Can any damage be done when air lock is removed for about 3 to5 minutes. I repitched yeast this morning.what can I expect?

Don't worry, your beer or wine will be fine.

Of course you have air in your fermenter anyway, and air always has some wild yeasts and bacteria. But when you pitch your yeast, it quickly overpowers anything else that may be in there. It uses up the oxygen and creates alcohol, making the whole environment unfriendly to many other microbes.

Besides later keeping wild yeast and bacteria out, the airlock also blocks insects like fruit flies, which can be attracted by the fermentation. You probably didn't get a bunch of flies in your fermenter in 3 to 5 minutes, and even if you did, you can just take them out when you bottle or keg.

  • 1
    I agree. A short time rarely does any harm. – barking.pete Aug 8 at 16:59
  • I havent used an air lock for years. just good sanitation and a clean environment. RDWAHAHB – RAReed Aug 9 at 16:54
  • Yes airlock is makes sense after fermentation begins to slow.. – Martin Aug 10 at 23:40

"What can I expect?" Beer.

Seriously, let's step through this: Normal air is about 78% Nitrogen which has an atomic mass of about 14. CO2 has an atomic mass of about 44. CO2 is much heavier than air. So, there will be a cushion of CO2 under any air that got into your fermenter, as long as you didn't agitate it.

  • Atomic mass is very different from density (or specific weight, the gravity-dependent version of density), which is what determines what sinks or rises when two bodies of liquids (or gasses) are in contact. CO2 and Oxygen are very similar, so a good amount of mixing does occur, but, and here you're correct: not enough to damage beer. – Crisfole Aug 8 at 17:26
  • Just as a helpful way to think of it: oleic acid (80% of olive oil) has a molecular weight of 282.468 g/mol, water has a molecular weight of 18.015 g/mol. The oil floats on top of the water. – Crisfole Aug 8 at 17:28
  • What could happen if i agitated the Wort – Jack Scotti Aug 8 at 22:50
  • Sloshing your wort (or any liquid) allows the nearby gas to dissolve into it. It'll also remove the CO2 cushion from the air resting on top of it. This will let Oxygen into your wort. That said, it's not only perfectly fine but, encouraged to agitate your wort before pitching yeast. – CharlieHorse Aug 10 at 13:40
  • My findings are that I used a lot of Fermentables. Which sometimes don't show the High Kruzen phase of fermentation. – Jack Scotti Aug 10 at 23:15

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