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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: Wheat_Brewer on August 23, 2011, 12:08:43 PM

Title: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on August 23, 2011, 12:08:43 PM
I brewed the cheer beer Sunday morning than ran to our friends house with the wife to babysit their two girls for the evening (the saying no good deed goes unpunished came to mind).  We come back around midnight to find that in the course of about 12 hours the yeast has blown the air lock out, sprayed beer in a relatively amazing pattern, and overflowed all over the carpet.  More than a little aggravated we cleaned what we thoughts was everything up until on my drive home last night I was thinking "what happened to the airlock?!" 

I found it!  In my loft, 12 feet up!  To my amazement I looked up at the 18 foot vaulted and found a little spot on the white ceiling where the airlock had hit the ceiling and left a mess...which I then promptly cleaned up.  It's possible the airlock didn't actually hit the ceiling but beyond a doubt some beer did.

So in trying to make lemonade out of lemons, lets see you beat that!  I shot beer/the airlock 18 feet into air with yeast pitched only 12 hours earlier!!!!
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: hamiltont on August 23, 2011, 02:08:09 PM
Can't say I've had anything quite that exciting happen with my brewing. This is about all that comes close. It turned out to be a great Oatmeal RIS but the mess was a bit concerning...  Cheers!!!

(http://i1116.photobucket.com/albums/k566/tjhamilton/3-21-2008KrausenBlow1.jpg)
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: phillamb168 on August 23, 2011, 02:11:54 PM
What is cheer beer?
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: tygo on August 23, 2011, 02:12:52 PM
What is cheer beer?

Isn't that all beer?  ;)
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: Hokerer on August 23, 2011, 02:16:53 PM
What is cheer beer?

Sounds like it might just be a "Holiday Spiced Ale" since, in a different thread, he says...

Quote
my last cheer beer had just about every spice in the cabinet and every grain you could buy
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: beersk on August 23, 2011, 02:47:03 PM
I've only had one airlock blowoff.  It was with WL041 Pacific Ale in a porter.  Could've believe how active that yeast was.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: denny on August 23, 2011, 03:07:13 PM
Is your fermentation temp elevated?  Often times a really intense fermentation like that is caused by a high fermentation temp, which isn't great for the beer.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: majorvices on August 23, 2011, 03:53:50 PM
+1. this sounds like a case of warm fermentation temp to me, possibly coupled with high pitching temp. What temp is the beer fermenting at (keeping in mind that the fermentation temp itself will be several degrees warmer than ambient) and what temp do you pitch the yeast?
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: punatic on August 23, 2011, 06:00:05 PM
You're not a serious homebrewer if you don't have beer stains on your ceiling.

Fruit beers will violently ferment at normal fermentation temps.  Pieces of fruit plugging up the CO2 exhaust path lead to explosive results.   ::)
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: Kit B on August 23, 2011, 06:04:12 PM
You're not a serious homebrewer if you don't have beer stains on your ceiling.

+1
This has happened to me so many times, I stopped keeping track.
It's not always high temps that does it.
Basically, any time you get a good, vigorous fermentation that is able to clog your airlock, you've got the potential.
I've resorted to using blow-off tubes for probably 90% of my primaries, these days.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: tom on August 23, 2011, 06:06:12 PM
You know you might be a homebrewer if...
you've mopped the ceiling.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: The Professor on August 23, 2011, 06:07:22 PM
You're not a serious homebrewer if you don't have beer stains on your ceiling.


Very true, that!!! ;D
I consider it part of the decor.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: woadwarrior on August 23, 2011, 08:38:21 PM
I had a strawberry mead blow the carboy cap off for 3 days or so. Woke up Monday morning to find pinkish foam all over the carpet. Cleaned it up, put a clean cap and tube on, went to work, came home and cleaned up more foam. Rinse and repeat the next couple days. Ended up being extremely delicious without even aging it.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on August 24, 2011, 12:22:55 AM
You're not a serious homebrewer if you don't have beer stains on your ceiling.


Very true, that!!! ;D
I consider it part of the decor.

I'm thinking this might just be the sales pitch i use to explain to the wife why homebrewing is worth the effort and energy! 

To answer another question the yeast was pitched at 73F, i don't have a refrigerator for fermentation (hopefully Santa is reading), but with the AC on it's 70F, which i know is a little warm but i haven't had issues before.  The OG was super high though, .082, so with a good starter, high OG, and a smaller than should have been used carboy i had it coming  :-\
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: majorvices on August 24, 2011, 12:32:04 AM
You're not a serious homebrewer if you don't have beer stains on your ceiling.


