To airlock or not airlocked primary fermenter?

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jamie3

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When I bought my beer kit from Noble Grape it came with a primary fermenter which is a bucket with a lid. The beer recipes that you order from them are all the same procedures.

In the procedure it says to rack the beer in the primary fermenter for 2-5 days until the fermentation process has visibly slowed down. It also says to NOT snap the lid on the bucket. My bucket does not have an airlock.

Now my question is this:

I've noticed some people with primaries that have airlocks on them. Am I introducing the possibility of contamination by not having an airlocked primary fermenter?

Thus far I've made about 15 kits, all various kinds, and I've only had two batches that weren't all that great which I believed was a screw up on my part.

Your thoughts?
 

david_42

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If you don't have a hole for an airlock, then leaving the lid loose is your only alternative. The chance of contamination is low once the fermentation starts, as the CO2 production will make it difficult for anything to enter the fermenter.
 
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jamie3

jamie3

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yeah thats what i've been doing, i just wasnt sure if having an airlock primary container would be a better choice.
 

Buffman

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What David said. I've also heard of homebrewers that never use an airlock, but just leave the lid cracked a bit during the first few days of fermentation or covering the top (if using a carboy) with sanitized foil. Once you get a layer of CO2 going, your risk of contamination drops off.
 

ChshreCat

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If you have any fruit flies around, I'd recommend drilling a hole in that lid and putting in an airlock. Those buggers can fit through tiny gaps and will ruin your beer if they do.

Not using an airlock isn't going to automatically ruin a brew, but I think you're shifting the odds the wrong way by just leaving the lid cracked.
 
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jamie3

jamie3

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well as mentioned i have made roughly 20-25 kits with maybe 2-3 not being all that great.

no fruit flies thank goodness, and the room i keep it in is small dark (no windows), and typically locked

i think eventually ill switch them to an airlock system but just wanted to be sure.

thanks

.
 

cheyne430

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use an airlock... it reduces the risks. who really wants to lose a batch of beer just because of not using an airlock?
 

ChshreCat

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use an airlock... it reduces the risks. who really wants to lose a batch of beer just because of not using an airlock?
+1 on that. You can do 50 great beers in a row, but that number 51 that gets infected won't make it any less of a bummer.
 

Homercidal

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+1 on that. You can do 50 great beers in a row, but that number 51 that gets infected won't make it any less of a bummer.
+2 Airlocks are so cheap and with the flies I've seen this year I am not taking any chances.

If you don't have one and want to brew, then go ahead and take a chance. it "probably" won't hurt any, but I wouldn't want to spin that wheel too often.
 
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