fermenting in unsealed vessel

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by surfmase, Jan 8, 2016.

  1. surfmase

    surfmase Member

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    Hello community,

    I have always used a plastic bucket(s) with lid and airlock for fermenting. I've recently begun building a larger setup in a room in the cellar. I've custom ordered a 150L uni-tank, but it's taking forever to arrive. In the meantime I have a 100L stainless pot which is planned to become my whirlpool tank. I am wondering if I can use this as a fermenting vessel even though it doesn't have a sealing lid. I had thought of buying some small silicon hose and making a seal for the lid and let the building pressure lift the lid, but not sure if this is too risky. What do you folks think?

    Anyone successfully fermenting openly? I'm not trying to collect wild yeast like the coolships, or get any bacteria. What conditions are necessary for this to work?

    Thanks
     
  2. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    My first thought is that it's a bad idea. I know that buckets aren't necessarily 100% sealed off, but locking the lid on a bucket would have to be more protection than a lid just placed on top.

    if you were to do it, maybe use duct tape to keep the lid solidly in place in case you move it. Maybe leave an inch or two uncovered to let the CO2 escape.

    at any rate, i'd use a starter for any beers in that stainless pot. more yeast ready to go means less chance for a wild bug to set up shop in the wort
     
  3. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    open fermentation was used for hundreds or more years and will work "but" you will not get a true beer flavor like you buy in a store today because your introducing wild yeast and possibly other creatures floating around in the air into your beer changing the flavor, then you would need to separate the beer from the wild yeast and other bacteria growing on top, it can be harder than you think but like i said in the beginning, thats all that was used
     
  4. surfmase

    surfmase Member

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    I've read about and even visited a few larger breweries; sam smith, sierra nevada, anchor, magic hat, which use open fermentation. I believe most filter the air and keep positive pressure on the room to avoid problems. I'm not able to do that, and I'm also not interested in gathering wild yeast or bacteria.

    I have read many different forum posts about people using the plastic bucket in which the lid does not create an air tight seal, or in which the lid is not fully pressed down to make a seal, and these people report no problems. Like I mentioned before I'm thinking of taking a silicon hose and splitting it lengthwise to place on the rim of the pot to create a better seal, I don't think It'll be perfect, but hopefully good enough. As Mcnamara suggested I'll probably tape or weigh down the lid to engage it.

    Cheers,
     
  5. Ozarks Mountain Brew

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    even if you have a loose lid the positive pressure from the yeast will push out, the only issue would be when the yeast stop and if you let it sit for how ever long without positive pressure and or dry hopping for an extended time, I say go for it
     
  6. Basquebrewing

    Basquebrewing New Member

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    I would think that as long as the lid is on you shouldn't have much problem. Wild yeast gets in mainly through wind or dust falling into the beer. The lid would protect against this but of course yeast or bacteria could work its way in through the unsealed lid but this is unlikely. Also, when the yeast is actively fermenting it produces a layer of CO2 which acts as a barrier of sorts.
     
  7. wolfie7873

    wolfie7873 Member

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    Depending on your environment you may have no problems at all. It it were me, I would get several layers of cheesecloth tied over the top of the pot and just rest the lid on top (or maybe leave the lid off entirely). Lower vapor pressure over the fermenting beer can produce wonderous flavor. (You'll never get truly good banana characteristics in a hefeweizen fermenting in a sealed bucket.) I would not use duck(t) tape on anything I care about. As was pointed out, open fermentation was done for centuries if not millennia. The blanket of krausen foam and CO2 is pretty good protection from most things. A small amount of care (the cheesecloth) can carry you the rest of the way.
     

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