Vaseline & Duct Tape

Discussion in 'General Brewing Discussions' started by Daniel Parshley, Jan 31, 2020.

  1. Daniel Parshley

    Daniel Parshley Active Member

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    After visiting many micro-brewery operations and drooling over all the stainless and copper, I return home to my plastic buckets and secondary fementer "brewery" tucked away in an unused bathroom. Like other home "plastic bucket brewers", I have struggled with leaky lids. I thought back to loosing $2,000 cameras while doing marine research due to leaks in the seals and how we fixed the problem - Vaseline. I have been using a bit of Vaseline around the very top and duct taping those lids down and this has eliminated the leaking problem. Hope this might help those fighting plastic bucket CO2 gas leaks.
     
  2. Shepington

    Shepington Member

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    I would use food grade lube such as Keg lube.
     
  3. Daniel Parshley

    Daniel Parshley Active Member

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    Great idea. An uncontaminated material is critical for anything that might come into contact with the wort. Since Vaseline is used on lips and such, and I have not known bacteria or mold to grow on an open container, it was my choice at the time and has worked well.
     
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  4. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Right, but vaseline is a petroleum based product. Keg lube or dairy lube won’t break down the plastic/silicone/whatever parts on your brewery parts.

    Otherwise, you don’t need a perfect seal on fermenters anyway (unlike packaging or storage gear), so you could just ignore it also.
     
  5. Daniel Parshley

    Daniel Parshley Active Member

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    Hum, Vaseline container is the same type of plastic. Still, great points. Food grade would be best. A good seal gives me peace of mind about contamination. I have noticed my fermenter is barometrically sensitive and I can tell if the pressure is rising or falling. I rather my fermenter not "breath", especially during week 2-3 when not much CO2 is being produced.
     
  6. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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  7. Daniel Parshley

    Daniel Parshley Active Member

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    Keg Lube sounds like the right answer and I will try the product. I have looked into single use lids and the link you provided is correct in that they are around $2.00 a pop. WARNING - The brew buckets often purchased have a unique lid and the standard 5 gallon bucket lid will not fit on a 6.5 gallon brew bucket (already tried that). I have broken my share of lids and some lube definitely reduced breakage. Also, I made an opener that goes around the bucket rather than prying up on the lip. Between the two, I no longer have red strips of bucket lids in my brew and not purchasing more lids at $4-5 a pop.
     
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  8. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    One more approach: RDWHAHB. As pointed out above, it's not necessary to completely seal fermentors. Sometimes mine seal and I get bubbles out of the airlock, sometimes they don't. I really don't pay it much attention: I determine when fermentation is complete with gravity readings, as long as the yeast are producing CO2 there's a positive pressure, the kind they use to keep operating rooms sterile. Once fermentation is done, the tiny amount of air that can get in through whatever leak is insignificant in terms of oxidation and unlikely to bring in something infectious. Personally, I'd be more worried about getting lube or grease into my beer than the small amount of air that could come in with a leak. I've done fermentations where I've not even dogged the bucket lid down and guess what - no problems. I haven't tried a truly open fermentation - no lid - but breweries do it with no problems. As long as you're not relying on airlock bubbles to tell you when fermentation is done (not a recommended practice), a small air leak isn't a problem worth a lot of consideration.
     
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  9. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Yeah...Nosy makes great points. The truth is that if your using buckets, the potential problems you may (or eventually will) encounter won't have anything to do with the bucket seal. You'll hit sanitation issues due to microbes finding a home in the plastic long before you'll find problems that might arise from oxygen ingress after fermentation. During fermentation, CO2 pressure makes certain that gas is moving out, not in. After fermentation and during cool-down, air can get back in but it's sitting on top of a thick CO2 blanket. Any agitation releases CO2 from solution and pushes the oxygen out so with careful handling and no sloshing, you can be pretty assured of no problems.
    I've done batches in cheap buckets with no airlock, knowing that out-gassing would happen due to the weak seal. I put a couple of cans of beans on top of each bucket to keep the lid from popping off. Some of my best beer was made that way. ;)
    If I had to do go back to buckets, I'd go and buy brand new ones from Walmart for $5 or $6 each with lids, use them maybe 2-3 times and toss them.
     
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  10. Daniel Parshley

    Daniel Parshley Active Member

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    Great knowledge shared in this forum. Thank you. Yes, on the gravity to determine when fermentation is complete. I use BRIX just to save a bit of beer. I'm a believer in letting the yeast cleanup the off flavors and not rushing. Personally, I use taste as the final decision for when to bottle. Local brewers have shared similar thoughts about air tight fermenting, but they have had "infections", too. I know, my turn will come and I'll have some drain cleaner.
     
  11. Daniel Parshley

    Daniel Parshley Active Member

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    Thank you. Another great idea for brewing on the cheap. We are amazed at the quality of beer we can get out of plastic buckets, a secondary fermenter, and a handful of bottles.
     
  12. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Brewers used to make do with a whole lot less.... Quite frankly, after as many batches as I've done, I'm amazed at how the beer keeps coming out clean and great tasting. It's a lot easier to brew good beer than some would have you believe.
     
  13. jmcnamara

    jmcnamara Well-Known Member

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    I would add the corollary that it's hard to make truly undrinkable beer unless you're actively trying to
     
  14. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    JC, after quite a few Homebrewers' Nights at our LHBS, I would have to disagree.... Unless, that is, if you count trying to make a Brut IPA actively trying to make a bad beer.
     
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  15. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Yeah...I agree with Nosy on this... I wouldn't be able to make it through a full glass of some beers I've had when judging. That being said, I think a lot of the faults found in homebrew competitions come from bottling and then shipping. The beers straight out of the fridge might not have been quite as unpalatable. ;)
     
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  16. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    Many appear to be experiments gone horribly wrong. I also agree that handling errors contribute but the biggest flaw I see in many homebrews is failure to understand the style, followed by trying to push some style element too far.
     
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  17. thunderwagn

    thunderwagn Well-Known Member

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    Nice to see you back in action man!
     
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  18. J A

    J A Well-Known Member

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    Given that craft breweries tend to make up beers and then assign a style designation, the confusion is understandable. When a potential homebrew competitor sees a "Kolsch" made with Fruity Pebbles on tap at the local brew pub, who can blame them for not understanding what it's supposed to be. :D
     
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