From the HBD Archive
From: (Jack Schmidling)
Date: 1992-05-17 03:13:00 GMT

To: Homebrew Digest
Fm: Jack Schmidling

>I am looking for a autoclavable air lock of the type which can do reverse
flow (for when it cools). Anyone know where I can get such a beast, or
have an idea for how to make one?

One sure sign of an old salt at home brewing is the classic glass
fermentation lock. When I first started wine/beer making, there was nothing
else available, now they are scarce as hens teeth. As a far out aside, one
home brew shop returned my video because of all the "odd looking equipment" I
demonstrate in it. Not sure where you can find them but I treasure my
remaining three and treat them like crown jewels.

One of the nifty things you can do with them is to fill an Erienmeyer flask
with your starter and bring it to a boil. When you are sure it won't boil
over, attach the empty glass fermentation lock and turn off the heat. The
steam will sterilize the stopper and lock and enough water will condense out
to fill the lock to the proper level. If it sucks some back in on cooling,
it's no problem because it's sterile water.

For what it's worth, I use a 500 ml flask about 3/4 full as a starter for 7
gal batches and get vigorous fermentation within 24 hrs.

I have never tried starting from a petri dish without going through the slant
step but I have a hard time believing that it would not work as well without
all the extra stages. I can't believe the yeast cares whether it is in a
gallon of wort or an ounce.

Back to your original question, they exist and if you look hard enough, you
can probably find one. I will sell one of mine for a grand or two :)
Making one would be a simple task for a glassblower. It is basically an "S"
shape with a bubble in each leg. There are some good shots of it in my video
if you have access to it or someone wants to send you a "preview" copy.


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