Very true, that!!! ;D
I consider it part of the decor.

I'm thinking this might just be the sales pitch i use to explain to the wife why homebrewing is worth the effort and energy! 

To answer another question the yeast was pitched at 73F, i don't have a refrigerator for fermentation (hopefully Santa is reading), but with the AC on it's 70F, which i know is a little warm but i haven't had issues before.  The OG was super high though, .082, so with a good starter, high OG, and a smaller than should have been used carboy i had it coming  :-\

I hate to break it to you but that's gonna be way too warm. 70 degree ambient means the beer might be fermenting at 78. If you pitched at 73 the temp may have never dropped down to 70 and it may even be fermenting at 80. You can add 4-8 degrees to ambient temp. You never should pitch most ales over 70 degrees and you want to keep the temp of most ales at 68 (70-72 at the very highest!) which means you need a way to have the ambient temp in the low 60s.

I understand that you say you "haven't had a problem before" but I honestly think that if you tasted you beer fermented at cooler temps you would agree with me that there is an improvement. You may even be blown away at the improvment.

You don't have to have a refrigerator, a "swamp cooler" in which you immerse the fermenter in a water batch and cycle out frozen water bottles works very well. Be sure to stick a "Fermometer" or stick on thermo on your fermenter so that you have an idea what the actual temp of the fermenting beer is. Fermentation temp is one of the most critical aspects of brewing. It is essential to consistency!

Also, if you pitch a bit cooler, say around 64-66 and keep fermentation temp between 66 and 68 for most ales you will have less issues with blow offs.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: Wheat_Brewer on August 24, 2011, 12:51:32 AM
You're not a serious homebrewer if you don't have beer stains on your ceiling.


Very true, that!!! ;D
I consider it part of the decor.

I'm thinking this might just be the sales pitch i use to explain to the wife why homebrewing is worth the effort and energy! 

To answer another question the yeast was pitched at 73F, i don't have a refrigerator for fermentation (hopefully Santa is reading), but with the AC on it's 70F, which i know is a little warm but i haven't had issues before.  The OG was super high though, .082, so with a good starter, high OG, and a smaller than should have been used carboy i had it coming  :-\

I hate to break it to you but that's gonna be way too warm. 70 degree ambient means the beer might be fermenting at 78. If you pitched at 73 the temp may have never dropped down to 70 and it may even be fermenting at 80. You can add 4-8 degrees to ambient temp. You never should pitch most ales over 70 degrees and you want to keep the temp of most ales at 68 (70-72 at the very highest!) which means you need a way to have the ambient temp in the low 60s.

I understand that you say you "haven't had a problem before" but I honestly think that if you tasted you beer fermented at cooler temps you would agree with me that there is an improvement. You may even be blown away at the improvment.

You don't have to have a refrigerator, a "swamp cooler" in which you immerse the fermenter in a water batch and cycle out frozen water bottles works very well. Be sure to stick a "Fermometer" or stick on thermo on your fermenter so that you have an idea what the actual temp of the fermenting beer is. Fermentation temp is one of the most critical aspects of brewing. It is essential to consistency!

Also, if you pitch a bit cooler, say around 64-66 and keep fermentation temp between 66 and 68 for most ales you will have less issues with blow offs.

Emailing this to Santa right now...
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: majorvices on August 24, 2011, 01:12:46 AM
While I agree a temp controlled fridge or freezer is the best option there's no need to wait for Christmas. You probably have a bucket big enough to immerse your fermenter in now and frozen water bottles can't be hard to come by. You can start contrrolling fermentation temps on the very next batch.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: skyler on August 24, 2011, 04:17:18 PM
While I agree a temp controlled fridge or freezer is the best option there's no need to wait for Christmas. You probably have a bucket big enough to immerse your fermenter in now and frozen water bottles can't be hard to come by. You can start contrrolling fermentation temps on the very next batch.

I tried the swamp cooler technique before I got a fermentation-dedicated chest freezer and found it to be a major PITA. That being said, I found the quality of my beers increase 100-fold as soon as I was able to manage fermentation temperatures. This was the single biggest improvement in my beer, bigger than yeast starters, or wort aeration, or even switching to all-grain.

