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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: flbrewer on May 25, 2013, 02:56:43 PM

Title: Plastic carboy
Post by: flbrewer on May 25, 2013, 02:56:43 PM
I've seriously considered replacing my glass primary carboy with this.
http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/brewing/brewing-equipment/fermenting-equipment/the-bubbler-6-gallon.html

Any downside to this over glass? I have a creeping suspicion that one day the glass carboy will drop, break, and cause a number of issues.

Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: duboman on May 25, 2013, 03:09:04 PM
It looks to be the same type of product as a Better Bottle PET product and IME they work very well with no issues. I do find that being only 6 gallons instead of the 6.5 gallon bucket, head space can be an issue and definitely require a blow off tube!

I've primarily gone to only using buckets as I find them easier to deal with, head space is better and since I dry hop in primary, access is much easier as well as cleaning. I really don't care what my beer looks like fermenting:D
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: The Professor on May 25, 2013, 03:49:36 PM
It looks to be the same type of product as a Better Bottle PET product and IME they work very well with no issues. I do find that being only 6 gallons instead of the 6.5 gallon bucket, head space can be an issue and definitely require a blow off tube!

I've primarily gone to only using buckets as I find them easier to deal with, head space is better and since I dry hop in primary, access is much easier as well as cleaning. I really don't care what my beer looks like fermenting:D

+1 on the size deficiency, at least for use  as a primary...for that purpose, 6.5 or 7gal would be much more useful. I use a 7 gal carboy and a blowoff tube has never been necessary.
As others will undoubtedly state. a bucket is the simplest solution. 
Really, I only continue using the carboy because I'm a stubborn bastard.
Title: Plastic carboy
Post by: flbrewer on May 25, 2013, 03:58:06 PM
It looks to be the same type of product as a Better Bottle PET product and IME they work very well with no issues. I do find that being only 6 gallons instead of the 6.5 gallon bucket, head space can be an issue and definitely require a blow off tube!

I've primarily gone to only using buckets as I find them easier to deal with, head space is better and since I dry hop in primary, access is much easier as well as cleaning. I really don't care what my beer looks like fermenting:D
Which buckets are you using?
Title: Plastic carboy
Post by: duboman on May 25, 2013, 04:33:16 PM

It looks to be the same type of product as a Better Bottle PET product and IME they work very well with no issues. I do find that being only 6 gallons instead of the 6.5 gallon bucket, head space can be an issue and definitely require a blow off tube!

I've primarily gone to only using buckets as I find them easier to deal with, head space is better and since I dry hop in primary, access is much easier as well as cleaning. I really don't care what my beer looks like fermenting:D
Which buckets are you using?

I use 6.5 gallon Ale Pails and true Blue pails that I get from my LHBS, $16.00 with a pre-drilled lid.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: klickitat jim on May 25, 2013, 05:37:52 PM
Buckets! I don't own a carboy
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: HoosierBrew on May 25, 2013, 06:44:38 PM
Brewer's Best wine fermenter buckets.  They're just under 8 gallons, which lets me stay in plastic and not be limited by the size of Better Bottles. They're pre-drilled too, and I get them for under $20.  I use Better Bottles for long term secondary on occasion for RIS, Barleywine, etc.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: bigchicken on May 26, 2013, 03:33:58 PM
In my opinion, the downside of the plastic carboy is cleaning it. I've had gunk that wouldn't come off after 24 hour soakings with PBW. A brush really isn't an option due to scratch potential.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: dzlater on May 27, 2013, 11:30:27 AM
 I started out using a bucket.
Then moved to a glass carboy, till it broke.
Then bought a couple Better Bottles. I have been using them for a few years and they do work just fine.
Recently I bought a bucket, because I wanted an easy way to top crop yeast, and might start using them for all my beers.
They are inexpensive, easy to clean, easy to move around, and easy to add dry hops or top crop yeast.


Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: Joe Sr. on May 28, 2013, 02:16:33 PM
I've used Better Bottles for years and they are all I use these days.  I got rid of all my glass carboys last summer after one cracked with my kids nearby.

You do need to use care in cleaning them.  I put an old sock on a bottle brush so that I don't scratch them but I've found most gunk will come off with a good long soak.

I've never really used buckets, but I can see where they'd be convenient.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: theDarkSide on May 28, 2013, 02:50:39 PM
Another Better Bottle fan here.  Extended soak tends to clean everything out for me.  I also have a keg/carboy washer that I built for those really stubborn stains.  I have mostly 6 gallon BB but do have a couple 5 gallon ones (from my silly secondary days), which did come in handy for mead and cider aging.

I always use a blowoff tube so the headspace issue doesn't affect me much.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: thebigbaker on May 28, 2013, 03:23:05 PM
I just started using these Speidel fermenters and they are great.  http://morebeer.com/products/speidel-plastic-fermenter-30l-79-gal.html?site_id=9 (http://morebeer.com/products/speidel-plastic-fermenter-30l-79-gal.html?site_id=9)

They are hard plastic with handles built onto the sides.  At just under 8 gallons, I have plenty of head space.  The wide opening makes cleaning a lot easier than regular carboys.  The spigot valve makes racking a breeze.  They are a little pricey compared to regular carboys, but well worth the money in my opinion. 
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: Herminator on May 28, 2013, 03:55:18 PM
I just started using these Speidel fermenters and they are great.  http://morebeer.com/products/speidel-plastic-fermenter-30l-79-gal.html?site_id=9 (http://morebeer.com/products/speidel-plastic-fermenter-30l-79-gal.html?site_id=9)

They are hard plastic with handles built onto the sides.  At just under 8 gallons, I have plenty of head space.  The wide opening makes cleaning a lot easier than regular carboys.  The spigot valve makes racking a breeze.  They are a little pricey compared to regular carboys, but well worth the money in my opinion.

Wow! Those look awesome.  I am going to have to look into those.  Thanks for sharing.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: klickitat jim on May 28, 2013, 05:32:11 PM
I fell in love with Cambro buckets. I paid $12 each but just found them on line for $9.70

http://m.webstaurantstore.com/cambro-rfs22pp-190-22-qt-round-storage-container-translucent/214RFS22PP.htm

I drill a 1" hole for my spigot and 5/8" for my airlock or blowoff

Sturdy, foodgrade, easy clean, plenty of head space, marked for volume, see through enough you can watch your sea monkeys lol

(http://img.tapatalk.com/d/13/05/29/bu3yvage.jpg)
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: flbrewer on June 10, 2013, 11:22:43 PM
Bumping this again to see if anyone will reply. After my last brew (only my second) I think I'm done with the glass carboys. The danger and weight is enough to give them up.

Is anyone using a plastic fermentor that doesn't hold in odors after cleaning?
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: thebigbaker on June 10, 2013, 11:47:59 PM
My Speidel fermenters and Better Bottle plastic carboys all hold some of the odor from the previous brews, but soaking them in some cleaner (I uses Oxiclean) overnight usually gets rid of most if not all of the odor from the previous brew.  Even if there is some odor left from a previous brew, especially from hoppy beers, I don't get any carry over into the next beer.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: euge on June 10, 2013, 11:53:20 PM
You can do an overnight soak with bleach water, oxyclean solution or PBW and the smell will be gone.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: aschecte on June 11, 2013, 01:38:57 AM
the biggest downside to what your looking to buy is two thing #1 they are not scratch resistant do not I repeat do not use a carboy brush in this only soak with pbw or oxiclean trust me it will scratch if not the bristles the metal center if you rub to hard will mar the plastic and you can harbor bacteria. #2 the dry time you are not supposed to turn these upside down to dry as all that happens is condensation builds up and it takes forever. They recommend laying it on it's side to dry it taks me in a semi dry area 3-4 days before it's completely dry. Actually there is another downside they are flexible and if you try to pick one up the sides cave in and suck the airlock liquid into the beer/wort/must whatever so you are delegated to use a milk crate to move it around and yes this will scratch the outside of the carboy but that is less of a concern only cosmetics for this point. I use them for my dry hopping or fruit additions but besides that I prefer glass 99% of the time even though it's heavier and could break those cons do not out way the con's of a better bottle type style fermenter. but to each their own I know people who swear by them.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: Joe Sr. on June 11, 2013, 01:28:04 PM
I haven't had any issues with the BBs holding odors.  I typically give them a long soak after emptying them, though.

