The Ultimate Solution to Suckback
We at Plaato had issues with suckback during fermentation and cold crash in addition to other vacuum related problems when brewing - which is something most homebrewers encounter at some point. Therefore we started experimenting with how we could aviod suckback in a simple, cost efficient way. We came up with the PLAATO Valve. After exptensive testing, we found the product to be the ultimate suckback protector and matched our criteria for a solution. The following link is David Heath's full comprehensive review, which is the most thorough review of the product thus far. Click the link, or read the full unedited transcript of the video underneath.
In this video, I will be reviewing the new Plaato Valve which has just been released online. I was lucky enough to be handed a few of these for early evaluation, and I have been conducting a whole manner of tests to see how well they perform. More on this later. Let's first look at what this valve is and what it means to a brewer. The Plaato Valve is essentially a drop equalising valve brought to you by the same company behind the Plaato Airlock. It sits between your airlock or blow-off tube and fermentation vessel and equalises any negative pressure. The valve is made from fda-approved food grade polypropylene. It an incorporated silicon valve but is also supplied with 16 optional activated carbon filters. This is of course a very nice extra benefit as this will significantly reduce smell.
My initial reaction upon hearing about this product was one of wonder as to why nobody else had thought of such a useful product. The problems that it counters are issues that every homebrewer will encounter. Its benefits are as follows:
Firstly, it eliminates suckback. Suckback is something that is of concern to all brewers. This can happen during low fermentation temperatures, cold crashing or lagering and is caused by negative pressure created by these temperatures. Suckback results in the contents of your airlock entering the fermentation vessel. This also means that oxygen will enter and this will lead to oxidization which is clearly something to avoid. We can only hope that the liquid in your airlock was sanitary and as such will not cause an infection.
Secondly the valve offers empty airlock protection. As well as being caused by suck back there is also the issue where you have a particularly explosive fermentation on your hands, and your airlock empties itself outwards. Sods law of course dictates that this will occur when you are not present and able to fix it immediately. I guess there is no brewer of any experience who has not suffered this. This now means that oxygen will freely enter your fermentation vessel leading to oxidization. Ultimately this means that valve is also very useful for protecting beers that you have in long term secondary Carboys and Demijohns. This usually needs to be regularly checked for airlock liquid levels.
Thirdly we have what I’m going to call transfer protection. When transferring from an enclosed vessel like a conical fermenter you will experience a build-up of pressure that will stop the flow of your beer into bottles or kegs. Or call suckback depending on the type of airlock you use. Your options are usually either to use a pressure transfer care which will use Co2 push the beer out or to remove the pressure by opening lid of your fermentation vessel. The latter meaning that you have now exposed your beer to oxygen and thus you are now on some steps towards oxidization. This valve eliminates the need for a pressure transfer or opening the lid.
In summary you can now see this product has an array of very good levels of protection. Lets now move on to my testing and final conclusion. Firstly, I have tested this valve with every different type of airlock that I own. The fit was good with each one, and the opposite end fits into the different bongs that I have for Carboys and Demijohns. So far, so good. I have also tested the valve with fermentation, cold crashing, transferred to kegs and bottles. I am very happy to say that all went flawlessly. This valve certainly lives up to its promise. I did begin to take some video footage of this testing, but decided to not use it in this video because there is simply nothing to see. The valve simply sits in place and does its job - never faltering. It is a simple product that has some very protective uses that proved to be invaluable to the homebrewer. I will use these valves with every fermentation moving forward and will also use them for Carboys and Demijohns for secondary conditioning. To my knowledge, there is nothing else like this on the market and yet it fulfils common problems faced by homebrewers at a very low price point. I highly recommend the peace of mind and functionality this product offers at a very affordable price.
This product is available online for purchase right now for just 10 USD. There is also worldwide free shipping offered "..." I hope that you have enjoyed this totally independent review. I wish to stress that I have not been paid or bribed or held at gunpoint even in releasing this video. It's all just me. Yes, I did get sent a few of these free of charge, but that was for evaluation testing not review. I do hope this is understood by all.
Thank you for the review, David! The ultimate solution to suckback can be purchased here.