 2011, 03:55:14 PM
Interesting.  Not sure I'll use it in my fermentor, but it would appear that it wouldn't transfer from the kettle once the wort is cooled.  In any case, thanks a bunch for the info.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: james on May 10, 2011, 03:58:33 PM
I personally don't worry about it.  The amount I put in a 5 or 10 gallon batch of beer is less than a single dose of gas drops I used to give my kids.  That was dosed directly to the mouth where in beer it is probably dropping out or sticking to the sides of the fermenter

Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tschmidlin on May 10, 2011, 04:31:46 PM
Here is the MSDS sheet for Dimethylpolysiloxane
http://www.cdms.net/ldat/mp2MT004.pdf

The LD50 (Rat) is 5 grams per kilo.  That sounds pretty safe to me.

I'd still prefer not to drink it though, but I love using it in starters, the boil, fermentation, even cleaning my carboys and kegs (PBW foams when I run it through my rig).  I either need a replacement product that doesn't need to be filtered or I need to start filtering.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tomsawyer on May 10, 2011, 04:45:12 PM
THe LD50 (rat) for 95% ethanol is around 8g/kg.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tschmidlin on May 10, 2011, 04:58:51 PM
THe LD50 (rat) for 95% ethanol is around 8g/kg.
Exactly.  Someone is more likely to try to drink a pint (or more) of 95% ethanol, than a pint of Fermcap-S (10% DMPS), and they'd be better off with the Fermcap-S according to the MSDS.  Although you might want to check my math. :)
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: richardt on May 10, 2011, 05:21:41 PM
Good points to consider.  I use just a dropper (or two) full when doing a 10 gallon batch. 
I think a lot of it stays behind on the break material and on the yeast. 
In the glass, my beer foam is long-lasting and I note no unusual taste.
Kidneys and intestines seem to still be in working order.

I'd use none if I could, but FermCap-S really makes things less messy and wasteful.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tomsawyer on May 10, 2011, 07:31:41 PM
THe LD50 (rat) for 95% ethanol is around 8g/kg.
Exactly.  Someone is more likely to try to drink a pint (or more) of 95% ethanol, than a pint of Fermcap-S (10% DMPS), and they'd be better off with the Fermcap-S according to the MSDS.  Although you might want to check my math. :)

I started to do the calculation on converting the LD50 of ethanol to an equivalent amount of 5% ABV beer for a 100kg human, but it only showed something like 1.5L.  I concluded that rats can't hold their liquor like we humans.  That or I messed up the calculation which is possible.

If you use the recommended 2drops/gal, thats 10 drops in 5gal and that might be around 1g (20 drops per gram of water but this looks a little thicker).  We'll assume worst case that it all carries over to the 5gal of beer.  Thats still under the dosage for an average 0.5kg rat if he drinks the whole 5gal.  As a waxy substance I could see it possibly accumulating in fatty tissue.  I'd be willing to bet you wouldn't carry over even 10% in the yeast of an unfiltered beer.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tumarkin on May 10, 2011, 07:44:40 PM
We'll assume worst case that it all carries over to the 5gal of beer.  Thats still under the dosage for an average 0.5kg rat if he drinks the whole 5gal. 

yeah, but you know damn well the little fooker isn't going to stop at that first keg. "betcha can't drink just one!" is his working motto.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tschmidlin on May 10, 2011, 08:51:34 PM
THe LD50 (rat) for 95% ethanol is around 8g/kg.
Exactly.  Someone is more likely to try to drink a pint (or more) of 95% ethanol, than a pint of Fermcap-S (10% DMPS), and they'd be better off with the Fermcap-S according to the MSDS.  Although you might want to check my math. :)

I started to do the calculation on converting the LD50 of ethanol to an equivalent amount of 5% ABV beer for a 100kg, but it only showed something like 1.5L.  I concluded that rats can't hold their liquor like we humans.  That or I messed up the calculation which is possible.
If the LD50 (Rat) of 95% ethanol is 8g/kg and we assume it is the same for humans, that allows 800g of 95% ethanol for a 100 kg person, or 760g of 100% ethanol.  If it's a 5% solution, that's by volume, so it's 4% ethanol by weight.  One liter then contains 40 grams of ethanol, so it takes 19 liters to get to 760 grams.  I suspect it would be very hard for a 100kg person to drink 5 gallons of 5% beer fast enough to kill themselves.  You rarely hear about alcohol poisoning from people drinking beer, it's usually the hard stuff.

