General Category > Yeast and Fermentation

Two questions

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quest4watneys:
I just placed my very first brew (Russian Imperial Stout) in a fermenter yesterday and I've got a ton of bubbling activity in my 3-piece airlock which means I haven't done anything yet to kill the yeast :0)

1. Does the temperature of the fermenting wort rise as the process gathers strength? I have a stick-on thermometer on the fermenting bucket and it's risen about 6 degrees (from 64 to 70 degrees) in the last 24 hours. The ambient temperature of the room has stayed (according to another thermometer I have sitting on the fermenter) at about 66-67 degrees.

2. Is it 'normal' to see foam in the neck of the airlock?

I might add it's a 5 gallon batch in a 6.5 gallon fermenting bucket.

Thanks again!

tom:
Yes, fermentation creates heat. And lots of sugar with lots of yeast make lots of heat.

Can you put it into a sink or tub of water? That will do a lot to keep the temperature below 70. Make sure the water temperature is in the low 60's before you put the fermenter in. The higher it goes, the more off-flavors they make.

And yes, the foaming into the neck is normal.

quest4watneys:
It seems to have stabilized at about 71-72 degrees. Should I leave it alone or move it to a tub to lower the temp? I think the kit maker recommeded a range of 64-72. Cutting it kind of close huh? And also, there is some gunk really building up in the airlock neck. Should I remove it and clean it or leave it alone? Thanks for the responses!

hokerer:

--- Quote from: quest4watneys on January 18, 2011, 07:09:25 PM ---It seems to have stabilized at about 71-72 degrees. Should I leave it alone or move it to a tub to lower the temp? I think the kit maker recommeded a range of 64-72. Cutting it kind of close huh? And also, there is some gunk really building up in the airlock neck. Should I remove it and clean it or leave it alone? Thanks for the responses!

--- End quote ---

In general, keeping things in the lower end of those ranges will yield you the best beer.  

As for the gunk, you need to be careful that it doesn't build up enough to clog the airlock - that happens and you can end up with a volcano.  If you think it's getting close to clogging, just sanitize and swap in another airlock (if you've got one).  Or you can remove, clean, re-sanitize, and replace the airlock.  Just cover the airlock opening with aluminum foil while you're cleaning.

quest4watneys:
Thanks hokerer and Tom for the responses but here's another question. I just cleaned the airlock and replaced it but the problem seems to be rapidly rebuilding. I read something about a blow-off line? Would I just use the line from my auto siphon and what do I blow it off into?

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