Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com

Big Mouth Bubbler seal

I have been having a lot of difficulty with this and have tried various remedies (o-rings, taping, etc.) to keep it sealed w/o success. Some seem to maintain a seal for a day or so only to lose it. I submitted a review to NB (no profanity) but it was not posted. In about a week I’d like to use it for secondary on a melomel. Has anyone had success with a particular remedy to make the seal secure and long-lasting?
Thanks, Tom

Are you talking about the glass or plastic bubbler? If plastic, I’ve found that some keg lube around the top of the fermenter rim does the trick.

Thanks for your reply Flashman and sorry I was not more specific. 5 gallon, plastic.
Not familiar with keg lube as I’m only bottling. Does it set-up or stay “liquid”? I hesitate to use anything
that may find it’s way into the fermenter, but may be forced to in this case. I’m considering making a rubber gasket (the o-ring was difficult to fit due to small sealing surface) from a sheet of rubber 1/8" thick…

This seems to be a common problem with the plastic ones. It’s not really a huge concern if you aren’t bulk aging. There’s so much CO2 pouring out of an active fermentation that there is no chance you are letting oxygen in.

The trick is to tighten it, loosen it and retighten it about ten times after you buy it. This is what I was told by the staff at NB Minneapolis when I bought mine. It worked for me. Otherwise, I was told if that didn’t work to buy the gasket used on the glass version. Let us know how it turns out for you…

I have made gaskets/seals from a styrofoam plate that is fitted into the lid. Single use, but they are cheap and easy to make.

[quote=“sundog”]Thanks for your reply Flashman and sorry I was not more specific. 5 gallon, plastic.
Not familiar with keg lube as I’m only bottling. Does it set-up or stay “liquid”? I hesitate to use anything
that may find it’s way into the fermenter, but may be forced to in this case. I’m considering making a rubber gasket (the o-ring was difficult to fit due to small sealing surface) from a sheet of rubber 1/8" thick…[/quote]

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/keg-lube.html

It’s the consistency of Vaseline. A little goes a long way, and it solves the problem. I vastly prefer my plastic bubbler to my glass one.

Thank you to all that have replied.
My brothers rebuild engines and have some sheets of rubber and cork/rubber for gasket materiel. So I think that I’ll make a gasket out of one of those materials and see how that works. One of the machinists there said he thought the beveled surface was to do the sealing but the fit was so poor that there was no way this would happen. Poor design! What’s needed is a lid like a conning jar that has the rubber gasket bonded to it. …

I’ve had similar issues also with the airlock bung wanting to just slide right back up when I press it in. I did age a sour in one that ended up getting 02 in there. Luckily, I like that flavor in a sour but would have been awful in any other beer.

Update: I made a gasket from 1/16" thick rubber-impregnated cork making the OD the same as the cap and ~ 1/2" wide. This ended up being a bit small for the OD and it did not remain on the edge when I paced the rim on and tightened it. The edge on the carboy is so narrow it is difficult to get an o-ring or gasket to stay there w/o falling out.
I’ve considered coating the edge of the cap with the “liquid rubber” product to make it like a canning lid, but don’t want to pop for a can of that stuff only to have it fail…
Meerts: Yes, I had the same problem and ended up using electrical tape (sticky and elastic) to tape the bung to the shoulder on the cap…

+1 on the Keglube…solved the problem and my plastic big mouth bubbler actually bubbles now! A little annoying to clean but worth it for me.

I had this problem, too, but they suggested that it was because I was using the five gallon plastic big mouth to ferment a three gallon batch. I feel that it is an issue with the product, but they’ve invested too much money in the big mouth bubbler line to dump it, so we have to use work arounds. One should not have to use keg lube to remedy the problem.

It is most DEFINITELY an issue with the product but I’m applying a practical fix to the problem. Works. Keglube is food grade and cheap. Less annoying to me than sending it back. I like to brew not run back and forth to the post office.

Agree, Voodoo, and I’m not knocking your practical fix. I’m lamenting the fact that the product has flaws that should be addressed by NB rather than making us find solutions to repair it. At this point, NB has to realize the issues and should contact the manufacturer for some solutions.

I’ve been putting a sheet of plastic wrap over the top before I put on the lid. Once the lid is on, I use a paring knife to slit the wrap under the bunghole. The stopper itself spreads the slit enough to ensure the airlock can breathe. I’ve had no problems with 3- gallon batches in a 5- gallon big mouth plastic. The bubbler bubbles.

The lid design is absolutely a complete failure, but with the plastic wrap I imagine it seals as well or better than many buckets. It’s also probably easier to clean than the keg lube.

Thanks again for the replies.
I totally agree with hekkubus and JMck. You should NOT have to retrofit this product to make it work. I am either too stubborn or too lazy (or both) to send it back and have accepted the challenge to make it seal. My next try will be to coat the cap rim with bees wax (I’m a beekeeper) and hope that this will make a good seal and not need to be re-coated each use.
The statement that a 5 gallon fermenter won’t seal because you’re fermenting 3 gallons is not only ludicrous, but insulting. Attempting to get a seal on a narrow hard-plastic-to-hard-plastic surface is just very poor design. It makes we wonder if they even field tested before releasing…

While I’m on a rant…
They say that it’s easy to clean. But with all the “bubbles” embossed into the fermenter, doesn’t it make it difficult to clean effectively in these and thus possibly lead to contamination?

I guess I have the only plastic big mouth that seals. Never had a problem with it. Mine is the 6.5 gal but I doubt the lids are any different.

And yes, it is easy to clean. The “bubbles” are not an issue. The first bubble is at 1 gal. The trub layer is never that high. I do a PBW soak then use the spray hose on my sink to rinse the inside and it’s fine.

[quote=“LJb”]I guess I have the only plastic big mouth that seals. Never had a problem with it. Mine is the 6.5 gal but I doubt the lids are any different.

And yes, it is easy to clean. The “bubbles” are not an issue. The first bubble is at 1 gal. The trub layer is never that high. I do a PBW soak then use the spray hose on my sink to rinse the inside and it’s fine.[/quote]

Yeah, mine seals fine, as well. And cleans easily.

Although, I will say the guy at NB in the store tried to talk me into the glass, saying PBW might etch the plastic. I wasn’t sure how much I bought that story, but I don’t really soak much anyway, especially when it wipes out so cleanly.

[quote=“uberculture”]
Yeah, mine seals fine, as well. And cleans easily.

Although, I will say the guy at NB in the store tried to talk me into the glass, saying PBW might etch the plastic. I wasn’t sure how much I bought that story, but I don’t really soak much anyway, especially when it wipes out so cleanly.[/quote]

Is there really any need to use PBW if you are just wiping it clean? a rag and some soapy water should be all you really need I would think.

Back to Shopping at NorthernBrewer.com