And I have only had one big messy fermentation since - it was after I had transferred a big double red ale to secondary for dry hopping. I thought the beer was finished (in three weeks it had dropped from 1.070 to 1.018). Sure enough, the next morning, I found the breathable silicone bung on the floor of the closet I had moved the better bottle into, and the beer hd begun an active secondary fermentation. I cleaned and sanitized the bung, then put it back on - the beer had no signs of oxidation or other problems... I think the initial fermentation stall was due to a lack of wort aeration (I pitched a liter of brewpub-fresh WLP001), and I have since purchased a wine degasser to drill-aerate wort with.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: rjharper on August 24, 2011, 04:40:28 PM
I use the guest bath tub.  Filled to the point of overflowing into the drain, with the carboys sat in it.  I have an hi/low indoor/outdoor thermometer with the probe sitting in the water.  I can dump ice from the ice-make into it in the morning, or put in a frozen bottle and keep temps at 65F, even when the house is 80 during the day.  The advantage of the water bath over a cooled airspace is the heat capacity of the water is more likely to keep the beer within a degree or two of the bath.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: majorvices on August 24, 2011, 05:35:26 PM
I tried the swamp cooler technique before I got a fermentation-dedicated chest freezer and found it to be a major PITA.

Really? I used to use it often during the summer in my basement when my fermentation fridge was full. I found it pretty easy, that said the temps were already in high 60s. Never tried to in warmer temps.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: bo on August 24, 2011, 05:46:06 PM
If your humidity is high, a swamp cooler won't help you much anyway. That's why it never worked well for me either. Get a cheap fridge of freezer off of craigslist.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: majorvices on August 24, 2011, 06:12:40 PM
It's not technically a "swamp cooler" in that sense. You immerse the fermenter in water and cool the water down with frozen water bottles. I'd say the humididty in any homebrew "swamp cooler" is going to be pretty high - close to 100% ;)
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: morticaixavier on August 24, 2011, 06:24:52 PM
If your humidity is high, a swamp cooler won't help you much anyway. That's why it never worked well for me either. Get a cheap fridge of freezer off of craigslist.

depending on electric costs where you live it can become extremely expensive to use cheap/free appliances. The lack of efficiency is often what lands them on the free pile in the first place. but it is convenient to not have to change out ice packs.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: bonjour on August 24, 2011, 06:25:23 PM
I literally had beer raining in my kitchen, had to boil outside after that.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: bo on August 24, 2011, 06:26:36 PM
If your humidity is high, a swamp cooler won't help you much anyway. That's why it never worked well for me either. Get a cheap fridge of freezer off of craigslist.

depending on electric costs where you live it can become extremely expensive to use cheap/free appliances. The lack of efficiency is often what lands them on the free pile in the first place. but it is convenient to not have to change out ice packs.

Just keep in mind that the ice that you make (or buy) comes with a price as well.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: morticaixavier on August 24, 2011, 06:27:32 PM
If your humidity is high, a swamp cooler won't help you much anyway. That's why it never worked well for me either. Get a cheap fridge of freezer off of craigslist.

depending on electric costs where you live it can become extremely expensive to use cheap/free appliances. The lack of efficiency is often what lands them on the free pile in the first place. but it is convenient to not have to change out ice packs.

Just keep in mind that the ice that you make (or buy) comes with a price as well.

agreed, just saying that free fridges can come with problems.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: bo on August 24, 2011, 06:28:05 PM
I literally had beer raining in my kitchen, had to boil outside after that.

I once formed a cloud in my shop. I added ventilation shortly thereafter.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: majorvices on August 24, 2011, 06:32:51 PM
if freezing 8 or 10 water bottles breaks the bank you shouldn't even be drinking alcohol.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: bo on August 24, 2011, 06:38:13 PM
if freezing 8 or 10 water bottles breaks the bank you shouldn't even be drinking alcohol.

Energy is energy. Making ice isn't sneaking by.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: majorvices on August 24, 2011, 06:50:27 PM
Don't brew beer then because it is extremely energy intensive. Honestly, I don't know why this would even become an issue to debate. You want to make great beer, control the fermentation temp. I can honestly say I have never noticed a huge fluctuation in my energy bills by freezing a few water bottles.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: dbeechum on August 24, 2011, 06:51:02 PM
True, but I'm guessing most folks treat it as a hidden cost wrapped up in what they're already doing.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: bo on August 24, 2011, 06:54:26 PM
Don't brew beer then because it is extremely energy intensive. Honestly, I don't know why this would even become an issue to debate. You want to make great beer, control the fermentation temp. I can honestly say I have never noticed a huge fluctuation in my energy bills by freezing a few water bottles.

And if you use a decent chest freezer (10 years old or less), not too oversized, insulated top and only run it when you actually need it, you won't see much of an increase on your bill either.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: morticaixavier on August 24, 2011, 07:42:04 PM
Don't brew beer then because it is extremely energy intensive. Honestly, I don't know why this would even become an issue to debate. You want to make great beer, control the fermentation temp. I can honestly say I have never noticed a huge fluctuation in my energy bills by freezing a few water bottles.

