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Author Replies
07/11/06 09:05 PM  
WTF, Paste out the airlock
I've never seen this before.

Sunday I brewed a Dubbel, almost all pils malt, a little munich, a little biscuit, a touch of chocolat malt and 1.5 lbs candi sugar.

O.G. 1.077, pitched White Labs 530, stepped up in a starter.

5 gallon batch in a 6 gallon carboy. Used the foam control drops, which seemed to hold the head down during aeration (aquarium pump, in-line sanitary filter, sintered stone). Pitched Sunday evening, this morning I go downstairs and find 1 of 2 carboys with the airlock full of brown gunk. Wheat beers are the only ones I've ever needed a blow off for before.

As I went to install a blowoff tube and clean up the carboy, the foam that had crept out of the airlock had solidified into a thick paste. I had a quarter inch of paste congealed on the outside of the carboy.

Anyone ever seen anything like this before? I'm stumped. Everything smells ok, but I'm trying to figure this out.

07/11/06 10:01 PM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
Its happened to me. I hate it when I trust an airlock when I should know better!
Mykel Obvious
07/12/06 01:34 AM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
I had the same thing happen last weekend with the same yeast!!! It pushed about 1/3 of a gallon of foam out of the airlock and created a yeast paste you could have made a snowball from!

1.076 Dubbel

WLP530 Abbey Ale

78 F

5.5 gallons in a 6.5 gallon carboy

I have just over 5 gallons left now... I've had a few brews spit foam into the airlock, but never one that gushed out so much in just a few hours...

Live and learn,


Jim Keaveney
07/12/06 09:56 AM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
"Anyone ever seen anything like this before?"

Sure. For me that last deadly combo I can remember was 1.080ish, candi sugar, yeast nutrient and WLP 500. No big deal, just a mess to clean up. Even the blowoff tube was clogging a bit with the thick stuff.

07/12/06 08:16 PM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
I've seen plenty of blow off over the years, but it usually is just foam that leaves a dried crud film. This stuff was the consistency of peanut butter and thick. Oh well, live and learn.
07/13/06 06:56 AM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
<<This stuff was the consistency of peanut butter and thick>>

Yep, that's the stuff! Peanut butter is the best comparison I could think of to describe it. I always figured it was a protein thing.

Jim Keaveney
07/13/06 11:05 AM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
Skippy has more protein!

Yes Mark, normal blowoff is much more common with high gravity beers, good aeration and good yeast volume. But we are talking heavy stuff here. I don't remember it being quite as sticky as PB tho, I thought of it more like quicksand/mud

Al B
07/13/06 01:12 PM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
mmmmmmmmmmm, yeast mud.

07/13/06 01:41 PM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
I'm not so sure yeast mud is the stuff Mark is talking about. I've certainly seen mud-like drop out, but what he is describing, and what I have experienced a few times, is something different. For instance, if you had a handful of this glop - which I hope I never do - it would not run through your fingers. If you threw it against a wall - which I would not recommend - it would stick and not drip even slowly. I think it might be a large deposite of the stuff that cakes up above the fluid line in your fermentor. Maybe yeast mud is this stuff combined with the slurry and other drop out like hop particulates. Anyway, at least for now I'm sticking with my protien theory!

Did you know fermentor glop has more protien than a balogna sandwich?!?

07/13/06 03:47 PM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
That's the same stuff that Vegemite is made out of, right?

"Did you know fermentor glop has more protien than a balogna sandwich?!?"

yea, and I rather eat the glop at the bottom of a fermentor than eat a bologna sangwich.

Brian Richards
07/13/06 11:01 PM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
My last two batches that I put in 6 gallon carboys I needed blow off tubes for. I just started using a blow off tube all the time now just as a precautionary measure.
07/14/06 12:03 PM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
It sounds like you didn't use enough of the foam control drops. You need to use two drops for every gallon of wort. I ferment in my conical fermenter within an inch and a half from the flat cover and never get anything into the airlock, even with some of the more explosive Belgian yeast strains that are on the second or third generation. The foam control works great. Prior to the foam control I've had to use a blowoff tube (which wastes a lot of good beer) or just remove the cover when it got over active. I've had an 8 inch yeast cake going above the top of the fermenter and forming stalactites down the sides. I've got a picture of it somewhere.
09/26/06 11:57 AM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
Sorry to resurrect an old post, but I just had this happen to me last night. Same yeast strain (WLP530), except it was about an hour after I moved it into the secondary fermenter. I'm thinking it was just from agitating the yeast a little while moving the beer, but I'm all paranoid that it picked up a contamination.
09/26/06 01:13 PM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
Whoa, you got stuff in the airlock from the secondary? You need pretty vigorous fermentation to push stuff that far, did you rack way too soon? My experiences with airlock paste have always been within 2 days of pitching.
09/26/06 01:42 PM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
I racked after 8 days in the primary, it was bubbling about once a minute before I moved it. I didn't notice agitating it while racking any more than usual, but I've never used this strain before either.

