What To Do When Lid Blows Off The Fermenter?

Question

So I have brewed a batch from hell. It’s an Oatmeal Honey Stout, it sounds delicious but I am beginning to think that I was never meant to brew it.

My first attempt ended when my glass thermometer broke in my wort. It was tough to do but I felt like I needed to just dump it and move on. I knew I wouldn’t enjoy drinking the beer with the possibility of glass shards in it.

So I went and bought a nice new digital thermometer and all of the ingredients again. Everything went great the second time around. Yesterday when I got home from work my wife tells me she heard a loud noise in the house and couldn’t figure out what it was. Well, this morning i figured out what it was. The lid blew off of my fermenting bucket. The air lock was full of wort and foam and I have beer all over the place (really not that much, but still a mess). I hurried up and put the lid back on. I cleaned out the airlock, re-sanitized it and filled it with sanitized water and put it back in the bucket lid.

Is this batch a lost cause? Is there anyway this beer will turn out? The lid wasn’t completely off but it did have about a 2-3 inch gap for probably 12-18 hrs. What do you think?

Answer

The consumption of sugars and oxygen as well as the production of alcohol will help give the yeast an advantage over other microbes but it is not a certainty. There are also wild yeast which can throw a wrench into the works.

I don’t mean to be a fore-teller of gloom and doom. Chances are everything is okay.

You really can’t tell much at this point, For the most part, you need to just wait until fermentation is complete and then bottle or keg your beer and then try it once it is carbonated.

The flavor and aroma should give you a feeling as to whether or not there was any contamination.

You, of course, can sample the beer when you bottle or if you take a gravity reading. However, it is really difficult to say much without the beer being cooled down to serving temperatures and carbonated. I’ve had beers that I tried at bottling time and I just didn’t think they were going to be all that great and they turned out to be excellent.

You can always take a gravity reading to check on the progress of the fermentation. Rather than risk contamination I generally just wait for fermentation to finish and go from there.