Need help with a airlock problem!

Hi guys I’m about 24 hrs into fermenting the bourbon barrel porter extract kit.ive noticed that the airlock is still getting clogged with some fermentation. Is it ok to just sanatize another one and replace it? I’m using a 5 gallon bucket for primary. Thanks!

Yes, that is fine. In the future, you might want to get a 5 or 7 gallon bucket for primary. Using too small a bucket when the fermentation really gets going can actually pop the lid right off. Makes quite a mess.

Better yet you should use a blowoff hose, which is a piece of hose attached to the mouth of the carboy (or hole in the bucket lid) with the other end in a container of water. It’s best to always use a blowoff hose from pitching until the krausen (foam on top of the beer) has fallen.

Thanks guys maybe the blow off Hose is the way to go? The new airlock is clogged! Do I need to fill the hose with sanitzer or just leave it?

Have the end of the hose in a container with Starsan solution, or the sanitizer you use for bottles. The volume of sanitizer does not need to be a large amount, just enough to make sure the end of the hose remains under the surface.

The container of sanitizer should be lower than the fermentor, or as far below the top level of the beer as possible. If the container is higher than the fermentor sanitizer could be sucked into the beer from a change in barometric pressure or temperature. Don’t use bleach if that is your normal sanitizer. A small amount of bleach being sucked back into your beer will ruin it. A small amount of Starsan solution may not have any effect at all on your beer.

Thanks I’ll do that how about the space in the bucket lid where the hose comes out is that not a concern?

You can fit a tube over the center pole of a three piece airlock. If your air lock is constricted by a taper, at he base, cut this off with a fine toothed saw. This will help prevent clogging at the restriction point.

Find the tubing size that will have a tight fit through the airlock grommet when not using the air lock as part of the blow off assembly. Teflon plumbing tape, or even duct tape, can be used to help make a tight fit.

Keep your blow off tube as high as possible, above the level of the beer in the fermentor, when inserting a tube through the airlock grommet. If the blow off tube is in the beer, any pressure change will push the beer out, and may cause a siphon action.

Try to get a tight fit. If you can’t wrap a star san soaked paper towel around the hole. You probably won’t see bubbles though. Defenatly need a bigger bucket if craps blowing out.

Thanks guys the Hose fits fine in the 5 gallon bucket. How long should I leave the blow off hose going and convert back to a airlock?

I leave a blowoff hose on for the duration of fermentation (2-3 weeks typically), but that’s not necessary. I do it that way because I’m lazy and I have enough hoses. The hose can be safely replaced with an airlock after the krausen has fallen.

FYI: you do not need to use sanitizer on the other end of the hose, but it doesn’t hurt if you have some ready. I normally use water.

I think we are missing the big picture…
What temps are you fermenting at? This is just as important as fermenter size and blow off tubing. To sum it up:
Ferment low to mid 60° for your ales, use a big enough fermenter (wheat yeast strains require as much as 33%!), and use a blow off.

Never understood why people just don’t start with the blow off tube for those “oh $h!t” moments…

If I’m using a 7.9 gall bucket will I need a blow off hose?


I just did the bourbon barrel porter, still in primary. It is the first one that I had to use the blowoff hose for. I am using the 6.5 gallon big mouth.

[quote=“hammertime”]If I’m using a 7.9 gall bucket will I need a blow off hose?

Probably not, but why risk it? Easier to slap a blow off tube in there rather than cleaning krausen off the ceiling, walls, and floor.

[quote=“Loopie Beer”][quote=“hammertime”]If I’m using a 7.9 gall bucket will I need a blow off hose?

Probably not, but why risk it? Easier to slap a blow off tube in there rather than cleaning krausen off the ceiling, walls, and floor.[/quote]
The amount of foam that builds up over the beer depends on the OG of the beer, the temperature you are fermenting at, and the strain of yeast you are using. If you use a 7.9 gal bucket and a yeast that doesn’t foam much (like lagers) or keep the temperatures in check, you won’t need a blow off tube. I’ve been using 28 liter (7.5 gal) buckets for the last 75 or so 5 gallon batches I’ve brewed. I’ve kept the temperature controlled and have never had a problem with blow off.

Thanks for all the advice! The blow off tube has worked out great! To answer Loopie Beers question I’ve been fermenting at about 64 degrees. :cheers:

Ambient or actual beer temp? Just remember that fermentation is exothermic meaning that it creates heat and releases that heat. Therefore your actual ferm temps can raise 3°-5° (sometimes higher) than ambient.

Either way pretty good job keeping it cool. Sounds like you have some happy yeast. Happy yeast = good fermentation = great beer. Good job!

I have an Airlock question. It’s my first time using one. I’ve filled the 3 piece Airlock to the fill line 3 times already. It keeps dropping down below the fill line about a half inch. Is that normal, or do I have a bad one ? I just bought it from here. Thanks.



Evaporation can reduce the volume of sanitizer in the airlock. How often do you need to refill to the fill line? If it is every day, then there may be a crack in the air lock. In the case of a crack, vodka for the sanitizer would be advised if it is dripping into the beer. I prefer the S-style because there is less evaporation. I use the three piece for a blow off tube assembly.

I have broken a couple of S-style air locks by not wetting the bung with sanitizer before inserting. Also using a twisting motion to insert airlock to reduces the force needed to overcome friction.

I used a twisting motion to put the Airlock in the top of the fermenter. I’ve had to add water (spring bottled) to the sanitized Airlock three times already in one day. I didn’t see any defects before I put it in.