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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Airlock Worries
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Old 06-15-2009, 08:59 AM   #1
Pwntang
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Default Airlock Worries

Hi all,

First of all, I'm a total newbie when it comes to brewing! I made my first batch on Saturday and it has been bubbling away nicely.

My question is regarding the airlock I received with the kit. It looks *exactly* like a 3 peice airlock, but it is only two pieces. The lid has a stem attached that goes down into the piece that fits into the fermenting bucket.

I have part filled the airlock with some water and put the lid on, but during the bubbling that has been happening most of the water has gone from the airlock. Should I remove the lid to refil or simply leave it alone?

I would take a picture of the airlock taken apart but it is on the fermenting bucket right now.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Pwn.

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Old 06-15-2009, 11:52 AM   #2
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Congratulations on your first brew!

You can refill the airlock-- no problem there. Sounds like you've got a good fermentation going!

-Steve

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Old 06-15-2009, 11:59 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pwntang View Post
The lid has a stem attached that goes down into the piece that fits into the fermenting bucket.
Hmmm, an airlock with a stem attached to its lid. Never seen one of these, but interested. Anyone have a picture?


Edit:
Google search found this that looks like the cup is attached to the lid. The only drawback that I see is that when you take the lid off to refill, you will expose the open hole to outside air. A very minimal risk. Also looks like it would be hard to fill without getting some of the fluid down into the fermenter. Consider using vodka when you refill it. Changes in temperature can sometimes cause the fluid to be sucked into the fermenter. Water has the potential to contaminate your beer, but vodka is safe.


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Old 06-15-2009, 12:27 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SavageSteve View Post
Congratulations on your first brew!

You can refill the airlock-- no problem there. Sounds like you've got a good fermentation going!

-Steve
I think it's going pretty well. It has slowed down a little this morning so hopefully everything is okay! As you've suggested, I think I'll add a little more water. I was more concerned about removing the lid and allowing contamination, but I'm also concerned that if I put too much water it it'll get into the beer. I'm hoping that after this first batch I won't be as worried - it's kind of the fear of the unknown right now because I don't know what I'm doing!


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Edit:
Google search found this that looks like the cup is attached to the lid.

Exactly right.


Should I push the lid on tight? I'm worried that if I do this the co2 has nowhere to go. Sorry for the noob questions! The instructions that came with the kit regarding the equipment were pretty bad. Are these airlocks okay? Is there a better type I should be using instead?
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Old 06-15-2009, 02:09 PM   #5
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The best procedure will be to refill your airlock without removing it from the lid of your bucket. Your beer won't ever even know what happened.

If you can't refill your airlock without removing it from your lid entirely, that's probably OK too. You said your beer has been bubbling, so it's already got a blanket of CO2 on top that will keep the oxygen out - definitely more than adequate to protect against the tiny hole used for the airlock.

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Old 06-15-2009, 02:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Should I push the lid on tight? I'm worried that if I do this the co2 has nowhere to go.
The lid should be engineered with either little holes, or a ridge that will prevent it from being put on so tightly that air can't escape. Double check, but I've NEVER seen an airlock that doesn't have one or the other.

Quote:
Are these airlocks okay? Is there a better type I should be using instead?
I use a one piece airlock. There's less to sanitize, fewer pieces to break/lose, and I secretly think they look cool. That said, your beer is MOSTLY protected from oxygen by the layer of CO2 it generates, so your airlock is one of your least important pieces of equipment. I've seen people use coolers as fermenters without an airlock, just closing the lid loosely and letting CO2 escape that way. (Don't try this, I REALLY don't recommend it! I'm just pointing out that it has been done.)

If you're unhappy with your airlock, a new one (and piece of mind) is cheap. If you like yours, don't worry about it.
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Old 06-15-2009, 06:14 PM   #7
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I think that I can add some more water without removing the lid fully. If I lift it slightly and move it to one side I think I'll be able to carefully pour some more water in. Taking the advice I have received from this thread, I'll pour a little Vodka in if this is the safest thing to use.

Thanks to everyone that responded to me!

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Old 06-15-2009, 07:53 PM   #8
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Yes, use vodka. if you don't have any on hand, create a sanitized solution, the stuff that came in your kit - starsan, one step or whatever you have.

Water (without boiling it for a few minutes) is not steril and will get sucked down into your beer. You've already noticed this as you need to re-fill it after just 2 days into fermentation.

With that being said, don't worry about it. Just make sure you use a liquid that is sanitary going forward.

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Old 12-21-2011, 04:09 PM   #9
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I had the same concerns. It's my first batch too. On the 3rd morning my airlock spewed foam all over the lid of my bucket. I had wrapped towels over the fermenter to keep it warm and dark. Anyway I simply refilled the airlock with the sanitizer solution. Can I expect my beer to smell the way it smells now? That would be great if so.

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Old 12-21-2011, 04:24 PM   #10
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I had the same concerns. It's my first batch too. On the 3rd morning my airlock spewed foam all over the lid of my bucket. I had wrapped towels over the fermenter to keep it warm and dark. Anyway I simply refilled the airlock with the sanitizer solution. Can I expect my beer to smell the way it smells now? That would be great if so.
it might, maybe not as strong.
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