Author Topic: plastic fermenters  (Read 2022 times)

Offline AlexM

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 1
  • AlexM
    • View Profile
plastic fermenters
« on: May 08, 2016, 01:33:20 PM »
What is the general consensus on plastic fermenters (for primary) in terms of the risk of infecting a batch? I have used plastic better bottle and big mouth bubbler, and the last couple of batches produced an off-flavor that a beer judge identified as a contaminant due to fermenting in plastic. I purchased a glass 6.5 gal fermenter and fermented an IPA that tasted great. The extra weight of the glass added a whole dimension of complexity the the brew day. Should I pitch the PET? Thanks.

Alex

Offline klickitat jim

  • I must live here
  • **********
  • Posts: 8460
    • View Profile
Re: plastic fermenters
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2016, 01:43:49 PM »
I've used nothing but plastic. As buckets go, I really like Cambro polycarbonate. But for quite a while ive been using Speidel 30L fermenters. I have 6 of them. 4 for wild beers, 2 for standard. They are excellent. I use Oxyclean and a soft micro towel to clean.

Offline coryday

  • 1st Kit
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
Re: plastic fermenters
« Reply #2 on: May 08, 2016, 01:55:30 PM »
I'm glad you asked. I'm curious about the same thing. I use glass fermenters and besides the weight, I've heard some horror stories about them breaking and resulting in stitches.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Offline Stevie

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6858
    • View Profile
Re: plastic fermenters
« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2016, 02:03:51 PM »
I use better bottles exclusively. Two of my 6 gallon bottles are nearly 5 years old. I would email the judge and let him/her know that he/she is full of it.

Offline erockrph

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 6185
  • Chepachet, RI
    • View Profile
    • The Hop WHisperer
Re: plastic fermenters
« Reply #4 on: May 08, 2016, 02:27:47 PM »
Plastic poses no infection risk above and beyond fermenting in glass or stainless. There is some concern that scratches in the surface may provide a "hiding place" for contaminating microorganisms. The reality is that any organic residue that remains after fermentation must be removed by a thorough cleaning, or else you cannot sanitize the fermenter properly. Plastic may provide a better foothold for crud, but a soak in warm PBW solution is generally more than enough to remove all of this. As long as your cleaning and sanitizing practices are up to snuff, then there is no cause for concern with fermenting in plastic.
Eric B.

Finally got around to starting a homebrewing blog: The Hop Whisperer

Offline tommymorris

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1953
  • Tommy M.
    • View Profile
Re: plastic fermenters
« Reply #5 on: May 08, 2016, 02:30:16 PM »
I also have been using plastic for quite a while. There are no off flavors from fermenting in food grade plastic.

I think there is another source for your off flavor.

Offline charles1968

  • Brewmaster
  • *****
  • Posts: 532
    • View Profile
Re: plastic fermenters
« Reply #6 on: May 08, 2016, 03:20:27 PM »
I've never used glass for beer. The risk of a nasty accident can be completely eliminated by using plastic. I don't know what kind of plastic my fermenters are made from but they're designed for brewing and don't cause off flavours. They do absorb some flavour from the beer.

I prefer buckets to carboys - easier to clean and stack. If you're worried about oxidation, use carboys instead.

Offline fmader

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1675
    • View Profile
Re: plastic fermenters
« Reply #7 on: May 08, 2016, 03:41:37 PM »
I use only plastic. I've not dealt with infection from the fermenter. In addition, I'd rather have an infected beer than a sliced wrist from a broken glass carboy.
Frank

Offline pete b

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3123
  • Barre, Ma
    • View Profile
Re: plastic fermenters
« Reply #8 on: May 08, 2016, 04:22:19 PM »
I ferment only in plastic and have decades old buckets. They have never been washed with anything more abrasive than Terry cloth.
I use carboys for ageing mead.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline Steve Ruch

  • Senior Brewmaster
  • ******
  • Posts: 1022
    • View Profile
Re: plastic fermenters
« Reply #9 on: May 08, 2016, 04:24:30 PM »
I only use plastic, mostly for the lighter weight.
I now use my glass carboys to store water to use in an emergency: the big PNW earthquake that is due "any" day now.
Crescent City, CA

I love to go swimmin'
with hairy old women

Online denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 19374
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: plastic fermenters
« Reply #10 on: May 08, 2016, 04:54:12 PM »
I switched from glass to plastic buckets maybe 12 years and several hundred batches ago.  I would never go back.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Online denny

  • Administrator
  • Retired with too much time on my hands
  • *****
  • Posts: 19374
  • Noti OR [1991.4, 287.6deg] AR
    • View Profile
    • Dennybrew
Re: plastic fermenters
« Reply #11 on: May 08, 2016, 04:55:12 PM »
What is the general consensus on plastic fermenters (for primary) in terms of the risk of infecting a batch? I have used plastic better bottle and big mouth bubbler, and the last couple of batches produced an off-flavor that a beer judge identified as a contaminant due to fermenting in plastic. I purchased a glass 6.5 gal fermenter and fermented an IPA that tasted great. The extra weight of the glass added a whole dimension of complexity the the brew day. Should I pitch the PET? Thanks.

Alex

How did that person reach the conclusion that it was infected due to fermenting in plastic?
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

www.dennybrew.com

The best, sharpest, funniest, weirdest and most knowledgable minds in home brewing contribute on the AHA forum. - Alewyfe

"The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts." - Bertrand Russell

Offline HoosierBrew

  • Global Moderator
  • I must live here
  • *****
  • Posts: 13030
  • Indianapolis,IN
    • View Profile
Re: plastic fermenters
« Reply #12 on: May 08, 2016, 05:18:25 PM »
I switched from glass to plastic buckets maybe 12 years and several hundred batches ago.  I would never go back.


Yep. I switched about 10 yrs ago myself. The concerns on plastic put out there in books and magazines in the day were just overblown. I'm making better beer now than ever in plastic buckets.

Edit - I did upgrade to the 8 gallon wine fermenter buckets which I like a lot. Love the headspace.
« Last Edit: May 08, 2016, 07:04:22 PM by HoosierBrew »
Jon H.

Offline Hand of Dom

  • Brewer
  • ****
  • Posts: 372
    • View Profile
Re: plastic fermenters
« Reply #13 on: May 08, 2016, 07:01:14 PM »
+1 for the plastic bucket brigade.  I've made plenty of beers with off flavours, but those have all been down to bad technique.
Dom

Currently drinking - Amarillo saison
Currently fermenting - Pale ale 1 - 2017

Offline reverseapachemaster

  • Official Poobah of No Life.
  • *
  • Posts: 3135
    • View Profile
    • Brain Sparging on Brewing
Re: plastic fermenters
« Reply #14 on: May 08, 2016, 07:09:33 PM »
Mostly plastic here. The only glass I have are 4l wine jugs. No flavor faults from plastic and I have beer that's been in a plastic better bottle for about 5.5 years. If beer would develop flavors from plastic it would taste like plastic soup. It doesn't.
Heck yeah I blog about homebrewing: Brain Sparging on Brewing