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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Questions about the seal and airlock on my plastic bucket primary fermenter
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Old 11-14-2010, 05:50 PM   #1
mouse1999
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Default Questions about the seal and airlock on my plastic bucket primary fermenter

Hi there - I bought brewing kit that that has a 7.9 gallon plastic primary fermenter bucket with a 3 piece airlock.

I got everything into my bucket yesterday, and tried to put on the lid. The lid doesn't seem to be able to really lock down - so I put saran wrap and tape around the bucket to create a seal.

I then put the airlock on the lid - the challenge is that there is just a hole there, and no rubber ring to stick the airlock into for a good airtight seal. I put tape around the airlock to try to create a seal.

All that being said - I have a couple of questions.

1. am I potentially going to contaminate the beer with using tape and saran wrap to create a good seal?
2. For the airlock - should I just set it on the lid instead of trying to create an airtight seal with tape?

Thanks in advance for your advice.

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Old 11-14-2010, 06:44 PM   #2
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You are OK with the saran wrap, but the lid should snap on. If you are not sealing with an airlock, then don't bother with the saran wrap.

I assume there is a half-inch diameter hole in the lid. Are you sure there is not a black rubber seal in the kit. You can buy them for about 35 cents at any HBS.

If the airlock doesn't fit snug, then I wouldn't bother with it. Just cover the hole with something so nothing can fall in. All that happens during primary is gases come out. Maybe get a glass lid from a pan and use it to cover the hole.

Remember a lot of commercial beers are fermented in open fermenters. All you want to do during primary fermentation is stop anything falling in. Once the main fermentation is over, you will need to have the beer in a sealed container to prevent oxygen entering. I would say you are good for at least a week, or until kraeusen has dropped (whichever is longer).

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Old 11-14-2010, 09:18 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calder View Post
You are OK with the saran wrap, but the lid should snap on. If you are not sealing with an airlock, then don't bother with the saran wrap.

I assume there is a half-inch diameter hole in the lid. Are you sure there is not a black rubber seal in the kit. You can buy them for about 35 cents at any HBS.

If the airlock doesn't fit snug, then I wouldn't bother with it. Just cover the hole with something so nothing can fall in. All that happens during primary is gases come out. Maybe get a glass lid from a pan and use it to cover the hole.

Remember a lot of commercial beers are fermented in open fermenters. All you want to do during primary fermentation is stop anything falling in. Once the main fermentation is over, you will need to have the beer in a sealed container to prevent oxygen entering. I would say you are good for at least a week, or until kraeusen has dropped (whichever is longer).
Thanks for the response - I didn't know that about primary fermentation.

Yes, there is a half inch in the lid, maybe it's missing - I will check with the place from where I got it.

I have adjusted the airlock a couple of times to try to get a better fitting - it sounds like it's not as significant of a need in primary fermentation, but I would prefer to have an airlock there so I can actually see what the status is on the fermentation.

Regarding the tape - you don't see any issues with that potentially contaminating?
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Old 11-14-2010, 09:23 PM   #4
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Don't let the tape touch your beer and it wont be able to contaminate anything. Start saving at this point to get a new fermentation bucket, they shouldn't be more than about 20 to 25 bucks, and it will remove a lot of variables in your future batches.

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Old 11-15-2010, 06:32 PM   #5
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That makes sense.

On this one, since I have everything already set up, would there be a problem with just leaving the taped airlock on the fermenter? As I mentioned before, it's a 7.9 gallon bucket, so I just want to make sure that once it starts fermenting, it won't overflow or reach the top (and then touch the tape that I mentioned).

There is about 5 gallons initial volume in the fermenter.

Thanks again

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Old 11-15-2010, 06:40 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mouse1999 View Post
... I would prefer to have an airlock there so I can actually see what the status is on the fermentation.
Bzzzt. Wrong answer. You need to read the beer brewer F.A.Q.... where Revvy or someone tells you that an airlock is not an indicator of fermentation. Airlocks tell you that air is escaping -- nothing else. Pressing on the lid of my fermentor makes air escape, but it doesn't mean that if I sat there pushing on the lid all day my wort would magically turn into beer.

Hydrometers are the only real (quantitative) measures of fermentation.
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Old 11-15-2010, 06:46 PM   #7
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Those lids can be tricky to get on. I used a mallot hammer and lightly tapped around the edges until it snapped on.

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Old 11-15-2010, 06:49 PM   #8
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yeah I bet your lid will snap on, but sometimes you have to really give it some pressure to get it to SNAP into place along the rim.... don't be gentle with it, give it hell.

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Old 11-15-2010, 06:51 PM   #9
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you could make a blow off tube for the bucket lid. i have airlocks and a blowoff tube i use myself. i like each one, but each set up has advantages and disadvantages.

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Old 11-15-2010, 10:19 PM   #10
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I'm drinking an oatmeal stout right now wich was left 6 weeks in primary in a non-airtight container. No sign of oxidation to be found. Make sure to not mess with the beer, move it as little as possible and everything will be fine if you block all entry points for dirt, dust, drafts and bugs.

I do recommend getting a second fermentor that can be airtight though: with my buckets, after leaving them cracked open for a week or two, I can always snap them in place, creating a perfect seal. But for your first beer, there shouldn't be any problem.

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