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General Category => Equipment and Software => Topic started by: Kirk on April 03, 2011, 11:08:24 PM

Title: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: Kirk on April 03, 2011, 11:08:24 PM
Anyone else sprung a leak in a Better Bottle?  I just had my second one.  The first time, I thought it was a fluke.  Now now.  The leak is on the bottom somewhere, just like the first one.  It was sitting outside full of PBW solution, soaking away, then I noticed the wetness below and the volume inching downwards everyday.  Freezing was not a factor.  I think I'm giving up on them.  I wonder if PBW could have an effect on the material?
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: tygo on April 03, 2011, 11:58:11 PM
I've used PBW and Oxyclean and let better bottles soak for a good long time.  Never had a leak in one.
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: oscarvan on April 04, 2011, 11:10:17 AM
Huh? There are no seams.... you sure it wasn't condensation/evaporation?

In any case, stick a plug in there, then an air hose with very low pressure and spray with Star San.
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: theDarkSide on April 04, 2011, 12:24:34 PM
I've used PBW and Oxyclean and let better bottles soak for a good long time.  Never had a leak in one.

Same here...one time was about 2 months and haven't had a single leak with them.

Did you buy these 2 BB at the same time?  Maybe it was a bad lot.
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: 4swan on April 04, 2011, 12:35:46 PM
I've only used the plain version and never had a problem.  If you're using the ported one, double check the seal on the valve.
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: chezteth on April 04, 2011, 01:48:57 PM
I have 3 better bottles that I use frequently.  I have allowed them to soak for a few days with PBW and have never had an issue. 

+1 to checking the seals if it is a ported BB.
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: Kirk on April 04, 2011, 01:51:35 PM
In any case, stick a plug in there, then an air hose with very low pressure and spray with Star San.

You mean a plug in the top?  Good idea, kind of pressurize it to see a leak.  But it's not condensation or evaporation.  Another one is out there right next to it and is doing fine.  It's not ported.
Maybe it was a bad lot.  I still have two more good ones.  I'll keep using them, and if nothing happens in two years or so, I'll chalk it up to a bad lot.
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: blatz on April 04, 2011, 01:55:59 PM
I've had 2 that leaked. I would not attribute it to cleaning solution, rather mishandling.

If, when they are full of liquid, you put them down a little too rough, the hard plastic on the bottom can crack - I noticed this on both ones that leaked.
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: Kirk on April 04, 2011, 01:59:40 PM
It is dry here in Northern Nevada, high desert, big temperature swings, low humidity.  If it's not a bad lot, that's the only other variable I can think of.
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: Kirk on April 04, 2011, 02:20:27 PM
I've had 2 that leaked. I would not attribute it to cleaning solution, rather mishandling.

If, when they are full of liquid, you put them down a little too rough, the hard plastic on the bottom can crack - I noticed this on both ones that leaked.


I think you hit the nail on the head.  Thanks.  But rather than call it mishandling, I would call it weak design, which is why I'm not buying any more, because I don't recall doing anything rough with them.
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: blatz on April 04, 2011, 02:25:32 PM
I've had 2 that leaked. I would not attribute it to cleaning solution, rather mishandling.

If, when they are full of liquid, you put them down a little too rough, the hard plastic on the bottom can crack - I noticed this on both ones that leaked.


I think you hit the nail on the head.  Thanks.  But rather than call it mishandling, I would call it weak design, which is why I'm not buying any more, because I don't recall doing anything rough with them.

yeah - I hear you.  I don't really use them anymore, but if I was going to need 5gal fermenters going forward, I think I would just get good ol' buckets. 
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: tumarkin on April 04, 2011, 09:15:00 PM
I haven't gotten better bottles, though I've been thinking about it. if hard handling is the cause, you might consider using a plastic milk crate as a holder. I've done that with my carboys for years, so it wouldn't be a big deal. makes them easier to pick up, handle, move, set down on concrete, keep them from banging each other. certainly more critical with glass carboys, but maybe a good idea for the better bottles as well.
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: Kirk on November 03, 2011, 02:49:25 PM
Update:  Another one started leaking.  That's 3 out of 4.  Cracks on the bottom.  Number 4 has cracks developing.
I wrote Better Bottle.  Their website is BetterBottle.com.
They responded.  Caustic cleaners degrade the plastic
I use PBW, and sometimes let it sit in there for hours, if not days.  They recommend not doing that.  Also, it's not good to pour the PBW in first and then put water on top of it.  They recommend using it sparingly, and rinsing it out as soon as possible.
I responded that they should get the word out, that this was new information to me, and that the forum didn't know about it either.
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: blatz on November 03, 2011, 02:52:02 PM
Update:  Another one started leaking.  That's 3 out of 4.  Cracks on the bottom.  Number 4 has cracks developing.
I wrote Better Bottle.  Their website is BetterBottle.com.
They responded.  Caustic cleaners degrade the plastic
I use PBW, and sometimes let it sit in there for hours, if not days.  They recommend not doing that.  Also, it's not good to pour the PBW in first and then put water on top of it.  They recommend using it sparingly, and rinsing it out as soon as possible.
I responded that they should get the word out, that this was new information to me, and that the forum didn't know about it either.

