Author Topic: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?  (Read 1613 times)

Offline hopshead

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Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« on: September 21, 2015, 01:30:54 AM »
I have a SS brew bucket and I usually use a blowoff tube with one end submerged in a bowl of sanitizer.  I was thinking of not submerging the one end in sanitzer for the first 48-72 hours to simulate an open fermentation without exposing the top of the beer since the lid is on. 

Has anyone done this?  Do you see any pit falls with this?  Also, if you have done open fermentations, what yeast is your favorite?  I may try WLP051 first (been meaning to give this yeast another try anyway).
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 01:33:47 AM by hopshead »

Offline beersk

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Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« Reply #1 on: September 21, 2015, 02:44:27 PM »
I don't think it'll make one bit of difference. Open fermenters typically are wider and shallower which has more of an affect on the ester production than whether it's "closed" or not. Hydrostatic pressures at homebrew levels are vastly different than at commercial levels.
Right now, I'm fermenting a pumpkin oktoberfest in my brew kettle (which is taller and narrower than typical kettles) with cling wrap bungeed over the top. It's not really "open" per se, but it's not closed either. And I don't think it's going to make one of bit of difference compared to fermenting in a bucket with the lid snapped on. I'm not doing it for that, just doing it for simplicity's sake.
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Offline dilluh98

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Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« Reply #2 on: September 21, 2015, 02:59:32 PM »
I have a friend who swears by "open" fermentation. In reality it's tin foil loosely covering the fermentation bucket. He does this for all British and Belgian styles he brews. Really the only beer he doesn't do this for is hop-aroma or hop-flavor forward beers such as west coast IPA due to the higher potential for oxidation. I do a modified version of this for my saisons. I'll put tin foil loosely covering the carboy or bucket until approximately the peak of high krausen and then slap the airlock on for the remainder of the fermentation. Supposedly some saison yeast strains are sensitive to CO2 back pressure. Since doing this I've never had a stall out on a saison yeast.

As far as best yeast. I think anything that's meant to give character through ester formation so many of the British Ale and English Ale strains would be appropriate.

Offline erockrph

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Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« Reply #3 on: September 21, 2015, 03:12:01 PM »
I have a friend who swears by "open" fermentation. In reality it's tin foil loosely covering the fermentation bucket. He does this for all British and Belgian styles he brews. Really the only beer he doesn't do this for is hop-aroma or hop-flavor forward beers such as west coast IPA due to the higher potential for oxidation. I do a modified version of this for my saisons. I'll put tin foil loosely covering the carboy or bucket until approximately the peak of high krausen and then slap the airlock on for the remainder of the fermentation. Supposedly some saison yeast strains are sensitive to CO2 back pressure. Since doing this I've never had a stall out on a saison yeast.

As far as best yeast. I think anything that's meant to give character through ester formation so many of the British Ale and English Ale strains would be appropriate.
I go one step further and just stretch a sanitized paint strainer bag over my 6.5-gallon bucket. This assures that there is no backpressure and doesn't provide any barrier for offgassing CO2 to diffuse out of the headspace. It's certainly not the same as something like a Yorkshire Square, but it's about as close as a homebrewer can get without building a more customized setup.

I haven't done a side-by-side with a closed fermenter, but I like the results I've gotten with English strains using this method. I've also heard it works well with hefeweizen strains.
Eric B.

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Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« Reply #4 on: September 21, 2015, 03:15:09 PM »
I truly open ferment in that I remove the lid on my fermentation vessel after the brown head forms.  True open fermentation does make a difference with respect to ester production.  However, one has to use a true top-cropper to make the best of open fermentation.

By the way, I open ferment in a non-modified Vollrath stock pot.  The Vollrath stock pots have welded handles which makes them easier to clean than stock pots with riveted handles.  The beauty of using a stock pot with a matching cover as a fermentation vessel is that one can sanitize the stock pot and the cover with steam.  All one needs to do is to put a half of gallon of water in the kettle, place the cover on the stock pot, apply heat, and let the water boil for at least 5 minutes.

Offline dilluh98

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Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« Reply #5 on: September 21, 2015, 03:25:17 PM »
Very interesting Mark. So when you initially pitch the yeast, you are putting the matching lid back on the pot and letting it ferment until brown head forms? Does enough pressure build up during that initial fermentation time to "burp" the stockpot lid or is pressure build up just a part of that first step? A matching lid certainly keeps any airborne objects from floating in but how well does it truly seal? I might have to play around with this method on my next mild or bitter.

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Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2015, 03:34:48 PM »
The cover is not sealed.  It just rests on top of the stock pot.  In theory, the cover can be removed as soon as the batch starts to off-gas.  However, I like to wait until a good head forms before removing it because the batch is seriously off-gassing at that point, and nothing is getting into the fermentation vessel because it is under positive pressure.  I replace the cover when the head starts to fall because CO2 production also starts to fall.

The myth that allowing oxygen to come into contact with beer after it is fermenting will oxidize the beer is just that, a myth.  One does not have to seriously worry about oxidation until the beer has been filtered because yeast cells have an affinity for O2.  The reason for placing the cover back on the stock pot after the head starts to fall is to prevent airborne microflora from entering the fermentation vessel.

Offline dilluh98

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Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2015, 04:13:34 PM »
I like it. Do you think this could apply to hop-forward styles? Say, could you open ferment an east-coast or English IPA with good results where most of the hop presence comes from whirlpool/stand hops rather than dry hopping?

