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Jun 08, 2022 View:

Fermenter foam with rye

I originally posted this in "Equipment " by mistake. Here it is again for those who do not read that area.

What are other peoples experience with rye and foam? I think I read somewhere it can be a problem.

I have been using 20% green rye malt + 80% unmalted rye, lautering and fermenting to make whiskey.

I recently decided to try 20% dried barley malt to see if I could get a higher alcohol yield. I got almost the same yield, but my fermentation produced a huge amount of foam. There was about 2 feet of wort in the fermenter and almost 3 feet of head space but the horrible sticky foam came out the top and across the floor. Fermenter did not get over about 28c (82f).

With green rye malt I don't get more than about 3 inches of foam.

I am wondering if "green malt" acts as an antifoam.


Reply:

Your problem is why they make antifoam. The 2 most widely available are Fermcap and Birko Antifoam 100. The latter is cheaper to use and more effective.

Eric Watson

AlBevCon


Reply:

Yes...just like the old movie "The Blob"....I started out with 200 Gals of mash and ended up with like 600 Gals of foam...used up all the "antifoam" I had.... Nothing seemed to stop it...dig up a protease from your favorite enzyme supplier and don't forget to throw it in before you head out the door, make sure you are within the temperature range of the enzymatic activity....seems like rye from time to time may have a very slimy protein that holds the CO2 and/or some other gas released in the conversion process...inconsistent as well, your next batch or another batch from a different supplier might be fine...


Reply:

Yes...just like the old movie "The Blob"....I started out with 200 Gals of mash and ended up with like 600 Gals of foam...used up all the "antifoam" I had.... Nothing seemed to stop it...dig up a protease from your favorite enzyme supplier and don't forget to throw it in before you head out the door, make sure you are within the temperature range of the enzymatic activity....seems like rye from time to time may have a very slimy protein that holds the CO2 and/or some other gas released in the conversion process...inconsistent as well, your next batch or another batch from a different supplier might be fine...


Reply:

Brian. I think you might have the right idea with xylanase.

A lot of people say Beta glucans are causing the high viscosity in rye mash, but my research indicates the main culprits are arabinixylans which should be broken down with xylanase.

But I am not sure if high viscosity necessarily means more foam.

My wort has very high viscosity, almost like olive oil, but little foam. The green malt may be reducing the foam.

Some of you brewers should have some ideas on this!


Reply:

well you want to break the viscosity down, too....seems that the little yeasties can't get to the sugar if they are enclosed in the slime of the rye protein(s). The ability to cool the mash to pitching temperature is also an issue if the viscosity is too high as well as trying to keep the fermentation from over heating and getting you out of the temperature profile for maximum conversion of sugars and/or starches that cannot be converted since they too are encased in rye slime. The xylanase drops the viscosity remarkably, too. All together now...."no slime = no foam"

Nope, ain't got no viscometer, so don't ask...