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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > General Techniques > Air Lock vs. Blow Off Tube
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Old 01-08-2008, 02:57 PM   #1
goswell
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Default Air Lock vs. Blow Off Tube

Hi,

I read alot about Airlocks clogging and then pressure building up which can cause a big mess. The solution to a clogged airlock seems to be using a blow off tube.
My question is why use an airlock at all? Why not just use a blowoff tube for primary fermentation?


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Old 01-08-2008, 03:02 PM   #2
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I ferment in the cold range and rarely have a fast eruptive fermentation. I prefer airlocks because you dont have to worry about holding a tube in place. Just add a little star san and stick the airlock in.
Edit: I should also mention I have pets & a 2year old, requiring the tube to be HELD IN PLACE, they dont mess with the airlock.


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Old 01-08-2008, 03:04 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goswell
My question is why use an airlock at all? Why not just use a blowoff tube for primary fermentation?
Smart man you are...
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Old 01-08-2008, 03:04 PM   #4
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It all depends on your primary fermentation vessel.
If I ferment in a carboy I tend to use a blow off tube.
If I ferment in my Stainless stell conical, I use an airlock
If I ferment in my 17.5 gallon bucket, I don't use either, and go with the open fermentation method.

It really depends on your setup.
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Old 01-08-2008, 03:26 PM   #5
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I usually use a blow off tube to get through primary fermentation then switch to an air lock once things subside. The main reason I switch is convenience. A blow-off tube and bottle or bucket is two more loose items I have to work around in my tight brew closet and if I have to move the fermenter I have to move all three items together. Airlocks are compact and firmly attached to the fermenter so there is less worry.
But other wise there is no real need to use airlocks in replace of blow-off tubes.
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Old 01-08-2008, 03:50 PM   #6
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I personally like airlocks much better. So much so that I'm going to have to get a "huge" fermenter in order to do wheat beers without a blowoff tube. I just can't manage to keep the blowoff water "clean" long enough. Nasty stuff starts building up overnight and swapping that out every other night is no fun.
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Old 01-08-2008, 03:51 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Dean
I personally like airlocks much better. So much so that I'm going to have to get a "huge" fermenter in order to do wheat beers without a blowoff tube. I just can't manage to keep the blowoff water "clean" long enough. Nasty stuff starts building up overnight and swapping that out every other night is no fun.
That's why you use sanitizer solution instead of water. Even if it is water, I highly doubt anything would climb up into the fermenter. Even moreso if its primary with all that co2 pushing out...
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Old 01-08-2008, 04:05 PM   #8
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I switch to a blow off tube when I rack onto prexisting yeast, although I have never had any trouble really.

I did have trouble with my Cider though, as the carboys were really full. The one airlock filled with overflow. I never bothered to swap it out for over a week. Fruit flies were buzzing around and everything. It is fine .
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Old 01-08-2008, 04:07 PM   #9
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Something about an airlock just seems more sanitary-but I could just be neurotic. I use a 6 and a 6.5 gallon carboy and haven't needed a blowoff tube yet-so I've just gone with airlocks.
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Old 01-08-2008, 04:15 PM   #10
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I usually swap out from the blow off to a bubbler at day 3 or 4 as the krausen starts falling because even when I use sanitizer in the receiving bucket, it starts getting cruddy (especially if I had krausen blow off). At this point, running some hot water through the hose is enough to clean it. When I've left it for 10-14 days, water isn't enough and it's a PITA.


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