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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Lambic & Wild Brewing > How big of a temperature swing will induce oxygen into S airlocks?
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Old 10-26-2014, 03:34 AM   #1
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Default How big of a temperature swing will induce oxygen into S airlocks?

So I have some long term aging/souring beers going, and most have S Style Airlocks on them. Most of them are kept fairly stable temperatures, but I know that the S style will allow oxygen into the beer if the temperature swings are pretty high up and down. I'm sure people have measured this sort of thing somewhere but I couldn't find it. Anyone have that info handy at all? I have a few that aren't kept steady and am interested in this sort of thing for winter.
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Old 10-26-2014, 05:19 AM   #2
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This is going to depend a lot on your specific conditions like how much headspace there is and how full the airlock is so I'm not sure that there is a set number out there that one could give. I also don't know how much you ought to worry about it. I wouldn't be too concerned about it. If you were really worried about O2 pickup, the S type airlocks make a worse seal with the bung because of the way they are molded. Better bottle did a study about different closures on carboys and they demonstrated that. I imagine if the beer is in a carboy for a year or so that worse seal would allow in a comparable amount of O2 to some air being sucked in on cold nights, if not more.

If you really wanted to prevent that you could get a solid bung for the winter time once you know the beers are not active. Or one of those one way breathable silicone stoppers (but silicone is also quite O2 permeable).

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Old 10-26-2014, 07:14 AM   #3
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I've resolved the issue for myself by using Better Bottles with their $50 Dry Tap airlocks. Expensive, but I've had too many oxidation issues in the past due to dry air locks, vacuum suckage, rubber bungs popping off from pressure, etc. So far I think the investment is worth it.

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Old 10-27-2014, 03:32 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by davejanssen View Post
This is going to depend a lot on your specific conditions like how much headspace there is and how full the airlock is so I'm not sure that there is a set number out there that one could give. I also don't know how much you ought to worry about it. I wouldn't be too concerned about it. If you were really worried about O2 pickup, the S type airlocks make a worse seal with the bung because of the way they are molded. Better bottle did a study about different closures on carboys and they demonstrated that. I imagine if the beer is in a carboy for a year or so that worse seal would allow in a comparable amount of O2 to some air being sucked in on cold nights, if not more.

If you really wanted to prevent that you could get a solid bung for the winter time once you know the beers are not active. Or one of those one way breathable silicone stoppers (but silicone is also quite O2 permeable).
The issue with the solid bungs is that with a sour, it takes a long time for all activity to really cease. So I'm not sure that's really the way to go on a sour.
I know what you are talking about with the S style airlocks, some seem worse than others also. Some I have to almost push all the way down so the "ball" part at the bottom really sticks right into the top of the rubber stopper. Almost feel like a bit of glue around it would be best for a long term project on those... Superglue!
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Old 10-27-2014, 03:33 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dantheman13 View Post
I've resolved the issue for myself by using Better Bottles with their $50 Dry Tap airlocks. Expensive, but I've had too many oxidation issues in the past due to dry air locks, vacuum suckage, rubber bungs popping off from pressure, etc. So far I think the investment is worth it.
what's the difference on that one compaired to something like a silicone stopper like this?
http://morebeer.com/products/silicon...uFwaAsVw8P8HAQ
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Old 10-27-2014, 04:49 AM   #6
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Quote:
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The issue with the solid bungs is that with a sour, it takes a long time for all activity to really cease. So I'm not sure that's really the way to go on a sour.
I know what you are talking about with the S style airlocks, some seem worse than others also. Some I have to almost push all the way down so the "ball" part at the bottom really sticks right into the top of the rubber stopper. Almost feel like a bit of glue around it would be best for a long term project on those... Superglue!
Yeah, I know with sours that there is still activity for a while, but the active CO2 evolution is pretty minor after a few months. Many producers who are fermenting in barrels solid bung their barrels pretty early on. And I know a barrel will breath more than a carboy but I'm not sure pressure will really build up that much. If you are worried about air suck back in winter and pressure in summer then you could solid bung in winter (when the temp drop would overwhelm any CO2 evolution) and switch to an airlock as it starts to warm in spring/summer, with CO2 purging whenever you switch out.

The silicone stoppers you mention will breath a fair bit because of the O2 permeability of silicone. I would stick with the airlock and make sure it doesn't run dry but deal with any minor air suck back.
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Old 10-27-2014, 04:53 AM   #7
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Here is that better bottle study about different closure types that I mentioned:

http://www.mocon.com/pdf/optech/Clos...ge%20Study.pdf

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Old 10-27-2014, 04:57 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Matteo57 View Post
what's the difference on that one compaired to something like a silicone stopper like this?
http://morebeer.com/products/silicon...uFwaAsVw8P8HAQ
Silicone is very permeable to oxygen. It's one of the reasons they use that material for contact lenses. There have been a couple of studies that show this:

http://www.mocon.com/pdf/optech/Clos...ge%20Study.pdf

(Out of "Wild Brews" by Jeff Sparrows): http://www.homebrewtalk.com/attachme...-521505612.jpg
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Old 10-28-2014, 12:50 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dantheman13 View Post
Silicone is very permeable to oxygen. It's one of the reasons they use that material for contact lenses. There have been a couple of studies that show this:

http://www.mocon.com/pdf/optech/Clos...ge%20Study.pdf

(Out of "Wild Brews" by Jeff Sparrows): http://www.homebrewtalk.com/attachme...-521505612.jpg
Cool, thanks for the articles! I'll check them out!
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Old 10-28-2014, 01:59 PM   #10
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If the s-style airlock isn't overly full, it won't suck back in. Problem solved. You will have to have to check more often to make sure it hasn't gone dry. I prefer to use 3 piece, but have a ton of s-style and use those as well.

$50 airlock looks like a waste of money to me.

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