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Old 07-29-2009, 03:04 PM   #1
arley
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Default 6.0 vs 6.5 gallon carboy

Greetings:

I'm thinking about getting back into homebrewing after a several year hiatus.

My former setup consisted of a 5 gallon carboy, using a big hose in a blowoff system, then using a fermentation lock after the initial fermentation died down.

I see that there are both 6.0 and 6.5 gallon fermenters available, although the 6.5 ones seem to be somewhat less available. I'd like to be able to make a batch without having to deal with a blowoff hose.

My question is this: is a 6.0 gallon carboy big enough to handle the krausen and crud forming from a 5 gallon batch, or is the 6.5 gallon preferable. Restating that slightly differently, is that extra half gallon of volume worth the added expense/weight/different fittings of the 6.5 gallon carboy.

Any of you brewers with a 6.0 gallon carboy later wish that you had gotten the 6.5 instead?

FWIW, I'm planning to stick with glass.

TIA for any advice and guidance.

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Old 07-29-2009, 03:17 PM   #2
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I've got a 5, couple of 6's, and a 6.5. I've had blowoff from the 6.5 on a dunkleweizen. But not usually with regular gravity beers with general use yeasts. I have not used the 6 for beer, they're for my wine.

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Old 07-29-2009, 03:25 PM   #3
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I had the same question when I got back into brewing earlier this year. I went with a 6.5 gallon, mostly because I could get it locally and I would have to have ordered a 6 gallon (and pay shipping). The extra space with the 6.5 only means that you'll lose a little less beer when you have blowoff. I say WHEN because I fermented a little less than 5 gallons of an IPA in my 6.5 gallon and it erupted through my airlock. I now use a blow-off tube everytime on my primary. The debate comes down to how much beer you're willing to risk losing on blowoff. It won't be much either way. I like the 6.5, but I'm not convinced it's significantly better than 6.

What's your aversion to a blowoff tube?

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Old 07-29-2009, 03:30 PM   #4
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Available at most online homebrew retailers for about $5 that will last you about 20 brews, give or take.
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Old 07-29-2009, 03:40 PM   #5
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Is Fermcap alright in the fermenter? I use it during boiling, but I'm not sure I like the idea of adding it to cooled wort. Other than potential contamination issues, I wouldn't want anything to interfere with the yeast and their important task.

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Old 07-29-2009, 03:49 PM   #6
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I don't have any blowoff issues with 5 gal. in a 6.5 gal carboy, but the krausen has gotten close a couple of times. I'd go with the bigger ones.

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Old 07-29-2009, 04:10 PM   #7
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same for me as the post above. i've had some close calls, but never needed a blowoff tube for my glass 6.5 carboy. i say, the bigger the better

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Old 07-29-2009, 07:05 PM   #8
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Buffman, my only aversion to a blowoff tube is my innate laziness. One less piece of equipment to sanitize and rig up. There may be a minimal advantage in that the less you muck around with a fermenter the better, and putting the ferm lock on and not messing with it may have a very slight advantage when it comes to risks of contamination. Dunno.

That Fermcap stuff sounds slick. Anybody know if it interferes with head formation? Some styles are characterized by a righteous head of rocky foam, and I'd be interested to know if it has any effect.

Thanks for the advice, y'all. When I purchase my stuff, I'll probably go for the 6.5.

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Old 07-29-2009, 08:19 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buffman View Post
Is Fermcap alright in the fermenter? I use it during boiling, but I'm not sure I like the idea of adding it to cooled wort. Other than potential contamination issues, I wouldn't want anything to interfere with the yeast and their important task.
Quote:
Originally Posted by arley View Post

That Fermcap stuff sounds slick. Anybody know if it interferes with head formation? Some styles are characterized by a righteous head of rocky foam, and I'd be interested to know if it has any effect.
Yep. Lots of people use it in the fermentor as well. It keeps in the proteins that you would normally lose to blow-off and subsequently, may increase head retention. It may also increase IBU utilization, since those compounds, which can be trapped in the krausen, won't be lost to blow-off either.
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Old 07-29-2009, 09:16 PM   #10
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Thanks, Pseudo. I'll have to try it, especially when I'm short on headspace.

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