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Old 01-11-2008, 07:57 PM   #1
saneus
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Because, as far as I understand (my knowledge, admittedly, is limited), airlocks are needed during fermentation for the sole purpose of letting excess gas (CO2) escape, would it be possible to use balloons instead? A balloon would serve the same purpose - it would allow fermentation to occur while letting CO2 leave the beverage, albeit not the fermentation tank. Or is an exchange of gases necessary for fermentation? I ask because no local dealers sell airlocks, so I would have to order online. I decided to check if I could use a balloon over the top of my fermentation tank instead before ordering an airlock. Thank you.
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Old 01-11-2008, 07:59 PM   #2
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sure you could use a balloon if you wanted to, just clean it first cause its likely dusty and dust carry bacteria - don't want that to fall in your beer
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Old 01-11-2008, 08:19 PM   #3
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I'd figure the balloon would fill up and fly off. Can you rig up a blow off tube instead? Simple, cheap, and should be able to get the tubing anywhere.
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Old 01-11-2008, 08:32 PM   #4
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I would go with a blowoff tube rather then balloon.
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Old 01-11-2008, 09:01 PM   #5
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Absolutely. If you have trouble finding a stopper with a hole or a tube wide enough to fill the neck of the carboy, you can improvise. My LHBS was closed and I had a violent fermentation threatening to blow my airlock off and make a huge mess. I just used sanitized plastic wrap, aquarium tubing, a milk jug with a little water, and some duct tape to hold it all in place.

I wish I had a picture. Quite ugly, but it worked.
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Old 01-11-2008, 09:09 PM   #6
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There are people who advocate using aluminum foil to cover the mouth of a carboy, too. Even simpler than a blow-off, but I'd still go that way. If you're using a bucket, the foil won't work, though.
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Old 01-11-2008, 10:49 PM   #7
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back in the day that's exactly what they'd use once closed fermentation was 'discovered'. prior to that they just put a piece of cloth over the bucket.
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Old 01-12-2008, 02:13 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gruntingfrog
Absolutely. If you have trouble finding a stopper with a hole or a tube wide enough to fill the neck of the carboy, you can improvise. My LHBS was closed and I had a violent fermentation threatening to blow my airlock off and make a huge mess. I just used sanitized plastic wrap, aquarium tubing, a milk jug with a little water, and some duct tape to hold it all in place.

I wish I had a picture. Quite ugly, but it worked.
Absolutely a terrible idea. Might cause your own explosion.

If you use a balloon put a pin hole in it first.
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Old 01-12-2008, 04:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99
Absolutely a terrible idea. Might cause your own explosion.
I did not express myself properly. I meant, absolutely use a blowoff tube instead of a balloon. If you don't have a proper blowoff tube, my aforementioned apparatus works for a temporary solution.
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Old 01-12-2008, 06:59 AM   #10
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A balloon would work. When I was a kid I used to make really, really gross wine with grape juice, table suger and baking yeast. Let it ferment in a milk jug with a balloon on the mouth. Its not somthing id do with good beer. A blow off tube is the only way to go.
Did I mention how bad the wine was?
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