Spike Brewing 12.5 Conical Fermenter Giveaway!

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Is an airlock really necessary?

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 04-17-2009, 11:34 PM   #1
Beerbeque
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Sierra foothills CA
Posts: 464
Liked 12 Times on 11 Posts

Default Is an airlock really necessary?

Is an airlock really necessary or is a piece of plastic or foil over the carboy mouth sufficient? I mean after the blowoff period of course. After that, isn't their a layer of CO2 covering the beer to protect it anyway?

__________________

Give us this day our liquid bread

Beerbeque is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-17-2009, 11:54 PM   #2
blackwaterbrewer
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Location: virginia beach
Posts: 736
Liked 6 Times on 6 Posts

Default

try brewing without one and see what happens. i've never not used one, so i don't know.

__________________
it's not the blood you've spilled that gets you what you want, its the blood you share. friends, family, community: these are the most valuable things a man can have.

Primary-
Lagering-
Primary-
secondary-
secondary-
on tap- lemongrass kolsch
on tap- stout
on tap- small mead
bottle-sweet mead
bottle-
blackwaterbrewer is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-17-2009, 11:57 PM   #3
llazy_llama
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Rapid City, South Dakota
Posts: 2,885
Liked 65 Times on 27 Posts

Default

Assuming you don't have blowoff, tinfoil works just fine. I can attest to that 100%.

Plastic wrap, I don't trust. Tinfoil, on the other hand, works like a champ. I stopped using airlocks on everything but buckets a while ago.

__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catt22 View Post
I would never use a dead mouse in my beer. It's much better to use live ones. You could probably just steep a dead one, but live ones must be mashed. Actually, smashed and mashed would be best.
llazy_llama is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-18-2009, 12:00 AM   #4
llazy_llama
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Rapid City, South Dakota
Posts: 2,885
Liked 65 Times on 27 Posts

Default

Stand back, I'm going to try Science:

The bacteria we're all afraid of is not the well equipped army we all imagine them to be. They don't have aircraft, boats, choppers, troop transports, tanks, etc... They just float around on the breeze. If wind can get in, so can bacteria. They can't climb, fly, walk, swim, teleport, or otherwise move themselves. They must be carried along on air currents. Tinfoil blocks that. Airlocks also block that. Tinfoil costs maybe .2 cents per use, while airlocks can last almost forever if used properly.

It's your beer, do what you like with it. I will tell you from experience though, tinfoil works just fine.

__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catt22 View Post
I would never use a dead mouse in my beer. It's much better to use live ones. You could probably just steep a dead one, but live ones must be mashed. Actually, smashed and mashed would be best.
llazy_llama is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-18-2009, 01:07 AM   #5
EvilTOJ
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
EvilTOJ's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Location: Portland, OR, Oregon
Posts: 6,466
Liked 35 Times on 29 Posts
Likes Given: 3

Default

Wait until you get fruitflies floating in your beer turning it into vinegar. It's not precisely true that bacteria can't move. They can hitch rides on other things. And acetobacter just LOVE living on the bodies of fruit flies. And fruitflies love alcohol. In fact, they can metabolize alcohol fumes.

So yea, I will always use an airlock, especially during the warmer months.

__________________

There is a very fine line between "hobby" and "mental illness."

EvilTOJ is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-18-2009, 01:11 AM   #6
llazy_llama
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Rapid City, South Dakota
Posts: 2,885
Liked 65 Times on 27 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilTOJ View Post
Wait until you get fruitflies floating in your beer turning it into vinegar. It's not precisely true that bacteria can't move. They can hitch rides on other things. And acetobacter just LOVE living on the bodies of fruit flies. And fruitflies love alcohol. In fact, they can metabolize alcohol fumes.

So yea, I will always use an airlock, especially during the warmer months.
Yeah, I guess I should have mentioned fruit flies. Then again, I don't get them this far north, so I tend to forget about them.

Yes, if there are any curious critters (fruit flies, bugs, cats, dogs, etc...) they can bring bacteria into your fermenters. If you ferment in a closed area, and bugs aren't a concern, go for the tinfoil.


Edited: I wish I could metabloize alcohol fumes.
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catt22 View Post
I would never use a dead mouse in my beer. It's much better to use live ones. You could probably just steep a dead one, but live ones must be mashed. Actually, smashed and mashed would be best.
llazy_llama is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-18-2009, 01:17 AM   #7
Chad
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Chad's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Location: Apex, NC
Posts: 1,036
Liked 11 Times on 10 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by llazy_llama View Post
Stand back, I'm going to try Science:
You get bonus points for the XKCD reference. Nicely done.

Chad
__________________
Chad Ward
An Edge in the Kitchen
William Morrow Cookbooks
www.chadwrites.com
Chad is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-18-2009, 01:18 AM   #8
llazy_llama
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Rapid City, South Dakota
Posts: 2,885
Liked 65 Times on 27 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chad View Post
You get bonus points for the XKCD reference. Nicely done.

Chad
And you get bonus points for catching it!
__________________
Quote:
Originally Posted by Catt22 View Post
I would never use a dead mouse in my beer. It's much better to use live ones. You could probably just steep a dead one, but live ones must be mashed. Actually, smashed and mashed would be best.
llazy_llama is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-18-2009, 01:24 AM   #9
GoBrewers
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Posts: 72
Default

There is a layer of CO2 protecting your beer, but its not going to stay there without an airlock. If you only use foil, you're allowing the headspace to reach equilibrium with the surrounding atmosphere, meaning CO2 out, room air in. And oxidized beer.

An airlock is like 2 bucks. Why not use one?

__________________

GoBrewers

GoBrewers is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 04-18-2009, 01:29 AM   #10
yermej
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Cape Girardeau, MO
Posts: 306
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by GoBrewers View Post
There is a layer of CO2 protecting your beer, but its not going to stay there without an airlock. If you only use foil, you're allowing the headspace to reach equilibrium with the surrounding atmosphere, meaning CO2 out, room air in. And oxidized beer.

An airlock is like 2 bucks. Why not use one?
CO2 is heavier than air. It will just sit on top of the beer unless there are currents to move it. There are several people here who use foil and have no issues with it.
__________________
yermej is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Reply


Quick Reply
Message:
Options
Thread Tools


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Secondary in the Keg - Airlock or No Airlock? Chello Bottling/Kegging 12 03-26-2012 11:41 AM
Noob: To airlock or not to airlock the primary? Gabrew Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 14 03-29-2011 06:28 PM
S airlock woopig Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 7 08-24-2009 12:38 AM
airlock galaxyglass Equipment/Sanitation 16 09-30-2008 03:22 PM
No Airlock Dark_Ale Wine Making Forum 7 07-24-2007 03:45 PM