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Airlock: What do you fill it with? Why?

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Old_Brewer

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(1) I'm curious as to what you fill your airlock with?

(2) Why or from whom did you learn to fill it that way?

Thanks
 

brewt00l

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Water, Starsan, oxiclean or cheap alcohol....depends on what's convenient at that moment and how long the airlock is going to be in use.
 

Seabee John

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been using water so far.... thinking about using vodka like everyone else. makes sense.
 

Glibbidy

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Been using water in the airlocks since 1991, and haven't run into any issues yet, even with fluctuations in AP.
IIRC I read about using it in one of the Papizan books.
 

abracadabra

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The same San Star solution I use for sanitation.

Why?

It makes the most sense economically to me. And if a little San Star were to get sucked into the wort it would provide some yeast nutirents.
 

Evan!

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abracadabra said:
The same San Star solution I use for sanitation.

Why?

It makes the most sense economically to me. And if a little San Star were to get sucked into the wort it would provide some yeast nutirents.
Really? Do you also use anti-foaming agent? Because whenever I've used star-san, at least during the primary ferment when airlock activity is vigorous, the constant bubbling makes the starsan foam up (like it's supposed to) and after awhile, enough foams out of the airlock to break the positive liquid seal. I've gotten to just using the cheapest, most neutral shyte liquor I have laying around.
 

Desert_Sky

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water


filled close to 100 airlocks with nothing but water and have never had an issue. But keep wasting that vodka if you guys want to.
 

abracadabra

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Evan! said:
Really? Do you also use anti-foaming agent? Because whenever I've used star-san, at least during the primary ferment when airlock activity is vigorous, the constant bubbling makes the starsan foam up (like it's supposed to) and after awhile, enough foams out of the airlock to break the positive liquid seal. I've gotten to just using the cheapest, most neutral shyte liquor I have laying around.
No, I'll use a blow off tube during extremely vigorous activity the first 24-48 hrs. Then put the air lock in once it subsides.
 

Evan!

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Chimone said:
water


filled close to 100 airlocks with nothing but water and have never had an issue. But keep wasting that vodka if you guys want to.
It's a precautionary measure for me---I use it mostly on batches where there will be a bunch of thermal change, such as when I'm cold conditioning or lagering. I've not had anything infected from water, but really, Popov vodka is just slightly more expensive than water. I wouldn't consider it a waste. Anyway, right now, I'm using an old bottle of Bols Corenwyn that someone left at my house one time.
 

Desert_Sky

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Evan! said:
It's a precautionary measure for me---I use it mostly on batches where there will be a bunch of thermal change, such as when I'm cold conditioning or lagering. I've not had anything infected from water, but really, Popov vodka is just slightly more expensive than water. I wouldn't consider it a waste. Anyway, right now, I'm using an old bottle of Bols Corenwyn that someone left at my house one time.

good point, Popov really is cheap as hell. Point is though, I can see an infection taking hold if you were to have a lag time of a few days. But once your beer is fermenting it really is alot harder to infect than most may think.

It's just not a very hospitable environment for nasties to take hold while fermentation is going on. And since most of us use dry yeast or a starter as Im sure you do, our lag times are only a few hours.

But theres nothing wrong with being cautious. Brewing takes some time, and it would be ashamed to have it all go to waste because of an infection.
 

brewnman

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Cheap Vodka

Read about it on these forums. I am using a cheap bottle that some one brought over to my house that I wouldn't touch with a 10' pole.
 

TexLaw

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Usually, it's just water for me, too, and I don't fill it until I start to get some sort of fermentation activity. I've also put StarSan and iodophore solutions in the airlock, just for grins. You're right that you need to keep an eye on that StarSan, as it will bubble out.


TL
 

Evan!

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Chimone said:
good point, Popov really is cheap as hell. Point is though, I can see an infection taking hold if you were to have a lag time of a few days. But once your beer is fermenting it really is alot harder to infect than most may think.

It's just not a very hospitable environment for nasties to take hold while fermentation is going on. And since most of us use dry yeast or a starter as Im sure you do, our lag times are only a few hours.

But theres nothing wrong with being cautious. Brewing takes some time, and it would be ashamed to have it all go to waste because of an infection.
I've had ~3 infected batches---granted they all got infected somehow at bottling, but regardless, I'm careful wherever it's prudent.
 

Joker

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Lately I have been using Gin, someone drank my Vodka.
 

abracadabra

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brewnman said:
Cheap Vodka

Read about it on these forums. I am using a cheap bottle that some one brought over to my house that I wouldn't touch with a 10' pole.

:off:
If you'll run your cheap vodka or whisky thru a carbon filter such as a brita water filter pitcher you can convert your cheap liquor into premium liquor. That's the main difference between premium and cheap vodka and whisky anyway. Why pay big $ for someone else to filter your whisky.
 

krispy d

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^ I think I saw that on MythBusters once...

Uh, water here. But I have used iodopher a few times, just cause I had some mixed up still when racking. Never had a problem in ten plus years of brewing. (knock on wood)
 

RockfordWhite

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Well, this is kinda off topic, but atleast i didn't start it. As for running it through a filter, i believe the mythbusters busted that one.

