Make your own waterless airlocks

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beerest

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A few months ago, I got interested in using waterless airlocks to avoid the hassle of dealing with an extra liquid outside the carboy.

I thought about buying some, but didn't want to pay $8 shipping for $3 items. So, I decided to make them myself. I've just written the whole thing up with pictures and all.

Waterless airlocks
 

Bensiff

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So a one way valve...only downfall is it won't work for primary fermentation as the blowoff could block it open. Perhaps run a blow-off tube to a overflow bottle with one of these things topping it? Good way to harvest the yeast too. I agree with thedartedash, the focus button would have helped :D
 

billtzk

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I'm not familiar with this type of airlock. It doesn't seem like it would seal very well.

Aren't you going to have a gap the thickness of a piece of paper between the silicone caulk and stopper? Air will flow in once primary fermentation is finished and there is little outgassing of CO2. Air molecules are pretty small. :)
 

Bobby_M

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It would be just as well to lay a circular disk of silicone over the stopper and just let gravity do it's thing. A thumbtack off center would keep it from vibrating off in periods of high chatter.
 

FastAndy

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I guess i dont get it, what is this a solution for? I dont see how this an improvement over a barrel or s type $.50 airlock. Im not trying to be rude or discourage anyone i just dont see what the point is.
 

Bensiff

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Just use a piece of foil. Crimp it over the top, and leave it.
The only beer I ever had go bad on me was due to massive acetaldehyde. It was a ten gallon batch split between two 5 gallon carboys. Half turned out fine, the other half that I tossed lost its seal allowing air to get in. Since then I have always been extremely cautious in avoidance of oxygen sources. When I hear Vinnie talk about what they do at RR to avoid any oxygen contamination it only encourages me that much more to be careful.
 

Bensiff

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Link to what Vinnie says?
I'm pretty sure it was on TBN, what show I can't remember, but he was talking about how they have upgraded their bottling equipment and all the effort they make to exhaustively flush everything with CO2. Obviously, brewing some of the stuff they do that benefits from years of further aging or wanting to preserve their hop character to its fullest in things like Pliny they need to be that much more cautious than you are me...but, when some of the best out there do something I tend to pay attention, especially when I have seen what an air leak can do to a beer that is finishing in the carboy.
 

OneHoppyGuy

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with the amount of krausen my beer produces, the only solution I have is a large blow off hose into a mason jar of star-san
 

Bensiff

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with the amount of krausen my beer produces, the only solution I have is a large blow off hose into a mason jar of star-san
That's my norm...also a good use for all the growlers I have. But, I'm kinda liking my thought (probably done a hundred times over though) of running a blow-off into a sanitary overflow chamber with air lock. Maybe toss a ball valve on the bottom and it could collect some quality yeast while eliminating suckback.
 

OneHoppyGuy

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7 gallon bucket with 5 gallons of wort... How large a container do you suggest for 5 gallons?
 

Homercidal

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I think the idea here is to eliminate the need for adding a liquid to an airlock, not to eliminate the need for a blow-off tube.

In that regard, this looks like a viable alternative IF it completely seals when there is 0 or negative pressure.

Then again, I've brewed many a batch that got a bit of air sucked in and no harm was done. It might work just fine and has the added bonus of being low profile, so if your fermentation chamber has a low height, it might make a huge difference for you.

Or the thumbtack and silicone disc solution as presented is also an option and easier and faster...
 

Homercidal

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Also, at least one LHBS sells a filter that is supposed to be fine enough to keep bacteria from entering. After initial vigorous activity, it would probably suffice to protect the wort, no assembly required.
 
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beerest

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I'm not familiar with this type of airlock. It doesn't seem like it would seal very well.

Aren't you going to have a gap the thickness of a piece of paper between the silicone caulk and stopper? Air will flow in once primary fermentation is finished and there is little outgassing of CO2. Air molecules are pretty small. :)
The silicone is flexible, so it will flap down over the gap left by the paper.

As for the concern about rapid fermentation blowing krausen out of the fermenter and getting the silicone stuck in the "open" position, my solution is not to fill the vessel to the top.
 

lgilmore

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I don't see the value in doing this? How much does a tube of food grade silicone cost? If it's more than a buck twenty five, I just don't see the value.

I mean, yes if you're going to just order a airlock and pay $8 shipping your method might make sense, but honestly "who" does that?

I would think most brewers order the odds n ends of brewing along with either grain or kit orders so the cost of shipping is minimal.

Not trying to be mean, but is there really a savings to be had here or is it a McGuyver momment?
 

Homercidal

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For me, I guess it just doesn't make much sense to not use an airlock if you can. They are super cheap, super effective, and super easy to use.
 
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