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Why use an airlock?

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  • birddawg39180
    I m new here and this is my first post, but I was wondering - why do you have have to use an airlock when fermenting. I know an air lock is neccessary for
    Message 1 of 5 , Nov 30, 2003
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      I'm new here and this is my first post, but I was wondering - why do
      you have have to use an airlock when fermenting. I know an air lock
      is neccessary for wine making if you want a kinda bubbly bite, but
      wine can be made without. Since this is about distilling, it does not
      seem neccessary. Someone set me straight.
    • Mr. Brew Diggity Dog
      Several reasons to use an airlock: 1. It keeps oxygen out. Since the yeast only produces alcohol in an anaerobic settings, we want to minimize interaction with
      Message 2 of 5 , Nov 30, 2003
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        Several reasons to use an airlock:

        1. It keeps oxygen out. Since the yeast only produces alcohol in an
        anaerobic settings, we want to minimize interaction with the air to
        get the max out of our wash. We aerate in the beginning to help the
        initial growth, after that, its strictly carbon gas, alcohol, and
        hopefully not too much else.

        2. Infections. They're bad. From homedistiller.org "Bacteria can
        double in number every 20-30 minutes, but yeast takes 3 hours (so
        guess which one will win the race if an infection gets started and
        you don't deal to it)."

        3. Insert your reason here

        --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "birddawg39180" <cegrey@c...>
        wrote:
        > I'm new here and this is my first post, but I was wondering - why
        do you have have to use an airlock when fermenting. I know an air
        lock is neccessary for wine making if you want a kinda bubbly bite,
        but wine can be made without. Since this is about distilling, it does
        not seem neccessary. Someone set me straight.
      • jimpuchai
        ... do ... lock ... not ... Well, I can tell you what works for me. I suppose down the years you notice that this that or the other step seems unneccessary and
        Message 3 of 5 , Nov 30, 2003
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          --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "birddawg39180" <cegrey@c...>
          wrote:
          > I'm new here and this is my first post, but I was wondering - why
          do
          > you have have to use an airlock when fermenting. I know an air
          lock
          > is neccessary for wine making if you want a kinda bubbly bite, but
          > wine can be made without. Since this is about distilling, it does
          not
          > seem neccessary. Someone set me straight.

          Well, I can tell you what works for me. I suppose down the years you
          notice that this that or the other step seems unneccessary and can
          be dispensed with. I don't even own an airlock or a food quality
          plastic fermenting vessel.
          I use a wheelie bin of about 70 litres I think. I buy CLEAR
          polythene bin liners made for shipping dry goods in drums. You can
          also get excellent quality bin liners from cleaning supply
          companies. I always make sure that the liner has about 150 litre or
          more capacity.
          Place the liner inside the bin. Dissolve the sugar in warm water
          then add enogh cold to reach your total. I never measure the volume
          of my water, just stand the bin on some bathroom scales and make
          some small allowance for the weight of the bin, then top up with the
          hosepipe. Pitch the turbo at the recommended temperature and then
          gather the excess plastic liner together some inches above the
          surface and twist into a loose rope. Some strong elastic bands to
          hold it like that, and you're done.
          The turbo yeast will generate enough CO2 to displace the air and
          will do so until you reach to nearly the end of your ferment. To
          exclude air then, twist the plastic spiral a little tighter.

          To add to my sins, I routinely stretch my turbo to 12kg of sugar and
          top up to 60 litre total. It has always fermented out, but not
          always at turbo speed. I am in no great hurry anyway. One final sin,
          I rinse out the liner when the mash is finished and use it inside
          out for the next mash.
          I should say that your mileage may vary. Mine never has.

          Regards,
          Jim.

