I have 30L of pressed apples. After getting the wild yeast started in one week, I put an air-lock on. This is how my carboy looked right after that operation:

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I used organic raw apple cider vinegar as a sanitizing solution in the air-lock. Hope that was a good idea. Anyways, air-lock bubbled for an hour or so right after being set, but after one hour, air-lock activity has stopped. Still, there's a healthy couple fingers of foam on top of the brew, just like in the original picture.

Should I espect air-lock activity to come back within the next few hours/days? Is it normal to get good air-lock activity right after air-locking the carboy and then having it stopped for a while?

I'm a beginner so hope this question is still interesting! Any advice is welcome.

1 Answer 1


Get that vinegar out of there. Your entire batch could turn to vinegar, as it is obviously not a good sanitizer for acetobacter vinegar-producing bacteria! I use vodka in mine, and Everclear would work even better.

What you see on top is just foam from initial pouring of the yeast or juice into the fermenter and/or off-gassing from same. That is not what fermentation looks like. It will take several days before you see actual fermentation. Be patient, replace the vinegar in the airlock, and it should all work out.

  • Thank you for your message. I have now taken the vinegar out of there and replaced it with water for now, as I don't have any vodka handy at the moment. Can that be ok until I find something else? Can I use alcohol from the farmacy maybe?
    – juansalix
    Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 13:39
  • Water is fine for now. If you use Starsan no-rinse sanitizer, you could use that as well. I would not use pharmacy isopropyl alcohol. There is always a risk of the liquid in the airlock from moving in the wrong direction. I would not want isopropyl in there. But water or a few drops of no-rinse sanitizer should be fine. Vodka is ideal because the alcohol sanitizes and is otherwise flavorless in the finished product.
    – dmtaylor
    Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 18:41
  • Thank you for your comments. Very informative. I can recall what you mean now, since the foam has been rising so much that is has reached the air-lock, even making some spillage. The liquid in the airlock is not clear now, but has the color of the brew. Should the airlock liquid be replace to clear water in those circumstances, or sould I wait for this big activity to cease first?
    – juansalix
    Commented Oct 26, 2019 at 20:17
  • 1
    Wow, that's a lot of foam for a cider. It probably will only be like that for a day or two. Just leave it alone until the foam dies down a bit, then you can clean up the airlock.
    – dmtaylor
    Commented Oct 27, 2019 at 0:03

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