Airlock problem

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Airlock problem

Postby rcnux » Wed Oct 22, 2008 10:54 pm

I have noticed a potential problem with my airlock during the cooling cycle of my fridge, and I could use some advice...

Recently, I purchased a small wine fridge to control the temperature of my fermentation. I could not afford a temperature control unit, but I found that at the lowest setting the internal temp was around 65ish. Also, the door is tinted glass, which allows me to watch the fermentation without having to open things up. A couple of weeks ago, I started a new ale, and by now, the fermentation is essentially complete (i.e. no bubbling in the airlock). Anyway, I checked on the beer today during the fridge's cooling cycle, and I noticed that the change in temp had caused a partial vacuum in the carboy. This caused the liquid in the airlock to get sucked all the way up to the top of the inner tube... I don't know if any liquid got into my beer, but if it did, I am worried about bacteria/mold getting sucked into the beer.

Has anyone else had this problem? Any suggestions? (I wonder if this is a common problem for people who make lagers and slowly lower the temp on their beers from fermentation to lagering temps... Although there must be some diffusion of air through the water into the carboy over time, but I think this is slow.)

I was thinking to myself that some sort of two-stage airlock (with a one-way valve before the bubbler) would really do the trick... Has anyone used anything besides a blowoff hose or the airlocks that B3 sells?

Any help is most appreciated. Thanks.
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Re: Airlock problem

Postby MDixon » Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:40 am

I use vodka in the airlock...no worries...
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Re: Airlock problem

Postby bewm » Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:43 am

I've had this happen and, while not optimal, it hasn't ruined any batches for me yet. I use water w/ a few drops of starsan in the airlock so, should it happen, the risk of infection is mitigated. Others use vodka but I don't keep any cheap enough in my house to be re-purposed for this :)

As long as you don't see any other visible signs of infections, I'd bottle it and see how it tastes. My money would be that it's fine.
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Re: Airlock problem

Postby majorvices » Thu Oct 23, 2008 4:44 am

Yeah, it happens to all of us. It's one of the hazards of cold conditioning in a carboy. The best solution is to start secondary"ing" in a keg under co2 pressure.

You can also put vodka or star san in your air lock to avoid any contamination or flavor issues from the small amount of liquid that pulls through. The other possible option is a sanitary filter like the in line filter B3 sells - most of them fit snugly in a bung drill hole. However, as you probably know, that will let o2 in which is also a problem.
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Re: Airlock problem

Postby 56chevy3100 » Tue Oct 27, 2015 10:17 am

I was just thinking about this same dilemma. So what if the starsan gets in but what about the o2? Can you get a one way valve airlock?
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Re: Airlock problem

Postby pclemon » Tue Oct 27, 2015 1:32 pm

When it's done fermenting, keg it and put it under CO2 pressure in the fridge... or if it's done ferementing and you want to leave it in the same container (carboy)then put a solid bung in it without the airlock.
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Re: Airlock problem

Postby tennee » Wed Sep 07, 2016 9:44 pm

Vodka should be added!
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