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PSA - How NOT to add lactose to a brew.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 4:23 pm
by yeastmeister
Ok, so I brewed a Milk Stout 2 days ago, Decided I didn't get enough residual sweetness from the lactose last time I did it, so I decided to add it to the fermenter. Fermenter was going strong for 2 days. This morning it was slowing down, so I decided to add the lactose.

I attempted to make a simple syrup with the lactose, but I couldn't get it to dissolve quite like table sugar, it was in solution, but the solution was cloudy. Oh well, its sterile and I let it cool covered all day.

I get home this evening, spray everything on the conical with star san, pull the thermowell, put in a sanitized funnel, and poured the lactose in.

To say I was unprepared for what happened next would be an understatement. FOAM! Lots and lots of foam, think shaking shaking up a bottle of soda and opening it. I reach down and retrieve the thermowell, thinking that I will blow the foam into my blowoff jar. I plug it in. Everything is working for 2 seconds, foam going into the jar, then suddenly foam starts to pour from around the edges of my sealed conical lid, all around!

I give a futile attempt to tighten the lid, then I just stand back, and wait for it to stop, nothing else to do.

In the end, it was entirely foam, lots and lots of foam, but I probably lost about 2 quarts of wort.

What happened? Nucleation sites. The small amount of residual undisolved lactose provided the equivalent of adding a Menthos to a diet coke.

Note to self, Next time I want to add lactose to the fermenter, do it immediately, before co2 has a chance to saturate the solution.

Hopefully this will help someone out some day.

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 5:10 pm
by Wombatpix
Hopefully, you cleaned up after yourself....

PostPosted: Wed Jan 19, 2011 9:35 pm
by yeastmeister
Yep, all cleaned before you got home. Sorry guys, happened so fast I couldn't record it. Would have won money on video.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 10:33 am
by jimmiec
Why put the lactose into the fermenter and not the boil? Heat and yeast are not suppose to be able to break the lactose down into other digestible sugars.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 11:32 am
by yeastmeister
Because the last time I used it, I put it into the boil. I found that a portion of it had not actually dissolved, and was left in the boil kettle. So I figured I would do the same thing that I do with chocolate, and put it in the fermenter. Its still something I would do, but I would do it at the beginning of fermentation instead of waiting 2 days.

PostPosted: Thu Jan 20, 2011 1:05 pm
by triple-oh_six
Don't fear the foam....

Don't cry over a little spilt milk stout

lol :P


PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 7:56 am
by thebuddrik

PostPosted: Fri Jan 21, 2011 10:18 am
by aleguy
Odd, I never had any left in the BK. Or maybe I just couldn't see it with all the hop residue and cold break. Either way, if it won't dissolve, it won't end up in the beer anyway.