Sunday, March 2, 2014

DIY micro fermenting vessel

Perhaps you've heard of micro-breweries? Here in the Lalorium, we've scaled down micro-brewing to nano-brewing (for which we have a selection of 25L carboys), pico-brewing (in an array of 5L demijohns), and now femto-brewing, for experimental-to-the-point-of-possibly-undrinkable ferments, like the liquorice and the rose-hip and gentian porters below.

The brewing supplies stores round these parts, many and excellent though they are, don't seem to stock a vessel suitable for the hemi-demi-semi brew. For three months, therefore, Tim has been begging everyone he knows to take up bulk fruit-juice consumption and to sling us the empties. As for the airlocks, they're single use only.


  1. Interesting. Is the air lock situation a necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention scenario or by choice/advice?
    I hope your hemi-demi-semi brews are palatable.

  2. It's kind of a necessity-is-the-mother-of-invention situation. We usually use plastic S-shaped airlocks, but there's nothing around with a bung that would fit the screw-top plastic necks of these bottles. The condom creates a good seal. There's a hole pricked in the condom's tip to allow carbon dioxide out, but it's small enough that no god-fearing bacteria are going to make their way in.

    I'm slightly worried that the air isn't escaping quickly enough through the hole in Righty there, and it looks like there's some risk of the condom bursting (not-bursting is a pretty important part of their design, though, so we may be all right).

  3. I might just be a bit au contraire here, so merci beaucoup, mein Herr Baron.

    Of course bacteria can get in through a tiny hole but really it's about minimising the risk of infection. A happily fermenting brew will cast off a layer of gases making it impossible for bacteria to get in, and an airlock of some sort (even of this crudely improvised sort) will further minimise the risk of infection. Of course gas is going to escape around the sides anyway, even with the professional airlocks you can smell gas escaping - nothing you can do about that.

    Righty is certainly fermenting slower (the difference between the two is even more dramatic today) but, a) there's a lot more room to accommodate gas in the bottle itself and b), there just ain't that much of it to ferment.

    And OF COURSE they're going to be palatable!

    Should get about five/six stubbies apiece from both of these. You want some? I think we should send Bek a bottle or two, Baron.

  4. Usually advice re: airlocks in unconventional fermenters is just to get a balloon and put a pin prick in the top. So, you know, same deal.

  5. Oh yeah, if ANYONE wants some experimental beer, please say. It's almost impossible to get to the shower round here without stubbing a toe on a small herd of beer bottles (Unusual Ways to Save Water #19).