Author Topic: fermentation in kettle with lid on and no airlock?  (Read 345 times)

Offline KCguy

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fermentation in kettle with lid on and no airlock?
« on: May 28, 2019, 10:43:55 PM »
I dont know anything about pressurized ferming, but Ive read where others had fine results fermenting beer in a ss kettle with the lid on and no airlock....I understand that Co2 builds and makes for a positive pressure environment inside the kettle during fermentation, but confused as to whether I need an airlock or not? 

I imagine the responses will be quite varied here, so I would ask that you answer with experiences, good and bad, and not just a stalwart opinion, either way?  Thanks fellas!
Michael B
Kansas City

Offline brew inspector01

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Re: fermentation in kettle with lid on and no airlock?
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2019, 10:51:24 PM »
Not the normally accepted practice but it will definitely work

Beer is fermented in open vessels and have been forever. Covering the kettle with a lid will prevent material from simply dropping in.

Think of it as a plastic bucket with a lid that doesn't quite seal that results in the typical " 48 hours and no bubbles in the airlock. Is my batch ruined?" post from any other new brewer.  You do not need the airlock. CO2 will seep out around the lid limiting ingress by anything else

You should get the same answer. Everything will be fine. If your sanitation is reasonable, there is little likelihood that anything will go wrong in your scenario.


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« Last Edit: May 28, 2019, 10:56:02 PM by brew inspector01 »

Offline denny

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Re: fermentation in kettle with lid on and no airlock?
« Reply #2 on: May 28, 2019, 11:50:02 PM »
Ive done it...no problem.  I didn't use an airlock.
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Offline ynotbrusum

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Re: fermentation in kettle with lid on and no airlock?
« Reply #3 on: May 29, 2019, 06:40:08 PM »
Anvil has a special lid and gasket for fermenting in the boil kettle.  As for a regular lid, I made a couple beers that way and they were fine.
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Offline a10t2

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Re: fermentation in kettle with lid on and no airlock?
« Reply #4 on: May 30, 2019, 12:26:36 AM »
You're overthinking this. The pressure resulting from an airlock or a lid resting on top is nowhere near what's involved in fermenting "under pressure".
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Offline MNWayne

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Re: fermentation in kettle with lid on and no airlock?
« Reply #5 on: May 31, 2019, 01:22:32 PM »
Without a lot of CO2 production I'd worry about oxygen ingress, so I would only use this system for ales, not long lager ferments.
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Offline KCguy

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Re: fermentation in kettle with lid on and no airlock?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2019, 02:52:42 PM »
Without a lot of CO2 production I'd worry about oxygen ingress, so I would only use this system for ales, not long lager ferments.

Ahh, ok, good point.  I hadnt thought about how it would affect different styles...well, I successfully fermented two batches of beer in this old 8gal kettle and it worked great.  Beer tastes good too! 
Michael B
Kansas City

Offline AleGeek

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Re: fermentation in kettle with lid on and no airlock?
« Reply #7 on: June 22, 2019, 02:05:01 AM »
I've brewed quite a few beers where I fermented in the kettle.

My goal, trying to keep the process simple & cleaning to a minimum, was to do the whole brewery in one vessel. At the time, I was using an induction cooktop, a 3.2gal heavy duty Italian stock pot, BIAB, & fermenting in a Craigslist found mini fridge.

What I learned:
- Aeration is still important, otherwise you risk stressing the yeast & creating off-flavors . I found aerating w/ a sanitized whisk until my arm was about to fall off did the trick.
- The beer ferments quicker, & package right when it is done. Using this method my beer was fully attenuated w/in 3-4 days. When I let it sit for anymore than 4 days, the beer started to develop off aromas & flavors that were present in the final pour. I attribute it to the fact there is no mechanisms in place to prevent oxygen ingress over longer periods of time & stop whatever makes its way in with that air.
- DON'T COLD CRASH. Thought I'd be clever & cold crash to compact the additional sediment @ the bottom. That was a dumper. When you cool liquid in a rigid, steel container, it'll suck air in to fill the space.
- The yeast was much more expressive, so its more important to control the fermentation temperature if you are looking for a cleaner ale.
- Don't use too many hops, unless you are using a hop spider or sack during the boil. The beer got a vegetal and astringent aroma/flavor when fermented on too much boiled plant matter.

The styles that turned out exceptional using this method were my English Bitters & a Belgian Tripel.

Hope this info is helpful! I'm always happy to discuss my experimental 1 vessel process if you have questions.