Although I think it also illustrates that the LD50 for humans is probably less than 8g/kg.  I think a 750ml bottle of 95% ethanol each would be enough to kill more than half of the 100kg people in the world.

Someone should check this math too. :)
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: ccarlson on May 10, 2011, 08:53:35 PM
It's a simple decision for me. If it's not barley, hops, water or yeast, it doesn't belong in my beer.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: denny on May 10, 2011, 09:32:17 PM
It's a simple decision for me. If it's not barley, hops, water or yeast, it doesn't belong in my beer.

No sugars, spices, fruit, etc.?
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: gordonstrong on May 10, 2011, 09:43:31 PM
It's a simple decision for me. If it's not barley, hops, water or yeast, it doesn't belong in my beer.

No sugars, spices, fruit, etc.?

Or worse (for Denny), no rye?
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: james on May 10, 2011, 10:06:50 PM
It's a simple decision for me. If it's not barley, hops, water or yeast, it doesn't belong in my beer.

No sugars, spices, fruit, etc.?

Don't forget wheat, rye, and other malted non-barley grains
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: ccarlson on May 10, 2011, 10:06:55 PM
It's a simple decision for me. If it's not barley, hops, water or yeast, it doesn't belong in my beer.

No sugars, spices, fruit, etc.?

Don't need them, unless you're brewing a girlie beer.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tomsawyer on May 10, 2011, 10:23:00 PM
Don't forget bourbon and vanilla beans.  Denny is definitely up a creek if we go Rheinheitsgebot.  I think he could get Oregon to secede from the union and ally with Belgium.

Honestly, most days I don't have a problem with boilovers but its nice to have insurance.  I really just got it for my 2L Ehrlenmeyer flask, I can't grow a simple 1.2L starter on a stirplate in it without it blowing out the top.

Schmidlin, that sounds closer to what I would have thought.  I was off by 10x somehow plus I didn't take the 4% ABW /5%ABV into account.  I'm so embarrassed, but relieved I'm not half dead after a few pints.  I'd be half dead most evenings.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: jhwk on May 10, 2011, 10:47:24 PM
I have used it for years without any ill effect.

There is something in there about memory loss, or worse yet... memory loss.

I have used it for years without  memory loss, or worse yet... memory loss.

I have used it for years.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tomsawyer on May 11, 2011, 11:37:17 AM
I have used it for years without any ill effect.

There is something in there about memory loss, or worse yet... memory loss.

I have used it for years without  memory loss, or worse yet... memory loss.

I have used it for years.

You sure about that?
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: maxieboy on May 11, 2011, 03:29:00 PM
Dimethylpolysiloxane in my beer? No thanks. If I can't pronounce it, it's not going in my beer...  ;)
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: denny on May 11, 2011, 03:36:04 PM
Don't need them, unless you're brewing a girlie beer.

You have strange ideas about "girlie beer".  My wife, a tiny thing, won't touch anything with fruits or spices.  Unless it's got at least 70 IBU, she's not interested.  Be careful when you stereotype.

