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I'm very new to this all, and just bought a noob-starter-kit. I'm using a can for my first brew (to learn the basics)

So I just started the brew (Coopers Real Ale) a few days ago. I'm keeping the fermenter in an outside room, and am popping in to check on things daily. Yesterday, I went in early evening to find that my airlock was almost completely dry (little bit of liquid pooled at the bottom of one of the bends, but not creating an air-lock at all), and what was clearly some drip marks from brew splashing out the top of the airlock at some point. Of course, I quickly topped it up again. I had previously checked the airlock a little earlier the previous day (so, maybe 30 hours before), and it was still completely fine then.

So, now am stressing a bit about possible problems from it. Should I be worried about the risk of contamination? My airlock is a little grubby now too, should I try clean it out (or just leave it) It seemed like, because of the ongoing reaction inside the fermenter, there was still a positive (albeit gentle) pressure which I'm hoping was keeping air out, but I just don't know...

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homebrew.stackexchange.com/questions/7660/…. discusses airlocks without water, the question is about 3-piece airlocks, but the advice holds for 'S' shaped bubblers also. –  mdma Apr 8 '13 at 15:45
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1 Answer

up vote 5 down vote accepted

You should be just fine. Some breweries still practice open air fermentation and the practice of 100% airlocking your beer is relatively new.

The water in the airlock will prevent bugs and oxygen from getting into your beer, without the water it would still be difficult for an environmental contaminant to get through the airlock. So unless a bug managed to crawl in and die you are fine.

Welcome to home brewing, Relax don't worry have a homebrew (or regular beer since this is your first kit).

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thanks! It pains me now to even buy a regular lager from the store, knowing that my own is bubbling quietly away, completely unaware of my betrayal.... –  baldric Apr 8 '13 at 15:45
    
Even if a bug crawls in and dies you are probably fine :) –  Germ Apr 12 '13 at 15:24
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