Author Topic: Glass Disaster  (Read 2810 times)

Offline lizaambler

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Glass Disaster
« on: January 09, 2017, 12:07:41 PM »
I'm a new all grain home brewer, with three nice all grain brews under my belt. I've been brewing all kinds of stuff over the last 25 years. I had something unprecedented (for me) happen yesterday. I was moving the wort over into a glass carboy, and it was a little hot to be moving, about 110 degrees. I'm sure I've siphoned MUCH hotter wort into my carboy before. I had gotten a little impatient with my wort chiller, which turned out to be a big mistake. While my husband was carrying the full carboy upstairs, it shattered. No one was hurt, but we have a big mess to clean up! So, we're thinking of moving to plastic carboys. I've always been a purist, thinking that glass was the only way, but now.... What are y'all's thoughts on plastic vs. glass?

Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Glass Disaster
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2017, 12:18:22 PM »
I like plastics.  I my favorite so far is spiedel.  However if you are going to a prolonged secondary glass is necessary because there is still some O2 exchange in plastics I am told.  I don't know how much is relevant but plastics are doable.
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Re: Glass Disaster
« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2017, 12:22:00 PM »
I'd say if you are going to plastic, just use buckets. Lowes sells some great food grade buckets in the 5 gallon size.

Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Glass Disaster
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2017, 12:30:17 PM »
No one except the OP will want to hear my opinions on glass vs. plastic.

Yes, glass is dangerous, and you need to be very careful with it.  However, plastics *can* at times harbor wild yeast and bacteria that can give your beers a "house flavor" that glass will not do.  Plastics are also oxygen permeable and for any long term aging, you can taste the effects of oxidation.  If always doing quick batches, this is less likely, but if keeping in there for a couple of months, you might pick up premature oxidized flavors.

There are certainly advantages and disadvantages of each.  Personally, I am interested in making the best beer possible.  As such, I use only glass.  For me, glass is worth the risks, and I am very careful with it.  I suppose at some point I could even seek out stainless steel carboys, as that would work even better, albeit you cannot see through the sides of stainless obviously, so that's a downside of that.

We all need to make up our own minds and do what we think is best for us and the risks we want to take.
Dave

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Offline pete b

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Re: Glass Disaster
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2017, 01:12:31 PM »
I'd say if you are going to plastic, just use buckets. Lowes sells some great food grade buckets in the 5 gallon size.
I agree. For primary fermentation I prefer a food grade plastic bucket to a plastic carboy. The scratch thing is a non issue if you never use anything more abrasive than a Terry cloth. The buckets are way easier to clean and way easier to take gravity samples out of. Also plastic buckets can be washed with hot water while the plastic carboys melt with very hot tap water.
Keep your glass carboys, they will come in handy if you want to condition a high gravity beer and will be indespensible if you get into making mead.
Don't let the bastards cheer you up.

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Glass Disaster
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2017, 01:18:42 PM »
I'd say if you are going to plastic, just use buckets. Lowes sells some great food grade buckets in the 5 gallon size.
I agree. For primary fermentation I prefer a food grade plastic bucket to a plastic carboy. The scratch thing is a non issue if you never use anything more abrasive than a Terry cloth. The buckets are way easier to clean and way easier to take gravity samples out of. Also plastic buckets can be washed with hot water while the plastic carboys melt with very hot tap water.
Keep your glass carboys, they will come in handy if you want to condition a high gravity beer and will be indespensible if you get into making mead.


^^ Preaching to the choir. I started in carboys,broke a couple, got cut badly, and (having kids) made the switch to buckets. I have no more infections than before. Actually far fewer because my overall process is better. I agree the 'scratches harboring bacteria' thing is a non issue and overstated if you don't scrub with something that would create scratches. I scrub with a wash cloth. Having said that, I'm hoping to get a couple Brewbuckets this year. They're nice.
Jon H.

Offline Hand of Dom

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Re: Glass Disaster
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2017, 01:26:13 PM »
I've only ever used plastic (still using the same bucket I got with my first can kit).  In that time, I've had one infection (when I added raisins post fermentation without sanitising them).  I've never experienced any flavour carry over between beers.  Longest I've fermented in one is about 4 weeks, but never had any issues with oxidation.  Over here in the UK, very few people use glass for fermenters.

