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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: JKL on May 09, 2011, 05:06:39 PM

Title: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: JKL on May 09, 2011, 05:06:39 PM
Good brew day yesterday.  We worked out most of the kinks in the new system.  Pumped 11 gallons of O'fest into the Freezementer.  That's right,  NO MORE CARBOY LIFTING!  I put on freezer on wheels....best brew gadget to date.  Anyway, I noticed last night that both airlocks got some water sucked back into the fermenters.  Not sure why?  Too cold? This never happened in my old fridge.    Should I just leave the airlocks (3 piece) dry until fermentation starts or until it's almost complete for that matter?
-J.K.L.
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: gmac on May 09, 2011, 05:11:07 PM
What was the temp when you put it in the freezer?  I'm assuming as it cooled it shrunk in volume and sucked the water into the beer.  I use cheap vodka for that reason, at least it's clean.  I don't see why you wouldn't want to add more water now that the temperatures have stabilized. 
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: denny on May 09, 2011, 05:11:56 PM
I don't see a need to have liquid in them, really.  It's not like anything can get in.
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: gmac on May 09, 2011, 05:16:30 PM
Well, I'm certainly not gonna argue with Denny.
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: denny on May 09, 2011, 05:19:00 PM
Well, I'm certainly not gonna argue with Denny.

Oh, c'mon...it's fun and easy!   ;D
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: gmac on May 09, 2011, 05:20:42 PM
Well, I'm certainly not gonna argue with Denny.

Oh, c'mon...it's fun and easy!   ;D
No it's not!
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: weithman5 on May 09, 2011, 05:22:42 PM
now that i am fermenting in 1 gallon plastic bottles, i have just started putting the cap on tight after the first few days of fermentation. then i just loosen it when the bottle feels hard and let it vent.  i usually have put vodka in the airlocks in the past but when i pick up a plastic bucket or the bottle it tends to suck the liquid in.  it is fun to hear the liquid bubble though ::)
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: denny on May 09, 2011, 05:23:19 PM
Well, I'm certainly not gonna argue with Denny.

Oh, c'mon...it's fun and easy!   ;D
No it's not!

THAT'S the response I was hoping for....cue Monty Python!
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: JKL on May 09, 2011, 05:38:35 PM
I don't see a need to have liquid in them, really.  It's not like anything can get in.

That's what I was thinking, I just wanted an expert opinion. It looks like I got it ;)
-J.K.L.
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: tschmidlin on May 09, 2011, 10:15:45 PM
I don't see a need to have liquid in them, really.  It's not like anything can get in.
Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana (and fermenting wort).

They carry lots of microbes with them that will get in your beer.  I don't have any fruit flies at my house, they're not common in our climate this time of year.  But they can easily contaminate a batch.  Fill your airlock if your concerned about them or other bugs.
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: Pinski on May 09, 2011, 11:16:42 PM
I don't see a need to have liquid in them, really.  It's not like anything can get in.
Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana (and fermenting wort).

They carry lots of microbes with them that will get in your beer.  I don't have any fruit flies at my house, they're not common in our climate this time of year.  But they can easily contaminate a batch.  Fill your airlock if your concerned about them or other bugs.

+1  Why leave the door open?  Plus, they make bubbles.
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: oscarvan on May 10, 2011, 02:30:50 AM
Yes it shrank when it cooled and sucked the water in. Now refill with new water. Bubbles........ ;D
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: gordonstrong on May 10, 2011, 03:18:40 AM
Put a loose piece of saran wrap or aluminum foil over the top until the temperature of the beer and the surrounding environment equalize.  Then put the airlock on it.
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: tschmidlin on May 10, 2011, 03:27:19 AM
Or use an s-type airlock and just fill it enough to form a seal.  It can't get sucked back in, it will bubble in either direction.
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: JKL on May 10, 2011, 01:21:49 PM
The beer was 73F when it went into the carboys.  It took about 8 hrs to get to pitching temp.  For ales it should be half that I'm guessing?  The freezer itself is probably less than 20F.  I don't think any bugs can live in that kind of environment?  I think next time I'll go dry for the initial cooling stage then put the water when everything equalizes.  Thanks for the suggestions and the reasoning, guys!

-J.K.L.
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: Hokerer on May 10, 2011, 02:47:38 PM
Or use an s-type airlock and just fill it enough to form a seal.  It can't get sucked back in, it will bubble in either direction.

+1, that's how I do it
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: denny on May 10, 2011, 03:00:42 PM
I don't see a need to have liquid in them, really.  It's not like anything can get in.
Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana (and fermenting wort).

