Author Topic: Switching to bucket fermentation from carboy  (Read 1592 times)

Offline Keith Wedinger

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Switching to bucket fermentation from carboy
« on: March 23, 2020, 05:18:05 PM »
I brew one gallon batches and more often than not, fermentation inside my one gallon carboy will blow over the top and into my airlock. I would like to find a two gallon carboy but I have had no luck finding one. I did find this on Great Fermentations.

https://shop.greatfermentations.com/product/2-gallon-bucket-with-lid/plastic-fermenters

Another thread stated that there really is no difference between using a carboy vs. a bucket. It’s simply a matter of equipment preference.

Is there anything I should be mindful of when using a bucket?

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Offline jverduin

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Re: Switching to bucket fermentation from carboy
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2020, 05:33:34 PM »
From a quality of vessel standpoint, both can be used to make good beer. I have used both over 20 years and find myself using buckets now exclusively. I prefer the larger opening when I want to cram 2lbs of coconut  / walnuts into stout that just hit terminal gravity, generally find them easier to clean, and they take up less room in my garage when stacked.

I retire them if they get too banged up on the inside (too many scratches). It’s a judgment call, but they aren’t terribly expensive.


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Offline Bob357

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Re: Switching to bucket fermentation from carboy
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2020, 06:13:33 PM »
Just a matter of preference. Just don't panic if you get little or no airlock activity when using the bucket. Bucket lids are notorious for not sealing well. It won't affect the final product but, if you're used to watching bubbles, you may be disappointed.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Switching to bucket fermentation from carboy
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2020, 07:21:02 PM »
I prefer buckets over carboys for fermenting, just make sure not to use anything remotely abrasive to clean it with.
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Offline charlie

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Re: Switching to bucket fermentation from carboy
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2020, 09:06:03 PM »
Just a matter of preference. Just don't panic if you get little or no airlock activity when using the bucket. Bucket lids are notorious for not sealing well. It won't affect the final product but, if you're used to watching bubbles, you may be disappointed.

All buckets are not created equal. Before you buy look at the underside of the lid and make sure it has an O-ring in the groove where it seals. If it doesn't I would look elsewhere. Also make sure that the lid and the bucket are made by the same company, because they are not interchangable between manufacturers.

I have used buckets made by Plastican and Nampac with good results. If I don't get a good seal then 90% of the time it's the grommet where the airlock goes.
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Offline coonmanxdog

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Re: Switching to bucket fermentation from carboy
« Reply #5 on: March 31, 2020, 07:24:58 PM »
Just a matter of preference. Just don't panic if you get little or no airlock activity when using the bucket. Bucket lids are notorious for not sealing well. It won't affect the final product but, if you're used to watching bubbles, you may be disappointed.

I once had that happen and I had no idea if the fermentation had even gone off or not. The first time that had happened as I hadn't used that bucket in a while and maybe the seal was bad. So I took a gravity reading and confirmed fermentation had happened and it was one of the best batches ever. I had people drinking it that didn't even like beer. LOL.

Offline Steve L

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Re: Switching to bucket fermentation from carboy
« Reply #6 on: April 03, 2020, 05:33:02 PM »
I've tried both the 1.2 gallon jars and 2 gallon buckets. have no aversion to either. Having said that, I haven't used an airlock in years. Blowoff is my preferred method for everything. Just get the proper size hose to fit the rubber grommet for the airlock.
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Offline KellerBrauer

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Re: Switching to bucket fermentation from carboy
« Reply #7 on: April 04, 2020, 11:21:41 AM »

I retire them if they get too banged up on the inside (too many scratches). It’s a judgment call, but they aren’t terribly expensive.

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I agree with jverduin - the microscopic surface scratches inside of a bucket will become a breeding ground for all the bad stuff we want to avoid in our beer.  Good sound sanitation measures are a must.  I used a bucket for a couple years and while I never had any sealing issues, I did have a pellicle issue in three batches.  Now I use glass exclusively.
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TXFlyGuy

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Re: Switching to bucket fermentation from carboy
« Reply #8 on: April 05, 2020, 12:38:48 PM »
Due to lack of space in our 8 gallon conical FV, we augmented the brewery with a 4 gallon stainless steel pot. There is a nice Amber Czech Lager fermenting right now, about 2.5 gallons.

A good quality 304 Stainless pot will work just fine. Easy to clean. And, just keep the lid on it during the ferment. No need for an air lock, or blow off tube.

A 4 gallon fermenter was ordered from Blichmann Engineering to augment our brewing capacity, but it will not ship until next week.

Offline BrewBama

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Switching to bucket fermentation from carboy
« Reply #9 on: April 05, 2020, 01:39:28 PM »
...  Now I use glass exclusively.
...just be really careful with that glass. I’ve seen too many photos of severe injury as a result of a broken carboy. I suggest a stainless FV. The only drawback with a stainless FV is you can’t see the magic. 


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Offline denny

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Re: Switching to bucket fermentation from carboy
« Reply #10 on: April 05, 2020, 01:40:50 PM »

I retire them if they get too banged up on the inside (too many scratches). It’s a judgment call, but they aren’t terribly expensive.

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I agree with jverduin - the microscopic surface scratches inside of a bucket will become a breeding ground for all the bad stuff we want to avoid in our beer.  Good sound sanitation measures are a must.  I used a bucket for a couple years and while I never had any sealing issues, I did have a pellicle issue in three batches.  Now I use glass exclusively.

Yet I've used plastic for nearly 20 years and haven't had that happen.  Just another data point.
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Offline BrewBama

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Re: Switching to bucket fermentation from carboy
« Reply #11 on: April 05, 2020, 02:17:57 PM »
I imagine if a plastic or wood spoon or paddle is used to do any stirring in a plastic bucket you’ll be OK. But when a metal spoon or paddle hits that plastic while stirring, I imagine a scratch could result.

I personally don’t do much (aka any) stirring in my FV but I am just trying to imagine how a bucket could get scratched.


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Offline denny

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Re: Switching to bucket fermentation from carboy
« Reply #12 on: April 05, 2020, 02:27:45 PM »
I imagine if a plastic or wood spoon or paddle is used to do any stirring in a plastic bucket you’ll be OK. But when a metal spoon or paddle hits that plastic while stirring, I imagine a scratch could result.

I personally don’t do much (aka any) stirring in my FV but I am just trying to imagine how a bucket could get scratched.


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Not that much stirring is required in a FV.  Although I have used a metal spoon in them and managed to avoid the dreaded infection inducing scratches.
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Offline Visor

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Re: Switching to bucket fermentation from carboy
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2020, 04:58:09 PM »
  I use plastic conicals exclusively, even if I was willing to pay for SS there's no way I'm packing a stainless fermenter full of 7 gallons of wort down the stairs. I have a hard time believing that nasty organisms can find scratches to hide in that sanitizer can't get to.
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Offline jeffy

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Re: Switching to bucket fermentation from carboy
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2020, 08:43:33 PM »
  I use plastic conicals exclusively, even if I was willing to pay for SS there's no way I'm packing a stainless fermenter full of 7 gallons of wort down the stairs. I have a hard time believing that nasty organisms can find scratches to hide in that sanitizer can't get to.
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