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Old 11-30-2011, 11:38 PM   #1
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Default Blow off tube vs air lock

I brewed a west coast IPA on Saturday and since it was a 5 gallon batch in a 6 gallon carboy I put a blow off tube on instead of an airlock. This appears to have been a good choice since the tube is full of Kroisen and the bucket is full of beer colored bubbly StarSan.

It has been 4 days now and things are slowing down so I was wondering - should I take out the tube and replace it with an airlock or just leave it alone?

What do you do???

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Old 11-30-2011, 11:42 PM   #2
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I switch mine only because I'm not confident in whatever I use for the other end of the blow off tube. I'd hate for it to get knocked over somehow and find it hours later.

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Old 11-30-2011, 11:44 PM   #3
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I switch mine only because I'm not confident in whatever I use for the other end of the blow off tube. I'd hate for it to get knocked over somehow and find it hours later.
Ya, if the blow-off tube is in a stable vessle you can leave it there for the whole fermentation.
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Old 11-30-2011, 11:45 PM   #4
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Leave it alone unless you think there will be a large drop in temp causing suck back.

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Old 12-01-2011, 12:23 AM   #5
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suck back.
Nobody likes that!!!!
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Old 12-01-2011, 12:41 AM   #6
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Either way is fine. Just be sanitary if you change it. I would also change the Starsan solution in the catch jar if you haven't just in case you get the dreaded suck back.

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Old 12-01-2011, 12:46 AM   #7
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I use a blowoff, many of my beers would have made HUGE messes without it and I think I will always use one just for safety measures.

I leave it on until I go to secondary, and see no need for a bubbler. I've never had suckback, but I use a large arc on my tube that would take a great deal to suckback on. Largest temp drop for me has been from 84F down to 65F.

It's less hassle to leave it alone too (nice plus), but the downside is you don't get to watch the nice little bubbler I do use a bubbler if I make a cider and then I can get my kicks watching a bubbler if I have the urge.

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Old 12-01-2011, 01:54 AM   #8
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One of the reasons I am thinking of switching it over is because the tube is 1/2" and a lot of gunk has passed through it. now when I watch it burping into the catch bucket, it will have a few regularly spaced bubbles and then all of the sudden it will do a big belch of bubbles. I'm wondering if the tube is slightly restricted...

I think I'll just change it over - and of course then I can watch the bubbles!

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Old 12-01-2011, 02:50 AM   #9
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The less you mess with it the less chance there is for something to go wrong...

I leave mine on for the duration of the primary. If I need to check, add or mess with it, I switch over to an airlock. FWIW I use good old tap water in my blowoff bucket because Starsan is sanitizing it why? and it is expensive... The worlds cheapest vodka goes in the airlock because IF there is a "suck back" I may as well be some tasteless booze vs. a chemical.

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Old 12-01-2011, 03:15 AM   #10
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I'm new at this compared to many, but, my novice perspective ...

I made a huge mess one time with a plugged bubbler ... my fault, but, I now always use a tube during primary and go to a vodka-filled airlock for secondary. I use water in my blowoff bucket with good results. I ferment in a room with stable temps ... maybe that is why I get away with water. Starsan in the bucket is a good idea, but, I've not needed to go there.

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