And if you use a decent chest freezer (10 years old or less), not too oversized, insulated top and only run it when you actually need it, you won't see much of an increase on your bill either.

okay not to extend this debate any further but that is what I was talking about with freebie fridges. they are rarely decent or effiecient. I just wanted to get a warning out there to anyone considering grabbing the free fridge off the street corner.  :)
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: bo on August 24, 2011, 07:50:18 PM
I see a lot of people build fermentation chambers out of foam board and then use a computer fan to circulate the air. I'm sure you can build one of these for $50 or so, but I've also seen many 5-7 cubic foot chest freezers go with $100 or less. I'm not talking about junk freezers either. I bought a like new, 12 foot one, for $100. Of course you still need a controller, but in the end you'll have great temperature control and you won't be filling up your food freezer with bottles of water.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: denny on August 24, 2011, 07:52:16 PM
you won't be filling up your food freezer with bottles of water.

If you have the space, using bottles filled with water is actually a way to save energy in your freezer.  The added mass of the frozen water buffers thermal swings and makes you freezer work more efficiently.  Of course, filling it with food will do the same thing.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: bo on August 24, 2011, 07:54:36 PM
you won't be filling up your food freezer with bottles of water.

If you have the space, using bottles filled with water is actually a way to save energy in your freezer.  The added mass of the frozen water buffers thermal swings and makes you freezer work more efficiently.  Of course, filling it with food will do the same thing.

Filling your freezer with bottles of water to freeze them and then switching them out everyday with your fermenter is NOT a way to stabilize your freezer.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: majorvices on August 24, 2011, 07:56:42 PM
While I agree that a chest freezer is the best option for a fermentation freezer I fail to see why someone would be so adamantly opposed to using a few frozen water bottles, unless it just gives him a chance to argue.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: bo on August 24, 2011, 07:58:03 PM
While I agree that a chest freezer is the best option for a fermentation freezer...

I'm glad you agree.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: ynotbrusum on August 24, 2011, 10:28:02 PM
No time for a debate - I gotta go - I have two 5 gallon buckets in swamp coolers in my basement and I have to swap out my frozen water bottles before my water gets up to 70... I have it going well on day 4 for a Red Ale.  Nice controlled temperatures, but we had a spike in temperature today.  Thankfully my 20 gallons of pilsner are cooling nicely in my lager chest (1987 Montgomery Wards special) at 46F.  Does someone have a problem with my carbon footprint?
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: majorvices on August 24, 2011, 11:01:47 PM
While I agree that a chest freezer is the best option for a fermentation freezer...

I'm glad you agree.

All you gotta do is read the posts!

While I agree a temp controlled fridge or freezer is the best option there's no need to wait for Christmas. You probably have a bucket big enough to immerse your fermenter in now and frozen water bottles can't be hard to come by. You can start contrrolling fermentation temps on the very next batch.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: bo on August 24, 2011, 11:41:19 PM
While I agree that a chest freezer is the best option for a fermentation freezer...

I'm glad you agree.

All you gotta do is read the posts!

While I agree a temp controlled fridge or freezer is the best option there's no need to wait for Christmas. You probably have a bucket big enough to immerse your fermenter in now and frozen water bottles can't be hard to come by. You can start contrrolling fermentation temps on the very next batch.

I don't know what your problem is. I wasn't trying to piss you off. I'm simply trying to offer other ideas for the poster. I thought that was the purpose of a forum. Sure you can use ice. I did it myself, but I also learned quickly how much trouble it was and how inexpensively you can get a nice chest freezer and make your life easier and keep your temperature more consistent.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: majorvices on August 25, 2011, 12:32:59 AM
While I agree that a chest freezer is the best option for a fermentation freezer...

I'm glad you agree.

All you gotta do is read the posts!

While I agree a temp controlled fridge or freezer is the best option there's no need to wait for Christmas. You probably have a bucket big enough to immerse your fermenter in now and frozen water bottles can't be hard to come by. You can start contrrolling fermentation temps on the very next batch.

I don't know what your problem is..
No problem here. Not sure what you are talking about. I argued back and forth with you is all. You like to argue, I like to argue. I fail to see where it is my problem alone. All I was saying is I agree that a chest freezer is a worth while purchase. But that a swamp cooler will work too, if you don't have the means to to pick up a freezer right now.  Both are appropriate options for the OP.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: bo on August 25, 2011, 12:37:10 AM
While I agree that a chest freezer is the best option for a fermentation freezer...