I set up a blow off tube, and it still managed to clog the tube and then launch the stopper twice before it settled down a little.

One thing that worried me a little in the beginning was that my OG was calculated to be about 1.065, but the hydrometer read 1.130. I just assumed it was somewhere between the two measurements, due to hop sediment in my sample.

I hope it turns out ok, this was the first time I've used the candi syrup as well.

Jim Keaveney
09/26/06 03:39 PM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
my OG was calculated to be about 1.065, but the hydrometer read 1.130. I just assumed it was somewhere between the two measurements, due to hop sediment in my sample.

Nice! Could be 6% ABV, could be 16%, or somewhere in the middle. I like it!

09/26/06 03:48 PM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
Holy smoke - you doubled your target OG!?! That makes it seem more understandable, I bet you still had plenty of gravity left after 8 days. I've never heard of fermentation being re-energized to that extent, but if it was to going to happen to any beer a 1.130 wort would be the one.
Jfisher The Noob
09/26/06 11:21 PM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
:) see new username.

I'm just as confused as you chaps. I went to my local brewshop, picked up a recipe and its ingredients there, and the target OG on the recipe sheet says 1.065.

I measure the wort, and behold: 1.130. So I go online and try a few calculations to see what I could find, and again, it says 1.065.

The only thing in the recipe that changed was the candi sugar. It was originally supposed to be one pound of rock sugar, but I ended up using one pound of the syrup. I plugged that into my calculations, and I still got 1.065.

Well here's the recipe:

2# munich

1/2# aromatic

1/2# oatmeal

7# liquid malt extract

1# belgian candi syrup

1 oz perle

1 oz hersbrucker

1 oz saaz

Jfisher The Noob
09/26/06 11:23 PM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
Sorry for the double post.

Is it possible that when I took the sample, the sugar had just gone down to the bottom of the fermenter and concentrated there?

09/27/06 07:26 AM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
Noobster, its hard for me to imagine sugar sinking like that unless it went in after the wort was chilled. This probably sounds like a dumb thing to ask but is it possible you did calculations for a 10 gallon batch then brewed 5 or something like that? Actually the recipe is not something I would expect to produce that kind of gravity.

Is there anything worth reporting about the way the sample was taken? Usually I grab some in the middle of cooling, what exactly did you do?

09/27/06 08:37 AM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
Did you do a full or partial boil? Often people who do partial boils and top up with cold water fail to thoroughly mix the cold water into the heavier sugar solution. This normally creates lower than expected gravity when people take a sample from the top, but if you had a thief and captured wort from the bottom I could see that leading to an overestimate of gravity.

Also test your hydrometer in 60 degree tap water, it should read 1.000.

Good luck.

Ross Lunato
09/27/06 09:58 AM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock

What was your final total batch volume after the boil. In order to hit the 1.065 you'd need to hit 5 gallons after boiling. If your final total batch volume wound up at 3 gallons, that would give your gravity reading of approximately 1.100.

Mykel Obvious
09/27/06 11:02 AM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
One other question: Did you measure out 1# of syrup, or did you use a whole bottle? A full 16 fluid ounce bottle is 1.5 pounds by weight...

Assuming you did a Partial Mash, plugging your recipe into ProMash for a 5 gallon batch with a 70% efficiency gave me 1.075 when using 1 lb. syrup... and 1.078 with 1.5 lbs. syrup... to get 1.065 from that recipe I had to drop the efficiency down to 27% with 5 gallons and 1 lb. syrup... (also can get 1.065 from 5.5 gallons and 57% efficiency and other combinations)... In this case, efficiency only deals with the Munich, Aromatic and Oatmeal, so somewhere in the recipe sheet the numbers are off to start with IF it is for a 5 gallon batch...

Adding only the 7 lbs of LME and a full bottle of the Candi Syrup should give you 1.063 in a 5 gallon batch

Yes, please describe your full method of brewing (Partial Mash or Steeping, etc.) and how you took your sample and what temperature your sample was when you tested for SG



Jfisher The Noob
09/27/06 11:47 AM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
It was a partial mash/boil (about 3 gallons) and I took the sample from the bottom of the primary after diluting it to 5.5 gallons with cold water (about 74 F), so I think oldsock's explanation sums it up.

Thanks guys, I'm glad to have found this board.

Brian Richards
09/28/06 09:33 PM  
Re: WTF, Paste out the airlock
I have had to use a blow-off tube for the last 5-6 belgian style beers I've brewed. I always get supercharge fermentations going when I make a belgian style beer. It has become common practice for me to use them for every beer I make now just in case. You never know what your beer is going to do.
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