I think the concerns about scratches are overblown.  Yes, you need to be careful.  You can't scrub them like you would glass, but with a good long soak I've found this to be a non-issue.  Buckets and BBs are the same in this regard.  Good sanitation is important, but it is anyway.

After 20 years or so I've moved away from glass.  I don't find keeping fermenters in milk crates to be an issue, and I would recommend it with glass also so that you protect them from cracking accidentally.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: bunderbunder on June 11, 2013, 03:23:51 PM
You can't scrub them like glass, but you don't really need to either. Gunk doesn't stick to them the same way.  Usually all it takes is a gallon of lukewarm water, a tablespoon of PBW, and some shaking.  If it's really gross then I'll stick a soft rag in there too, and with the rag they're always spick and span within a minute or so.

Soaking works too, but I prefer the shaking because a) I'd rather just get it done and b) I'm a teensy bit worried that excessive exposure to caustic chemicals would shorten the life of the plastic.

As far as relative merits, to me it comes down to this: Both kinds require lots of careful treatment. The difference is in why they do. With plastic, if you aren't careful you might need a new carboy.  With glass, if you aren't careful you might need a new carboy and a new hand or foot.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: denny on June 11, 2013, 03:58:40 PM
My buckets seem to always hold on to a little odor, but it never affects the next batch.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: Jeff M on June 11, 2013, 04:43:12 PM
My buckets always seem to hold a little color no matter what i do to them. ive soaked them and lightly scrubbed them to no avail.  Better bottles do seem great but i enjoy a primary fermentor i can stick my arm in for cleaning and to grab anything i may have dropped in there(stir plate stirrer is the prime example)  I just bought a bunch of kegs that i will use as fermentors, cheaper then glass and much easier to maintain because they are stainless.  When in doubt, get stainless:D
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: euge on June 11, 2013, 06:46:16 PM
When I want to give my buckets an extra special cleaning, sodium hydroxide (caustic lye) does the trick and they end up all white and sparkle nicely the next day.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: erockrph on June 11, 2013, 06:47:16 PM
My buckets seem to always hold on to a little odor, but it never affects the next batch.

I've found the same. I figure if none of my cleaners can get the odor out, then the beer isn't very likely to do so either.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: aschecte on June 11, 2013, 08:48:15 PM
One more thing to add from my earlier post the one thing I must say is I use my Better bottles for dry hopping and fruit additions and I have NEVER had a residual smell or discoloration and if anything dry hopping and fruit would cause this....

Funny story I'll make it quick my 3 year old son thought it a good idea when I was not looking to drop a few pieces of a onion in my better bottle ...... I freaked out !!! I thought it was ruined as after I took the onions out it reeked of onion !!! I quickly threw pbw and water in there overnight drained it rinsed followed up with starsan really quick for a few minutes though I don't know if I even had to. guess what not a single odor from reeking to nothing so I'm surprised some posters have had this problem.

That's one benefit I will give to BB
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: rainmaker on June 12, 2013, 02:53:03 PM
I enjoy the BB, but also echo the semi annoying flexibility that can cause liquid from the airlock to be sucked in if you move them. 

I'll make that tradeoff for the durability though.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: morticaixavier on June 12, 2013, 02:56:32 PM
I use buckets myself but I see a lot of folks bemoaning the sucking airlock. I just wanted to point out that if you use the 1 piece airlocks (S shaped ones) this is not a concern as it will just bubble backwards.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: yso191 on June 12, 2013, 04:26:07 PM
I have only used 6 gallon better bottles since I started brewing last Fall.  Cleaning is a pain, but I love the system I have for transferring to the keg with essentially no exposure to the air, and it's fairly quiescent too.

