Bloooown up, Sir!

Stripes-Bill-MurrayI had my first beer explosion!

Bethusela’s Lake Cabin Ale blew up before it was fermenting even 24 hours. The lid to the fermenter was blown clean-off and a few feet away. It might have hit the ceiling. I was storing it in Ada’s closet, which is a constant 70 degrees. The mess wasn’t too bad. There was some foam on the carpet and some hops residue on the wall, but luckily Randi’s wedding dress and Ada’s clothes escaped the splatter.

What went wrong?

I’ve been reading online a bit. A couple things could have happened:

  1. Foam built up so high, it forces itself into the airlock. Chunks of hops and grain clogged the airlock holes and prevented the carbon dioxide from escaping. The lip had to blow off.
  2. Wheat beers ferment with a lot of foam. Bethusela’s Lake Cabin ale is 50% wheat.
  3. High pitching temperature. I pitched at 68 degrees.
  4. High temperature during the first 48 hours. It’s 70 degrees in the closet.

What’s next?

I was thinking about just doing a TrueBrew Hefeweizen for the June 24th lake trip. But I think that would be admitting defeat. Something I will not do. I’m going to make some adjustments and try again. Same recipe, but with these changes.

  1. I’ll keep chilling the wort until I get it down to 60 degrees, then pitch yeast.
  2. Store the fermenter in the basement (64 degrees) for the first 48-60 hours.
  3. Use a blowoff tube instead of the airlock for the first 72 hours.

Bethusela’s Lake cabin ale will be made this week. A 6 week-cycle is still good.

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