No sugar means no Belgian beers or a lot of British beers.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: richardt on May 11, 2011, 05:10:32 PM
I did a little sleuthing on the internet. 
At the end of the day it seems that if one did ingest some Fermcap-S in the course of drinking a bottle or two of homebrew, then one might make softer poo.  I cannot find any info to support the kidney damage claim.
It seems that dimethylpolysiloxane is largely excreted unchanged in the feces (>80-90%).  A much smaller percentage is excreted via kidneys (<5%) and lungs (<1%).  In high (excessive doses) it appears that the most common (perhaps only) observable side effect was moist and frequent stools (in all study animals such as rats, rabbits, dogs, monkeys, and man).  It does not appear to build up in tissues.
http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v06je42.htm (http://www.inchem.org/documents/jecfa/jecmono/v06je42.htm)
These fears regarding dimethylpolysiloxane are probably overblown.  It seems that we’re all probably using or ingesting dimethylpolysiloxane in some form or another already.   
Source:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimethylpolysiloxane (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dimethylpolysiloxane)
It is also used in the medical treatment of intestinal diseases, e.g., oral administration of dimethylpolysiloxane in the treatment of ulcerous diseases of the stomach and the duodenum and inflammatory diseases of the esophagus and stomach forms and maintains a protective film in these structures and results in the healing of these conditions.
And, from kaycircle:
Quote
Dimethylpolysiloxane is the most widely used silicon based organic polymer. It is non-toxic, non-flammable, and inert. It is used in contact lenses, medical devices, and shampoos as it makes hair silky and shiny, in lubricant oils and heat resistant tiles. It can mould itself according to any surface, thus it is used to cover any kind of surface. It is used as a defoaming agent, in cosmetics, polishes and as an adhesive. As a medicine, it is used as an anti-foaming agent and is carminative. As a food additive, it is used as an anti-foaming and anti-caking agent. It is used by McDonalds in its Chicken Nuggets. It is also used in soft drinks, skimmed milk, soups and syrups.
By Margaret Walker on Mon, 03/07/2011 - 22:24.
Source:  http://www.kaycircle.com/What-is-Dimethylpolysiloxane-Used-For-Health-Benefits-and-Side-Effects-of-Dimethylpolysiloxane-in-Food (http://www.kaycircle.com/What-is-Dimethylpolysiloxane-Used-For-Health-Benefits-and-Side-Effects-of-Dimethylpolysiloxane-in-Food)
Source:  http://forbezdvd.com/blog/2010/09/09/mcdonalds-chicken-mcnuggets-use-the-same-ingredients-in-it-found-in-silly-putty/ (http://forbezdvd.com/blog/2010/09/09/mcdonalds-chicken-mcnuggets-use-the-same-ingredients-in-it-found-in-silly-putty/)
I’m going to keep using it (in the recommended doses, of course).  No sense in getting a bad case of the “green apple quick-step.”  One of these days, I ‘ll get around to filtering the beer, but, for now, chilling the beer seems to work well for me.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tschmidlin on May 11, 2011, 05:13:45 PM
Thanks for looking all of that up, I feel a bit better.

And, from kaycircle:
Quote
It is used by McDonalds in its Chicken Nuggets.
Although this is not a justification for consuming anything. ;)
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: ccarlson on May 11, 2011, 05:18:50 PM
Don't need them, unless you're brewing a girlie beer.

You have strange ideas about "girlie beer".  My wife, a tiny thing, won't touch anything with fruits or spices.  Unless it's got at least 70 IBU, she's not interested.  Be careful when you stereotype.

No sugar means no Belgian beers or a lot of British beers.

I would bet that the majority of fruit beers are consumed by women or guys that act that way. :)
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: richardt on May 11, 2011, 07:11:39 PM
Thanks for looking all of that up, I feel a bit better.

And, from kaycircle:
Quote
It is used by McDonalds in its Chicken Nuggets.
Although this is not a justification for consuming anything. ;)
Ha!  True.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: amish electrician on May 12, 2011, 12:23:45 AM
I thought I would add to the calm that has come over us about the use of Fermcap S. 

So, looking at the MSDS someone posted of a similar product it seems that it is only 10% DMPS.  Weighing out Fermcap I got about 20 drops in 1 gram.  So if we use 2 drops per gallon in 7 gallons of wort to prevent boilover, we are looking at about 15 drops or 0.75g of Fermcap.  If it is about 10% DMPS then that is .075g going eventually into 5 gallons, or 19 liters of beer.  This is ~4mg per liter or ~4 parts per million.  This is lower than the 10-16 ppm the FDA allows.

Regarding the LD50 of DMPS on the MSDS it is greater than 5g per kg, which likely means that was the highest dose they gave to the rats and even that didn't kill half of them.  So for an "average" person of 70kg (although the 100kg assumption for average homebrewer is probably more accurate), and if we assume rats are equivalent to humans, we could probably take in at least 350g of it and survive, which would be over 4000 times what is probably in your 5 gallons of beer total.  If you did that though, you'd probably be taking the Jets to the Superbowl, if you know what I mean...

