Beware of violent fermentation

This past Saturday was Big Brew Day. To celebrate, I decided to try out a clone recipe of the Arrogant Bastard Ale by Stone Brewing Co. It was a great beer to brew, it smelled delicious all the way through. And at 13# of grain, it was the largest all-grain brew I’ve tried.

Mash

The one thing that was slightly different about this brew, was that I was pitching the wort onto a now 3rd generation batch of yeast. I had about 2-2.5″ of yeast slurry on the bottom of a 6.5Gal carboy, which is a lot of yeast for a 5.5Gal batch of beer.

I had bubbles within 5 minutes of settling the brew down in my pantry. Within an hour, I had several inches of krausen.

I then went out, made a bonfire, grilled dinner, and had a beer in the backyard. Several hours passed, and I decided to come in for the night. One last check on the newly brewed batch. I found beer misting out through the airlock — the krausen was about 6 inches high and had completely filled the airlock, and the air was forcing beer to mist out and all over everything in my pantry. I replaced the airlock with a tube for blowoff, and ran that into a jar full of water.  The sides of the carboy were warm to the touch. Edit: not a good thing!

So, do not underestimate pitching a brew with a decent food source onto a large yeast cake. You will see a very active and somewhat violent fermentation, and you should be prepared. Set up for a blowoff, don’t try to use a regular airlock.

By Sunday morning, the fermentation had slowed to a bubble every 30 seconds. Under 12 hours. Wow. There’s now a regular airlock on the carboy. I can’t wait to try this brew.

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