Personally I would never risk putting hot wort in a glass container, in my opinion, you're very lucky that this is the first time this has happened, glad that nobody was seriously hurt.
Dom

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

Offline natebrews

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Re: Glass Disaster
« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2017, 01:37:23 PM »
I recently switched from glass car boys to Big Mouth Bubblers (8 months ago or so) and I really like them over the glass.  I don't have anything in them for more than a couple weeks and I don't touch the inside to clean ( just put it on the carboy washer until it is spotless).  I did keep a couple glass ones if I need it, but I would be hard pressed to go back.
Risk of failure should be no deterrent to trying.

Offline braufessor

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Re: Glass Disaster
« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2017, 01:41:43 PM »
I had a "glass carboy incident" once as well.  No major injuries - but lots of luck.

Tried a variety of fermenters.....  buckets, V-Vessel, plastic carboys,etc.... ended up using bottling buckets as fermenters for a long time (I like having a spigot for transferring).

Bought a couple SS Brew Buckets when they came out.  Eventually bought a couple more.  I love them - best of all worlds for me.  Obviously, price is an issue with them.  I feel I will get my money's worth out of them over a lifetime of brewing though.

Also, recently saw these or similar - I thought this was fairly intriguing and the price is better than the SS Brewbucket as well. (price does go up for valve addition)
https://www.chapmanequipment.com/collections/fermenters/products/7-gallon-steeltank-fermenter
« Last Edit: January 09, 2017, 01:44:17 PM by braufessor »

Offline lizaambler

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Re: Glass Disaster
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2017, 02:10:55 PM »
Thanks for all of the answers. I should have known better, and after years of brewing stuff, I forgot how valuable patience is during the process. I think what I'll do is keep my glass for aging/high gravity (I've got a barleywine in one right now.) It sounds like buckets are the way to go. If I didn't have so many beers going, I could use my bottling bucket, but I'll probably need it to bottle at the same time something will need to be in a primary. I hadn't thought of the advantage of having a spigot. Onward and upward...

Offline erockrph

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Re: Glass Disaster
« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2017, 02:25:09 PM »
I've moved to kegs for most of my beers, sine it has just about all the advantages of fermenting in a conical, at the price of a keg. I've been really happy with the results, and convenience. I still use buckets if both of my fermentation kegs are full, or for meads. But I have no desire to go back to glass carboys whatsoever. I'm just too much of a klutz :)
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Offline mabrungard

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Re: Glass Disaster
« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2017, 02:52:15 PM »
I like seeing another inexpensive SST bucket option that was mentioned above. The Chapman unit looks adequate and serviceable. All they need to add is a rotating racking tube so that you can reduce the trub carryover. I have a Blichmann conical and its great, but this sort of option brings stainless to more brewers. Hopefully we can avoid more glass incidents with the availability of these options.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Glass Disaster
« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2017, 02:53:11 PM »
I have no desire to go back to glass carboys whatsoever. I'm just too much of a klutz :)

Perhaps it would be helpful to add that I've been using the same hydrometer for >100 batches since 1999.  ;)
Dave

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Offline kgs

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Re: Glass Disaster
« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2017, 03:07:07 PM »
Thanks for all of the answers. I should have known better, and after years of brewing stuff, I forgot how valuable patience is during the process. I think what I'll do is keep my glass for aging/high gravity (I've got a barleywine in one right now.) It sounds like buckets are the way to go. If I didn't have so many beers going, I could use my bottling bucket, but I'll probably need it to bottle at the same time something will need to be in a primary. I hadn't thought of the advantage of having a spigot. Onward and upward...

I use 5-gallon food grade buckets for 3-gallon batches, and recently drilled a couple for spigots, so I have one that is fermenting a batch that I can drain into a keg when it's time. Two advantages of buckets over plastic carboys, which I used for several years, is buckets are much easier to clean, which is not only an ease of use thing but also leads to better sanitation (it's not clean until it passes the finger-squeak test), and buckets are cheap enough that they can be replaced inexpensively. Another advantage of plastic over glass is the weight.

It's so easy to know better and not do the right thing. A couple years ago I was using a knife to try to get plastic tubing off an autosiphon and sliced open the back of my thumb, even as I was saying to myself "I should not be doing this thing I am doing." At least plastic buckets eliminate some of that self-inflicted harm, and I have retired my autosiphon. 
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Offline dilluh98

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Re: Glass Disaster
« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2017, 03:48:57 PM »
Stainless steel all the way. I wish I would've bit the bullet sooner. I know you can buy an awful lot of buckets or plastic carboys for the price of one of them but man are they nice.