Author Topic: Food Grade Bucket Fermenter?  (Read 1304 times)

Offline Bomber 22

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Food Grade Bucket Fermenter?
« on: June 03, 2016, 11:41:13 PM »
Trying to keep costs down, I decided to get some free buckets from my local grocery store.  I was able to get 3 small buckets.  The size is perfect for my needs as they hold 2 gallons plus a little extra room.

I was thinking about adding both a spigot and airlock to each bucket.  That way I could use it as either a fermenter, 2nd stage fermenter or bottling bucket.  Right now I just have a 2 gallon Mr. Beer keg.

However, I was oxi-cleaning the buckets and noticed that they aren't water tight.  The lids do have some sort of seal-type-rim but I guess the seal isn't the best.  I filled the buckets up with Oxi and water, put a lid on them and shook and tilted them to test for water leaks....and indeed water did come out in certain areas around the lid.

Is it safe to assume that I should NOT use these as a fermentation device or can I get away with it?  Curious if I should go for it or simply use it as a bottling bucket. 

Thanks.


RPIScotty

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Re: Food Grade Bucket Fermenter?
« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2016, 11:49:06 PM »
Trying to keep costs down, I decided to get some free buckets from my local grocery store.  I was able to get 3 small buckets.  The size is perfect for my needs as they hold 2 gallons plus a little extra room.

I was thinking about adding both a spigot and airlock to each bucket.  That way I could use it as either a fermenter, 2nd stage fermenter or bottling bucket.  Right now I just have a 2 gallon Mr. Beer keg.

However, I was oxi-cleaning the buckets and noticed that they aren't water tight.  The lids do have some sort of seal-type-rim but I guess the seal isn't the best.  I filled the buckets up with Oxi and water, put a lid on them and shook and tilted them to test for water leaks....and indeed water did come out in certain areas around the lid.

Is it safe to assume that I should NOT use these as a fermentation device or can I get away with it?  Curious if I should go for it or simply use it as a bottling bucket. 

Thanks.

I have 4 or 5 two gallon food grade buckets from Lowes. They work great. I have spigots on both my fermentor and bottling bucket and they seal just fine.

Offline Stevie

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Food Grade Bucket Fermenter?
« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2016, 11:56:31 PM »
Keeping dust out is the main purpose of the lid. Airtight is not needed.

As mentioned above, those buckets are cheap. You can order a pack online from HD and have them shipped to the store and save some money.

RPIScotty

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Re: Food Grade Bucket Fermenter?
« Reply #3 on: June 04, 2016, 12:44:49 AM »
They are great little buckets. I'm doing 1.2 gallon batches and they are perfect.

Offline Bomber 22

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Re: Food Grade Bucket Fermenter?
« Reply #4 on: June 04, 2016, 12:49:22 AM »
Thanks for the tips.  I see they are about $3.85 each at Lowes. 

RPIScotty

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Re: Food Grade Bucket Fermenter?
« Reply #5 on: June 04, 2016, 12:57:00 AM »
Thanks for the tips.  I see they are about $3.85 each at Lowes.

They have 2 gal and 5 gal and the lids are a few bucks extra. I keep a few extra lids: one set with holes for my dial thermometer and airlock and an undrilled lid.

Offline majorvices

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Re: Food Grade Bucket Fermenter?
« Reply #6 on: June 04, 2016, 01:27:49 AM »
One thing to keep in mind about free buckets - take a good whiff of the buckets. Buckets that have held pickles, for instance, will always make whatever you brew in that bucket taste and smell like pickles. I absolutely love pickles .... but don't want my beer to smell or taste like pickles. Aromas can be hard to remove from buckets and even glass can pose a problem.

Offline Bomber 22

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Re: Food Grade Bucket Fermenter?
« Reply #7 on: June 04, 2016, 06:25:23 AM »
Thanks for the tips.  I see they are about $3.85 each at Lowes.

They have 2 gal and 5 gal and the lids are a few bucks extra. I keep a few extra lids: one set with holes for my dial thermometer and airlock and an undrilled lid.

Great dual lid idea for different functions, thanks.  You mentioned using the 2-gallon Lowes buckets for your 1.2 gallon batches.  By chance do you know if those buckets hold "exactly" 2 gallons or is there any additional space?  If I get it to brew 2 gallon batches of brew there needs to be additional space for potential krausen correct?

Offline Bomber 22

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Re: Food Grade Bucket Fermenter?
« Reply #8 on: June 04, 2016, 06:29:33 AM »
One thing to keep in mind about free buckets - take a good whiff of the buckets. Buckets that have held pickles, for instance, will always make whatever you brew in that bucket taste and smell like pickles. I absolutely love pickles .... but don't want my beer to smell or taste like pickles. Aromas can be hard to remove from buckets and even glass can pose a problem.

Thanks.  Kinda wondered about that and am hoping an overnight soak in Oxi will clear that up.  One bucket was some sort of garlic spread thing (I believe) which surprisingly didn't have any smell after my initial scrub (before Oxi).  The other 2 buckets were both buttercreme frosting which definitely sustained the aroma after washing.  Might make for an interesting Porter!

RPIScotty

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Re: Food Grade Bucket Fermenter?
« Reply #9 on: June 04, 2016, 10:45:45 AM »
These buckets could probably do 1.75 gallons if you used an anti-foaming agent.

Offline flars

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Re: Food Grade Bucket Fermenter?
« Reply #10 on: June 04, 2016, 12:50:20 PM »
I have several frosting buckets.  The chocolate and strawberry aromas did disappear after some use for rinsing and soaking small parts in Star San solution.  Didn't seem like it took to many uses before the aromas were no longer noticeable.  Air drying with no lid will most likely speed the process.

Offline denny

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Re: Food Grade Bucket Fermenter?
« Reply #11 on: June 04, 2016, 04:11:34 PM »
I've never been a fan of spigots in fermenters.  Sure, the make sampling easy, but they always seemed like they would be hard to keep clean and sanitized well enough.
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Offline blair.streit

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Re: Food Grade Bucket Fermenter?
« Reply #12 on: June 06, 2016, 04:26:20 PM »
I've never been a fan of spigots in fermenters.  Sure, the make sampling easy, but they always seemed like they would be hard to keep clean and sanitized well enough.
Yeah, I've heard horror stories about the plastic ones. I love the spigot on my SS BrewBucket for racking, but stainless does give me a little peace of mind since I can get a little more vigorous with cleaning

RPIScotty

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Re: Food Grade Bucket Fermenter?
« Reply #13 on: June 06, 2016, 04:41:05 PM »
I've never been a fan of spigots in fermenters.  Sure, the make sampling easy, but they always seemed like they would be hard to keep clean and sanitized well enough.
Yeah, I've heard horror stories about the plastic ones. I love the spigot on my SS BrewBucket for racking, but stainless does give me a little peace of mind since I can get a little more vigorous with cleaning

I'm using a PVC male coupler on the inside with a PVC ball valve and brass hose barb on the outside.

When storing the bucket I disassemble the spigot making sure to rinse, scrub and soak in hot water followed by a soak in sanitizer before storing away.

Offline pete b

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Re: Food Grade Bucket Fermenter?
« Reply #14 on: June 06, 2016, 04:51:17 PM »
I've never been a fan of spigots in fermenters.  Sure, the make sampling easy, but they always seemed like they would be hard to keep clean and sanitized well enough.
I agree. I do have a spare bottling bucket I occasionally use as a fermenter in a pinch but I take apart the spigot, clean, and sanitize before and after. Don't want to do that every time.
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