Deciding which airlock is the best for home brewing is pretty easy to answer… They both are. It usually just boils down to home brewer’s preference, but we will give a couple reasons why they both are the best for different stages in the fermenting process.
What is an Airlock?
An airlock is nothing more than a little plastic device that is used in making fermented beverages, like beer, wine, cider, etc. The airlock works by allowing carbon dioxide to escape from the fermenter, through the airlock chamber without letting any new air back into the fermenter. Since the airlock does not allow any air into the fermenter, this helps cut down on any possible bacteria contamination getting into your beer or wine.
There are multiple different types, sizes and styles of airlocks but all use provide the same purpose. Airlocks use a liquid chamber that acts as a contamination barrier blocking any outside contaminants from getting into your fermenter, and also allows for the carbon dioxide gasses to escape through it.
Which Airlock is the Best For Home Brewing Beer?
After comparing these two different types of airlocks, it was pretty easy to come to the conclusion that they all do the same thing, but we recommend having one of each for home brewing. Here’s why:
The 3-Piece Airlock
We recommend using the 3-Piece airlock for the primary fermenting. The three piece Airlock is much easier to clean because you can disassemble it and get in every groove and corner with a cleaning brush. This is important in primary fermenting because every once in a while you will have an overactive batch that may foam up all the way to the top of the fermenter, and get inside of your airlock making a mess. The 3 Piece airlock is much easier to clean out if this happens while bubbler airlock is very difficult to clean out thoroughly because of its shape.
The Bubbler Airlock
We recommended using the bubbler airlock for secondary fermentation. As mentioned above, this airlock is quite a bit more difficult to clean out compared to the 3-piece airlock, so using it for secondary fermenting only, you won’t have to worry about the beer foaming up through the airlock and making a mess inside of it. Also, we like using the bubbler airlock for secondary fermenting because you are able to see a more accurate movement of the carbon dioxide release through the bubbler airlock. The secondary typically bubbles very slowly, so you will be able to see the slightest movements in pressure changes with the bubbler airlock compared with the 3-piece.
So in the conclusion, both airlocks are the best! They both perform the same function, and get the job done. We have just found that using different airlocks for the different fermenting stages works best for us:
Primary Fermenting: Use a 3-Piece Airlock
Secondary Fermenting: Use a Bubbler Airlock
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