Author Topic: Is a blowoff tube worth the loss?  (Read 1459 times)

Offline fyouberg

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Is a blowoff tube worth the loss?
« on: July 28, 2013, 05:17:02 AM »
Since beginning to brew a year or so ago, I have religiously followed Charlie's advice and used a blowoff tube on the top of my five gallon glass carboy.  As a result, I routinely lose 5-6 bottles of finished product.  (1.5 of those bottles is lost to 3 checks of SG).  Should I just chill out and enjoy superior beer or am I needlessly losing good beer? 
If your yeast is happy, it can't help but be a good day.

Offline In The Sand

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Re: Is a blowoff tube worth the loss?
« Reply #1 on: July 28, 2013, 05:21:27 AM »
A blowoff tube is just to keep you from having a mess. If you use a stopper and airlock you're going to blow them off as well. I would invest in a 6 gal carboy and still use a blowoff tube. I have blowoff from time to time with 6 gal carboys. Not so much since I've been fermenting at lower temps though.
Trey W.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Is a blowoff tube worth the loss?
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2013, 05:22:22 AM »
You're losing beer because you're using a 5-gallon carboy. Even if you don't use a blowoff tube the beer will still blow off - perhaps explosively. If you use a 6.5 gallon bucket you should be fine except for maybe certain hefe strains that need a crapload of headspace.

But still, I wouldn't sweat losing a few beers in the long run.
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Offline euge

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Re: Is a blowoff tube worth the loss?
« Reply #3 on: July 28, 2013, 05:31:45 AM »
Half a gallon loss? Sounds extreme.

Anyway, yeah you should be using buckets. Or putting less in the carboy. Try reducing your beer by a half gallon- I know it evens out in the wash but there will be less wastage coming out of the blowoff. And in time that'll impact your wallet.
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Offline duboman

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Re: Is a blowoff tube worth the loss?
« Reply #4 on: July 28, 2013, 06:03:14 AM »
Definitely use a larger primary vessel and a blow off! A little lost beer is far better than blowing the lid/bung and having a huge sticky mess to clean up!


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Offline jdvisger123

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Re: Is a blowoff tube worth the loss?
« Reply #5 on: July 28, 2013, 07:11:11 AM »
Fermcap-S also helps control blowoff. It is primarily used to control foam in the boil but effect transfers to lower krausen in the fermenter.
Enjoy it, you made it!!!

Offline gymrat

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Re: Is a blowoff tube worth the loss?
« Reply #6 on: July 28, 2013, 07:31:25 AM »
Fermcap-S also helps control blowoff. It is primarily used to control foam in the boil but effect transfers to lower krausen in the fermenter.

There has been discussion here in the past about fermcap being a health risk.
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Offline duboman

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Re: Is a blowoff tube worth the loss?
« Reply #7 on: July 28, 2013, 07:41:17 AM »

Fermcap-S also helps control blowoff. It is primarily used to control foam in the boil but effect transfers to lower krausen in the fermenter.

There has been discussion here in the past about fermcap being a health risk.
The FDA requires any silicon based anti foam agent be filtered out in commercially produced beer.

IMO and from what I've read and conversed with one manufacturer of it, on the home brew scale with the few drops used it really isn't an issue.

That being said some people just don't like to use these types of products in the beer.


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Offline a10t2

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Re: Is a blowoff tube worth the loss?
« Reply #8 on: July 28, 2013, 09:08:40 AM »
If that's a concern, there's always FermCap AT, which is oil-based.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Is a blowoff tube worth the loss?
« Reply #9 on: July 28, 2013, 10:51:13 AM »
Fermcap-S also helps control blowoff. It is primarily used to control foam in the boil but effect transfers to lower krausen in the fermenter.

There has been discussion here in the past about fermcap being a health risk.

Most of those discussions include a health professional (such as myself) trying to reassure everyone that the supposed health risks are not based on any valid scientific data. It's basically the same thing as Gas-X, which is safe to give to a newborn. But you are free to choose what you want in your beer, that's what makes this hobby so great.
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Offline liquidbrewing

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Re: Is a blowoff tube worth the loss?
« Reply #10 on: July 28, 2013, 02:16:07 PM »
Half a gallon loss? Sounds extreme.



That's nothing!  Before I started using 6 gallon carboys, I lost 1.5 GALLONS on a (OG 1.087) Ruination clone!  I was fermenting in a  5 gallon carboy with a blow off.  No joke...The finished beer was amazing though. 

Large (6 gallons +) fermenters, plus blow off, equals minimal/no lost finished beer.  I always use a blow off no matter what.
« Last Edit: July 28, 2013, 02:19:12 PM by liquidbrewing »
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Offline fyouberg

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Re: Is a blowoff tube worth the loss?
« Reply #11 on: July 29, 2013, 04:31:25 AM »
Definitely use a larger primary vessel and a blow off! A little lost beer is far better than blowing the lid/bung and having a huge sticky mess to clean up!


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Thanks to all who took the time to share their experience.  I realize that my real, albeit unstated, question was whether or not kraeusen is really detrimental enough to the quality of the finished product to warrant the blowoff loss.  I guess it must be and so a larger carboy is now on my shopping list. Thanks again.
If your yeast is happy, it can't help but be a good day.

Offline In The Sand

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Re: Is a blowoff tube worth the loss?
« Reply #12 on: July 29, 2013, 05:04:23 AM »
I don't think kraeusen is detrimental to the beer.  At least not IME.  I have read that it is good to blow off the headache causing elements in the beer which are formed in the kraeusen, but I'm not sure if that has been proved.  Also, at commercial breweries I don't think they blow anything off.  I think it the kraeusen just settles back into the beer after active fermentation is complete.  As stated, I think the point of a blow off tube is to keep you from having to clean up a sticky mess.  It gives the kraeusen extra room to move.
Trey W.

Online jeffy

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Re: Is a blowoff tube worth the loss?
« Reply #13 on: July 29, 2013, 05:07:06 AM »
Definitely use a larger primary vessel and a blow off! A little lost beer is far better than blowing the lid/bung and having a huge sticky mess to clean up!


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Thanks to all who took the time to share their experience.  I realize that my real, albeit unstated, question was whether or not kraeusen is really detrimental enough to the quality of the finished product to warrant the blowoff loss.  I guess it must be and so a larger carboy is now on my shopping list. Thanks again.

You'll find that some people do not want the flavor of the "brown hefe" to fall back into the beer and prefer to blow it off during the initial fermentation.  I've seen Kai post this more than once and he knows what he's talking about.  I personally think that if you have room above the fermenting beer the gunk will stick to the sides of the vessel instead of falling back into the beer, so I use a bigger carboy for primary fermentation.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline swampale

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Re: Is a blowoff tube worth the loss?
« Reply #14 on: July 29, 2013, 05:22:16 AM »
I even use Fermcap in my conical though I usually have lots of head space. It helps to reduce the foam when I add 02. I use a blow off hose mainly because I can hear the bubble when it goes into the blow off bucket from outside the fridge. That way being I don't have to continually open the fridge to see the activity.