But after reading this thread, I decided to call More Beer.  I found out that a carboy cap that fits on my existing better bottles, also fits on the Speidel.  That being the key to my transfer process, I ordered.  Sounds like the best of both worlds.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: joe_feist on June 12, 2013, 04:30:51 PM
I use buckets myself but I see a lot of folks bemoaning the sucking airlock. I just wanted to point out that if you use the 1 piece airlocks (S shaped ones) this is not a concern as it will just bubble backwards.

+1 to buckets and the S-shaped air locks. I've accumulated a little of everything over the years, but I like to try new things. I've migrated back to buckets (that handle just can't be beat) and the S-shape for reasons cited above.

The Speidel looks very interesting. I'm sure I won't be able to resist long and I'll ask Santa for one come Christmas.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: Jeff M on June 12, 2013, 04:35:43 PM
Hmm they dont mention if the Spiedels are made out of PET plastic.  Thats a concern
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: yso191 on June 12, 2013, 04:41:09 PM
Hmm they dont mention if the Spiedels are made out of PET plastic.  Thats a concern

They are made out of HDPE.  Don't ask me what that means though.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: HoosierBrew on June 12, 2013, 04:56:46 PM
I use buckets myself but I see a lot of folks bemoaning the sucking airlock. I just wanted to point out that if you use the 1 piece airlocks (S shaped ones) this is not a concern as it will just bubble backwards.
+1
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: beersk on June 14, 2013, 01:13:07 PM
If all it is is sanitizer in your airlock, I don't see the big deal. I'd rather have sanitizer sucked back than air.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: morticaixavier on June 14, 2013, 02:39:23 PM
If all it is is sanitizer in your airlock, I don't see the big deal. I'd rather have sanitizer sucked back than air.

well you get the air either way. just with the three piece you get the sanitizer and then the air.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: bunderbunder on June 14, 2013, 03:43:36 PM
Hmm they dont mention if the Spiedels are made out of PET plastic.  Thats a concern

They are made out of HDPE.  Don't ask me what that means though.

It means that it'll let gas through.  If you need a good degree of gas/oxygen impermeability then PET is the way to go.


As far as the airlock sucking when you lift a plastic carboy, I deal with that by just replacing the drilled stopper with a solid one before picking it up.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: aschecte on June 14, 2013, 09:03:24 PM
Hmm they dont mention if the Spiedels are made out of PET plastic.  Thats a concern

They are made out of HDPE.  Don't ask me what that means though.

It means that it'll let gas through.  If you need a good degree of gas/oxygen impermeability then PET is the way to go.


As far as the airlock sucking when you lift a plastic carboy, I deal with that by just replacing the drilled stopper with a solid one before picking it up.
I like your idea of the solid bung stopper to pick it up but, for ease I promise a 6 gallon better bottle fits great in a milk crate and serves the same purpose of preventing suck back...... there should be a poll how many better bottle user use the milk crate method I bet the percentage would be pretty high.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: Thirsty_Monk on June 15, 2013, 12:16:46 AM
Hmm they dont mention if the Spiedels are made out of PET plastic.  Thats a concern
It says "HDPE" in description.
PET would be like pop bottle.
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: Jeff M on June 15, 2013, 02:58:41 AM
Hmm they dont mention if the Spiedels are made out of PET plastic.  Thats a concern
It says "HDPE" in description.
PET would be like pop bottle.

Yeah i saw that too, after reading about plastics online HDPE isnt necessarily food safe, it depends on the type of release agent they use
Title: Re: Plastic carboy
Post by: bunderbunder on June 15, 2013, 01:27:49 PM
Since it's being sold specifically for food production, I imagine it's a pretty safe bet that it's food-safe.