balloon for an airlock?

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gryphaeon

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Has anyone ever used a balloon for an airlock on a 5 gallon carboy? I am currently in the process of fermenting a version of Edwort's Apfelwein (recipe I used below) and have been trying to do with the simplest equipment available (trying to figure out what I can use post-apocalyptic 2016 presidential election results when the world implodes to make hooch for currency on a regular basis ;) ) and just want to know if anyone has ever done this before and if so, what their experience and/or feedback or suggestions they may have?

So far, I am two days into the process and seem to have some VERY active fermentation going on and the balloon is barely able to keep up with the off gassing with two pin holes in it. I have to say, it is VERY cool to see the process and I feel a bit like Dr Frankenstein. :D (It's ALIVE!!!)

The recipe;

5 gallons of Kroger brand apple juice
1 can of Kroger brand frozen concentrated apple juice
1 pound corn sugar
.5 pound dark brown sugar
.5 pound refined white sugar
2 TBSP molasses
1 package of Montrachet Red Star Yeast

Components for fermentation

35% food grade H2O2 mixed 50/50 with water for sterilization
top of vinegar bottle for funnel
5 gallon plastic water bottle (#1 type plastic) w/ cap
One large round balloon w/ 2 pin holes in the end of balloon

Process I used

- I used the H2O2 to sterilize the bottle w/cap, funnel and balloon and then rinsed all three with clean RO water and shook out excess water.
- I immediately began adding apple juice by emptying half the bottle of juice into the carboy and then adding about a half pound of sugar to the remains in the bottle, giving it a good shake to mix it up and then pouring into carboy. I continued with this process until all but about a quart of apple juice and the rest of the ingredients (concentrate, sugar, yeast, molasses) were in and the carboy was full to the base of the "neck".
- Capped carboy and gave it a good shake for a few seconds and then popped the cap off and put the balloon on the neck of the carboy.
- Left to ferment on table in our breakfast nook which stays at between 73 and 78 degrees.

As of today, two days after setting up, the balloon is rather large and off gassing a LOT. At first it smelled a lot like apple cider but now it is starting to smell a bit like methane gas mixed with apple cider (apple flavored farts, if you will) and since this is my first time doing anything like this, I am curious if anyone can tell me if this is a normal smell or if I have already managed to destroy my first batch of hooch.

All feedback is welcome and I have a rather thick skin as well as skull so feel free to be direct :)
 

bigplunkett

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During the bulk of ferm i dont see the ballon being an issue. A health pitch is impirtant mist dry yeast gets going quick. People open ferment so like i said if u ckeaned it well. Ive notest rino farts from that yeast so mot to worry i eould ket it age 2 to 3 mths once its done do it can gas off all the sulfur.
 

porterpounder

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An airlock allows noxious gases created during fermentation to vent off into the environment such as sulfuric compounds and CO2. You don't want that re-infusing into the solution as it is going to cause bad flavors and the CO2 levels can poison the yeast. Even with pin-holes I wouldn't let the balloon inflate much. May as well use a piece of sanitized aluminum foil.
 

Calypso

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While it sounds like a fun experiment, what advantage do you think a balloon is affording you that simply covering the carboy with sanitized foil wouldn't?
 
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gryphaeon

gryphaeon

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An airlock allows noxious gases created during fermentation to vent off into the environment such as sulfuric compounds and CO2. You don't want that re-infusing into the solution as it is going to cause bad flavors and the CO2 levels can poison the yeast. Even with pin-holes I wouldn't let the balloon inflate much. May as well use a piece of sanitized aluminum foil.
sounds like good advice, thank you, I will switch out the balloon for sanitized foil while until I get an airlock.
 
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gryphaeon

gryphaeon

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Airlocks are cheap. Why not use one?
I am not opposed to using one, but the idea is to hopefully be able to create a quality brew that only requires the most basic of components and a balloon made sense from the point of view that a pin hole would release gas continuously and at the same time, prevent nasties from getting in. Never thought the backpressure from the balloon would be an issue. I will be replacing balloon with foil while I wait for the airlock and stopper to show up from Amazon. Thanks!
 
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gryphaeon

gryphaeon

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While it sounds like a fun experiment, what advantage do you think a balloon is affording you that simply covering the carboy with sanitized foil wouldn't?
I was concerned that the foil might allow small insects and/or other nasties into the bottle since there really isn't anything preventing them from going in. With the balloon, the though was that the off gassing would be continuous out of the pinholes and there would be enough outward pressure to prevent anything from getting in. I have about 8 pin holes in the balloon and it is still partially inflated so now I am concerned that the back pressure could be trapping the CO2 and the sulfuric compounds that I have been smelling, I didn't know that could happen so thank you to everyone that is providing feedback!
 

