The Great Bottle Opener Giveaway

Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Airlock question

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools
Old 02-16-2010, 05:07 PM   #1
tonkota
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Spokane WA
Posts: 108
Default Airlock question

What air locks are you guys having success with? What do you use for the fluid? I've read that water is fine, but a lot of folks I know use vodka also. I'd rather not use vodka because of the smell (you guessed it, I had a bad experience with it once).

Is water ok to use?

__________________

Arron - quality over quantity beer drinker

tonkota is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 05:09 PM   #2
jmick
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: SE Wisconsin
Posts: 145
Default

I use starsan in my 3 piece airlocks. I always have a bunch around when I'm brewing, and if some gets sucked back into the primary it wont affect the beer.

__________________
Primary:all empty
Secondary: 8/8/8 RIS, 9/9/9 Barley Wine
Kegged: Robust Porter, Oatmeal Stout, IPA, Centennial Blonde, Yooper's hoppy amber, Blue Moon Clone.
Upcoming Brews: IIPA, SMaSH, Black IPA
jmick is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 05:14 PM   #3
Brooklyn-Brewtality
Four Beasts Brewery
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Brooklyn-Brewtality's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Location: Brooklyn
Posts: 2,278
Liked 22 Times on 17 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

I use whatever bottle of the cheap stuff is closest. vodka, jack daniels, soco...

__________________

Kegged: Berlinerweisse, Dubbel, Galaxy Wheat
Bottled: Golden Strong, Mild, IIPA, Rauch
Fermenting: Saison, Imperial Wheat Stout, Brett Saison, APA, Brett Roggenbier

Brooklyn-Brewtality is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 05:15 PM   #4
Madtown1
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: Madison, WI
Posts: 35
Liked 1 Times on 1 Posts
Likes Given: 1

Default

I use three peice air lock on my carboys. They are great because they are easy to use and you can take them apart to clean/sterilize them.

As for the fluid in the air lock I have used vodka or water, typically just use clean water. I think your biggest concern here would really just keeping everything relatively clean/sterile and you really will not have any problems with contamination.

However, I do have a dopplebock and a maibock lagering in my garage right now... I was out of vodka, so I used some 151 that was in the cabinet. My concern was if the temps did drop enough out there that the air lock would not freeze...seems to be working fine.

__________________

“Drinking beer doesn't make you fat, It makes you lean....Against bars, tables, chairs, and poles.”

Madtown1 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 05:20 PM   #5
Revvy
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Revvy's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: "Detroitish" Michigan
Posts: 40,801
Liked 2708 Times on 1627 Posts
Likes Given: 3483

Default

What do you mean by "success?" The only thing that an airlock does successfully is to vent excess co2 so you don't paint the ceiling with your beer.

It's a vent, a valve to bleed off excess co2, it's not a fermentation gauge, it works "successfully" if you don't have an explosion....NOT if it bubbles or not.

Beers ferment no matter if the airlock bubbles or not.

Many folks just cover their fermenter buckets with a piece of plexiglass letting the co2 push out between where the plexiglass and the bucket meet. Others cover their carboy mouth with tinfoil. Totally ignoring the need for either an airlock OR a bucket cover.

A lot of folks, especially folks with arthritis, barely even put the lid on tight at all, they just lay it on top. again, if co2 is getting out, NOTHING nasty can get in. And that really is all that matters.

So all airlocks work, as does blowoff tubes, or using plexiglass, or tinfoil, or saran wrap, or just setting the lid on loosely.

__________________

Like my snazzy new avatar? Get Sons of Zymurgy swag, here, and brew with the best.

Revvy's one of the cool reverends. He has a Harley and a t-shirt that says on the back "If you can read this, the bitch was Raptured. - Madman

I gotta tell ya, just between us girls, that Revvy is HOT. Very tall, gorgeous grey hair and a terrific smile. He's very good looking in person, with a charismatic personality... he drives like a ****ing maniac! - YooperBrew

Revvy is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 05:33 PM   #6
Homercidal
Moderator
HBT_MODERATOR.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Homercidal's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Reed City, MI
Posts: 22,840
Liked 1902 Times on 1373 Posts
Likes Given: 1045

Default

I have both kinds. I use the 3-piece generally, but I switch with a bubbler whenever I think the wort or beer might cool down and suck the liquid into the fermenter. Like when cold crashing.

I normally use vodka in mine if I have it. If not, starsan, or water. Starsan is nice because if it gets sucked in, it won't harm the beer. Water could potentially have some bacteria in it.

__________________
Livin' after midnight. Rockin' til the dawn. Lovin' til the morning. Then I'm gone. I'm gone.
Homercidal is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 05:56 PM   #7
Catt22
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Posts: 4,998
Liked 57 Times on 55 Posts
Likes Given: 51

Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Homercidal View Post
I have both kinds. I use the 3-piece generally, but I switch with a bubbler whenever I think the wort or beer might cool down and suck the liquid into the fermenter. Like when cold crashing.

