Yeast explosion

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Abk542, Oct 11, 2018.

  1. Abk542

    Abk542 Initiate (69) Sep 26, 2015 Michigan

    Okay so I had harvested some yeast from my last batch and was making a starter TN and I was keeping it in a swingtop growler.i went to open it and add the yeast and BOOM! Everywhere. The thing exploded onto the ceiling, floor, wall all, over me. Disgusting to say the least. I cleaned it all up with a towel and got all the sticky stuff up but I can't seem to get rid of the smell. Any idea on how to go about getting rid of it? Also any idea what happened to make it explode?
  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,469) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Continued fermentation. Either the original beer had not actually reached terminal gravity or some other microbe(s) went to work on residual sugars/dextrins in your harvested yeast cake.
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  3. pweis909

    pweis909 Poo-Bah (1,755) Aug 13, 2005 Wisconsin

    Was it the starter or the yeast that you were keeping in the growler, how long was it in there, and what temperature was it stored?
  4. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (393) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    Wash the sprayed areas with soap and water, then towel off areas with a dilute bleach solution. You will b fine .
  5. EvenMoreJesus

    EvenMoreJesus Champion (869) Jun 8, 2017 Pennsylvania
    Premium Trader

    Hehehe. I've had this happen in the past. Even if you've reached a stable terminal, putting a lot of yeast in a small place can result in high levels of CO2 because even though there might not have been much/any fermentable sugar in solution, the yeast are still metabolically active and will still excrete CO2. Not enough to cause an issue if spread out over an entire batch of bottles, but in one bottle it can produce some awesome/horrible gushers. I've had ones that shot 20+ feet. Good for a giggle and a "HOLY SHIT!", but it sucks to have to clean it up.
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  6. PortLargo

    PortLargo Devotee (435) Oct 19, 2012 Florida

    FWIW, a growler is a poor choice for making a starter. Nothing beats an Erlenmeyer flask, but any glass container that can be sanitized properly will work (old spaghetti sauce jars come to mind). It helps if it's clear. Once you mix the harvested yeast and starter-wort you want to leave the opening so it can breath . . . cover with foil or saran wrap. You don't really care about the resulting beer (it'll be poured down the drain), but you want to off-gas the CO2 and allow oxygen to intermingle with the new-born yeasties.

    Here's everything you need to know about starters:
  7. JohnnyChicago

    JohnnyChicago Crusader (795) Sep 3, 2010 Illinois

    Sometimes I harvest yeast from work when I don’t feel like buying it. I fill growlers. You are always going to have pressure build up. I would recommend strongly against using swingtops. If you use the regular screw-top growlers you can crack it a bit and slowly bleed off excess co2. If the yeast starts to climb towards the neck of the growler, you can recap it and wait for it to calm down, then repeat. Start this process a couple hours before you need to pitch it and you should be able to avoid a similar messy situation.
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  8. GormBrewhouse

    GormBrewhouse Disciple (393) Jun 24, 2015 Vermont

    +1 to JohnnyChicago and no swing tops. I keep my slurry in swing tops and had a explosion not to long ago. Screw on is better, but if it's all ya got, fill to 3/4 full. Gives you a little room for expansion.
  9. Abk542

    Abk542 Initiate (69) Sep 26, 2015 Michigan

    Agree the swingtop was a bad move on my part. Update: I took care of the smell and just ended up pitching fresh yeast instead of the half starter I made. Thanks for all the help!