so...what do they recommend cleaning them with then?
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: Kirk on November 03, 2011, 03:05:10 PM
PBW, among others, but sparingly.  And, pre-mix it before pouring it in. 
here's their link...
http://www.better-bottle.com/technical.html
Sounds like they want us to share the work with the cleaner (shaking, scrubbing), rather than letting the cleaner do all the work.
Glass is sounding better all the time.
Actually, reverting back to buckets is sounding better all the time.
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: Joe Sr. on November 03, 2011, 04:39:01 PM
I have a couple better bottles and one of them is over 10 years old.  I've had no issues with it at all, although in that time I have cracked at least one glass carboy (maybe only one).

I don't use PBW but rather Oxyclean and Cascade to clean all my carboys.  A long soak in either of these does not appear to have degraded the plastic over time.

FWIW, the milk crate suggestion is a very good one.  While you're far less likely to crack BB than glass, I found the main benefit to be that you don't get the distortion of the plastic when you pick it up, so it doesn't suck in anything from the airlock.

Glass is sounding better all the time.

Glass has it's advantages, but I'm not sure I'd buy glass carboys again based on all the accidents I've heard about on-line.  I've had no issues of my own, but the BB has worked great for me so why take an unnecessary risk.
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: morticaixavier on November 03, 2011, 04:43:50 PM
A guy in my club found a way to reduce the likelyhood of a broken glass carboy, and to reduce the danger when one does break.

He buys the spray on plastic coating stuff and coats the bottom 3/4 of the carboy with the plastic stuff. This way little clinks are less likely to crack the glass and, as he recently foudn out, if one does break it holds together well enough to transfer the beer to another vessel

Ahh the lonely corpuscle, It may labor in vein but at least it vessels vhile it vorks.
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: richardt on November 03, 2011, 05:01:04 PM
If you can get over not being able to see the hypnotic fermentation process through a glass carboy or Better Bottle, then consider using plastic buckets (w/ or w/o spigots).  
I prefer w/ spigots for all bucket fermenters as it makes transfers ridiculously easy (no siphoning).
Very easy to clean (12+ inch hole vs 1.5 inch hole) w/o special equipment.
Cheap to buy and replace.
Safe--you'll never maim yourself (or worse) with plastic buckets--something to seriously consider.

Spray-on plastic coatings may cushion minor bumps and prevent cracks from developing, but I wouldn't considered it safety glass (like you have in your car's front windshield)--a dropped glass carboy full of liquid will likely shatter and cut through the spray-on coating, or break around the neck of the carboy and slice through your wrist on the way down (read somewhere where that actually happened to someone).  If you spray the whole exterior of the carboy--you might as well be using a bucket since you won't be seeing what's going on inside the carboy.

Besides, I like to tell myself that using a bucket (and being unable to see the hypnotic fermentation processs) and having faith in the process brings me one step closer to brewing like the pros (using SS conicals).
Title: Re: Leaky Better Bottles
Post by: morticaixavier on November 03, 2011, 05:08:58 PM
If you spray the whole exterior of the carboy--you might as well be using a bucket since you won't be seeing what's going on inside the carboy.

Besides, I like to tell myself that using a bucket (and being unable to see the hypnotic fermentation processs) and having faith in the process brings me one step closer to brewing like the pros (using SS conicals).

One item to consider when comparing plastic v. glass is O2 permeability. Not a problem with short fermentations (< 1 month or so) but for long term bulk aging of a big beer it can be a problem. Also if you ferment in an area with unpleasant smells (garage or basement with chemicals, mold etc) the plastic can let some of that un-goodness into your beer.

The pro's don't worry about that stuff as SS is also not O2 permeable.