Airlock Liquid

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Andy_Burbank

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Can you put too much water in the airlock? I put too much and it doesn't bubble, if I just take out some of the water with a straw will it have been affected?
 

Psylocide

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I'd just remove it and dump some out.

Skip the straw.
 
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Andy_Burbank

Andy_Burbank

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Okay, but even if I never dumped the water out, which I will, does it affect the brew or is it just letting you know what's happening in the process?
 

Psylocide

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Okay, but even if I never dumped the water out, which I will, does it affect the brew or is it just letting you know what's happening in the process?
Honestly, I have no idea. Lol.
 

OkanaganMike

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The "water" (I use Starsan) in your air lock prevents bacteria and other nasties from getting into your beer while it ferments. The bubbling action is the pressure release of CO2 after the yeast have built up enough gas pressure (insert snicker here) to exhaust through the airlock.

Don't think you can put too much in as it would drain into your beer once it hits the top of inner tube. If it isn't bubbling, there's no CO2 being created which means your yeast isn't eating.
(You don't eat, you don't sh!t then you die ;)).

How long ago did you pitch? Could be building enough pressure as I said above.
 

Dovage

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No airlock activity doesn't necessarily mean there isn't fermentation happening. If it's a bucket check that your lid is tight. Best to leave it a few days then take a hydrometer reading. If it's dropped then all is good. If it's still at the OG then you need to rouse the yeast or repitch.
 

unionrdr

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I've done this before, darn trifocals. The Co2 pressure can build up a bit more if there's too much water/whatever in the 3-piece airlock. I just use a straw to extract a but down to the line on the side & it starts bubbling. During initial fermentation, that is.
 

mrgrimm101

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I've stuck a piece of paper towel into the airlock before to absorb some of the excess liquid. Everything turned out fine. The 3 piece airlocks usually have a fill line about halfway. I always put the airlock on, put the floater piece in, then fill to that line and cap it. Check it again in a few days to make sure it still has enough liquid.
 

m00ps

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The only thing that'll happen is some of the excess water will probably get sucked into the fermentor or bubble out of the top
 

PlexVector

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Can you put too much water in the airlock? I put too much and it doesn't bubble, if I just take out some of the water with a straw will it have been affected?
Okay, but even if I never dumped the water out, which I will, does it affect the brew or is it just letting you know what's happening in the process?
The amount of liquid providing back pressure to the CO2 is insignificant. You just don't want the vessel to breath (air currents, changes in atmospheric pressure, temperature induced pressure changes) in contaminants before the yeast takes hold. "Survival of the fittest" reigns in the fermentor and you want to give your faction the best chance to win. Plain water will work fine, but you don't want any of it to get sucked in. That's why most will use star san solution, vodka, or diluted everclear, etc. for the just in case scenario.

An "over" filled airlock has a greater risk of being sucked in. Yeast kinda like star san, and a small strong dose of alcohol may give a few of them a hangover until it dissipates into solution.

Spray some star san around the air lock, wait a minute, remove it, dump the water and refill with star san, spray the air lock, and reinsert. You could probably use this period to extract some wort and check the SG, but I would leave it alone for at least 5 days. Verify that your in the temp range of the yeast, adjust accordingly and give 3 days to react.

No bubbles could be a sign that the lid is not tight. Although you may not see bubbles when you look at it, it may bubble when you are not looking at it. Use a flash light and see if you see activity in the fermentor. After 3 days even if you don't see the airlock bubbling, I usually see yeast activity with the flashlight.

edit: Have you seen any krausen yet?
 

Francus

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I used water in my airlock for years with no issues. However, I now use cheap vodka in the airlock. That way if any gets sucked back in it isn't a big deal. I have never used StarSan in my airlock. I assume it doesn't cause problems if it sucked back in, but I just don't trust it. Besides, vodka is alcohol and I know for sure I don't mind that in my brew.
 
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I use either vodka or grain alcohol cut 50/50 with Starsan in my airlocks now. A little added insurance!...
It's not really added insurance though...

Cutting starsan by 50% means it's pH is likely too high to be effective.

And cutting a ~40% abv liquor by 50% means your alcohol concentration isn't enough to kill anything. There's a reason labs use ~70% ethanol to kill stuff.
 

unionrdr

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Well, my reasoning is that the Starsan cuts the evaporation rate of the grain alcohol. But still seems to get the job done very well.
 

GHBWNY

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With the 3-piece, I have never had pressure build up in the fermenter without CO2 being released unless it filled with krausen, which happened once (should have used a blow-off). Also, compared to the S-trap, the 3-piece offers very little chance of suck back into the fermenter.
 

OkanaganMike

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It's not really added insurance though...

Cutting starsan by 50% means it's pH is likely too high to be effective.

And cutting a ~40% abv liquor by 50% means your alcohol concentration isn't enough to kill anything. There's a reason labs use ~70% ethanol to kill stuff.
+1
BTW Starsan is completely safe, just don't drink it in excess lol
 

brewcat

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Eh...Suck back... Airlock water won't do anything to 5 gallons. I guess if it sucked back before active fermentation then maybe because you would have air exposure. It wouldn't be because of the water. Also consider you sanitize the airlock beforehand. The main thing is keeping the lock. Even some falling in later won't matter because you have such a small amount in an alcoholic environment.

Anyway I overfilled my last (3 piece) and just left it. Didn't do anything but maybe slowed down CO2 release. I guess maybe if you filled all the way to the top?
 
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