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Fermentation Safety

by Alberta Rager
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Once your carboy is filled with beer or wine, it will weigh over 50 pounds.  Care should be exercised when moving it.  To make this task easier and safer get a Handle or Brew Hauler®.  This little bit of insurance can save a lot of pain.

To help prevent boil overs, keep a spray bottle filled with cool water handy.  If the foam on the boil begins to reach the top of the kettle, spray it down before it gets out of control and creates a mess on the stove to clean.

Healthy, happy yeast can produce quite a lot of foam during initial fermentation.  Allow adequate space for this vigorous fermentation.  A 6½ gallon carboy is suggested for a 5 gallon batch of beer and a 7.9 bucket for a 6 gallon batch of wine.

During the vigorous fermentation period, ensure that your fermenter is adequately vented.  Check the air lock regularly to ensure that they don’t get clogged.  A clogged airlock can build up significant pressure in the fermenter and blow the lid off a bucket, blow the airlock out of a caroby or even break a carboy.  If the airlock becomes clogged, remove it, clean it and replace the airlock.  If using a carboy, a blow-off hose is recommended during the vigorous fermentation.  Then when the fermentation slows, replace it with an airlock.

Don’t create bottle bombsby bottling your beer based on fermentation visability in the airlock or the number of days in the fermenter.  By using your hyderometer, the progress of fermentation and its completion can be monitored.  Once the target final/terminal gravity is reached, the amount of carbonation in the bottle is controlled by the amount of priming sugar or DMEthat is added.  This is a whole lot safer and far less dissapointing than having glass shards to clean-up rather than beer to consume.

This article was published on Thursday November 29, 2012.
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