In homebrewing, you need to keep biological contaminants such as bacteria and mold spores from the air from entering your carefully sanitized fermenters. However, you can’t just close off the bottles as you need to let CO2 from the fermenting process escape.
The usual solution is to install a water-filled bubbler/airlock on the top of the fermentation vessel. The airlock lets CO2 out in the form of bubbles but keeps air from getting in.
Another solution that has been put forth is the waterless airlock. These are specially made silicone stoppers with a pair of flapper valves inside a cylinder. The flappers go in only one direction, so gas can go out but not in. I didn't want to spend $3 for a valve and $8 for shipping, so I decided to go over to http://techshop.ws and make some of my own.
Step 1: Materials
- Silicone or rubber stoppers, food grade since they are intended for contact with your beer. You will want the ones with a hole in the center (or drill it yourself).
- Food-grade silicone caulk
- Clean typing paper
Step 2: Step 1
Lay out your stoppers on a flat surface. If they did not come with holes, drill holes in them. Be generous about hole size.
Cut sheets of clean paper so that they can cover the hole plus one side of the stopper.
Cover the top of the stopper with food-grade silicone caulk. Cover the parts of the stopper that are open and the parts that have paper over them.
You’re done! Once the silicone is dry and the paper is removed, you can use these as airlocks in your fermentation carboys. The silicone caulk should be anchored to the part of the stopper that was bare but able to emit gas from the part that was covered by the paper.
I made it at Techshop!
Put the airlock-stopper in your fermenter and brew.