Do you need an airlock when bulk aging ?

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Senior Member
Nov 23, 2009
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Or can you just use a solid plug or cap . Is there still gases coming off the wine ,is that why you use an airlock ? Just need to know what I need to have on hand when the time comes .
To be on the safe side I bulk age with an airlock.. atmospheric pressure and temperature changes, such as big storms etc.. can cause the plug to blow out.

I use a bubble lock with the red cap placed firmly on top. It helps slow the vodka evaporation.
You can also use a "blow by tube". It is just a pllug with a hole in it with a tight fitting tube ran into a jar of water. It can burp but it cant burp back. If you use a big enough jug you won't need to worry about making sure your airlock stays full of water. Put a little sulfite in your water jug too, if you go that route.
I use airlocks for bulk ageing, but I prefer the one piece ones rather than the 3 piece - I find they don't need topping up like the 3 piece ones do.
I use an airlock on mine. I don't put any Pot. Meta. in the tube, just water and keep it in a cool place. Check on it regularly. The caps are tight so I have had little if any evaporation.

Thinking about bulk aging some wine this fall for 2 years.

That is if I can hold off drinking it.
Barometric pressures can make a solid bung pop out just as it can make your wine rise up into the neck of your carboy and up into your airlock in extreme barometric changes. Ive seen it on mine a few times when storms where coming in.
I just noticed I miss spelled bulk in the title can someone fix that for me like Wade or a Mod.
I have wondered about using the caps that come on our drinking water bottles.We have to purchase our drinking water in fives and always have them on hand. New, they cost .25 cents. They are a great seal and I have thought that they could be used for long term ageing. You would never have to worry about fluid levels of traditional stops.
What do you all think?
I have only bulk aged one wine longer than 6 months and when I did I replaced the airlock with one of these caps and kept it on for another 4-5 months or so and it seemed to work well. Once any off gassing has finished these should be okay; however, I'm not sure what atmospheric or temperature changes would have on one of these - perhaps blow it off if it there was a dramatic pressure drop. Others with more experience in long term ageing might offer some good insight.
.. Doug
You always should use an airlock even when bulk ageing.

Suppose there is some residual sugar and despite stabilising the wine will re-ferment. When using a solid bung you are in big trouble.

And once I had a wine that spontaneous got Malo Lactic fermentation. Man I was glad there was an airlock on....

So better be safe as sorry.


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