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How to Use an Airlock



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hey winemakers Matt Williams here from

why makers Academy calm and today we're

going to be talking about airlocks these

are some pretty inexpensive but very

important pieces of equipment here when

it comes to winemaking they serve two

major purposes the first to let carbon

dioxide escape from fermenters and

carboys while fermentation is going on

in number two they keep oxygen bacteria

and wild yeasts from getting down into

our wine in doing things to it that we

don't want to have happen and they do

that through the use of water this

particular airlock is called a cup

airlock it's comprised of three

different parts and I'll show you these

pieces up close but what you would do is

fill up this cup with water to a certain

level and use it to seal off your carboy

and your fermenter so let's take a

closer look at this and you can get a

feel for exactly how all these pieces

work so here we have a close-up of our

airlock it has an upper lid here you

can't see it but there are holes in this

lid to allow the co2 to come out this is

the inner cap that I had mentioned this

fits over the tube that's inside of our

cup here I'll go ahead and show you how

to set this up you may be able to see it

but there's a line on our cup right here

that shows us how full to fill this so

we'll take some water

and when you do this you want to use

clean water in case you get drips down

into your wine you don't want it to be

anything funky so we've got water up to

our line you notice that it's not in the

tube here that's full of air we'll add

our cap and then we'll add our secondary

cap okay so when the pressure is

building in our fermenter the co2 will

come up the center tube this cap will

force it to come up and over and then

back down so then the bubbles that

escape will come up the side and out the

top so there you have it that's how you

set up and properly use an airlock a

couple pieces of advice that I'll offer

you when it comes to these number one

make sure it's all sanitized just like

everything that we do we want it to be

clean impeccably clean sanitized number

two keep an eye on it sometimes these

plugs can work their way out of a carboy

but at the same time if you've got a

really vigorous fermentation going on

the the foam that's generated can

overpower what the airlock can handle

and what happens is the foam will get up

all inside of this thing and start to

come out of it and it makes a whole mess

you still run the risk of this thing

popping out so you want to check on it

all the time

and lastly watch the bubbles that come

out of the airlock that's a good gauge

to tell you how far along you are in

your fermentation in the beginning this

thing is going to be bubbling constantly

just going crazy

but then as fermentation slows down the

yeast is taking it easy the bubbles will

go slower and slower and slower and

eventually it'll get to a point where

bubbles only come out maybe once an hour

or so and then you know it's time to go

ahead and check on your fermentation

with your hydrometer so this has been

another equipment tutorial from

winemakers Academy if you have any

questions for me please feel free to

email me at matt at wine makers Academy

com or leave comments for me in the post

thanks for watching