When you think about improving your homebrewing skills one might think about controlling the sparge better, fermentation temperatures or sanitation methods. But sometimes it’s the little things that one might forget or even just “blow-off” (pun intended) because you think you know better…..WRONG, at least for me.
This last weekend’s brew was a perfect example. I brewed a stout, using a recipe I have used in the past.
The yeast starter was really not doing much at the time of pitching and I was a little concerned that maybe the yeast (or something I did) was bad. I pitched the yeast in the afternoon, and when I went to bed there was still no activity. Now I was really thinking the yeast was not going to kick in. When I checked it the next morning, there was a slight pulse in the airlock. Good news, but I still was not too confident and was considering pitching some additional yeast that evening.
Fast forward to about 10pm that night, after being gone all day and came home tired and ready for bed, a quick check on the fermenter…..not pretty. The lid was popped off brown crud was sprayed across the walls, boxes, etc. So I quickly sealed up the fermenter and began working on assembling a blow-off. Lucky for me, all my gear is clean, ready to go and easy to get at. I had the blow-off installed in about 5 minutes. No need to clean up that night; I was just more concerned that the fermentation would be affected.
The next morning, I could hear the blow-off bubbling away while I lay in bed.
At this point I’m feeling a little better about things until my wife comments, “didn’t the fermenter go crazy last time you brewed this beer” Doh!!! “Why yes, yes it did”, I said sheepishly. I knew better, but mistook a slow start to be some sort of change in how the fermentation would go. Total dumb-ass move on my part, I should have done what I knew was right.
Well I guess sometimes we need to get kicked in the head to remind us that everyone can make mistakes, use poor judgment or just ignore the correct procedures.