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Old 03-04-2012, 04:42 AM   #1
Eckythump
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Default Primary with no airlock

My buddy just recently became excited about trying homebrew. My 6.5 gallon carboy has a brown nut ale in it, so we went to buy him his own today. The local store only had 5 gallon carboys, so he bought a bucket with a cover instead (we now have a red ale in the bucket).

The cover does not have an airlock and is most definitely not air tight. I'm in the long primary camp, so would like to leave the red ale in the bucket for 3-4 weeks.

What is the general consensus on long primaries NOT under airlock?


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Old 03-04-2012, 05:17 AM   #2
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You can certainly perform the initial fermentation without an airtight lid (heck, I've heard of people just bungeeing a garbage bag over a bucket), but, no matter how much of a believer you are in long primaries, you'd be silly to leave it in the bucket for 3-4 weeks without being able to seal it off after the major off-gassing ends in 5 days or so. Transfer it to a 5-gallon carboy at that point, and start a new brew in your bucket. Then get an airtight lid and call it good.


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Old 03-04-2012, 08:27 AM   #3
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I think you'll be fine. I ferment in SS Stock Pots and typically leave my beers in primary for 3-4 weeks. No airlock, no airtight seal, just the lid and some saran wrap Once you have a blanket of Co2 on top of the beer you should be good to go. Just leave it alone until you are ready to keg or bottle.
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Old 03-04-2012, 09:53 AM   #4
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Well let u know my primary is like a big trash can(big white plastic bucket). It looks like a trash can after the foam resides I transfer to my carboy. It get rid of atlease half the trub. Then after 2 more weeks in a glass carboy it transfer again to another glass carboy then let it finish clearing. For me by doing this it allows me to transfer to my keg or bottles with minimum amount of picking up trub. This is the way I do it and I'm happy with my process, but everyone has there own opinions and procedures. What ever way you or your friend does it at else if your happy with it is the way you should do it.
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Old 03-04-2012, 11:40 AM   #5
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An airlock is just a vent....so whether it has one of some other form of a vent to off gass is all that matters. It can be a plexiglass sheet on top of a bucket, a pie tin, plastic wrap. An airlock is one of the most superfluous objects that new brewer seem to ascribe the most importance to....For long primaries, for short primaries for whatever, it doesn't matter whether there is one or not.
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:20 PM   #6
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They sell the grommets at Lowes if your concerned about it buy an air lock for a buck$ and drill your hole and add the grommet....
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Old 03-04-2012, 12:31 PM   #7
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I usually just use foil for primary and airlocks for long secondaries. I have found it to be very advantageous, especially for aggressive ferments. I don't rig up a blow off anymore since the krausen just leaks past the foil. Once the aggressive part is over, I replace the foil.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:15 PM   #8
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To be honest I canny think of a good reason not to use an airlock in primary. Thirds is because out allows you to control the points where infection could come from. If you are worried about blow offs then use two air locks with two pipes, this reducing the pressure on each lock from the foam, and if one gets clogged then you have another fully functional to take care of it. Maybe even use three locks if you brew a lot of high gravity beers.

As for secondary, it is a must! Also, starsan in three airlock is a very good idea!
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:38 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kyral210 View Post
As for secondary, it is a must! Also, starsan in three airlock is a very good idea!
REALLY? I haven't used a secondary since my 3rd brew. 18 total now. My beers are very well received by knowledgeable beer people.

I guess all the brewers who skip secondary are not brewing "beer".

There is no need to have an airtight lid. The infecting "bugs" do not fly. They fall. Unless you have air blowing into your fermenter you will be ok.
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Old 03-04-2012, 01:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kh54s10 View Post
There is no need to have an airtight lid. The infecting "bugs" do not fly. They fall. Unless you have air blowing into your fermenter you will be ok.
Yes. And the co2 coming out of whatever gap you have, even just a loose lid is going to push any of that stuff out of the way.


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