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Old 10-30-2008, 11:23 PM   #1
Pelikan
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Default Airlock Suck-Back

This evening, I absent-mindedly put my hand on the lid to my primary. It was enough pressure that it forced some bubbles up through the airlock...but then some water from the lock was sucked back down into the brew! It's about day 11, so by all accounts fermentation is done or very close to being done.

The airlock had been sterilized prior to putting it on there, and I used spring water right out of the bottle...should I be worrying? Also, should I top off the airlock, as the level is now down by about half.

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Old 10-30-2008, 11:28 PM   #2
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I did that first time (5 weeks ago) and I panic posted on here too. You are about to get 25 replies from folks saying, "don't worry", "beer is hard to ruin", "welcome", etc.

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Old 10-30-2008, 11:30 PM   #3
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Okay, I am #2... 23 more to go! It will be fine, the alcohol and ph will keep it safe.

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Old 10-31-2008, 01:41 AM   #4
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I use cheap vodka in the airlock just to be on the A-retentive side. But it's probably not necessary. Most brewers use water and never have a problem.

Bottom line: Relax and have a home brew.

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Old 10-31-2008, 01:47 AM   #5
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This might not be the recommended thing to do, but I just don't fill my airlocks up to halfway. I fill them far enough up that there isn't an airgap under the inner cup anymore and it bubbles like normal, but there isn't enough liquid to get up to the top of the inner tube part to suck back into the fermenter.

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Old 10-31-2008, 02:34 AM   #6
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I just started using the 3 piece airlocks and I've noticed suck back on pretty much every use. I never had this problem when using the S shaped airlocks. Sure it would blow some of the water out on strong ferments, but that's better than sucking in IMO. It never blew enough out to not seal off though.

Mike

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Old 10-31-2008, 02:38 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yeoldebrewer View Post
I use cheap vodka in the airlock just to be on the A-retentive side.
+1 on this... Started doing this to prevent 'icky' water from being sucked into the airlock... If anything, I just end up with a cheap alcohol boost...

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Old 10-31-2008, 02:49 AM   #8
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+1 for the vodka

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Old 10-31-2008, 04:49 AM   #9
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Actually, I think the 3 piece airlocks are designed so that when filled to the correct level it is impossible to get suck back. At least mine seems to be. Is it possible that a lot of people are over-filling them?

I fill my airlock with starsan, and I don't worry at all if a little gets sucked in. Nor should you worry about a little water, atp or otherwise. Just be patient and enjoy your beer when it's ready!

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Old 10-31-2008, 04:57 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kungpaodog View Post
Actually, I think the 3 piece airlocks are designed so that when filled to the correct level it is impossible to get suck back. At least mine seems to be. Is it possible that a lot of people are over-filling them?

I fill my airlock with starsan, and I don't worry at all if a little gets sucked in. Nor should you worry about a little water, atp or otherwise. Just be patient and enjoy your beer when it's ready!
I fill mine with StarSan also. No worries. Suck back feeds the yeast.
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