Today we will talk about how to convert your water can into a low-cost fermenter. Finding airlock is difficult then Crafting your own setup and equipment only increases the joy of a hobby. Last week we had talked about DIY sanitizer. A blowoff tube can be attached to commonly available airtight containers especially the water cans, milk cans (which have large enough mouth for easy cleaning) or pickle jars with airtight lids.

bisleri can with airlock
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How to make blow off tube airlock for water cans

Step by step guide to making a blowoff tube or a DIY airlock for fermenting home beers, wines, and toddy. Fermentation produces CO2 which needs to be vented out. However, if a proper airlock is not fixed then oxygen will come and oxidize the home beers into sour vinegar.
Prep Time15 mins
Active Time10 mins
Total Time25 mins
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: alcohol
Keyword: airlock, baloons, blow off tube, surgical gloves
Yield: 1 airlock
Cost: 50

Equipment

  • drilling setup

Materials

  • 1 piece surgical gloves
  • 1 piece baloon
  • 1 piece RO tube or pipe
  • 2-3 drops quickfix or adhesive
  • 1 piece plastic bottle or container
  • 500 ml sanitized water

Instructions

  • First step is to clean the fermenter
  • Add your wort (beer), grape juice (wine) or ganne ka juice (toddy)
  • Add some brewer's yeast of appropriate strain (0.5-1gm/liter) to kickstart fermentation
  • Now comes the most important step: To prevent oxidation of the fermentation over the next 2-3 days when the sugar is getting converted to ethanol. For this most recipe books will recommend a airlock. If you are unable to procure one use the following options

Airlock alternatives

  • Alternative 1: surgical glove. Over the mouth of the fermenter (bisleri water can) with the glove. Gloves will inflate as it gathers CO2. Once it is inflated, you can release some CO2 (about 2 times a day should be sufficient). Alternatively, you can prick a minute hole in the glove so that the accumulated CO2 gets released on its own. Instead of a glove, you can use a baloon as well.
    bisleri can with airlock
  • Alternative 2: Blow off tube: Rather than using the standard S type airlock, for vigrous fermentation it is recommended to use a blow off tube. Essentially you make something like a hookah. Allow the CO2 made from fermenting ethanol/alcohol/beer/wine through a water filter. Water will allow the CO2 to pass through but not allow the Oxygen to enter back. Just remember to have sufficient quantity of sanitized water in the collection container.
    Water can with cork and blowoff tube
  • Alternative 3: If you are making a small batch of ginger ale or toddy, then you can make it in a 2.5 Liters pepsi or cold drink bottle as well. PET plastic is ideally suited to withstand pressure and as long as you are able to vent out the build up pressure 2-4 times a day it should be safe. Keeping the bottles in a cool place (desert air cooler tank, air conditioned room or refrigrator) would slow up fermentation and slow down chances of too much CO2 build up.
  • Alternative 4: To use a proper airlock.
    s type airlock

Notes

Oxidation is one of the biggest problems in homemade beers and wines. You can buy toddy or turbo yeast from our online store and begin your journey.

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Ankur

21 years of experience in Home Brewing and author of Arishtam (India's first homebrew Guide Book).

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Vineeth Elias Mathew

    What is the black material used to seal off the bottles in the picture?

    1. Ankur

      5 stars

      its a DIY cork made from a silicone sealant (one you find in aquarium supply stores)

  2. Charled

    5 stars

    A very good piece of advice, also please get a copy of Arishtam which is very informative, written in very simple language making it easy to follow and gives you confidence in your brewing. You can also get good equipment from Mr. Ankur, just logon to Seagram. Com

    1. Ankur

      Thank you very much for your kind words

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