And yeah the high excretion unchanged, meaning no apparent metabolism in the cell, which also means very poor absorption certainly will help with increasing the concentration required to get lethal.  And of course this is also assuming that what you put in is what is present in the final beer, which looks like it is probably not the case either. 

So, I for one, will continue to use Fermcap with reckless abandon... in starters, to prevent boilover, to prevent blowoff, when boiling milk and water for instant pasta, just for fun cause I like the taste.... ok maybe not the last one....
 
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: a10t2 on May 12, 2011, 01:27:04 AM
No sugars, spices, fruit, etc.?
Don't need them, unless you're brewing a girlie beer.

Damn. I had no idea my 23% barleywine was a girlie beer. ::)
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: bluesman on May 12, 2011, 01:53:29 AM
Dimethylpolysiloxane in my beer? No thanks. If I can't pronounce it, it's not going in my beer...  ;)


+1

The name is a little scary but I'm probably more likely to be struck down by lightning then be killed by a couple drops of Fermcap.  :-\

I don't use Fermcap and really haven't seen a need for it in my brewing. It sounds useful but I'm usually hovering around the kettle as it nears the boiling point and I hardly ever get a blow off ferment so it's really not worth it for me.

Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: jeffy on May 12, 2011, 02:00:26 AM
I love it.  A couple drops and the boil-over just disappears.  At that concentration in 10 or 11 gallons of wort, I am not concerned over health issues.
I'm thinking that it may be a good idea to make a really dilute concentration and put it into a spray bottle.  What do you all think of that?
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: Hokerer on May 12, 2011, 02:05:17 AM
I don't use Fermcap and really haven't seen a need for it in my brewing. It sounds useful but I'm usually hovering around the kettle as it nears the boiling point and I hardly ever get a blow off ferment so it's really not worth it for me.

I'm kinda in this same boat.  I do 5.5 gallon batches in a 10 gallon pot so boilovers are rarely a consideration and I purposely ferment 5.5 gallons in a 6 gallon Better Bottle cuz I want some blowoff to get rid of some of the braun hefe.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tschmidlin on May 12, 2011, 03:07:51 AM
So, I for one, will continue to use Fermcap with reckless abandon... in starters, to prevent boilover, to prevent blowoff, when boiling milk and water for instant pasta, just for fun cause I like the taste.... ok maybe not the last one....
Who knew a PhD in Pharmacology would be so helpful on a brew board, eh? :)

Dimethylpolysiloxane in my beer? No thanks. If I can't pronounce it, it's not going in my beer...  ;)
+1
I can pronounce it, so I guess I'm in the clear. ;)

You can too . . . die meth ull polly sill ox ane

There, now you can use it. ;D
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: ccarlson on May 12, 2011, 03:26:59 AM
If it has over two syllables, it certainly doesn't belong in beer. .
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tschmidlin on May 12, 2011, 04:03:25 AM
::)  Better leave out the humulus lupulus, you don't want any isohumulones in there.  And by all means leave out the Saccharomyces that's just going to give you ethanol.  And don't use any hordeum, vulgare or otherwise.  Or hydrogen oxide.

Fermcap is only two syllables though, so feel free to use that.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: narvin on May 12, 2011, 04:14:33 AM
Don't need them, unless you're brewing a girlie beer.

You have strange ideas about "girlie beer".  My wife, a tiny thing, won't touch anything with fruits or spices.  Unless it's got at least 70 IBU, she's not interested.  Be careful when you stereotype.

No sugar means no Belgian beers or a lot of British beers.

