View Full Version : eruption prevention

12-07-2012, 03:25 AM
Having an issue with my first traditional documented here. When I added the nutrients and started aerating last night, there was no problem. When I aerated this morning, I had a small burst of foam, but it wasn't anything too crazy, just a couple seconds and it was over.

However, as soon as I added the nutrients tonight I had a much larger eruption of foam. I didn't even get the chance to start aerating before all hell broke loose. Foam was pouring out of it for at least a couple minutes. I lost a noticable amount of liquid (as evidenced by the soaked towel), but nothing too crazy. I'm just worried that when I go to add the third round of nutrients tomorrow night that I'm going to see an even bigger eruption.

Anyone know what I can do to prevent this? What did I do wrong in the first place to cause this? Any help is immensely appreciated!

12-07-2012, 04:47 AM
Did you mix the nutrients with liquid before adding it? Always mix them with a little water or water/honey mixture before adding. The reason for this being that solids give vector(is that right? had too many beers tonight) points for the CO2 to coalesce upon causing excessive foaming. If you mix the additions with liquid and add slowly while stirring the foaming should be a non-issue.

12-07-2012, 04:49 AM
I'll give that a try. Thanks for the thought. I should have realized that ;) yes I was adding directly to the must without diluting it first. Hope it's enough!

12-07-2012, 04:53 AM
Nucleation points! that's the word I was looking for to describe the CO2 collecting. I claim the booze is the culprit and everything I say forthwith suspect or void.

12-07-2012, 10:17 AM
Mixing nutrient with liquid won't necessarily stop foaming.

Yes, it's recommended that you aerate/stir first but that creates nucleation points as any sediment is brought back into suspension. When a ferment is in its first flourish its best too stir very slowly as that can often release enough dissolved CO2 or at least make the foaming manageable then gently building up as the foaming reduces.

Only adding additional nutrient/energiser once you're sure that any foaming isnt gonna be a pain.

Type of fermenter also has an effect. Carboy type fermenters are best placed in a bowl or sink as the neck constriction is more likely to contribute to the problem. A bucket presents a greater surface area for the CO2 to be released and helps reduce the problem. Especially an over sized bucket.....

Stir plates can help as you can leave them running and any excess CO2 is driven off as its produced.

Etc etc etc.....

12-07-2012, 12:51 PM
yeah, I'm using a carboy and have noticed that! I guess for next time I will have to make sure I leave more headspace and top off once things calm down.

12-08-2012, 12:38 AM
...or use a big ol' bucket!! ;)


12-08-2012, 05:08 AM
Now that would just be using too much logic ;} Had much better success today.

12-08-2012, 05:47 AM
I know its one of those "6 of one, half a dozen of the other" type things, but often not knowing how much processing of the honey can be a PITA things as there's usually no way of knowing how much foaming might occur, but carboys/demi-johns do look nice if they have to be left out while fermenting.

So if that's what I'm gonna use and it happens to be the same size as the batch being made, I just mix up all the liquid ingredients then take the gravity readings etc but then remove a litre or so to give some air space and room for foaming. Then once its fermented paste the most active stage (maybe a week into the ferment) I add the reserved liquid back in.

That way you reduce the chances of excess foaming, eruptions etc but still retain the exact quantities/volumes for the expected gravity/alcohol content etc......

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12-08-2012, 05:54 AM
I will definitely have to do that next time. For this batch, since I'm going to be needing to add more honey anyway, it's probably a good thing I ended up with a bit more head room than initially intended.

Medsen Fey
12-08-2012, 12:39 PM
Antifoam drops - don't ferment in a carboy without them. ;)

12-09-2012, 09:46 PM
Antifoam drops - don't ferment in a carboy without them. ;)

Would you describe what an antifoam drop is? How much to add? When to add? I went to Northern Brewer's website, and did a search for "antifoam". It came back with Ferm-S. Is that what you are referring to?

Medsen Fey
12-10-2012, 08:24 AM
This Thread (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=15460&highlight=silicon) has further explanation of antifoam drops. The search tool on this forum can help you find answers to many questions.

FermCap-S is one brand of antifoam.