I did it once my Sophomore year of college, from what I remember (and i'm not making a pun at being crazy drunk) it still tasted like shyt, but alot of the harshness was gone, so it didn't sting nearly as much.

Also if you decide to filter cheap whiskey, it comes out clear, because cheap whiskey is not really whiskey, just a bunch of other liquors blended to taste like whiskey then died whiskey color.

Oh and beware and DO NOT smell the filter when you are done....i got a 20 min headache worse then any hangover i ever had, it was terrible...

On-Topic: Water...
 

abracadabra

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RockfordWhite said:
Well, this is kinda off topic, but atleast i didn't start it. As for running it through a filter, i believe the mythbusters busted that one.

I did it once my Sophomore year of college, from what I remember (and i'm not making a pun at being crazy drunk) it still tasted like shyt, but alot of the harshness was gone, so it didn't sting nearly as much.

Also if you decide to filter cheap whiskey, it comes out clear, because cheap whiskey is not really whiskey, just a bunch of other liquors blended to taste like whiskey then died whiskey color.

Oh and beware and DO NOT smell the filter when you are done....i got a 20 min headache worse then any hangover i ever had, it was terrible...

On-Topic: Water...
http://www.ehow.com/how_2041159_improve-vodka-filter.html?ref=fuel

http://www.elephantstaircase.com/wiki/index.php?title=BritaFilteredVodka

Mythbusters concluded that it did improve the flavor. They questioned the economics. Which if you used it one time for 1 bottle of liquor then it's not economical. But that would be like filtering 1 pitcher of water and throwing the pitcher and filter away.

These guys also thought it improved the smell and taste.

http://www.bulletinboardforum.com/m/vodka.php

Just like wine snobs think expensive wine is better so to do buyers of expensive liquor.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7187577.stm

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=4131348&page=1
 

cubbies

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Sometimes vodka, sometimes starsan. Really just depends which one is closer. I don't typically use cheap vodka though. I don't drink vodka, but I have a couple of friends who do. Every now and again they will bring a little bottle of vodka over, have a drink or two out of it, and then leave without it. Since I don't drink the stuff, well...my airlocks typically get Absolute, Grey Goose, or Skyy. :eek:
 

Chriso

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I'll trade you, cubbies. You take my 3-year-old bottle of Barton's and I'll finish off all your friends' extra Absolut or Grey Goose etc. :D

Vodka here. I'm too old to drink Barton's any more. When I run out, I'll find a new plan. I'm sure I picked this up from EdWort.
 

Rhoobarb

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Iodophor solution. My equipment, including my airlock and stopper, is already floating in it at the end of any brew session, so why not use it? I don't drink hard liquor, so I never have any vodka, cheap or otherwise, around the house.

Before I switched to Iodophor, I used water and a thimble's worth of 99% isopropyl rubbing alcohol.
 

RockfordWhite

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abracadabra said:
http://www.ehow.com/how_2041159_improve-vodka-filter.html?ref=fuel

http://www.elephantstaircase.com/wiki/index.php?title=BritaFilteredVodka

Mythbusters concluded that it did improve the flavor. They questioned the economics. Which if you used it one time for 1 bottle of liquor then it's not economical. But that would be like filtering 1 pitcher of water and throwing the pitcher and filter away.

These guys also thought it improved the smell and taste.

http://www.bulletinboardforum.com/m/vodka.php

Just like wine snobs think expensive wine is better so to do buyers of expensive liquor.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/7187577.stm

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/story?id=4131348&page=1

Ok i wasn't sure about MB, but yeah from my experience 7 times filtered Vladamire vodka, i felt that it still tasted like Rotgut vodka, just didn't taste as harsh...
 

pjj2ba

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StarSan here. I just pull it out of my StarSan bucket and leave a little in and put the cap on. It doesn't seem to me worth the extra effort to dump out the StarSan only to replace it with something else. I don't even think the StarSan is neccesary, but for me it is already right there so I use it. Before I swtiched over to StarSan, I just used water. Pastuer had just had water (or nothing) in his goose-necked flasks and he saw no contamination - he didn't know he would need something to kill any microbes that might cause contamination because he didn't know there were such things! He just knew things left in the open would spoil, not why. He took no precautions (other than the flask design) and he had no problems.
 

Tag

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What about using something like Southern Comfort? I have several bottles of the stuff ( A close old friend would give me a bottle every Christmas and I don't drink the stuff)
 

Chriso

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SoCo will never work in an airlock, you should DEFINITELY send all of those bottles directly to me for proper disposal. ;) :D
 

wild

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Sanitized water, vodka, tequila, or rum depending on what is available in arm's reach.
 

superfluent

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grasshopper1917 said:
I use water here - just cause there always seems to be an abundance on hand in the tap :)
Yes, I like to keep it there as well. It sure saves me a lot of space:)

H
 

javedian

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Airlock? We don't need no stinking airlock!
I have fermented the last 4-5 batches with either foil over the carboy neck, or a solid lid on my plastic bucket (it is the right size, but lid & bucket are not same brand, so it doesn't lock down. Basically controlled open fermentation. I only keep beer in for about 2 weeks, and it has been working well.

For my mead that is bulk aging under an airlock, I use vodka.
 
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