I would bet that the majority of fruit beers are consumed by women or guys that act that way. :)

What do guys who act like real guys drink?  Miller Lite?
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: amish electrician on May 12, 2011, 04:29:43 AM
Who knew a PhD in Pharmacology would be so helpful on a brew board, eh? :)

Pharmaceutics... get it right.... ;)

I'm just glad I can use it for something useful everyone can enjoy  ;D
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tschmidlin on May 12, 2011, 05:29:13 AM
Who knew a PhD in Pharmacology would be so helpful on a brew board, eh? :)

Pharmaceutics... get it right.... ;)
So what does that make you, a pharmaceuticist?
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tomsawyer on May 12, 2011, 01:39:38 PM
I love it.  A couple drops and the boil-over just disappears.  At that concentration in 10 or 11 gallons of wort, I am not concerned over health issues.
I'm thinking that it may be a good idea to make a really dilute concentration and put it into a spray bottle.  What do you all think of that?

You could try it but I'm wondering if it might not crap up the sprayer.  Also mine says to keep refrigerated, not sure why that would be.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: bluesman on May 12, 2011, 01:44:19 PM
Dimethylpolysiloxane in my beer? No thanks. If I can't pronounce it, it's not going in my beer...  ;)
+1
I can pronounce it, so I guess I'm in the clear. ;)

You can too . . . die meth ull polly sill ox ane

There, now you can use it. ;D

Tom...you have a way with words. Say that 10 times real fast for me.  ;)  ;D  :P
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: phillamb168 on May 12, 2011, 01:56:57 PM
::)  Better leave out the humulus lupulus, you don't want any isohumulones in there.  And by all means leave out the Saccharomyces that's just going to give you ethanol.  And don't use any hordeum, vulgare or otherwise.  Or hydrogen oxide.

Fermcap is only two syllables though, so feel free to use that.
Dihydrogen Monoxide you mean ;-)
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: richardt on May 12, 2011, 02:13:32 PM
It won't clog up a sprayer.  Just add it in the same concentration (roughly 2 drops per gallon) in the spray bottle if you don't want to worry about exceeding the ppm number.  Keeping it in the fridge is just good practice to reduce/prevent bacteria and mold.  You don't have to refrigerate a spray bottle of StarSan because the low pH (<3) keeps things sanitary.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: denny on May 12, 2011, 03:23:51 PM
All of this had made up my mind that I will cut back or eliminate my use of Fermcap.  I made beer without it for years and even though it may not be immediately fatal, I have enough health problems already that I don't see the need to be potentially adding any more.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tschmidlin on May 12, 2011, 03:41:53 PM
Tom...you have a way with words. Say that 10 times real fast for me.  ;)  ;D  :P
Done ;D

::)  Better leave out the humulus lupulus, you don't want any isohumulones in there.  And by all means leave out the Saccharomyces that's just going to give you ethanol.  And don't use any hordeum, vulgare or otherwise.  Or hydrogen oxide.

Fermcap is only two syllables though, so feel free to use that.
Dihydrogen Monoxide you mean ;-)
Or hydrogen hydroxide, or hydroxic acid if you like. :)

@Denny, it's your choice, I respect that.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: ccarlson on May 12, 2011, 03:42:09 PM
All of this had made up my mind that I will cut back or eliminate my use of Fermcap.  I made beer without it for years and even though it may not be immediately fatal, I have enough health problems already that I don't see the need to be potentially adding any more.

+1 Why take a chance?
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: dak0415 on May 12, 2011, 03:51:11 PM
Ok, here's another Q.  Do the particulates in Fermcap S have a charge? (My thinking is that the would bind with gelatin or other finings and drop out).
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tschmidlin on May 12, 2011, 03:54:27 PM
All of this had made up my mind that I will cut back or eliminate my use of Fermcap.  I made beer without it for years and even though it may not be immediately fatal, I have enough health problems already that I don't see the need to be potentially adding any more.

+1 Why take a chance?
Life is full of risks.  I'm convinced that this risk is less than many, and less risky than eating fruit sprayed with pesticide.  But do what works for you, no problem.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tomsawyer on May 12, 2011, 04:01:39 PM
Ok, here's another Q.  Do the particulates in Fermcap S have a charge? (My thinking is that the would bind with gelatin or other finings and drop out).

