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Old 06-17-2010, 05:51 PM   #1
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Default Bottling bucket as primary?

Sorry about the duplicate thread - I found the Search feature after I posted this.
Still would like your opinions - most of the threads were really old.


A question regarding fermentation vessels; specifically, a bottling bucket.
I talked to my trusted salesperson at my LHBS, and he said that in two years, he had only seen one spigot leak of the particular brand I bought, and it just happened to be a manufacturing defect. Now, I would definitely not use my current bottling bucket because it drips a little, but if this one tests watertight....
Here's why this question has come up:
After reading through the whole '4 weeks in the primary' thread, I'm convinced. However, both my main fermenter, and my backup are currently processing Pale Ales, and both have a few weeks to go (thanks to Revvy). So, I had to go get another bucket. I was intrigued by the idea of having a spigot on the primary, so as to not have to use my racking cane.
My plan is to do the dip tube (the 3/4" PVC elbow) and priming tabs.
I'm washing yeast tonight, making the starter tomorrow night, and brewing on Saturday, so offer your opinions sooner than later! Thanks.

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Last edited by Starderup; 06-17-2010 at 06:15 PM. Reason: Found a ton of threads on the subject.
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Old 06-17-2010, 06:14 PM   #2
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i vaguely remember hearing about doing this. from what i remember the yeast stay down below the level of the spigot. and since you are going with the priming tabs i don't see why this wouldn't work. just be sure to pop the airlock before you start to bottle otherwise you will end up sucking the water back into your bucket.

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Old 06-17-2010, 06:56 PM   #3
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If you're fermenting in a bucket with a spigot (I don't recommend this) then you'll want to leave that PVC 90 off of there so you don't suck the yeast up.

My bottling bucket leaks sometimes, and others it doesn't. That and there is positive pressure in a bucket with fermenting beer that makes the seals more likely to fail. Just my $.02, but I'd rather just pick up another "Ale Pail" or the like to ferment in vice possibly losing 5+ gallons of beer.

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Old 06-17-2010, 08:32 PM   #4
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All my fermenters have spigots. I've also used them to bottle, but I keg now.

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Old 06-17-2010, 09:26 PM   #5
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I've got two plastic bucket fementers with spigots that I've been using for about ten years. The spigots have 90 elbows on the inside. They work great, never leak and do not pick up any significant amount of yeast when I rack the beer. The elbows do not reach all the way to the bottom and the suction when racking is not really strong enough to pull anything up more than a fraction of an inch away from the elbow. I also have a bottling bucket with a spigot. It lacks the interior elbow, but otherwise it's identical to the fermenters. I've had zero problems with these buckets. One of the beers I used them with made it to the final round of the NHC which is being judged right now IIRC. It's a lager too and it spent considerable time in the plastic bucket. Do not fear the plastic bucket fermenters nor the spigots.

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Old 01-03-2011, 02:55 PM   #6
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Just searched this thread, since I'm changing my system to use bottling buckets as primaries. I'm already sold on the idea of doing transfers through the spigot, but I'm also wondering if anyone uses the spigot to take samples during fermentation? If so, any concerns about/tips for keeping it sanitized?

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Old 01-03-2011, 03:03 PM   #7
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My bucket fermenters have spigots and I draw samples from them during fermentation. My sanitizing procedure is to simply rotate the spigot so the nozzle is facing up then I spray it out liberally with StarSan. I have not had any contamination problems doing it this way. One thing to be aware of is that when you draw a sample, the reduced pressure in the fermenter can suck water back through your air lock. To avoid this, remove the airlock before drawing a sample, then replace it when done. It's good insurance to spray around the airlock with StarSan before removing/replacing it.

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Old 01-03-2011, 03:44 PM   #8
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Great info. Much appreciated.

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Old 01-17-2011, 01:03 AM   #9
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I'm just now fermenting in my spigoted primary bucket for the first time. It was ok for a good few days but it now has a slow leak. Not a huge problem, but not ideal either.

I still feel like the spigot is workable for future batches, but I must be doing something different from you guys who have no leak worries. Any tips on what particular spigots to use? Or how to position the gaskets (inside, outside, or both)?

Thanks.

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Old 01-17-2011, 01:37 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RobbyBeers View Post
I'm just now fermenting in my spigoted primary bucket for the first time. It was ok for a good few days but it now has a slow leak. Not a huge problem, but not ideal either.

I still feel like the spigot is workable for future batches, but I must be doing something different from you guys who have no leak worries. Any tips on what particular spigots to use? Or how to position the gaskets (inside, outside, or both)?

Thanks.
I use these fermenters:

http://www.williamsbrewing.com/SIPHO...OR_P143C66.cfm

The are funished with this spigot:

http://www.williamsbrewing.com/TRANS...E_P172C104.cfm

and this backnut with integral elbow:

http://www.williamsbrewing.com/INVER...T_P179C104.cfm

I don't know why your spigot might be leaking, but I suspect that you have overtightened the backnut which can twist or crimp the gasket. The gasket must seat evenly against the inside of the bucket wall. No need to over tighten the backnut. IOW, snug it up very firmly, but do not over torque. Test with water before putting it in service. I've never had any problems at all with leaking spigots.
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