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I have to remove my airlock to get a temperature probe out of the carboy. I can probably do this in 15-30 seconds. I understand that air shouldn't touch the alcohol, but will this short of a time period hurt? I'm at day 4 of fermentation.

Additionally, I recall a worker at the LHBS state that he removes the airlock and adds yeast nutrients at day 3 of the brew.

(The temperature probe I bought did not have tinned wire ends, so I can't stick them in my breadboard. I didn't realize this until after I brewed. The company I purchased them from said I could get a refund for them. It cost me $10 and I could sacrifice it if taking the airlock off at all is bad).

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A mostly un-related question that demonstrates bravery in this regard with no contamination. –  Scott Feb 10 at 17:46

2 Answers 2

up vote 8 down vote accepted

Seconds are nothing. I remember a long time ago coming home to a carboy that blew it's bung one evening, must have been exposed for hours. It never got infected.

As an example, think of how long your beer is exposed from the time it goes from your bucket/carboy to the bottling bucket, and into bottles, hopefully without infection (at that point though, it's likely something else that touched the beer that caused an infection). If you're paranoid enough, open it up in a room with minimal air movement (no fans, air vents, etc) and keep a spray bottle of Star San at the ready.

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If in doubt StarSan the F out of it! lol –  Another Compiler Error Feb 10 at 18:52

If fermentation has begun and you have seen bubbles through the airlock, then you have a blanket of co2 covering your beer and co2 is heavier than air. In addition, like Scott said, a few seconds is nothing really. As long as you don't have air blowing in through the small hole, there's a slim chance of anyting going in and causing an infection.

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