I don't think its charged, it has properties more like a wax.  It would probably drop out from cold treatment, and if it were sticking to yeast then you could still remove it since the yeast would presumably still have external charges.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: ccarlson on May 12, 2011, 04:15:35 PM
Ok, here's another Q.  Do the particulates in Fermcap S have a charge? (My thinking is that the would bind with gelatin or other finings and drop out).

It's radioactively charged. Why do you think it works so well? :)
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on May 12, 2011, 04:19:28 PM
Probably not news to anyone here but just a 1/2 oz hops as a first wort hop can reduce the boilover potential (but not nearly as well as Fermcap I assume, I've never used Fermcap).
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: denny on May 12, 2011, 05:43:40 PM
Probably not news to anyone here but just a 1/2 oz hops as a first wort hop can reduce the boilover potential (but not nearly as well as Fermcap I assume, I've never used Fermcap).

Ya know, I've heard that for years, but as much as I  FWH I've never found it to work for me.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: pfooti on May 12, 2011, 05:47:37 PM
I'd done some research on Fermcap a while back; my understanding was that quite a bit of it adsorbed to the yeast as they flocculated and dropped (otherwise you'd have lousy head on your beer).

Personally, I don't use Fermcap to control boilovers. You can prevent most boilovers (if you get them a lot) by just turning off the heat when you get to 210° F or thereabouts and holding for 10 minutes. A lot of boilovers occur because the hot break proteins start to coagulate and form a pretty robust foam. After a few minutes, they've formed much heavier clumps and end up just floating in in your wort looking like egg drop soup (another coagulated protein). I used to do long-boil batches on an 8 gallon pot (so I'd fill the pot to 7.5 gallons to get to my proper postboil volume) without anything but a 10 minute hold just before 212. No problem. Since then, I've gotten a much bigger pot, so I'm not too worried about boilover anyway.

On the other hand I still do use Fermcap-S. I toss it in right at the end of the boil (or sometimes directly into the fermentor buckets) to keep foam under control during transfer, aeration, and high kraeusen. I can fill a standard ale pail fermentor with at least six gallons of wort with no fear of blow-off. I use about 25% - 50% of the recommended dosing level and still get really nice foam control. All that translates to about 10% more beer per batch.

I have also seen it claimed (although not empirically proven) that PDMS will actually improve head retention in certain circumstances because you end up losing fewer foam-positive compounds in blowoff during fermentation.

... runs over to google scholar ...

Huh, lookit that. My affiliation with a university means that in addition to the normal journals I subscribe to, I can also get ASBCJ and other brewing science stuff. Good thing I married a chemist, I can even figure out what they mean some of the time. I'll look more into whether anyone has researched the effects of PDMS on the finished beer.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: SpanishCastleAle on May 12, 2011, 05:51:35 PM
Probably not news to anyone here but just a 1/2 oz hops as a first wort hop can reduce the boilover potential (but not nearly as well as Fermcap I assume, I've never used Fermcap).

Ya know, I've heard that for years, but as much as I  FWH I've never found it to work for me.
I used to boil in an 8 gal kettle so I had very little room for boilovers, it's not a huge benefit but ime it definitely helps...a little.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: amish electrician on May 12, 2011, 06:35:48 PM
So what does that make you, a pharmaceuticist?

That is one of the many things I've been called....  :P

All of this had made up my mind that I will cut back or eliminate my use of Fermcap.  I made beer without it for years and even though it may not be immediately fatal, I have enough health problems already that I don't see the need to be potentially adding any more.

+1 Why take a chance?
Life is full of risks.  I'm convinced that this risk is less than many, and less risky than eating fruit sprayed with pesticide.  But do what works for you, no problem.

I will echo Tom and say, yes, of course, if you don't feel comfortable using the product then certainly don't use it.  Your health will not be adversely affected by NOT using it.  But unless you have an allergic reaction to Fermcap, based on what I've been reading, the risk of developing any health issues when using it as instructed is very very very low.  I'd agree that your risk of problems from pesticides or E Coli contamination on produce is magnitudes greater.

Again, I am not trying to change any minds; don't use it if it makes you uncomfortable.  But if you are on the fence about it, let me summarize why I conclude it is perfectly safe to use.