I normally use vodka in mine if I have it. If not, starsan, or water. Starsan is nice because if it gets sucked in, it won't harm the beer. Water could potentially have some bacteria in it.
+1 But recently I have been using carboy caps on my secondaries during the long lagering period without an air lock. I leave the small caps on the carboy cap figuring that as the beer cools it will contract and create some suction on the cap, but so what.

I do use the three piece air locks during primary fermentation. I monitor the air lock activity and this gives me a feel for how the ferment is progressing. This is blasphemy in some odd quarters, but it works for me. No need to fear the air lock.
__________________
Catt22 is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 06:09 PM   #8
tonkota
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Location: Spokane WA
Posts: 108
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
What do you mean by "success?" The only thing that an airlock does successfully is to vent excess co2 so you don't paint the ceiling with your beer.

It's a vent, a valve to bleed off excess co2, it's not a fermentation gauge, it works "successfully" if you don't have an explosion....NOT if it bubbles or not.

Beers ferment no matter if the airlock bubbles or not.

Many folks just cover their fermenter buckets with a piece of plexiglass letting the co2 push out between where the plexiglass and the bucket meet. Others cover their carboy mouth with tinfoil. Totally ignoring the need for either an airlock OR a bucket cover.

A lot of folks, especially folks with arthritis, barely even put the lid on tight at all, they just lay it on top. again, if co2 is getting out, NOTHING nasty can get in. And that really is all that matters.

So all airlocks work, as does blowoff tubes, or using plexiglass, or tinfoil, or saran wrap, or just setting the lid on loosely.
Pretty sure I wasn't asking if it was a good gauge or not. I just wanted more information on the types of airlocks and the fluid contained within. But thanks for the pointed and generally annoyed tone of information anyway. I posted this in the beginners section not because I'm totally green, but it seemed like a basic question that may come up.

To the rest of you:
Thanks for the responses.
I'd not thought of using star san in the airlock before. Excellent. Now I won't worry about buying vodka.
__________________

Arron - quality over quantity beer drinker

tonkota is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 06:32 PM   #9
Revvy
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
HBT_LIFETIMESUPPORTER.png
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
 
Revvy's Avatar
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: "Detroitish" Michigan
Posts: 40,801
Liked 2708 Times on 1627 Posts
Likes Given: 3483

Default

There was no annoyed tone. Actually about 20-30 times a day a new brewer comes on here in a state of panic because for whatever reason, whether it's because fermentation hasn't started, or fermentation has wound down, OR co2 is leaking out the side, or it's simply not producing enough co2 to bubble.

Brand new brewers have actually dumped out batches because their airlock didn't bubble, even when there was a krausen present.

So when you asked a question phrasing it as "success" I simply posted an answer that I post several times a day, an one that most new brewers actually don't know, too many new brewers put too much stock in them.

You didn't ask "Hey, what's your favorite type of airlock, gang?" You phrased it as "What kind of airlock works?" (That is implied by the word "success," to me.) And the answer is, they all work, but not using one works justas well.

I wasn't being sarcastic, or whatever you may think. I don't know what you know about brewing from adam. For all I know, you ARE one of those brewers who actually believes that an airlock is some sort of magic gauge.

All I know is you asked a question and I tried to give you some information, like I do everyone.

__________________

Like my snazzy new avatar? Get Sons of Zymurgy swag, here, and brew with the best.

Revvy's one of the cool reverends. He has a Harley and a t-shirt that says on the back "If you can read this, the bitch was Raptured. - Madman

I gotta tell ya, just between us girls, that Revvy is HOT. Very tall, gorgeous grey hair and a terrific smile. He's very good looking in person, with a charismatic personality... he drives like a ****ing maniac! - YooperBrew

Revvy is offline
 
Reply With Quote Quick reply to this message
Old 02-16-2010, 06:41 PM   #10
wetherel
Feedback Score: 0 reviews
Recipes 
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: San Diego
Posts: 55
Default

One problem I would like to solve with my airlocks is for long term aging of sour beers. During temperature changes I've seen the airlock reverse direction. I could solve this with a long hose into a deep glass of water, but I like the small plastic airlocks on top of the carboy with the plastic caps with the holes in them. They are less likely to knock over. Maybe the solution is simply to have less airpace in my carboy.

__________________
wetherel 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
Airlock question skyzo Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 3 12-30-2009 07:19 PM
airlock question, again shady oaks Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 9 03-04-2009 04:48 AM
Airlock Question newerbrewer Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 4 11-18-2008 04:52 PM
question about airlock IrregularPulse Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 4 01-28-2008 12:57 AM
Airlock question? PaleAleMale Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 11 10-26-2006 12:17 PM