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Keith'sBrew

Has Your LBK Overflowed?

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After trying several of the Mr. Beer extracts, I now feel like I am ready to brew some recipes.  A hesitation I’m having is with the warning displayed on some of the recipes:  “WARNING: Due to the large amount of malt, your keg may overflow or explode! Maintaining proper fermentation temperatures toward the lower end of the yeast's range is key to preventing this problem. (See brewing instructions for details).” 

 

Is it even possible to brew some of the high-malt recipes (i.e. Gila Monster, Munic Malt Monster) in an LBK without it overflowing?  I do have a temperature-controlled freezer, but I wonder if this will be enough.  When I brewed the Winter Dark Deluxe, it almost overflowed and that was just one can of HME and one pack of LME.

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I have done recipes that have over flown

 

The lid is designed to allow for it.

 

When you put the lid on, check it so that the threads are loose.  Check your LBK at least every 12 hours through high krausen to make sure that if it IS over flowing, that the goo isn't clogging up the drainage system.

 

Also, if you can, store the LBK in a storage bin of some kind - "just in case" and keep a towel under it.

 

Fermenting at the low temp end of the range can help too - if you can.

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Is it even possible to brew some of the high-malt recipes (i.e. Gila Monster, Munic Malt Monster) in an LBK without it overflowing?  I do have a temperature-controlled freezer, but I wonder if this will be enough. 

In my limited experience, i'd say yes.  it is possible.  you do need to keep at the low end of the yeast range, and the controller freezer will help.  i've had two overflows, Big Red One just a tiny bit and recently staggerback stout.  Both because the temp control slipped for 24 hours or so (went over 70F), while in the first three to six days of fermenting.  Of all the brews i've done, once you get past 7 days, there is no real risk of overflow.  

 

did you temp control the winter dark deluxe?  what was your setpoint?  

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did you temp control the winter dark deluxe?  what was your setpoint?  

No, the WDD was the last brew I made before getting the freezer.  It was brewed last winter, in a pantry, with the thermostat set to 68F.

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I've never had a recipe to overflow.  I have had a high level of foam/bubbles during the first week but never enough to overflow.  And I've done several batches 8% ABV or higher including Novacaine that is over 10% ABV.  My strategies to prevent overflows...

 

1. I go by the RickBeer rule and after screwing on the lid to my LBK, I loosen it 1/4 turn.  This allows the small gap for released CO2 to be just a tad bigger and helps reduce any pressure buildup.

2. During the first week, I keep the temperature around my LBK (I have mine in a cooler with frozen water bottles to regulate the temperature) an extra 5-10 degrees colder.  This slows down that initial fermentation so it's not so violent.  I believe overflows are due to a high rate of fermentation.  Cooler temperatures spreads that fermentation over a little longer time.

3. After mixing up the batch and getting the LBK safely in my cooler, I do the "no overflow" ritual.  While holding a dead squirrel in my teeth, I hop around the cooler 8 times on my left leg, then reverse direction and hop around 8 times on my right leg.  This is the most important rule.

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I've never had an overflow when brewing at 65-68 degrees. As previous posters pointed out, ferment at the low end of the temperature range and you will avoid overflows. 

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Yes, it will overflow at some point.  Winter Dark usually does.  There are probably hundreds of posts on this - which is why people put their fermenter on a cookie sheet or in a tub.

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I just bought two of the winter dark from the sale. After I get them in the cooler I think I will do the "no overflow ritual" just for good luck. Now to find that dead squirrel!

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As already discussed, try to keep your brewing temperature 65-68 deg F. However, this is not an absolute. Keep a tray under the LBK. If it does overflow, I've found that a half twist of the cap in both directions will open the vents.

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Thanks for the advice.   I'll put my set point at 65F +/- 1 deg., do the squirrel dance, and unleash the Munich Malt Monster!


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everything depends on the yeast.  ive had fermentations at 65-68f that churned out so much krausen and co2 that the lid on a bucket nearly blew off with a gallon of head space.  ive had krausen volcanoes in a glass carboy with over a gallon of headspace.  the truly funny thing is ive had a batch with us04 go nuts one time... and under the same conditions behave normal another time.

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I just bought two of the winter dark from the sale. After I get them in the cooler I think I will do the "no overflow ritual" just for good luck. Now to find that dead squirrel!

 

Make your own dead squirrel. :lol:  :P

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I have brewed the Novacaine recipe (almost 11% ABV) using US-05 and it didn't overflow. It was even about 2.4 gallons in the LBK so the headspace was a lot smaller.

 

However, I just brewed an Oktoberfest ale (2.4 gallons as well) that should ring in at about 8.5% ABV, using Nottingham yeast, that I had the LBK spit-up a little wort into the bottom of my cooler.

 

As everyone else here has said - keep temps at the bottom end of whatever the yeast is capable of handling, and you've done the best thing you can from keeping the LBK from over-flowing (other than not filling it fuller than 2.5 gallons).

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