It is present in many other foods we commonly eat, and although the FDA has set a limit on its presence to 10ppm that doesn't mean that at 11ppm you are going to be getting sick.  For food additives they do their best to make sure there is a wide gap between safe and problem levels.  This is seen in the MSDS data showing the acute lethal dose to be undetermined, again more than 5g/kg of this is a LOT. 

From my calculations, it seems that at the recommended usage, the highest amount of DMPS that could potentially be present in finished beer is below the FDA level.  But as some have suggested it may bind to yeast and drop out, lowering the concentration even further.

Also, DMPS is basically the same active ingredient in Gas-X type drugs, which are evaluated by the FDA.  Everything I've read regarding those indicates that there is little risk of problems in the event of an overdose, the biggest risk being an allergic reaction to inactive ingredients.  Further, there are no reports of any side effects I could find.

Of course there is always the concern of toxicity from chronic use, but for DMPS there appears to be little chance for that as it is essentially unabsorbed into the body.  So I think it is perfectly safe to use for me, I am probably doing more damage drinking the alcohol in the beer compared to the Fermcap. 
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: jeffy on May 12, 2011, 06:45:15 PM
Probably not news to anyone here but just a 1/2 oz hops as a first wort hop can reduce the boilover potential (but not nearly as well as Fermcap I assume, I've never used Fermcap).

Ya know, I've heard that for years, but as much as I  FWH I've never found it to work for me.

Same here.  I don't think FWH helps prevent boil-overs at all.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: tomsawyer on May 12, 2011, 07:46:53 PM
So how does DMPS work?  I suppose its reducing the surface tension of the protein-laden bubbles on the surface of the wort so they pop sooner?
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: ccarlson on May 12, 2011, 08:10:44 PM
Probably not news to anyone here but just a 1/2 oz hops as a first wort hop can reduce the boilover potential (but not nearly as well as Fermcap I assume, I've never used Fermcap).

Ya know, I've heard that for years, but as much as I  FWH I've never found it to work for me.

Same here.  I don't think FWH helps prevent boil-overs at all.

Ditto. It's never made any difference to me either.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: hopvine on May 24, 2011, 09:59:32 AM
It won't clog up a sprayer.  Just add it in the same concentration (roughly 2 drops per gallon) in the spray bottle if you don't want to worry about exceeding the ppm number.  Keeping it in the fridge is just good practice to reduce/prevent bacteria and mold.  You don't have to refrigerate a spray bottle of StarSan because the low pH (<3) keeps things sanitary.

I may be oversimplifying the method by which Fermcap works, but isn't it insoluble in water?  I believe it forms a thin layer on the top of boiling (or fermenting liquid) which reduces surface tension and therefore the liquids ability to foam.  This is why it is recommended that you add it immediately before the boil, or just as fermentation is starting; the upward currents in the keep it elevated to the top surface.  In the absence of boiling or fermentation, it would simply sink to the bottom.

Based on this, I believe you will just end up with a thin layer of Fermcap in the bottom of your spray bottle.
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: Kaiser on August 26, 2012, 01:43:42 PM
I'm just now seeing this discussion and my 2c  are: why are we using this stuff to begin with?

It's not needed to prevent  boilovers. Blow-off during primary is good for your beer. If you reuse leftover wort for starters you don't have to worry much about boil overs with them either.

Homebrewers like to point our that BMC is cutting corners wherever they can. Fermcap was made for them, not for us.

Kai
Title: Re: Fermcap S
Post by: majorvices on August 26, 2012, 02:59:14 PM
All of this had made up my mind that I will cut back or eliminate my use of Fermcap.  I made beer without it for years and even though it may not be immediately fatal, I have enough health problems already that I don't see the need to be potentially adding any more.

+1 Why take a chance?
Life is full of risks.  I'm convinced that this risk is less than many, and less risky than eating fruit sprayed with pesticide.  But do what works for you, no problem.

Man, I've done sheets of acid, mounds of cocaine and smoked bushels of dope, consumed buckets of pills and literally thousands of gallons of beer and bourbon in my 42 years along with hundreds of cigars. But thankfully I have never consumed more than a dropper full of Fermcap, if that. Whew!  ;)