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Old 02-23-2012, 01:32 PM   #1
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Default Cutting a hole for Primary Fermentation?

The bucket that I was given my LHBS had a lid without a hole for the airlock to be placed in. I cut a hole of good size but there is one little knick that you can see where the airlock doesn't completely seal. I know gas will leak from this. Is this going to cause a problem in fermentation? And I am assuming that my airlock will not bubble now?

Also this is my first all grain batch! And I am super excited to see the outcome!

Thank You!

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Old 02-23-2012, 01:37 PM   #2
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Don't worry, it is really not that critical that the primary be 100% sealed. If it makes you feel better, wrap some plastic cling wrap around the air lock to make seal better, but anyways, you are fine.

Or you could look for a rubber grommet to make a seal, but don't think I would bother.

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Old 02-23-2012, 01:39 PM   #3
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A hole wasn't necessary. Plenty of us have used buckets with a loose lid to ferment. Remember, the only point of an airlock is to allow the co2 to escape or "leak" without letting the outside air carry other things in. But since you already cut the hole, if you cut it to the airlock size and there is a gap... I would suggest cutting a larger hole with a spade bit or hole cutter and using a drilled rubber stopper. That should plug the hole and allow for an airlock.

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Old 02-23-2012, 01:42 PM   #4
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usually the hole is cut a little larger to accomadate a rubber grommet. Even then sometimes finding the correct grommet is troublesome and over time the hole cracked on mine. What I did was cut a 1" hole (hole saw, not exactly sure on the size) and use a better bottle stopper with hole for my airlock. Works perfectly and the 1" hole is perfect for peeking and not opening the lid.


**Just realized maffewl beat me to it on the rubber stopper idea. Trust me it works perfect. My suggestion is buy the rubber stopper first then find a hole bit that matches before you drill.

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Old 02-23-2012, 01:42 PM   #5
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Actually, the concern isn't so much gas leaking out, as other things getting in... During the most active phases of fermentation, there's a healthy amount of CO2 coming out of there that should prevent other stuff from falling in (though it might not prevent small insects, like fruit flies, from entering!). But once fermentation slows down, or once you're into the conditioning phase of fermentation, dust particles could potentially fall into there. Unlikely? Sure. But it could happen.

Your safest be would be to find a way to seal that gap up - drill out a larger hole and install a grommet for your airlock, maybe?

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Old 02-23-2012, 01:51 PM   #6
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You can ferment in a bucket without an airlock. Basically the fermenting beer produces CO2 which is heavier than air and creates a barrier to help keep out bad things. This method might increase the likelihood of contamination slightly, but I wouldn't worry too much. About the airlock bubbling, I guess it depends on the size of the hole near it. The airlock needs pressure to bubble up.

I personally wouldn't stress about it too much, but you may want to move up in fermenter at some point, or fix the hole like mentioned above. Welcome to the hobby and the forum.

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Old 02-23-2012, 02:01 PM   #7
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I second the holesaw and stopper idea if it bothers you. Or if you can find a grommet of the proper size, that'll work also.

Though I seriously doubt you'll get an infected batch from that little knick, sometimes peace of mind is worth the extra work.

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Old 02-24-2012, 05:11 PM   #8
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Thanks all!

I will leave it be for this batch seeing there is no real opposing threat. Once the bucket is free I will cut a bigger hole (with a hole saw), plug it and drill to fit an airlock! I like to have things as perfect at I can get them, and yeah it just adds to the peace of mind!

Thanks again, it was all great advice!

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Old 02-24-2012, 05:42 PM   #9
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Soak a wash cloth or rag in StarSan and wrap it around the base of the airlock stopper, swap it out when it dries out.

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Old 02-24-2012, 06:20 PM   #10
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I found a spade bit run in reverse to be a good cheap tool for the job. Since rubber is soft I would try clean and round the cut with a knife to seal the airlock

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