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Sterilock - Waterless antibacterial airlock

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itsme_timd

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http://www.sterilock.co.uk/

The guy that invented this contacted me on another forum and offered to send me one to try out. I got it in the mail yesterday and plan to use it on a secondary of some peach saison.

Sounds like they are just gearing up for US distribution, he sent this to me from the UK. Looks like they run £4.68 so I'm guessing about $7.50 in the US.

Has anyone else seen/used these? I like the concept of a waterless airlock. It would be nice for long term aging in case I forget to check fluid levels.

UPDATE: Several people asked about the comment on the website saying that in the event of pressure changes pulling in air it would "filter in non-oxidized air". I emailed Richard (as did a few others) and he clarified that it will remove contaminants but does not remove oxygen. I guess all our questions prompted him to change the verbiage on the site as it now reads, "This means, if atmospheric conditions become greater outside the vessel, the seal will filter air free of wild yeasts and bacteria into the fermentation vessel."

I racked some saison onto peaches today and I'm trying out the Sterilock on this batch, will update again when the beer is done.
 

Chupidacabra

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This looks great. Keep us updated. And let us know if he needs more testers!


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agrazela

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That thing looks like a great idea.

One question though, the description says that if the atmospheric pressure outside the vessel gets higher than that inside, that it "filters in non-oxidized air." What exactly does that mean and how does that work?
 
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itsme_timd

itsme_timd

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That thing looks like a great idea.

One question though, the description says that if the atmospheric pressure outside the vessel gets higher than that inside, that it "filters in non-oxidized air." What exactly does that mean and how does that work?
Great question, I'll email him and see what I can find out. By definition it sounds like it means it would suck in air but not with oxygen? Not sure how that works. IIRC correctly suckback can be an issue when cold crashing if you chill too quickly.

Phase 2 is the implementation of the pop-up brew timer. When it pops, that turkey is done!
Just set it and forgot it!
 

slarkin712

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One question though, the description says that if the atmospheric pressure outside the vessel gets higher than that inside, that it "filters in non-oxidized air." What exactly does that mean and how does that work?
Yes, I'd like to know this as well. Be great to eliminate exposure to oxygen from cold crashing.
 

mattd2

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Great question, I'll email him and see what I can find out. By definition it sounds like it means it would suck in air but not with oxygen? Not sure how that works. IIRC correctly suckback can be an issue when cold crashing if you chill too quickly.



Just set it and forgot it!
Suckback can be an issue even if done slowly, depending on the style - I think it is the 2-piece airlocks that will drain into the fermenter if air is being drawn in.
I wonder if some sort of oxygen absorber is used (like the packs you get in tortillas) but that would give it a limited lifespan??????
 

Justdrumin

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I just visited their website and it doesn't explain the process in detail, it just mentions that it uses nano technology to prevent air from getting in. The only refill it mentions is for an odor catcher that absorbs fermentation odors if you choose to use it. Sounds awesome! It says they are now making em with a way to visually see fermentation as well. I love waking up in the morning after brew day to find a bubbling airlock :D According to their website, they distribute to the U.S. from the same company that makes the fast rack bottle rack which is based in Canada. They don't have this airlock listed on their website, but I'm interested. I just might email them to find out more info.
 

tagz

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Subbed. Interested to hear how they work out.
 

mattd2

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I just visited their website and it doesn't explain the process in detail, it just mentions that it uses nano technology to prevent air from getting in. The only refill it mentions is for an odor catcher that absorbs fermentation odors if you choose to use it. Sounds awesome! It says they are now making em with a way to visually see fermentation as well. I love waking up in the morning after brew day to find a bubbling airlock :D According to their website, they distribute to the U.S. from the same company that makes the fast rack bottle rack which is based in Canada. They don't have this airlock listed on their website, but I'm interested. I just might email them to find out more info.
Yes those nanotechnologies :D I am a bit sceptical that this is "filtering" the oxygen from the air - to do this would be similar to the theory of filling your car tyres with N2 instead of air so there is no O2 that can diffuse through the rubber and (slightly) let down your tyres. If it were you would need a huge pressure difference to drive the flow and that would definitely collapse your carboy/bucket/conical.
If it is a chemical scrubbing medium then that would need replace - not last forever as they claim. If it is a catalyse reaction this may work, and be recharged when CO2 is flowing the other way....
The only other way is stupid marketing - they actually claim "the seal will filter non-oxidised air into the fermenter" so it can let in as much oxygen as it likes as long as it doesn't let in oxidised air (which might actually be a better thing to let instead of air with normal oxygen content of ~20% since the oxygen has already oxidised the air and can not therefore oxidise the beer :cross:)

I can get on the website from my work PC (currently they have heightened security due to some threat or another) but might remember to ask them about their claims tonight :D
 

NTXBrauer

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I am sure this would work fine after high krausen has taken place. For any beer with a very active fermentation, I can see this airlock clogging up easily and blowing off the FV. Let us know how it works out for you.
 

Justdrumin

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I am sure this would work fine after high krausen has taken place. For any beer with a very active fermentation, I can see this airlock clogging up easily and blowing off the FV. Let us know how it works out for you.
It mentions that on the website. It says that if you expect a violent fermentation not to use it. It also gives cleaning instructions if we're to happen.
 

dk21

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This is a potentially an awesome product. I was thinking about how great a dry airlock would be when I was chilling a lager down to pitching temperature in my fermentation chamber. I habitually put an airlock on that froze solid. I hope this is successful!
 

BeerGrylls

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"Let your brew breathe"? Perfect for bulk storage they say. How on earth do they expect to not oxidize? The "Nano" garbage is obviously just a very fine filter. I doubt it's fine enough to keep oxygen out, if that's even possible. If so, I'll eat my words. I suppose a way to test that would be to hook my O2 canister up to it and try to push some oxy through it.
 
