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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: Podo on July 12, 2011, 12:06:33 AM

Title: Blow-Off Tube Laziness
Post by: Podo on July 12, 2011, 12:06:33 AM
So, over the past few months I've been getting lazy with my beer in the fermenter.  I always seem to need a blow-off tube, but instead of replacing it with an airlock afeter a couple days, I've gotten to the point where I don't feel like messing with it and I've just been letting it be until I'm ready to keg.  My question is, is it okay to continue to be lazy, or should I get off my butt and switch them when I should?
Title: Re: Blow-Off Tube Laziness
Post by: speed on July 12, 2011, 12:19:03 AM
i don't see a problem, the less you mess with it the less chance you will get an infection. i do this frequently and just squirt a little sanitizer around the neck when i transfer.
Title: Re: Blow-Off Tube Laziness
Post by: Hokerer on July 12, 2011, 12:44:34 PM
The only issue I've ever had with that approach is that, if you actually did get blowoff through the tube, the longer you let it stay in place, the harder it is to clean the gunk out of the tube afterwards.  Other than that, there's no problem with using a blowoff for your entire fermentation.
Title: Re: Blow-Off Tube Laziness
Post by: Jimmy K on July 12, 2011, 01:10:08 PM
A proper blowoff setup is really a big airlock, so as long as the blowoff tube is functioning as an airlock as it should (not allowing air to leak into the carboy) then there is no problem. I do this as well.
Title: Re: Blow-Off Tube Laziness
Post by: beersk on July 12, 2011, 02:56:08 PM
I've done this also, there's nothing to worry about.  But like hokerer said, it's harder to clean that crap out of there the longer it sits.  I don't usually get a lot of blow off, if any, but I have before, so I put the blow off on there just in case.  Leaving it hooked up will do you no harm.
Title: Re: Blow-Off Tube Laziness
Post by: richardt on July 12, 2011, 03:16:13 PM
Just be mindful of fermentation temperature changes... and the effect in has on the volume of gas in the headspace of your fermentor (i.e., gas expands when heated, contracts when cooled).

For example, if you're fermenting an ale at 64 F for a couple of weeks and then decide to chill it down to 34 F to drop the yeast and clear the beer you will be contracting the gas volume within the headspace and blow off tube.  The result will be you'll suck up the liquid in your blow off bucket back into your beer.
Title: Re: Blow-Off Tube Laziness
Post by: morticaixavier on July 12, 2011, 03:20:24 PM
Just be mindful of fermentation temperature changes... and the effect in has on the volume of gas in the headspace of your fermentor (i.e., gas expands when heated, contracts when cooled).

For example, if you're fermenting an ale at 64 F for a couple of weeks and then decide to chill it down to 34 F to drop the yeast and clear the beer you will be contracting the gas volume within the headspace and blow off tube.  The result will be you'll suck up the liquid in your blow off bucket back into your beer.

that's of concern with any kind of liquid filled airlock. granted a blow off bucket has a lot more liquid in it but it also has alot more tubeing to fill up before it makes it into your fermenter. would have to do that math and not up to that but I would guess with say 3 feet of 1.25 inch ID tubeing in a half gallon of water you would not get so much contraction in the headspace to suck any water in.
Title: Re: Blow-Off Tube Laziness
Post by: richardt on July 12, 2011, 03:22:11 PM
The same thing can also occur if you pitch your yeast while your wort is still a little warm (e.g., 70-80 F), seal up the plastic lid on the bucket, attached the filled 3 piece airlock, and placed it in a fermenation fridge set to 64 F.  If you watched it for a while (or came back a few hours later), you'd see that most of the liquid in the airlock had been sucked out of the airlock and back into the fermentor.  Hopefully that liquid was nothing more than pre-boiled water or straight vodka.

Similar effects can occur from handling the sealed plastic buckets w/o removing the airlocks--as when transfering from fridge to countertop.  For this reason, I always remove the airlock and put a small plastic kiddie cup over the airlock opening during temp changes or handling/transfer steps.
Title: Re: Blow-Off Tube Laziness
Post by: Will's Swill on July 13, 2011, 02:43:08 AM
That's why I still use the S-type airlocks -  as long as they aren't overfilled, air will just bubble back through them rather than sucking the airlock liquid in.