Fermentation FAQ: My ferment overflowed. Now What?

We often get questions and concerns from folks who are fermenting in a mason jar and for one reason or another the ferment has overflowed. Either they have brine spilled all over their counter, their airlock is full of cloudy or colored liquid or the water reservoir in their jar top device has dried up.

Common causes of an overflow are not enough head space or temperatures that are too high resulting in a fast and furious ferment. 

1) Example 1: Vegetable Fermentation Kit with Airlock

In this first example, the airlock on the jar top fermentation kit has filled with brine.

The best course of action in this scenario is to take the airlock off (cover hole on lid to limit air exposure), clean the airlock thoroughly with hot soapy water and refill the airlock with clean water. Then reassemble the fermentation kit on the jar.

If the overflow has caused your brine level to drop below the top of your veggies it is recommended to fill your jar with some supplementary brine using using a less saline ratio. (3% salt brine - 1 tsp. salt to 1 Cup Water)

2) Example 2: Ferment'n Kit reservoir overflow 

Ferment overflow Ferment'n
In this second example the brine has overflowed into the water reservoir of the Ferment'n kit. The best course of action is to disassemble the Ferment'n kit being careful not to spill the brine in the reservoir into the ferment (it could be contaminated). 

Wash the Ferment'n kit in hot soapy water. Leave the weight in place unless it is exposed to the air. If it is exposed, use clean hands to remove it and wash.

Use clean hands to push the weights down and release air bubbles. This will adjust your headspace. At this time you can determine if you need to replace some of your displaced brine.

If the overflow has caused your brine level to drop below the top of your veggies it is recommended to fill your jar with some supplementary brine using using a less saline ratio. (3% salt brine - 1 tsp. salt to 1 Cup Water)

Reassemble clean fermentation device according to directions correctly, being sure to fill water reservoir of the Ferment'n airlock.

Example 3: KrautSource overflow

In this last example the ferment has bubbled up into the water reservoir of the KrautSource and caused an overflow. We placed a plate under the jar when we began the ferment in case this happened and the brine is has been captured on the plate.

This can sometimes cause the reservoir to dry up.

Unassemble the fermentation device being careful not to not spill any brine from the airlock (water reservoir) back into the ferment. Wash your KrautSource in hot soapy water.

If if has been less than 12 hours since the brine overflowed you can pour clean brine from your plate back in. If you are unsure about the timing of your overflow, discard old brine and replace with supplementary brine at the less saline ratio of 1 TSP. salt: 1 cup H2O.

Release any air bubbles with a clean utensil.

Reassemble your clean KrautSource per manufactures directions. Make sure to refill the water reservoir with clean water. 

Over to You

It’s part of our mission here at Mountain Feed to help you make delicious, sustainable, homemade food more often. Stop by and say hello on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest. Or, as always, you can do it the old fashioned way and come by the store to speak with one of our in-house experts.

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