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So, I sent an email asking about the "non-oxidized" air thing. Here is the prompt response I got back:

"The nanoseal is reactive to pressures above standard atmospheric pressure. This means, during fermentation, escaping Co2 from the fermentation process is greater than the external (room) atmospheric pressure and will therefore vent.

After fermentation, the vessel and external pressures will equalise and no external air will pass through the seal into the fermentation vessel.

However, due to external atmospheric conditions or perhaps during movement of the fermentation vessel, external pressures can become greater than those inside the fermentation vessel (this is commonly known as 'Suck Back' in bubbler Airlocks where water - perhaps contaminated - is sucked back into the fermentation vessel). In this situation, the Sterilock's nanoseal will allow external air filtered of wild yeasts and bacteria - the primary cause of wine/beer oxidisation faults (seehttp://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine_fault) into the fermentation vessel.

Hope this helps. Any further questions, please don't hesitate to ask.

Kind regards

Richard Cook

Director: Sterilock Ltd.

www.sterilock.co.uk"
 

GotPushrods

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Good with marketing buzzwords... not so good at the science thing.

Oh well, neat idea none the less.
 

Homercidal

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So it's worthless for preventing Oxygen from re-entering during suckback phase. Maybe not so great for bulk aging then.

Seems like it's maybe slightly more useful than the $5 sanitary filter at Northern Brewer...
 

Homercidal

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I also emailed. They gave the same basic reply about blocking contaminants which act as a catalyst to the oxidation process. They referred to a Wiki page as evidence:
http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine_fault#Oxidation

I will abbreviate the important passage here:

...the presence of oxygen and a catalyst are the only requirements for the process to occur. Oxidation can occur throughout the winemaking process, and even after the wine has been bottled. Anthocyanins, catechins, epicatechins and other phenols present in wine are those most easily oxidised...

and:

Apart from phenolic oxidation, the ethanol present within wine can also be oxidised into other compounds responsible for flavour and aroma taints.

So I am guessing they are trying to use this article to convey their belief that keeping additional *things* out of the beer(wine) means that whatever is in the beer(wine) to begin with will not oxidize.


AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!!1111
 

BeerGrylls

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Similarly to this product would be a vented silicon stopper. However, oxygen unfortunately quite easily passes through silicon over a long term, which is why rubber is better for extended conditioning. This product also uses silicon. This is totally fine for primary, since it'll be an outward pressure and any ambient air won't have a chance to get in anyways. If they advertised it this way I wouldn't take offense.
 

Epimetheus

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Uses the same concept of an oil vent cap used on machinery crankcases. Some oil vents have a foam filter covered by a loose cap.

It looks like a good substitute for very long fermentation where you might forget to top off the fluid evaporating from a standard air trap.

Their nanoseal might prevent suckback, depends if it would deform under water pressure and allow wort to bypass the edges. Worth a try.
 

BeerGrylls

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Uses the same concept of an oil vent cap used on machinery crankcases. Some oil vents have a foam filter covered by a loose cap.

It looks like a good substitute for very long fermentation where you might forget to top off the fluid evaporating from a standard air trap.

Their nanoseal might prevent suckback, depends if it would deform under water pressure and allow wort to bypass the edges. Worth a try.
Given what we know, I would have to disagree on two of those counts. It's not preventing suck back, but rather what is sucked back in is ambient air instead of whatever's in your s-trap. With that, a very long fermentation isn't really well suited for this, because as the yeast stops activity, outward pressure will cease and ambient air will be allowed to get in, potentially oxidizing your batch or not, depending on whether you believe common sense or their marketing folks.

Ok, I've done enough posting here. I feel like I'm bashing some product I've never used and I don't want to do that. I'm just a little miffed by the misinformation they seem to be pushing. I'll wait for some real product feedback.

BG
 

TexasWine

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I think I'd use it for beer, at least for the initial phases of fermentation. I've been doing no-chill with a bucket. Using an S-trap allows the air, and whatever else is floating around in it, to come back into the bucket. At least this, if their claims are true, would scrub out the contaminants that could give way to an infection.

Don't think I'd want to use this for wine though. Changes in atmospheric pressure guarantee an ingress of O2. With an airlock there's at least a little wiggle room with the water level jockeying back-and-forth.
 

Homercidal

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I don't see what is wrong with a lively discussion of a product in the interest of information and helping our members choose their equipment and ingredients wisely. As long as it's civil and based on science and reason, we should continue to expound on the positives AND the negatives of any given product.

In this case, at this point, I will have to say that I am unconvinced that allowing pure air into a fermentation vessel after fermentation is a good thing.
 
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itsme_timd

itsme_timd

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Looks like folks here have already answered the question on oxygen that was posed. It does filter contaminants but does not remove oxygen. With that said I see a breathable seal as an issue for long term storage, once the pressure is mostly stabilized then a liquid airlock would keep everything out, including air, where this may remove the bugs it would allow air to creep in.

I just used this to cold crash a beer, I figure having a bit of air sucked back is better than dirty Starsan. I'm getting ready to secondary a saison on some peaches and I'm going to try it out there as well. I still like the idea of this for primary/secondary fermentation.
 
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itsme_timd

itsme_timd

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Any updates?
Left my saison on peaches for 3 weeks and it's carbing now. Samples were tasty and showed no signs at all of any off flavors. I'm brewing again this weekend and I'll use it on a full brow, after the initial vigorous fermentation with a blow off, and see how that goes but from initial testing it seems good.

I'll post another mini-update when the peach saison is done.
 
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