          PS
          If you don't own a dog or a baby, you can always take your mash for
          a walk :-)
        • Mr. Brew Diggity Dog
          ... but ... you ... the ... and ... sin, ... What/which kind of turbo are you using? Quite a few of them very specifically say never to make more than 25 L at
          Message 4 of 5 , Dec 1, 2003
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            --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "jimpuchai" <puchai4@o...> wrote:
            > --- In Distillers@yahoogroups.com, "birddawg39180" <cegrey@c...>
            > wrote:
            > > I'm new here and this is my first post, but I was wondering - why
            > do
            > > you have have to use an airlock when fermenting. I know an air
            > lock
            > > is neccessary for wine making if you want a kinda bubbly bite,
            but
            > > wine can be made without. Since this is about distilling, it does
            > not
            > > seem neccessary. Someone set me straight.
            >
            > Well, I can tell you what works for me. I suppose down the years
            you
            > notice that this that or the other step seems unneccessary and can
            > be dispensed with. I don't even own an airlock or a food quality
            > plastic fermenting vessel.
            > I use a wheelie bin of about 70 litres I think. I buy CLEAR
            > polythene bin liners made for shipping dry goods in drums. You can
            > also get excellent quality bin liners from cleaning supply
            > companies. I always make sure that the liner has about 150 litre or
            > more capacity.
            > Place the liner inside the bin. Dissolve the sugar in warm water
            > then add enogh cold to reach your total. I never measure the volume
            > of my water, just stand the bin on some bathroom scales and make
            > some small allowance for the weight of the bin, then top up with
            the
            > hosepipe. Pitch the turbo at the recommended temperature and then
            > gather the excess plastic liner together some inches above the
            > surface and twist into a loose rope. Some strong elastic bands to
            > hold it like that, and you're done.
            > The turbo yeast will generate enough CO2 to displace the air and
            > will do so until you reach to nearly the end of your ferment. To
            > exclude air then, twist the plastic spiral a little tighter.
            >
            > To add to my sins, I routinely stretch my turbo to 12kg of sugar
            and
            > top up to 60 litre total. It has always fermented out, but not
            > always at turbo speed. I am in no great hurry anyway. One final
            sin,
            > I rinse out the liner when the mash is finished and use it inside
            > out for the next mash.
            > I should say that your mileage may vary. Mine never has.
            >
            > Regards,
            > Jim.
            >
            > PS
            > If you don't own a dog or a baby, you can always take your mash for
            > a walk :-)


            What/which kind of turbo are you using? Quite a few of them very
            specifically say never to make more than 25 L at a time (heat issues
            i'd assume, but i can't remember exactly why). I personally went out
            and got some 14% http://turbo-yeast.com/batchyeast.html yeast
            specifically because there ain't no limit on batch sizes. (Though I
            can't imagine how they concluded 3 days of fermenting is enough, mine
            bubbled away happily for 5 days and didn't wind down till the 7th)

            Anyways, I was going to do exactly what you've come up with, but i
            found $5/5 gallon (~19L) fermenting buckets at my local homebrew
            shop, which work for now. Though instead of using a bubbler airlock,
            I just use a tube and a water filled jar, though thats probably
            unnecessary too :O)
          • jimpuchai
            ... issues ... out ... I ... mine ... airlock, ... The last yeast I used was Alcotec 8 and before that Still Spirits Turbo Yeast. I just cannot recall if any
            Message 5 of 5 , Dec 1, 2003
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              >
              >
              > What/which kind of turbo are you using? Quite a few of them very
              > specifically say never to make more than 25 L at a time (heat
              issues
              > i'd assume, but i can't remember exactly why). I personally went
              out
              > and got some 14% http://turbo-yeast.com/batchyeast.html yeast
              > specifically because there ain't no limit on batch sizes. (Though
              I
              > can't imagine how they concluded 3 days of fermenting is enough,
              mine
              > bubbled away happily for 5 days and didn't wind down till the 7th)
              >
              > Anyways, I was going to do exactly what you've come up with, but i
              > found $5/5 gallon (~19L) fermenting buckets at my local homebrew
              > shop, which work for now. Though instead of using a bubbler
              airlock,
              > I just use a tube and a water filled jar, though thats probably
              > unnecessary too :O)

              The last yeast I used was Alcotec 8 and before that Still Spirits
              Turbo Yeast. I just cannot recall if any one is better than the
              others. I just think of them as a generic "Turbo" and just use what
              comes to hand. I am in no hurry, and if it takes 7 or 10 days it
              simply does not matter.
              What did matter, was that I realized that some Turbo yeasts were
              costing more than the amount of sugar stated on the pack. Bearing in
              mind this is just a hobby, I started to focus on the economics and
              ways to bend and stretch the envelope. I am not a tightwad, I just
              felt that there had to be cheaper ways.

              The tube and water filled jar is good. For a more economical
              approach, just slip a childs ballon over the pipe and secure it.
              Make just one pinhole in the balloon. As the CO2 expands the ballon
              it will expand the pinhole and create a self regulating one way
              valve.

              I'm off now, it's time to take the mash for a walk,

              Regards,
              Jim.
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