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-   -   Don't trust the airlock (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/dont-trust-airlock-154690/)

bonsai4tim 01-02-2010 01:33 PM

Don't trust the airlock
 
Brew #7 was new years eve afternoon, made another batch of porter (4th batch)

1 1/2 pounds pale malt
1/2 pound chocolate malt
1/4 pound black patent
1/2 pound caramel 60L
1 cup instant oatmeal
6 pounds LME
1 oz fuggles hops (60 min)

did a partial mash with the grains--I'm still not very good at keeping the temp level.

boiled off too much--added about 1/2 gallon cool water to return it to 5 gal.

Post boil OG was 1.060 at 68F

put this onto the yeast cake (S-33) from the previous porter batch and bubbled O2 through it for 5 min.

No airlock activity for 36 hours, so I checked this morning--

SG now 1.026! looks like my airlock and lid don't seal very well,

don't trust your air lock.

t

Awfers 01-02-2010 02:21 PM

This is why when I put the lid on a fermenter, I gently press down on it to make sure a few bubbles escape from the airlock, that way I know it's working...

ajf 01-02-2010 05:35 PM

If airlocks were supposed to tell you the beer is fermenting, they would be made with voices or flags or something.
I always trust mine. They prevent infections getting into the beer, and nothing more. Judging by the number of beers I've brewed that got infected while being guarded by my trusty airlock (0), I can confidently say that they do the job really well, and they are much more reliable than I am.

-a.

cmoon 01-02-2010 05:52 PM

I'm in about the same boat. Started my first batch new year's eve and no activity from the airlock. Was doing my first fermentation in a plastic bucket though--and I don't really trust the seal on it. Given that I can smell the beer I assumed everything was OK, but paranoid was running high!

I finally called up one of our local home brewing shops and they said to just sneak a peak at the beer and make sure there was a big 'ol head growing on the thing. There was, and now I'm less freaked out.

Is there a danger of infecting your beer though when you open the fermenter?

ChshreCat 01-02-2010 05:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cmoon (Post 1779422)
Is there a danger of infecting your beer though when you open the fermenter?

Yes, there is. But not a huge one. So don't go peeking unnecessarily, but if you need to check it or take a hydrometer sample, don't be afraid to crack it open.

If I'm just wanting to look and see how the krausen is (opaque bucket) I just pull out the air lock stopper and peer through the little hole. Lets me get my voyuristic beer jollies, but minimizes exposure.

Awfers 01-02-2010 06:04 PM

Or get some carboys for fermenters..

cmoon 01-02-2010 06:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Awfers (Post 1779447)
Or get some carboys for fermenters..

I have one, was planning on using it for the second phase of fermentation; although I'm not sure I understand the significance of this other than that I'll be dry hopping at that point. Perhaps I could have done all of it in the carboy. Is there some significance of switching fermenters? (perhaps moving the beer away from all the sediment)

Alternatively, I could always pick up a second carboy I suppose. I can see why every batch of beer has people wanting to go out and purchase more gear/toys.

Awfers 01-02-2010 06:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cmoon (Post 1779469)
I have one, was planning on using it for the second phase of fermentation; although I'm not sure I understand the significance of this other than that I'll be dry hopping at that point. Perhaps I could have done all of it in the carboy. Is there some significance of switching fermenters? (perhaps moving the beer away from all the sediment)

Alternatively, I could always pick up a second carboy I suppose. I can see why every batch of beer has people wanting to go out and purchase more gear/toys.

It's called "capacity", a problem for each and every brewer, no matter how big or small their batches are..

Getting your beer off the sediment isn't a life or death situation, there are some valid reasons for doing it, but a major one is that a secondary fermentation vessel also frees up your fermenter for the next batch :D

Use a carboy for that too... Plastic is good, but can get scratches etc that can harbour bacteria that you don't want in your beer. Glass doesn't scratch that easily.

Rook 01-02-2010 06:56 PM

Get a better bottle, 6 gallon. You can safely ferment 5 gallon beers in them (plenty of head room), and they will not break if you accidentally drop them. Also, lots of rinsing with hot water and then sanitizer basically negates any need to scrub, thus potentially incurring scratches. I haven't had a krausen that I have had to scrub yet.

Revvy 01-02-2010 07:08 PM

Hmmmm, I think I might have mentioned something about not trusting airlocks a time or two. :D


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