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General Category => General Homebrew Discussion => Topic started by: Hondamike on August 10, 2014, 02:21:38 PM

Title: Fermenter
Post by: Hondamike on August 10, 2014, 02:21:38 PM
ok, i have read John Palmers book and am almost ready to start. One question i havent been able to figure out yet is this. What to ferment in? There are the buckets that come with the kits, plus the glass carboys or plastic ones. Then there is the conical fermenter ad up top. From what i have read there is a saftey issue for some people with the glass carboys. Question... questions. So.. does the plastic bucket affect the taste compared to glass, is stainless steel a better fermenter? or would the conical be a better choice? plus the twist...how to keep the fermenter at the right temp while its doing its job? I have settled on a five gallon bucket inside a wine fridge set at temp 65-72 i think. just want to bounce this off people to see how my thought process is working. thanks in advance
Title: Re: Fermenter
Post by: HoosierBrew on August 10, 2014, 02:26:55 PM
I used carboys for 12 or 13 years before breaking a couple and getting cut badly. Also being a father with two kids, the only move for me was to go to plastic. No worries with flavor - I'm making the best beer I've ever made now. Good luck and welcome !
Title: Re: Fermenter
Post by: 69franx on August 10, 2014, 02:49:04 PM
I occasionally use glass carboys, but mainly stick to plastic buckets. I love being able to easily clean, especially after a vigorous fermentation. In your statement you mention that you are planning on 5 gallon buckets. Keep in mind that a 5 gallon bucket is really too small for a 5 gallon batch, as you need ample head space above the fermenting wort. Typically, primary fermenters are in the 6.5 or larger size buckets. Good luck and enjoy the process and the fruits of your work!
Title: Re: Fermenter
Post by: HoosierBrew on August 10, 2014, 02:57:19 PM
I occasionally use glass carboys, but mainly stick to plastic buckets. I love being able to easily clean, especially after a vigorous fermentation. In your statement you mention that you are planning on 5 gallon buckets. Keep in mind that a 5 gallon bucket is really too small for a 5 gallon batch, as you need ample head space above the fermenting wort. Typically, primary fermenters are in the 6.5 or larger size buckets. Good luck and enjoy the process and the fruits of your work!

Good catch. Hondamike - I brew 5.5 gallon batches so that, minus trub/yeast/gunk , I can get 5 gallons of beer into the keg. I use these big buckets and love 'em. On the occasional times I use a secondary I use a better bottle. But there's plenty of room for headspace, even on really vigorous yeast strains.

http://shop.greatfermentations.com/product/7-9-gallon-fermenting-bucket/plastic-fermenters
Title: Re: Fermenter
Post by: klickitat jim on August 10, 2014, 02:59:38 PM
I started with buckets, lately I switched to Spiedel 30L fermenters.
Title: Re: Fermenter
Post by: yso191 on August 10, 2014, 03:04:48 PM
I started with buckets, lately I switched to Spiedel 30L fermenters.

+1 to the Speidel fermenters. 
Title: Re: Fermenter
Post by: Hokerer on August 10, 2014, 03:11:54 PM
plus the twist...how to keep the fermenter at the right temp while its doing its job? I have settled on a five gallon bucket inside a wine fridge set at temp 65-72 i think. just want to bounce this off people to see how my thought process is working. thanks in advance

Be aware that, while the air in your wine fridge (which is what the fridge thermostat will be measuring) will be your desired temperature range, the fermenting wort itself can be 5-10 degrees warmer than that.  Best thing is to measure/control the actual wort temperature.  Failing that, setting the fridge to a lower temp is another option.
Title: Re: Fermenter
Post by: reverseapachemaster on August 10, 2014, 03:13:41 PM
A wine fridge will do an acceptable job of keeping your beer within the right temperature during fermentation but a five gallon bucket is too small for a five gallon batch because the beer will get foamy with krausen during the first few days and all that krausen has to go somewhere. Whatever leaves the bucket isn't going in your mouth. It's going to be a messy waste. Buckets are perfectly fine as long as they have sufficient volume for the beer plus space for krausen. That's why you normally see homebrewing kits come with 6.5 or 7.9 gallon buckets.
Title: Re: Fermenter
Post by: Hondamike on August 11, 2014, 02:24:13 AM
thanks for all your input. I bought 2 aluminium pots today. one is a good size but the other is a 80 qt monster!!  i look forward to being able to brew that much. i will pay attention to the size of the buckets when i buy my starter kit. The wine fridge thing didnt work out ( not enough space) however i do have a reg fridge i can use and just buy a temp controller. I wonder if it would be better with a small fridge? on the spiedel fermenter...iow do you keep the temp regulalted?thanks again
Title: Re: Fermenter
Post by: theDarkSide on August 11, 2014, 03:28:48 PM
.iow do you keep the temp regulalted?thanks again

I have a 2-stage temp controller with my chest freezer plugged into the cold and a fermwrap plugged into the hot side (and taped to the chest freezer wall).  Others have used light bulbs, aquarium heaters, etc.

If you are somewhat handy, you can wire one of these yourself http://www.amazon.com/Elitech-All-Purpose-Temperature-Controller-Thermostat/dp/B008KVCPH2/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1407770773&sr=8-1&keywords=temp+controller

Or if not (like me), you can buy one of these http://morebeer.com/products/ranco-digital-twostage-temperature-controller-wired.html?site_id=5

So to your original question, I've been using Better Bottles for years, and buckets before that (still use buckets for my meads).  I've never ventured into glass for the reasons HoosierBrew stated.
Title: Re: Fermenter
Post by: flbrewer on August 18, 2014, 01:23:22 PM
+1 for the Speidel.
Title: Re: Fermenter
Post by: dave.kline on August 23, 2014, 09:04:06 PM
Buckets are super easy and they include a safe way to carry them. Regarding the end result, someone at my a local shop claimed how plastic fermenters produced an interior product, but when offered samples of beers fermented in stainless, glass, and plastic for identification (bonus points were offered for identification of the batch made with extract) they declined.

In short, use what you want, they all make good beer!

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