Air Lock Removal?

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do you guys pull the air-lock out of the top when you take a sample for a grav reading?

or do you just let the air bubble through backwards?
I take it out. I don't want to risk the water getting into my brew, as it has been exposed to the air.

- Snow
:rolleyes: I always pull the airlock out because I use sanitising solution in the lock.I dont like the Idea of draining off a sample and having sanitising solution being dragged back through the lock and into the beer.

I have been using plastic cling wrap over the top of the barrel held in place with the rubber from a fermenter top lately. a pin hole in the cling wrap and I can see whats happening as well as keeping nasties out of the beer.
It works fine and its another couple of things I dont have to worry about sanitising.
Cheers JWB
I use those two piece American airlocks like at the top of this page.
So you can just take the inner part out and take the sample.
One less thing to worry about.

Gravity Readings goes - "flame suit on"

As i brew for 7 days and then rack for 14 days...i dont usually take gravity readings until i am ready to keg / bottle.

However, when i do take readings, i dont use any samples.
Wastes beer.
I open up the fermenter and just drop the hydrometer in.

Take the reading - replace lid - and wash hydrometer.

My sterlisation is just boiled water - i use nothing else.
Once, i had an infection ( i think - could have been huge case of autolysis) i had some wort in the secondary for 2 weeks. Had to go on holidays and ran out of time to bottle. (wife kept me too busy)
Came back three weeks later to an off smell and flavour.

Soaked fermenter for a week in cold water and bleach - never had the same taste/smell again.
No dramas from me Ken.
That is the way I used to do it.

I only changed when I started using the two piece airlocks. Then I didn't have to open the lid to get a sample to avoid getting the liquid from the airlock in the brew.

Flame suit still intact.

Mines a halfway situation.

I drain the wort into the hydro tube only to hear the gurgling of the air-lock that I forgot to remove.



Remove Airlock


Hedging my bets each way? :D
I've been a bit unsure on this one myself. Obviously you don't want possibly 'infected' water getting into your brew, but if you take it out completely don't you run the risk of letting air in and losing the CO2 layer I've heard protects the top of your brew? I've kind of thought you were damned either way. Any ideas?? :unsure:

as long as it was nice, slow and gentle.. you shouldn't disturb the CO2 layer, as its heavier than air.. and it should then push the air back out...
I add one eye-drop of oidophor in the airlock if the water in there is clear (iodophor changes colour to clear once it's no longer active). I also ensure there is not so much water in the lock that it might overflow into the brew. If it does, it doesn't matter anyway coz it's sterile and the volume is way less than you'd leave in the bottles. I don't like the limited possibility of sucking germs into the breather hole.... air must go thru sterilising agent first. The exposure to air when bottling is a risk I have to live with :(
I would have thought that there are more infection risks with taking the airlock out, than leaving it in....mainly the process of putting the airlock back into the grommet, particularly when it is all dry.

I leave the airlock in, and just drain to the hydro-tube slowly to prevent any rush of air through the airlock.

Oh come on Rob! lil bitty airlock hole not gonna let in streams of bacteria

I would take the airlock out! Take the lid off if you like! Just cover the "bottling bucket" with a clean teatowel if you are at all worried
hmmm and there is no CO2 "layer"

I ferment open, with just a clean teatowel over the fermenter. Works fine, never a single infection, and these fermenters sit in my shed that is hardly what you would call sealed, i.e, dirt leaves etc get blown in under the door

ales should be fermented open. Airlocks are for winemakers

Jovial Monk
for an OG reading:
loosen the lid
use a just sterilised hydro and tube
take reading
take the lid off completely
pour contents back into barrel to ferment...

for a FG reading:
loosen the lid (or remove airlock)
use a just sterilised hydro and tube
take reading
pour contents into either the origional barrel or the secondary barrel
then rack beer for bulk prime...

anyone reckon that might be too much exposure?
Yep. Way too much.
Don't return your readings to the fermenter. Read gravity, smell and taste the sample.
In response to what was written by the Jovial One, it is not the piddly little hole that concerns me, but rather the process of trying to re-insert the airlock into the grommet, and what may be dislodged in the process.
Just my opinion on the matter.....

I use the 2 or 3 peice airlocks, as perscribed by Doc above
very simple and easy to use, just remove and replace the top as needed, no chance of disturbing the grommet.