Any way to quieten an airlock?

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Noz03

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I live in a studio flat so I have to sleep where I brew (or brew where I sleep? :)) But the airlock is so damn loud, I know that's a good thing for the brew but my girlfriend is not happy, every 10 seconds blobloblob. Any tips on making it a bit quieter?

This is the airlock I have
http://i.ebayimg.com/t/Gaerbehaelter-Gaereimer-ohne-Bohrung-20l-Bier-Wein-Gaerbottich-mit-Gaerroerchen-/00/s/MTYwMFgxMTgz/z/Zb8AAOSwQTVWCXhn/$_57.JPG

I filled both sides to the fill line although somehow it is now less than half full, the right half is just under the line and the left half empty. I hope that is normal, I think some of the water bubbled out the top when it first started.
 

unionrdr

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"S" type airlocks tend to push the water one way or the other, depending on whether it's off-gassing or a partial vacuum. Maybe wrap a washcloth around it?
 

Rhumbline

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Get a cardboard box big enough to fit over it, line it with foam insulation or wrap it in towels?
 

Homercidal

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Box it up. Get a tall box that you can drop over the top and insulate it as Rhumbline suggests. The box will help block light as well, so it does double duty.

Or adjust your attitudes to brewing. Maybe use the rhythm of the bubbling airlock as a cadence to lovemaking, ala Bolero in the movie "10". (Bo Dereck and Dudley Moore)
 

CUrchin

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+1 on 3 piece airlocks. My dog used to sleep near my fermentors, and the S airlocks used to drive him nuts. 3 piece airlocks were not an issue (at least for my dog). The 3 piece locks are not silent however. They tend to make a clicking noise with the hood going up and down.
 

GHBWNY

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"I know that's a good thing for the brew but my girlfriend is not happy."

Options:

1. Earplugs
2. Stop brewing
3. Get rid of the girlfriend
 

ArcLight

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If you use a 3 piece air lock, you can use too little liquid to form a liquid - plastic barrier. Try that for the first 2-3 days, when fermentation is most active, then ad din more liquid so there is a barrier.
 

Hobanon

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You can always cover the neck of your carboy with sanitized foil. Not quite As safe for your beer, but if you insist on keeping her around.....
 

thekraken

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+1 to just use a piece of foil and a rubber band during active fermentation.
 
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Noz03

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Hmm, I tried putting a box over the lock with a jumper wrapped around it, a little better but not much. I could try putting the whole fermenter in a box but I think it would hold too much heat in.

I was thinking about stuffing some cotten wool in the top of it, but not removing the water. Might stop the splashing in the tube a little and muffle the sound as well. Otherwise it's back to balloons I guess, or breaking up with the girlfriend....

Edit: btw I am using a 23L plastic bucket, I think that is making the sound echo even more.
 

LLBeanJ

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During active fermentation you don't need an airlock. Remove it and cover the carboy with foil as others have suggested. If using a bucket, soak a paper towel in Starsan and cover the airlock port in the lid. Re-soak as necessary to keep it wet. Once the activity slows down, put the airlock back in.
 

wilserbrewer

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Just empty the airlock and wrap a paper towel around the outlet. Soak the towel in star san if it makes you feel better. When fermentation slows replace the water in the air lock.

Airlocks were originally intended for long term aging, not primary fermentation having them rip like machine guns. Your beer is currently expelling so much co2 that having a nasty swim up current through your empty airlock is not much of a concern....

I don't use air locks, I keg when fermentation is complete.
 

kevink

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Three piece airlocks are quieter, but you might hear clicking as stated earlier as the "dome" drops. The solution? Put a very small bead of silicone sealer on the top of the tube where it touches the dome. You could even just use three dots of sealer. No more clicking.
 

Falcon3

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+1 on NO airlock- the Brits fermented for hundreds of years (and still do) with open fermentation. I'd put a piece of tin foil over the top of the fermenter just to keep stuff from falling in, maybe after the initial big fermentation is over, replace it with another sanitized piece of foil.

I've been doing this for years, and have had no bugs get in.
 
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Noz03

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How about for red/white wine, lemon wine and cider? Also ok with just foil?
 

sportpak

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You could take the cap off of a 3 piece airlock, then just put a clean rag over it. The fluid keeps the bugs out, and the rag will keep the hat inside the body. You may get a small click of the hat dropping back down, but really, she could try and be a little less cranky about your hobby.
 

solbes

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How about for red/white wine, lemon wine and cider? Also ok with just foil?
For primary, most people either cover their buckets loosely with something, or place the bucket lid on loose. You have to punch the cap a few times per day anyway and extra oxygen is helpful in the first few days of fermentation.

But after racking to secondary to finish the up the last 15-30 points of sugar, you should definitely protect against oxidation with an airlock on the carboy.
 

PeteNMA

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Just use a dry airlock. You aren't going to get fruit flies going through the pinhole sized holes on the cap of the airlock.
 

SeraW

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Using a blowoff setup used to be loud as hell in an apartment. Once I put it inside a temp controlled chamber, though, I couldn't hear it anymore, even right next to it. And since you probably want to do that at some point anyways, I would think that would solve your problems.
 
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