Sediment/foam in blowoff tube

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by SaintBenedict, Apr 1, 2012.

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  1. SaintBenedict

    SaintBenedict Initiate (167) Nov 10, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I brewed my first beer last night, a small batch of Brooklyn Brew Shop's Everyday IPA. After pouring the cooled wort through a strainer and into the carboy, I attached a blowoff tube. This morning I noticed a fair amount of green-ish sediment/foam clinging to the walls of the blowoff tube, which I suspect to be some sort of hop/grain flotsam. There also appears to be a significant build up about an inch or so from the top of the carboy, though off gases seem to be escaping without any difficulty. Some of the detritus also made its way into the small bowl of sanitizer at the other end of the blowoff tube. As this is my first homebrewing experience, I'm just wondering if this is normal.

    Finally, I was thinking about dry hopping with a little amarillo in about three weeks, a few days before bottling. Anything to be concerned about?

  2. Patrick

    Patrick Initiate (0) Aug 13, 2007 Massachusetts

    This is normal and exactly what a blow off tube is for. If you used an air lock, you'd likely have a mess on your hands.

    Nothing to be concerned about as far as dry hopping goes.
    EdH likes this.
  3. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,386) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    All according to plan. Enjoy.
  4. SaintBenedict

    SaintBenedict Initiate (167) Nov 10, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Whew…what a relief. For a minute there, the foam on the top looked like it was gonna plug up in the neck of the carboy or something. Thanks for alleviating my fears.
  5. dpjosuns

    dpjosuns Initiate (0) Dec 8, 2009 Illinois

    Looks fine- thats exactly what it's for- so that crud doesn't end up in your beer. A bit of unsolicited advice, so take it for what it's worth- just make the recipe as-is (if thats what it says to do, then awesome and stop reading). Then, next time you do it, add the extra Amarillo. You're for sure not going to screw it up or anything, but see how well the recipe turns out first, then next time change it as you want to.

    You never know, it may be exactly right the first time and this will also give you a better baseline for how much to add next time. The great thing about those small batches is that is super cheap and easy to make more than one at a time (or quickly) and affords the ability to change a little at a time to really nail down the recipe.

    Just my 2 cents. They're not worth much, so feel free to disregard. (damn, it seems like I've been stalking you this weekend- my apologies).
  6. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (300) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    for certain, if you homebrew for a while you will eventaully come home to witness wort splashed across every painted surface like an effin crime scene. very popular with the spouse.

    this brew looks ordinary, you can expet the blow off to collect some debris. in fact some traditional brewers like to "blow off" some of the high krausen as it will carry with it a bit of the hops responsible for harsh bitterness.
    keep an eye on the blow off tube in the beginning. it is an infrequent but unpleasant experience to witness beer suicide.
  7. telejunkie

    telejunkie Disciple (314) Sep 14, 2007 Vermont

    you have oxy-clean? if not, pick up a's a brewers best friend. soak the blow-off tube in a hot solution of oxy-clean for an hour when you're done with fermentation then blast with water...should clean it right out. The tube may permanently cloud up but don't worry about it.
  8. SaintBenedict

    SaintBenedict Initiate (167) Nov 10, 2009 Pennsylvania

    No apology necessary. I appreciate the advice, solicited or otherwise. I'm a novice and posting on the boards in the hopes of learning more as I go along. With that in mind, I value what more experienced brewers have to offer.

    As for the recipe, it does not include dry hopping. I read a couple opinions of this particular kit online, and reviewers seemed to think the hops could be turned up a notch. I suppose this gave me an excuse to start experimenting right off the bat. :slight_smile: Of course, the point you make is well taken: I'll have absolutely nothing with which to compare my recipe modifications.
  9. SaintBenedict

    SaintBenedict Initiate (167) Nov 10, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Haha. For my sake, I hope this brew comes off without incident. At least so I can convince the wife to tolerate another. :slight_smile:
  10. SaintBenedict

    SaintBenedict Initiate (167) Nov 10, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Yup. Thanks for the tip!
  11. Swim424

    Swim424 Initiate (0) Apr 29, 2011 Florida

    My first beer I didn't use a blow off tube and the next morning the whole outside of the carboy was crusted in wort.

    Congrats on the beer though and let us know how it turns out. And go for the dry hops if you want. but be careful, don't want to overdo the hops. Very easy to do that.
  12. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    OP: you owe a huge thanks to whoever told you to use a blowoff tube on your first batch. Most instructions mention airlocks, with the result of getting to eventually mop a ceiling before learning about blowoff tubes.