Calypso

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Any thoughts about using H2O2 for sterilizing or the recipe?
Well, hydrogen peroxide is pretty caustic stuff, so be careful. It also degrades nylon. But the upside is that it should break down into water and oxygen pretty quickly, if I remember my chemistry.

The recipe, I don't understand why you have white sugar+corn sugar, or molasses+brown sugar. White sugar is going to raise the abv, fine, but so is corn sugar. Brown sugar (sugar soaked in molasses) is going to add some fermentable sugar and some molasses flavor. Molasses does much the same.

I guess what I'm saying is, simplify.
 
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gryphaeon

gryphaeon

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For everyone that has been commenting and providing feedback, thank you very much! I will be making another batch with a simpler recipe and proper airlock but for this one, I just wanted to see if I could do this with "easy" to find items so that I know it can be done and done well if we find ourselves in a crisis ("zombie's attack", Armageddon, the apocalypse, Donald or Hillary get elected... y'know, that kind of thing) and the proper equipment isn't readily available.

I also wanted to ask, since I do have one here, is this Apfelwein something that anyone would recommend putting up in an oak cask? I have a 5 gallon that is currently empty and in need of something to do. :)
 

Setsumi

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An airlock vents and keeps nasties out, it is not magic. A baloon will work. My most recent ferment uses a glass on the airlock hole in a coopers fermentor. You just need to compute the risk, I know my beer can get an infection but I doubt it will come from what I use as airlock.

On the brown sugar and molasses, I dont like it an a Brew. For me it does not give a clean ferment and I do not think it will complement the aple but I have been wrong.
 

Floyd Harris

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Has anyone ever used a balloon for an airlock on a 5 gallon carboy? I am currently in the process of fermenting a version of Edwort's Apfelwein (recipe I used below) and have been trying to do with the simplest equipment available (trying to figure out what I can use post-apocalyptic 2016 presidential election results when the world implodes to make hooch for currency on a regular basis ;) ) and just want to know if anyone has ever done this before and if so, what their experience and/or feedback or suggestions they may have?

So far, I am two days into the process and seem to have some VERY active fermentation going on and the balloon is barely able to keep up with the off gassing with two pin holes in it. I have to say, it is VERY cool to see the process and I feel a bit like Dr Frankenstein. :D (It's ALIVE!!!)

The recipe;

5 gallons of Kroger brand apple juice
1 can of Kroger brand frozen concentrated apple juice
1 pound corn sugar
.5 pound dark brown sugar
.5 pound refined white sugar
2 TBSP molasses
1 package of Montrachet Red Star Yeast

Components for fermentation

35% food grade H2O2 mixed 50/50 with water for sterilization
top of vinegar bottle for funnel
5 gallon plastic water bottle (#1 type plastic) w/ cap
One large round balloon w/ 2 pin holes in the end of balloon

Process I used

- I used the H2O2 to sterilize the bottle w/cap, funnel and balloon and then rinsed all three with clean RO water and shook out excess water.
- I immediately began adding apple juice by emptying half the bottle of juice into the carboy and then adding about a half pound of sugar to the remains in the bottle, giving it a good shake to mix it up and then pouring into carboy. I continued with this process until all but about a quart of apple juice and the rest of the ingredients (concentrate, sugar, yeast, molasses) were in and the carboy was full to the base of the "neck".
- Capped carboy and gave it a good shake for a few seconds and then popped the cap off and put the balloon on the neck of the carboy.
- Left to ferment on table in our breakfast nook which stays at between 73 and 78 degrees.

As of today, two days after setting up, the balloon is rather large and off gassing a LOT. At first it smelled a lot like apple cider but now it is starting to smell a bit like methane gas mixed with apple cider (apple flavored farts, if you will) and since this is my first time doing anything like this, I am curious if anyone can tell me if this is a normal smell or if I have already managed to destroy my first batch of hooch.

All feedback is welcome and I have a rather thick skin as well as skull so feel free to be direct :)
First of all, I've been using latex condoms since 2007! It sounds crazy I know! But, you don't have to poke holes in them! They expand extremely well! You just unroll it, clean off the lubricant so you can apply the zilver duct tape around the base of the condom and the jug. The wine will never taste like C02. Once the condom deflates on it's own the fermentation is over. Remember, oxygen is wine's enemy not C02. Wbat got me into this was an article I read back in 2007 that said it was better to do it that way rather than to let all of the gasses excape. So far I've had complete success every time. For further questions/commentary, email me at: [email protected]
 

PCSharkynose

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Has anyone ever used a balloon for an airlock on a 5 gallon carboy? I am currently in the process of fermenting a version of Edwort's Apfelwein (recipe I used below) and have been trying to do with the simplest equipment available (trying to figure out what I can use post-apocalyptic 2016 presidential election results when the world implodes to make hooch for currency on a regular basis ;) ) and just want to know if anyone has ever done this before and if so, what their experience and/or feedback or suggestions they may have?

