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General Category => Yeast and Fermentation => Topic started by: davidgzach on April 17, 2012, 08:56:13 PM

Title: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: davidgzach on April 17, 2012, 08:56:13 PM
So, I bought an upright freezer on Craigslist for $100 and now have access to our chest freezer as my lager fermentation vessel.  Yes, it's lager brewing season as I can fit 4 carboys at once!

I have two lagers in there now in carboys, and want to make a third this weekend, but only have plastic buckets left for primary.  I know plastic was previously frowned upon for lagers.  But today, with pitching big starters and racking to keg for lagering after 3 weeks, do I really need to worry or should I just brew away and RDWHAHB?

Dave
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: weithman5 on April 17, 2012, 09:11:59 PM
i use plastic buckets with no problem.  i have (though i don't any more) even kept a beer in there at lager temps for 3 months prior to bottling.
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: ynotbrusum on April 18, 2012, 12:32:16 AM
No problems with a month in the bucket. I do that all the time.
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: bluesman on April 18, 2012, 12:55:16 AM
I prefer glass carboys for my lagers but I've used buckets with great success as well.  I say go for it!  :)
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: a10t2 on April 18, 2012, 12:58:21 AM
If I don't have a keg free I'll even lager in a bucket. Keep that glass out of my brewhouse. ;D
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: davidgzach on April 18, 2012, 12:22:47 PM
Thanks all.  RDWHAHB and the plastic primary it is for my Munich Helles this weekend.

I plan to buy another Better Bottle or two soon, but need to space out my equipment purchases since my wife was kind enough to let me add another appliance to our garage.  I now have the chest freezer for my lager fermentation vessel, the upright freezer for storing food and an extra fridge where I store my lagers on the bottom and about 8# of leaf hops in the top freezer...... ;D

Brew on!

Dave
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: erockrph on April 18, 2012, 02:26:55 PM
I plan to buy another Better Bottle or two soon

Do Better Bottles let O2 in the way plastic buckets do? I know they say they don't, but I've been hesitant to pull the trigger on getting one for a secondary because I'm not sure I buy into that. Anyone have any experience with long-term aging in a Better Bottle?
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: weithman5 on April 18, 2012, 02:40:31 PM
I plan to buy another Better Bottle or two soon

Do Better Bottles let O2 in the way plastic buckets do? I know they say they don't, but I've been hesitant to pull the trigger on getting one for a secondary because I'm not sure I buy into that. Anyone have any experience with long-term aging in a Better Bottle?

in general i think that the pet (better bottles) do not allow as much in as the hdpe (buckets) but the diffusion is also a function of thickness and in either case i don't think it is as much a problem as people think.  large headspace, knocking off the bung etc are probably bigger concerns than the diffusion.  there are now kegs made out of hdpe and i believe that as long as the beer is consumed within several months there should be little problem
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: a10t2 on April 18, 2012, 02:47:38 PM
Do Better Bottles let O2 in the way plastic buckets do?

I'd imagine there's less O2 penetration in the Better Bottles, but it probably has more to do with the lack of a lid seal than the material.
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: davidgzach on April 18, 2012, 03:26:19 PM
I've had very good success with mine.  I'd buy another over glass.  From their website:

Don't think of BetterBottle carboys as plastic – think of them as better than glass, because they are made from a special, scientifically tested, polyethylene terephthalate copolymer (PET), which does not have the disadvantages of other plastics.

BetterBottle® fermentation carboys are: are: 1) Designed to be strong, scuff resistant, easy to handle, and essentially unbreakable, 2) Pure – Taste- and odor-free, BPA-free, DEHP-free, and plasticizer-free, 3) Virtually impermeable to oxygen, 4) Clear and colorless, 5) Incredibly light weight, and 6) Extraordinarily easy to wash and sanitize (no brushes necessary). BetterBottle carboys are not at all like other plastic carboys. The special PET, used to make BetterBottle carboys, is non-absorbing, non-porous, and non-wetting (hydrophobic), so it will not carry over flavors from one batch of wine or beer to the next and it is easier to clean and sanitize than glass or other plastics.
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: a10t2 on April 18, 2012, 04:11:58 PM
That's the marketing anyway. Without details on the composition of the plastic, or controlled testing, who knows?
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: Joe Sr. on April 18, 2012, 04:51:45 PM
I use them all the time.  Love 'em.

I had my old ale in them for two or three months prior to kegging with no issues (that I'm aware of).

If I was going to age long term in a carboy, though, I'd transfer to one of the too many 5 gallon glass ones I have.  Both to free up a 6.5 gallon carboy and because I can and then I have no worries about oxygen permeability (although of course the transfer adds it's own risk of oxygenation).
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: richardt on April 18, 2012, 04:59:35 PM
Not to be snarky, but since old ales are allowed to have oxidative notes (in both aroma and flavor), it doesn't necessarily attest to the appropriateness of Better Bottles for extended aging.
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: Joe Sr. on April 18, 2012, 05:12:29 PM
Right you are.

However I use them for all my ales, and with three kids and limited time they typically sit for at least a month.

I have not used them intentionally for long term aging, though.
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: thirsty on April 18, 2012, 06:14:49 PM


RDWHAHB
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: davidgzach on April 18, 2012, 06:34:17 PM
That's the marketing anyway. Without details on the composition of the plastic, or controlled testing, who knows?

True, true.  They do have a lot of information however on their website with tech specs, chemical studies,  etc...  It's worth a look as they are a lot easier to handle/clean than glass.  No, I'm not a rep, just a home brewer who found a piece of equipment I like and recommend.

Dave
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: bluesman on April 18, 2012, 06:39:58 PM
I think as long as you're happy with the quality of your beer using a particular process, then you shouldn't hesitate to continue using it.  I've used glass and plastic without any noticeable difference in quality between them.  Unless you are bulk aging for months or years, then plastic buckets or BB's are just fine.
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: erockrph on April 18, 2012, 07:24:17 PM
I think as long as you're happy with the quality of your beer using a particular process, then you shouldn't hesitate to continue using it.  I've used glass and plastic without any noticeable difference in quality between them.  Unless you are bulk aging for months or years, then plastic buckets or BB's are just fine.

I guess that's what I was trying to get at. I'm looking to get into making mead and was debating on using a 5-gallon BB for my secondary.
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: ccfoo242 on April 19, 2012, 02:46:22 AM
If Better Bottles are good enough for JZ then they're good enough for me!  :P

Though I can't attest to his use of them for extended periods.
Title: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: tygo on April 19, 2012, 11:34:22 AM
Anyone have any experience with long-term aging in a Better Bottle?

I've aged beers in them on a couple of occasions for up to a year with no noticeable oxidation.
Title: Re: Re: Plastic Bucket for Lager Primary
Post by: veldy on April 22, 2012, 02:11:50 AM
So, I bought an upright freezer on Craigslist for $100 and now have access to our chest freezer as my lager fermentation vessel.  Yes, it's lager brewing season as I can fit 4 carboys at once!

I have two lagers in there now in carboys, and want to make a third this weekend, but only have plastic buckets left for primary.  I know plastic was previously frowned upon for lagers.  But today, with pitching big starters and racking to keg for lagering after 3 weeks, do I really need to worry or should I just brew away and RDWHAHB?

Dave

I have always fermented the lager primary using plastic buckets.  I am not fond of plastic for secondary and especially not lagering, but I wouldn't hesitate for a lager primary (I use carboys for Ale primary since I am less diligent about when I secondary, or if I do at all in some cases).

Veldy