    This is a huge pet peeve of mine. Congrats on doing it right from the start.
    Swim424 likes this.
  13. radiantdesigner

    radiantdesigner Initiate (0) Mar 6, 2012 New Hampshire

    For a 1 Gallon batch yes a blow off tube is the way to go, there isn't enough room on the top for the cake layer and gasses and everything. if you were using a 5 gallon Carboy or a 6 gallon bucket for a 5 gallon batch an air lock works fine. It all depends on what you are doing and what you are doing it with.
  14. SaintBenedict

    SaintBenedict Initiate (167) Nov 10, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Thanks, will do. As for the dry hopping, is .25 oz. of Amarillo too much for a gallon? The base is Columbus with Cascade and Amarillo evenly distributed at 15, 10, 5 min. and flameout. I'd give the exact amounts, but the hop pellets came pre-measured in the kit and I forgot to weigh them before adding them to the boil.
  15. SaintBenedict

    SaintBenedict Initiate (167) Nov 10, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Haha. I've been reading similar horror stories. Actually, the makers of the kit suggested the blow off tube for the first couple of days before switching to an airlock. BTW, is the potential danger of exploding fermenters typically limited to the first few days of fermentation? The off gases seemed to have settled after 24 hours, but I don't want to go to an airlock prematurely.
  16. SaintBenedict

    SaintBenedict Initiate (167) Nov 10, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Gotcha. That makes sense. As you can see, it's pretty crowded at the top pf my one gallon carboy. :slight_smile:
  17. rlcoffey

    rlcoffey Initiate (0) Apr 20, 2004 Kentucky

    When the fermentation dies down, you can switch, but why bother? I leave on the blowoff tube for the entire primary fermentation. When I secondary, I do use airlocks.
  18. MLucky

    MLucky Initiate (0) Jul 31, 2010 California

    As others have said, this is all pretty normal. It is a good idea to check on it frequently, because blow off tubes can get clogged up. (Since it's your first batch, I'm guessing you're checking it more than you even need to!)

    It's also good to have a Plan B: what would you do if the hose gets clogged? Most of the time the yeast matter that's pushing through the tube will be moist and pliable enough not to clog up, but it can happen. I like to keep some extra tubing around for those occasions.

    BTW, it's never seemed worth it to me to try to clean the tube afterwards. It takes a fair amount of effort, and tubing is cheap down at the hardware store.
  19. SaintBenedict

    SaintBenedict Initiate (167) Nov 10, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Good tips to keep in mind. Thanks.
  20. Swim424

    Swim424 Initiate (0) Apr 29, 2011 Florida

    I couldn't tell you honestly. I have never done a 1 gallon batch so I have no experience in that department. I'm sure someone else could answer that for you.
  21. Swim424

    Swim424 Initiate (0) Apr 29, 2011 Florida

    And I just use a blowoff tube for the first few days. After it settles considerably I take it off. Sometimes this is the time to switch to secondary, if your doing that. But you can leave it on the whole time, it will not make any difference.
  22. cracker

    cracker Disciple (300) May 2, 2004 Pennsylvania

    I'm curious why you brewed a 1 gallon batch? Unless doing experimental batches, it seems like a lot of work/effort for only ~2 six packs. Maybe you wanted to see if you like the hobby before going to a more traditional 5 gallon batch?
  23. billandsuz

    billandsuz Disciple (300) Sep 1, 2004 New York

    dry hopping is a way to get aroma, and it is not as much a concern as adding hops to the boil. without knowing the recipe, the % alpha acid of the hops used (the "AA %" which should be on every package of hops you buy) it is not possible to determine bitterness, which is usually measured in IBU's. International Bitterness Units, of course. but you aren't trying to get bitterness from dry hopping. don't go messing with the boiling hops at first, until you get a feel. especially with a one gallon brew. .25 ounces of hops can be a big difference.

    if you want to dry hop woth 0.25 ounces of amarillo, it is unlikely this will screw up the beer. one or two ounces of dry hopping to a 5 gallon brew is typical. so you can expect some good aroma. and its not like your beer is "balanced", malt sweetness to hop bitterness. maybe it is, but doubtful. IPA is not balanced, its meant to be big and bitter.
    getting this part down is the primary challenge of ecperienced brewers trying to design a recipe.

    good luck.
  24. SaintBenedict

    SaintBenedict Initiate (167) Nov 10, 2009 Pennsylvania

    I received the kit as a gift. As you mentioned, I'm seeing how I like home brewing before making a bigger commitment.
  25. SaintBenedict

    SaintBenedict Initiate (167) Nov 10, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Thanks for your insight; I appreciate it.
  26. Wumsphire

    Wumsphire Initiate (0) Dec 10, 2014 Oregon

    I just had a blow off tube get clogged and explode, that happens too. It stopped bubbling, I inspected and suddenly the bung popped off and about a cup of beer flowed out and resulted in a small mess, luckily I was there to catch it. Not sure how I can avoid, other than get a better blow off system with a wider tube.
  27. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Defender (679) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    7.9 gal buckets...I'm done with blowoffs (until the next blowoff) :slight_smile:
    jlordi12 likes this.
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