I'm glad you agree.

All you gotta do is read the posts!

While I agree a temp controlled fridge or freezer is the best option there's no need to wait for Christmas. You probably have a bucket big enough to immerse your fermenter in now and frozen water bottles can't be hard to come by. You can start contrrolling fermentation temps on the very next batch.

I don't know what your problem is..
No problem here. Not sure what you are talking about. I argued back and forth with you is all. You like to argue, I like to argue. I fail to see where it is my problem alone. All I was saying is I agree that a chest freezer is a worth while purchase. But that a swamp cooler will work too, if you don't have the means to to pick up a freezer right now.  Both are appropriate options for the OP.

The difference is, I didn't make it personal. Why should I? We agree.  ;D
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: Al Equihua on August 25, 2011, 12:38:47 AM
very interesting thread and debate.. learn a lot...thruly!
ferm temps is essential
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: majorvices on August 25, 2011, 12:47:57 AM
very interesting thread and debate.. learn a lot...thruly!
ferm temps is essential


+1,000,000,000,000,000
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: Hokerer on August 25, 2011, 01:54:18 AM
ferm temps is essential

If you learn nothing else from this, you're still coming out ahead.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: jamminbrew on August 25, 2011, 02:08:04 AM
While I agree that ferm temps are important, being a little on the high side shouldn't be a problem... I recently toured the Great Divide brewery, and was quite surprised to learn that they ferment ALL of their ales between 72-75*. And they make some of my absolute faves...
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: majorvices on August 25, 2011, 02:16:00 AM
Agree they make some fine beers. But, I'm not sure what yeast strain they use - could it be a house strain? Also not aware of their practice - I betcha they pitch rather cool, in the 60's for instance. Having homebrewed for over 15 years (and now professionally for almost 1 year) all I can say is that for the most part under 70 is crucial for most ale strains, though not all. It is a good guideline to follow. But let your own experimentation guide you. Some strains can be fine if they sneak up over 68-70 (if not ideal). Some may not be as fine as one would hope.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: tschmidlin on August 25, 2011, 02:31:36 AM
There is a lot more to it than temp.  Their yeast may be good at those temps, but it could be other factors too.  For homebrewers, keeping it cool is a lot more important due to the size and shape of our fermenters.  The pressure in larger fermenters suppresses the formation of esters and higher alcohols, so unless you are fermenting under pressure, keep it cool.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: punatic on August 25, 2011, 04:15:33 AM
Before I got my Jeffrey Dahmer Special (a 24 cu.ft chest freezer)  I fermented lagers in a "squatty body" Gott water keg.  I could fit a 5 gallon glass carboy in there, and there was room in the annular space between the carboy and the water keg walls to put blue ice blocks in there.  I had two shifts for the blue ice blocks.  One shift would be installed in the morning before I left for work, while the other shift was in the freezer.  Then when I got home in the evening I'd trade out the warm ones in the cooler for the frozen ones in the freezer.  I used no water.  Just blue ice.  I kept a sticky LCD thermometer on the side of the glass carboy.  The beer in the carboy stayed in the 48 - 52 degree F range all of the time.  This was in Florida, in the summer, in an un-air condtioned room.

To lager my beers back then I took the vegetable drawers out of the bottom of my refrigerator and put cases of homebrewed lager down there to lager.

It wasn't real fancy or sofisticated, but  I gotta say I brewed many batches of some damn fine Munich Helles that way.

When you've got the brewing bug you figure out ways to get'er done.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: euge on August 25, 2011, 08:26:54 AM
I bought a freezer just to make ice for my homebrewing. :o It's all about being resourceful and imaginative.

Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: Will's Swill on August 28, 2011, 03:24:13 PM
There is a lot more to it than temp.  Their yeast may be good at those temps, but it could be other factors too.  For homebrewers, keeping it cool is a lot more important due to the size and shape of our fermenters.  The pressure in larger fermenters suppresses the formation of esters and higher alcohols, so unless you are fermenting under pressure, keep it cool.

Are you talking about pressure due to the depth of the fermenter, or do breweries actually pressurize their fermenters?  Or maybe the fermenters are sealed and pressure builds from the fermentation?  I haven't intentionally fermented in a corny under pressure, but it might be an interesting experiment.
Title: Re: Let's make this into a competition!
Post by: tschmidlin on August 28, 2011, 06:04:33 PM
Some of them might let the pressure build, but mostly it is because of the height of the fermenters.