So far, I am two days into the process and seem to have some VERY active fermentation going on and the balloon is barely able to keep up with the off gassing with two pin holes in it. I have to say, it is VERY cool to see the process and I feel a bit like Dr Frankenstein. :D (It's ALIVE!!!)



All feedback is welcome and I have a rather thick skin as well as skull so feel free to be direct :)
This technique is interesting because it shows that necessity is the mother of all inventions.
On a side note, the US seems to be doing well despite the election results of '16. I'm happy I don't have to barter beer for bullets.
 

kh54s10

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In cuba condoms are so cheap that they use them as an airlocks for fermenting liquors with any issues, google it and you'll see. :D

View attachment 618353
A couple of those have E.D.!!!

I see the one reply about re introducing gaseous compounds that you don't want in your beer. I wonder how this fits in with co2 capture devices that are relatively new?
 

Louz

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A couple of those have E.D.!!!

I see the one reply about re introducing gaseous compounds that you don't want in your beer. I wonder how this fits in with co2 capture devices that are relatively new?
I wasnt aware that bad gas is released during ferm... is that true?
I have been using the two vessel technique which has worked pretty well.
 

Jag75

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I wasnt aware that bad gas is released during ferm... is that true?
I have been using the two vessel technique which has worked pretty well.
I think that could be possible . I'm doing a lager right now. It's been in the chest freezer for 6 days . I did a gravity check last night . When I opened the lid it about knocked me out lol. Very strong co2 fumes, dang near made my eyes water . Almost like tear gas . I think that's why air locks have holes at the top to allow the gas to escape .
 
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My question to your question is why if co2 gas is bad for the fermentation do we have specialized fermenter vessels (fermentasaurus) that do just that, ferment under pressure.
 

Jag75

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Co2 isnt bad for fermentation. It's a byproduct of the process . It just builds up and has to release some where .
 

wasully

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Montrachet is well known for producing a rotten eggs/sulphur odor, so that's part of the problem.
 

carp_dm

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Many years ago, as a wayward yoot, my cellmates introduced me to the process of making jailhouse hooch. It involved fermenting anything, including plain sugar water, using baker’s yeast dissolved in whatever sized plastic bottle/jug/vessel with a balloon stretched over the mouth.
As the concoction fermented the balloon inflated. When it had completely deflated the brew was done. It was then poured through a coffee filter filled with charcoal and consumed at one’s own risk.
My thought is to replicate this using gallon jugs of distilled water, dissolved refined sugar and bread yeast to produce high proof alcohol for use as an antiseptic.
My understanding is that the type of yeast and the activation process are key to getting up to the 75% threshold or above.
Any thoughts?
 

wasully

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My understanding is that the type of yeast and the activation process are key to getting up to the 75% threshold or above.
Any thoughts?
Are you looking to get to 75%/150 proof alcohol? That's well into distillation range. Lots of yeast will die at 15%, getting to 25% would be quite the accomplishment.

Look into sugar washes and distillation if you're trying to reach those levels. For sure you'll need a still and yeast nutrients.
 

Brewbuzzard

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Many years ago, as a wayward yoot, my cellmates introduced me to the process of making jailhouse hooch. It involved fermenting anything, including plain sugar water, using baker’s yeast dissolved in whatever sized plastic bottle/jug/vessel with a balloon stretched over the mouth.
As the concoction fermented the balloon inflated. When it had completely deflated the brew was done. It was then poured through a coffee filter filled with charcoal and consumed at one’s own risk.
My thought is to replicate this using gallon jugs of distilled water, dissolved refined sugar and bread yeast to produce high proof alcohol for use as an antiseptic.
My understanding is that the type of yeast and the activation process are key to getting up to the 75% threshold or above.
Any thoughts?
I too was a wayward youth so that two things we have in common.
 

jakes.vdv

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I was concerned that the foil might allow small insects and/or other nasties into the bottle since there really isn't anything preventing them from going in. With the balloon, the though was that the off gassing would be continuous out of the pinholes and there would be enough outward pressure to prevent anything from getting in. I have about 8 pin holes in the balloon and it is still partially inflated so now I am concerned that the back pressure could be trapping the CO2 and the sulfuric compounds that I have been smelling, I didn't know that could happen so thank you to everyone that is providing feedback!
I’m very new at this... but could you combine the foil and balloon method, by fitting the balloon over the scrunched up foil?
 

