I am cold crashing for the first time and I have had to refill my airlock 3 times in the past couples days. Is there something I can do to avoid this from happening? I don't want an infected cream ale!
As the beer cools the pressure will drop inside the fermenter and that is what is pulling the liquid in your airlock into it. You can fill it 1/2 way to the "Fill Line" to prevent pulling in the liquid as well use cheap vodka in your air lock which will prevent any risk of infection.
This happened to me but instead airlock I was using blow off with ~2 foots of tube. It was submerged in glass jar and fermenter sucked about 1 cup of disinfection agent..
I was pissed, mainly because I did't predicted it. Luckily there was no off flavors in that batch.
We are only 10,000 years into beer... there are thousands of years left to go!
Things are bound to change!!
When dropping the temp of my wort/beer in the fermentor, I leave the bucket lid loose. If I were using carboys I would spray some foil with starsan and cover the hole with no stopper or airlock until it reached the temperature I was aiming for.
I cover my carboy opening with several layers of paper towels or cotton gauze/bandage type material whenever crash cooling. As an added protection I dampen the material with starsan. I then secure it with a rubber band. This approach has been working well for me and was recently discussed in a BYO article.