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Old 12-10-2012, 11:07 PM   #1
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Default Fermenting bucket w/ or w/o airlock?

I bought a beer kit from my LHBS, and I didn't know that the bucket lid didn't have an airlock hole until brew-day (didn't look all that closely, beforehand)

I called the store and they said "it's better without an airlock for primary". I assume it's not much worse than a bucket with a lid, but is it better?

I definitely don't like the lack of airlock since I can't see the CO2 bubbling away in an airlock, which makes me nervous that it's not fermenting properly (i quickly peaked after 20hrs, and there was about 3" of krausen, so it's fermenting)

Anybody have experience with both with and without an airlock? What did you prefer? And why? (this reminds me of high school essays)

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Old 12-10-2012, 11:10 PM   #2
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You have the bucket lid on the bucket, and the lid doesn't have a hole in it? How is CO2 getting out, or are you planning on painting your fermenting room with beer?

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Old 12-10-2012, 11:12 PM   #3
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Pretty sure the LHBS guy is full of it. Fermenting beer produces a lot of CO2, which has to get out. Otherwise the bucket explodes. Crack the lid a bit for now but put a proper lif and an airlock on there ASAP. Cheers!

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Old 12-10-2012, 11:17 PM   #4
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Its a plastic lid. I'd drill a 3/8 inch hole in it and add the gasket and airlock.

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Old 12-10-2012, 11:22 PM   #5
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Wow that is some crap information from a LHBS.

Go get a 6.5 bung and an airlock then use a 1.25 hole saw and cut yourself a hole. Just hit the lid and have a piece of aluminum with some star san,pop the lid and cover the bucket with the foil. Or do what suorangeguy advised and go for the small hole and gasket.

Depending on how well you lid seals you can literally blow the top off.

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Old 12-10-2012, 11:30 PM   #6
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....Brain hurts...
http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f85/beer-bucket-explosion-picture-373349/#post4669623

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Old 12-10-2012, 11:31 PM   #7
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I'm not sure how much beer the guy at the local brew store has made?? Maybe he just likes to leave the lid loose? You need the airlock and you will often need a blowoff tube in it's place for a while.

Even if you just left the lid loose, ( I hope he told you not to put it on tight) with vigorous fermentation you will have a mess on your hands.

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Old 12-10-2012, 11:32 PM   #8
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You don't need an airlock for that style of fermenrer, it's pretty common. You're just meant not to snap the lid on it, that's all.

An airlock is one of the most overated by new brewers, yet most superfluous piece of equiptment there is. Folks give it way too much importance. It's not a fermentation gauge, nor is it something mechanical that helps a beer ferment.

An airlock is simply a vent, a VALVE to release the buildup of excess co2, to keep your beer off the ceiling. Whatever means used to achieve that end is fine. The yeast don't care.

In this case, all you're supposed to do is leave the lid on loosely....if you're paranoid, stick a brick on top for weight, but it doesn't matter.

In fact many folks with arthitis and other issues don't snap the lid down on their buckets anyway, and may folks just put tinfoil, plastic wrap, metal cookie sheets or even plexiglass sheets on top of the bucket instead. It's really not crucial to be tight.

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Old 12-11-2012, 01:21 AM   #9
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Sorry, I should have been more clear. Revvy has it on the mark, the lid is not snapped on. It has a rubber gasket going around the rim of it which rests on the top of the bucket. There's a light seal with lid on the bucket, but a good burp of co2 will escape, without any problem.

I just like to see things work... but I think fermentation is one of those things where I'll just have to trust that things are working. I can see the kreusen, so I know it's fermenting... just gotta sit back and wait, now :|

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Old 12-11-2012, 12:22 PM   #10
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I've read of people fermenting in trash bins. To me this sounds absurd but I can only imagine that the krausen protects the beer, as long as someone doesn't come by and urinate in the beer.

I also believe that people get too carried away with airlocks. To me, it's just a valve.

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