Offline beersk

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Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« Reply #8 on: September 21, 2015, 07:32:22 PM »
The cover is not sealed.  It just rests on top of the stock pot.  In theory, the cover can be removed as soon as the batch starts to off-gas.  However, I like to wait until a good head forms before removing it because the batch is seriously off-gassing at that point, and nothing is getting into the fermentation vessel because it is under positive pressure.  I replace the cover when the head starts to fall because CO2 production also starts to fall.

The myth that allowing oxygen to come into contact with beer after it is fermenting will oxidize the beer is just that, a myth.  One does not have to seriously worry about oxidation until the beer has been filtered because yeast cells have an affinity for O2.  The reason for placing the cover back on the stock pot after the head starts to fall is to prevent airborne microflora from entering the fermentation vessel.
I'm still not convinced there is a noticeable amount increase of ester production with this method. I doubt a seal bucket versus an unsealed bucket will make a difference.
I plan to try, with a Munich helles, what I'm doing now with my pumpkin oktoberfest; just to cover with cling wrap, bungeed around the edge and let it go for my normal 2 week fermentation schedule and keg it. I suppose I could put the lid over the top of that with some weights to "seal" it after the krausen drops and I ramp it up for diacetyl rest.
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Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« Reply #9 on: September 21, 2015, 08:37:15 PM »
I plan to try, with a Munich helles, what I'm doing now with my pumpkin oktoberfest; just to cover with cling wrap, bungeed around the edge and let it go for my normal 2 week fermentation schedule and keg it. I suppose I could put the lid over the top of that with some weights to "seal" it after the krausen drops and I ramp it up for diacetyl rest.

The effect is not going to be as great with a lager because lager fermentation uses low temperatures to suppress metabolism, but there is a difference.  Pilsner Urquell was a different beer when the brewery used open fermentation.

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Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« Reply #10 on: September 21, 2015, 09:15:41 PM »
I like it. Do you think this could apply to hop-forward styles? Say, could you open ferment an east-coast or English IPA with good results where most of the hop presence comes from whirlpool/stand hops rather than dry hopping?

All of the breweries based on the Peter Austin System use something known as a hop percolator for late hop additions.  A hop percolator is kind of like a pressurized hopback, but it works on a slightly different principle (a hop stand produces a similar kind of effect as a hop percolator).  With its brick enclosed, direct-fired kettle, wood clad mash/lauter tun and hot liquor back, and fish tail-equipped open fermentation vessels, the Peter Austin System is one of the most interesting craft brewing systems in use in the United States.  It is a craft brewing system in more than name only.   Geary’s has been repitching the same culture for 29 years.

Here's the reason why East Coast Pale Ale and IPA is more like English Pale Ale and IPA; namely, the first craft brewery in New England.  It was the first Peter Austin System to be installed in the United States by Alan Pugsley, but it was not the last.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0z7hQCmpEmM


Here are two videos of the Shipyard Brewing Company that include Alan Pugsley:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eyM7cx01g4E

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g_C-M3lcACQ

Have you ever wondered why Dogfish Head recommends Ringwood to those who are attempting to replicate their beers?  Well, one of the first microbreweries in Maryland was the Wild Goose Brewery on Maryland's Eastern Shore, which is part of the Delmarva (Delaware/Maryland/Virginia) peninsula.  Wild Goose used a Peter Austin System.  Dogfish Head's first full-time brew master was Jason Kennedy.  Jason was a brewer and cellar master at Wild Goose.   Dogfish Head’s “Doggie” is actually a mutated form of Ringwood.  Wild Goose and another British-built local brewery called the British Brewing Company (Steven Parkes built this brewery) are a big part of why I became interested in learning how to  brew in the early nineties, and why I primarily brew English-style ale. 

 I was delighted when Mitch Steele gave a nod to an influential outfit that was responsible for East Coast ale being closer to English ale than West Coast ale at NHC 2015.  That outfit was Peter Austin and Partners.  Mr. Austin left us last year, but he was as influential in kick-starting small-scale brewing in the UK as he was on the East Coast of the United States, and he did it after a full career as a professional brewer at the Hull Brewery.
« Last Edit: September 21, 2015, 09:44:16 PM by S. cerevisiae »

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Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« Reply #11 on: September 22, 2015, 12:36:37 AM »
Putting my money where my mouth is:




That's NCYC 1333.  This strain is not for beginners.

Offline brewday

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Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« Reply #12 on: September 22, 2015, 01:06:11 AM »
I truly open ferment in that I remove the lid on my fermentation vessel after the brown head forms.  True open fermentation does make a difference with respect to ester production.  However, one has to use a true top-cropper to make the best of open fermentation.

By the way, I open ferment in a non-modified Vollrath stock pot.  The Vollrath stock pots have welded handles which makes them easier to clean than stock pots with riveted handles.  The beauty of using a stock pot with a matching cover as a fermentation vessel is that one can sanitize the stock pot and the cover with steam.  All one needs to do is to put a half of gallon of water in the kettle, place the cover on the stock pot, apply heat, and let the water boil for at least 5 minutes.

I've been doing true open fermentation in the conical for saisons lately.  Without a control I can't say exactly what I'm getting out of it, but I like the results.  Kinda fun, too.



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Offline narvin

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Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« Reply #13 on: September 22, 2015, 12:22:16 PM »
Open fermentation with Ringwood (wlp005) in a vittles vault produced some of the coolest looking Krausen I've ever seen.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Pseudo Open Fermentation with blowoff?
« Reply #14 on: September 22, 2015, 12:25:10 PM »
Open fermentation with Ringwood (wlp005) in a vittles vault produced some of the coolest looking Krausen I've ever seen.


Ok, I've never seen krausen like that. Looks like freaking pork rinds ! Or shipping peanuts.
Jon H.