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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Purpose of airlock
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:31 PM   #1
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Default Purpose of airlock

I understand how it shows if the beer is fermenting but serve any other purpose ? The reason I ask is I couldn't find my middle piece when I finished brewing. I just placed the airlock and lid on. I trust it will ferment.

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Old 04-29-2013, 01:34 PM   #2
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The airlock allows CO2 to escape through a safe passage. Also does not allow oxygen into the fermentor.

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Old 04-29-2013, 01:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
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I understand how it shows if the beer is fermenting but serve any other purpose ?
Not reliably. What it does do, is prevent contaminates from getting in to the fermenting beer for example fruit flies or micro organisms.
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Old 04-29-2013, 01:58 PM   #4
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to prevent any contamination, you may want to bottle soon after the primary has died down

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Old 04-29-2013, 02:00 PM   #5
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I'd go looking for that missing centerpiece. That's the business end of the system. The part that acts as a valve to let co2 escape,but keep air out.

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Old 04-29-2013, 02:04 PM   #6
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I usually let the first few days in primary go without an airlock. I just put on some starsan-soaked aluminum foil. Just after high krausen I add the airlock. All you have to do is keep anything from falling in. After the krausen drops, it's a different story. Less protection up top allows o2 diffusion. But you got a few days before you need to come up with a new airlock.

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Old 04-29-2013, 02:06 PM   #7
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As an indicator of fermentation, it's unreliable. It's real purpose is preventing contamination. Without the middle piece you have a path air can take into your fermentor. That air could contain mold, wild yeast, bacteria, insects and who knows what else. Fermentation will still take place, but some of it might be by organisms other than your desired yeast. This could cause serious flavor issues. Or, you could get lucky and get a great tasting beer. If this happens thank the beer gods, but don't for a minute let yourself believe you don't need a properly filled airlock to prevent invaders!!

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Old 04-29-2013, 02:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Effingbeer View Post
I usually let the first few days in primary go without an airlock. I just put on some starsan-soaked aluminum foil. Just after high krausen I add the airlock. All you have to do is keep anything from falling in. After the krausen drops, it's a different story. Less protection up top allows o2 diffusion. But you got a few days before you need to come up with a new airlock.
I'm not doubting this works, but I used to do my starters this way. Then one fine day I checked on a starter in a kitchen closet. To my horror I found a trail of ants climbing up the side of the flask, under the foil and down into the sweet treat below. Needless to say I chucked the culture of yeast ants rather than pitch it into brew. I invested in an 89 cent foam stopper and haven't had a problem since. Not every contaminant "falls" in; some "crawls" in!!!
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Old 04-29-2013, 02:16 PM   #9
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Yeah,those lil ants or them pesky fruit flies!

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Old 04-29-2013, 02:27 PM   #10
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I have found ants crawling over my carboy this spring. The airlock definitely saved the beer from being infested. I believe there are some natural foods toucan place in proximity to the beer that will keep them at bay like garlic or coffee grounds.

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