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Old 03-23-2006, 04:09 PM   #1
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Default Blow-off tube caution

While reading a recent post in which the writer mentioned using Star-San in his airlock I was reminded of a lesson I learned the hard way and thought I would pass it on so others might not to have to go down my same road.

If you are using a blow-off tube that runs into a container of anything but water, be careful. If your wort is warmer then the room temp. as it cools it will contract and suck liquid up the blow-off tube. the same happens in an airlock. I my case it sucked bleach water into an all-grain, double decocted Marzen and ruined it. The trick is pitching temp, rapid fermentation kick-off and WHAT YOU HAVE IN THE BLOW-OFF CONTAINER.

My practice since I ruined that batch is to simply use water in my airlocks. That way there is no real risk. Vodka works too if you are feeling paranoid, but water is going to do the job.

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Old 03-23-2006, 04:33 PM   #2
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yeah good point...i use a really diluted iodophor solution or just water. I used vodka once but all it did was attract fruit flies. I think vodka is good when your gonna lager at near freezing temps. (plus people think its cool, thats why i did it anyway)

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Old 03-23-2006, 04:39 PM   #3
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I've always used vodka (the extra cheap stuff) in my airlocks. I've noticed a little evaporation from the 3-piece style, but not the S-lock. Either way, I figure the 1/2 shot of vodka lost is worth it just in case it gets sucked back in. Plus, as Bjorn Borg said, it's fun to tell your friends it has been "vodka fermented."

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Old 03-23-2006, 04:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bjorn Borg
i just hope no one is using a whole bucket of vodka to stick there tube in...
Makes cleanup a breeze. At least I assume it's a breeze. I guess I don't recall cleaning up...I just wake up 2 days later and the bucket's clean!

[Edit] Wow, that post disappeared fast!
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Old 03-23-2006, 07:38 PM   #5
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one disadvantage to using vodka that i've discovered is you can't smell the beer as much! i enjoy walking by my carboy and putting my nose to the top of the airlock and smelling yeast, hops and malt - when i use vodka, all i can smell is alcohol.

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Old 03-23-2006, 08:08 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hunteraw
one disadvantage to using vodka that i've discovered is you can't smell the beer as much! i enjoy walking by my carboy and putting my nose to the top of the airlock and smelling yeast, hops and malt - when i use vodka, all i can smell is alcohol.
I do the same thing! I use boiled water in mine.
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Old 03-23-2006, 08:41 PM   #7
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Brewpastor, sorry to hear about the loss of your Maerzen.

I just use aluminum foil on the opening of the carboy until fermentation starts, ever since I saw the water in the airlock slowly rising.

Kai

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Old 03-23-2006, 10:08 PM   #8
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If you use the S type of airlock and you don't put too much in there then you don't have to worry, unless you are using a blowoff tube. I rarely use a BO tube as my headspace in my primary for the most has been sufficient.

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Old 03-23-2006, 10:11 PM   #9
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I've noticed that a lot people put too much liquid in their airlocks anyway(no matter if it's water, vodka, whatever).

A good test is to blow backwards from the top. If liquid gets expelled from the bottom, it was overfilled. After a few experiments, you'll get used to the correct fill level.

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