From the moment I seen my very first glass airlock on a documentary of historical beer making. I said to myself “I GOTTA get me one of those!”. So I went on the hunt. I was lucky enough to find one on Amazon and snatched it up. I was soon to find out that I should have done a better job at researching one in particular. There is a certain glass airlock by the name of E. C. Kraus and are a well known safety hazard and in my opinion should be avoided. Which happened to be the exact one I bought.
This particular brand is known for breaking and shattering very easily, and thus sending the brewers hand into a flurry of jagged glass shards… and that’s exactly what happened to me. In fact I STILL have a piece of glass embedded in my right thumb from this exact incident.
Here is an illustration how a typical accident happens (I have read numerous complaints of this happening time and time again).
This is how
will fail and
The airlock gets stuck in a bung or gasket, the brewer will pull up on the airlock to remove it which in turn puts pressure on the lower u-bend. This is due to the incredibly long stem, that provides the perfect spot to grab it. The incredibly thin glass will catastrophically fail under the pressure at the lower bulb area sending the brewers hand into the broken glass. Very dangerous, and hurts like hell. (trust me).
So, myself not one for giving up so easily, I picked out what glass I could reach, bandaged my hand, refused the stitches and went on the hunt once again to find a different one. Possibly made in the USA by a real craftsman, and that is exactly what I found.
Introducing the Speakeasy Glass Airlock. Handmade by glass artisans in the United States and available online on eBay from Hullabaloo Brew Co located in Texas. They are also available at the official Speakeasy Website located in North Carolina. (links below after review).
I contacted the seller with pre-sale questions and the seller was more than eager to help me with my questions. I’d also like to point out that my questions were answered within hours of submission and adequately enough to make my purchasing decision.
Packaging and Shipping
It is not an easy thing to send glassware in the mail. You just never know what can happen to a parcel on the way and I have seen many sellers, vendors, and businesses forget this fact. Hullabaloo Brew Co however is the exception, they took great care with the packaging. The airlock arrived carefully packed and very padded in an over-sized box and was clearly marked with “glass” on the outside on all sides of the box. I am pleased to say the airlock arrived undamaged and intact.
I’d also like to point out that inside all the padding, the airlock also arrived in a resealable merchandise bag, which shows this seller or producer of the item has pride in what they sell and concerned how they appear to the end purchaser. This is an extra step that did not have to be taken, and probably overlooked by many purchasers, but not I. This extra effort has not been overlooked. Also included was the invoice, and two business cards.
Pricing and Availability
Pricing of the airlocks at the time of this writing is a more than fair $14.77 with free shipping. $15 may seem a bit steep for an airlock, however one must not forget that these airlocks can last a lifetime if cared for properly, are hand made, and more importantly include shipping. These airlocks can also be found at the official Speakeasy Website for $7.50 + Shipping and Handling. (links below)
As far as availability is concerned, Hullabaloo Brew Co always seems to have these on hand and multiples of them. The official website seems to have many items out of stock as they struggle to keep up with the growing popularity of their products. They also come in a variety of colors including; Green, Clear, Blue, Teal and Amber. I can only hope that one day Speakeasy Glass will start making purple, red, and maybe a smoked color. I’d jump on that smoked color for sure.
I opened the box to reveal my new airlock and I was immediately struck at the weight (1.16oz). Compared to my previous airlock this one weighed considerably more. Which told me this was no ordinary airlock.
The airlock I ordered was green and did indeed show signs of being hand made. A characteristic bubble had formed during the blowing process, which added even more character and uniqueness to my purchase. The bends were expertly done and careful attention had been observed to make sure the bends did not close off the tube. Masterfully crafted by someone obviously very skilled in glass blowing. The overall length was 5″, a perfect length for any airlock. My previous one had measured in at a massive 8″+!
Next I checked for glass thickness as this seems to be the fault with the other Chinese versions. and as you can see from this photo the thickness is a beefy 1/12″ and 3/8″ wide (shown on non-standard 1/12th scale ruler). I did not feel this was going to break in my hand at all. This is in stark contrast to the the ~1/32″ thickness of the E.C. Kraus version purchased previously.
Next I checked for flexing. I carefully pulled on the stem and body in opposite directions to see if I could detect any flexing of the glass. I am happy to report that the glass did not flex at all and even more so that it did not break! (Do not attempt this test yourself as any glass item could break and cause injury)
10/10 – Perfect
I honestly cannot think of a single thing to complain about with this airlock (and i tried! I really did!). It is well constructed, safer than the Chinese version, was shipped quickly with proper attention to packing, is indeed hand made in the USA and has great customer service. What more could you ask for when making an online purchase? I think it must be noted that these are best used for small batches with foam rubber stoppers/bungs however you can use them on larger batches if you have a tighter fitting bung or rubber gasket seal (like we do).
If you are in the market for a new airlock and want to take your game to the next level, you can feel safe with your glass airlock purchase from Hullabaloo Brew Co., the online store with a funny name but means serious business.
This review is the sole opinion of The Brew Monks and in no way officially endorses or condemns the product(s) or company behind the product. If a product has been received for free it will state so in the review. Your purchase experience may vary. As with any glass item take care how you handle it, no glass item is unbreakable.
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