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Thread: Bung blew off

  1. #1

    Default Bung blew off

    Hi,

    My first batch of trad mead is sitting in a 10lt carboy in the larder. It's been there for about a month. I planned to rack it into another carboy in a couple weeks or so as some sediment has now formed.

    Anyway, I went to check on it yesterday and found the bung on the floor. It had obviously blown off at some point, probably because of a hot spell we're having restarting a bit of fermentation.

    I don't know when exactly it blew off but I do remember hearing a sound from that room a few days ago and not being able to work out what it was so I'm pretty sure it was the bung, so it's probably been off for 2-3 days. I sterilized it and put it back immediately.

    The level of the mead in the carboy means that the surface area exposed to the air is small, only about 4 square inches (the area of the neck of the carboy), and I'm assuming that if it was a fermentation restart that blew the bung out, there would also have been a layer of CO2 sitting on top of it anyway. Can't see that any bugs or whatever have crawled in but I suppose a little dust will have settled.

    Do you think everything will be ok with it?

    Thanks,
    Mike

  2. #2
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    Ideally we'd all rather this never ever ever (ever!) happen, but sometimes it does. I had it happen with a wine batch once, someone walking by it in the kitchen knocked it off and I think it was off for a day or two, no bad effects.

    If you're concerned about anything airborne, feed it some campden tablets if you have any... But if it smells OK and you don't see any scum forming on the top or anything, it's probably going to be fine.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G

  3. #3

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    Wow, thanks for the quick reply!

    I've just pulled the top off and there was a pop and a puff of gas, so I'm guessing it has started to ferment a bit again, which I suppose is a good thing as it probably had a gas layer sitting on top of it for those 2-3 days. No sign of any scum and it smells good. Hopefully I've got away with it.

    Thanks,
    Mike

  4. #4
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    I guess it's time to put the airlock back on this one!
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by maykal View Post
    Wow, thanks for the quick reply!

    I've just pulled the top off and there was a pop and a puff of gas, so I'm guessing it has started to ferment a bit again, which I suppose is a good thing as it probably had a gas layer sitting on top of it for those 2-3 days. No sign of any scum and it smells good. Hopefully I've got away with it.

    Thanks,
    Mike
    Did you take a current gravity reading ? i.e. are there any fermentable sugars left ?

    Only because if it's finished and there's no sugars for the remaining yeast cells to munch on, it's probably more about the weather warming up, creating some internal pressure and popping the bung off that way.

    In truth, it's probably better if it's airlocked while it's clearing etc, that way any residual pressure passes out with no issue, just occassionally look to make sure that there's still water in the airlock and it hasn't dried out.....
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  6. #6

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    I have airlocks on my carboys I'm bulk aging in, even after the SG stopped moving, because ya neva know...

  7. #7

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    I think it was Chevette Girl that had a batch making bubbles for months despite reading dry. So ya never know what might happen in there... It's why I'm a believer in airlocks, all the time.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by Echostatic View Post
    I think it was Chevette Girl that had a batch making bubbles for months despite reading dry. So ya never know what might happen in there... It's why I'm a believer in airlocks, all the time.
    It was years, actually. With no discernable airlock activity. I still don't know what was up with that batch, but it did turn out tasty!

    I generally keep everything under airlock until I bottle it, although in a pinch, I've used triple-layer plastic wrap instead, with an elastic band holding it on, lets any pressure buildup out without letting anything in.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G

  9. #9

    Default

    I had a top pop at some point when I was on a cruise, so the best guess I could say when mine poped was at the start of the 10 day vacation. My basement, where I keep it, are far from... Well, my basement leaks when it rains and we have had stuff growing down there in the past. But anyways, it's turned out yummy. No problems with it, so i wouldn't be to worried.

  10. #10

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    Changes in temperature and ambient air pressure can be enough to pop a carboy's top. Usually I wire my bungs down, not too tightly but just enough. I also let my carboys sit for a long time under airlock, just to be sure that it's finished out.

    It's likely that there wasn't any lasting damage to the mead from the exposure to the air, although with all things honey YMMV. If you notice an increase in bitterness, this could be an oxidative effect. If it seems mild, it may age out. A small dose of tartaric acid with additional aging can help if the bitterness is pronounced.

    --
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    Dan McFeeley

    "Meon an phobail a thogail trid an chultur"
    (The people's spirit is raised through culture)

  11. #11

    Default

    Thanks for the replies and advice everyone.

    I think I might try the trick with the plastic wrap in future. The problem is that I live in a flat so don't have a basement or somewhere with a very regular temperature. Also, my 'brewery' (AKA the hall cupboard) has shelves wide enough apart for a carboy or FV, but there's only one spot where there's enough room for an airlock, and so that's the spot where I keep whatever's fermenting (wheat beer at the moment). The plastic wrap trick sounds ideal.

    Cheers,
    Mike

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