They carry lots of microbes with them that will get in your beer.  I don't have any fruit flies at my house, they're not common in our climate this time of year.  But they can easily contaminate a batch.  Fill your airlock if your concerned about them or other bugs.

It would seem like if the airlock is sealed there isn't any more chance of fruit flies getting in than if it isn't. 
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: Hokerer on May 10, 2011, 03:46:33 PM
It would seem like if the airlock is sealed there isn't any more chance of fruit flies getting in than if it isn't. 

What do you mean by "sealed".  The liquid in the airlock is what seals it, right?  Without the liquid, the little fruit fly can just crawl through from the open air into the fermenter.
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: tschmidlin on May 10, 2011, 03:58:16 PM
Denny must be one of those rare brewers who does not immediately lose the lids to his airlocks. ;)
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: denny on May 10, 2011, 04:31:35 PM
Denny must be one of those rare brewers who does not immediately lose the lids to his airlocks. ;)

I was just gonna say "what about the lid to the airlock?"!  Guess I must be too organized since I have all the lids!
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: bluesman on May 10, 2011, 04:45:24 PM
Put a loose piece of saran wrap or aluminum foil over the top until the temperature of the beer and the surrounding environment equalize.  Then put the airlock on it.

+1

...except I usually leave the airlock installed on the fermenter without water until the temp has equalized  (overnight) and then pour some starsan solution in the airlock the next day.
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: speed on May 10, 2011, 11:45:23 PM
i haven't used airlocks in years, just tinfoil. if i have one i think will blowoff then i use a blowoff tube otherwise....
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: gmac on May 11, 2011, 01:36:17 AM
i haven't used airlocks in years, just tinfoil. if i have one i think will blowoff then i use a blowoff tube otherwise....
I hope this method works.  I just pushed in my last rubber cork and the air lock popped right out.  So, while trying to get it back in, I succeeded in pushing the cork into the carboy.  So, tinfoil over the top it is until I free up another cork.
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: punatic on May 11, 2011, 08:09:31 AM
Yes it shrank when it cooled and sucked the water in. Now refill with new water. Bubbles........ ;D

No ones knows the coefficient of thermal expansion for beer wort?   Some experts you guys are!   ;)

Here in Hawaii we have gnats so small they can get through the pin holes in the bubbler caps on my airlocks.  I always fill my airlocks with vodka.  If you get the level right in the airlock, it will release a (disinfected) bubble before it can suck back into the fermenter.

Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana

Well said Tom.  I like it!
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: tschmidlin on May 11, 2011, 04:39:44 PM
Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana

Well said Tom.  I like it!
Glad you like it :)  It's not an original saying (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_flies_like_an_arrow;_fruit_flies_like_a_banana) though, I can't take credit.
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: punatic on May 11, 2011, 06:38:51 PM
Time flies like an arrow.
Fruit flies like a banana

Well said Tom.  I like it!
Glad you like it :)  It's not an original saying (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_flies_like_an_arrow;_fruit_flies_like_a_banana) though, I can't take credit.

My garden path sentences are usually along the lines of, "S**T! Where did all these weeds come from?!"   :D
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: tumarkin on May 11, 2011, 07:15:36 PM
not quite same-same, but....

You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: Hokerer on May 11, 2011, 07:21:00 PM
Like "you can pick your friends" or "you can pick your nose" but  "you can't pick your friends' nose"
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: punatic on May 11, 2011, 07:36:47 PM
not quite same-same, but....

You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish

That would make a great title for an album!
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: tom on May 11, 2011, 08:09:18 PM
what's an album?   ;D
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: tschmidlin on May 11, 2011, 08:27:42 PM
Like "you can pick your friends" or "you can pick your nose" but  "you can't pick your friends' nose"
Awesome SNL sketch ;D
Title: Re: Do I need to fill the airlock ?
Post by: Will's Swill on May 12, 2011, 01:45:22 AM
I'd like to add that for those of us that don't buy into the CO2 blanket fable  ;D, particularly over the course of time of a primary and secondary fementation which gives plenty of time for oxygen to diffuse down through an open airlock, liquid in an airlock does allow evolving CO2 to dilute and push out oxygen from the fementer.

Edit: During primary I imagine this would be like an open fermentation but with better protection.  But what about after primary is complete?  Do folks who use open fermentation leave their beer to age in open fermenters?  If not, then my comment above would really apply to the time spent after primary fermentation.