DanB_cdnbev

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I think that could be possible . I'm doing a lager right now. It's been in the chest freezer for 6 days . I did a gravity check last night . When I opened the lid it about knocked me out lol. Very strong co2 fumes, dang near made my eyes water . Almost like tear gas . I think that's why air locks have holes at the top to allow the gas to escape .
Remember, CO2 is poisonous and can be deadly. On more than one occasion, people have passed out from it, leaning into Keezer set ups like yours, and been found that way, quite dead. CO2 Poisoning kills 10-40 people a year in North America, and those are the cases that are correctly investigated. Furthermore, those who die are often the rescuer of the person who initially succumbed, because CO2 is worse than Carbon Monoxide. The Extra Oxygen Molecule allows it to bond with your Blood's Hemoglobin, blocking the bloods ability to oxygenate properly. Initial victims simply pass out, and are often breathing shallowly. Rescuers, charged with adrenaline, Breath deep and keep going when they otherwise might have passed out or quit from being light headed or headachey. Instead, they huff and puff. After professional help arrives, who are focused on the initial victim, the rescuer moves back, sits down to collect themselves, and quietly dies. This is why we shouldn't Brew in the basement without a proper way to refresh the air. CO2 is such a potent Killer that it is still the preferred method for slaughtering Hogs in much of North America. They simply lower a mass of pigs into a pit that is filled with CO2. They Don't just asphyxiate. They die much quicker than by simple asphyxiation. And Pigs and Humans are pretty closely related in the ways our bodies work. You will fair no better. Be careful with CO2, or your next Tripel might truly be "to Die For!"
 

1ManRaid

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Remember, CO2 is poisonous and can be deadly. On more than one occasion, people have passed out from it, leaning into Keezer set ups like yours, and been found that way, quite dead. CO2 Poisoning kills 10-40 people a year in North America, and those are the cases that are correctly investigated. Furthermore, those who die are often the rescuer of the person who initially succumbed, because CO2 is worse than Carbon Monoxide. The Extra Oxygen Molecule allows it to bond with your Blood's Hemoglobin, blocking the bloods ability to oxygenate properly. Initial victims simply pass out, and are often breathing shallowly. Rescuers, charged with adrenaline, Breath deep and keep going when they otherwise might have passed out or quit from being light headed or headachey. Instead, they huff and puff. After professional help arrives, who are focused on the initial victim, the rescuer moves back, sits down to collect themselves, and quietly dies. This is why we shouldn't Brew in the basement without a proper way to refresh the air. CO2 is such a potent Killer that it is still the preferred method for slaughtering Hogs in much of North America. They simply lower a mass of pigs into a pit that is filled with CO2. They Don't just asphyxiate. They die much quicker than by simple asphyxiation. And Pigs and Humans are pretty closely related in the ways our bodies work. You will fair no better. Be careful with CO2, or your next Tripel might truly be "to Die For!"
I created an account just to tell you that you are hilariously wrong about carbon dioxide.

1. CO2 is not poisonous, especially not more so than CO. Your body produces it naturally and you simply exhale it. This is grade school level knowledge.
2. It doesn't kill by whatever nonsense about attacking your hemoglobin (I think you're confusing it with CO?), it can only kill by being in a high enough concentration/volume to completely displace the air/oxygen you would be breathing, leading to suffocation. You would not be producing anywhere near enough CO2 with a mere brewing setup to reasonably affect oxygen levels in a room. You produce CO2 from your own lungs at a far greater rate than a handful of yeast bacteria in a jar.
3. You probably consume CO2 all the time. Ever had a soda or beer or any other kind of fizzy drink? That's CO2.
4. Yes, the hogs literally just asphyxiate. Sort of. They actually just use CO2 to knock out the hogs before killing them manually, and is widely considered the most humane way of slaughtering them. They also wouldn't use a toxin that attacks blood like you claim it does, as it would ruin the meat.

*edit*
Also, are you confusing your nonsense about the rescuer being the one who dies rather than the initial victim, with stories about oxygen masks on airplanes? Because if CO2 allegedly kills faster than regular asphyxiation, the victim would already be long dead before the rescue attempt is made. They say if an airplane cabin gets depressurized, you should put your own mask on first before trying to help people who have passed out, because they'll likely still survive after waiting a few extra moments, but if you pass out first fumbling around trying to help someone else, you both die. Were you thinking of that?
 
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