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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Coopers or other fermenter for the Boat...
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Old 07-21-2009, 04:41 AM   #1
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Default Coopers or other fermenter for the Boat...

G'day all, long time no post for me.

So my transparent food storage bucket worked "ok" for my first few test batches of beer, but the lid wasn't air or beertight and it just won't cut it on a moving boat. So I need a new fermenter and I ask the collective mind with a better idea of what I want now that I have 4 batches behind me.

I do want a 6 gal fermenter. Turns out 5 gal batches and easy kit and recipie usage is key. I thought 5 gals would be too much based on what I used to brew on premises, but it turns out those were 15 gal batches. 5gal with a gal of headspace is just right.

Here's my criterea in order:

1: The lowest maintenance fermenter possible. Water can be scarce, galley space is limited and hey, I'm lazy. +1 for the bucket or coopers fermenter I think.

2: It must be durable and resist spillage at all angles of heel that the boat may experience.

3: Must have a spigot for easy racking/bottling.

4: I would prefer to be able to watch my beer work... +1 for the BB

5: If there are features I'm missing, I want them!

My choices as best I can see are:
1: A translucent (barely) bucket from my LHS.
2: A better bottle.
3: A cooper's fermenter (which looks pretty sweet to my untrained eye)

What'll it be?

Brew On Board

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Old 07-21-2009, 05:45 AM   #2
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better bottle....bar none best investment i have ever made. Get that with one of the orange plastic caps which fit OVER the mouth and not in like a stopper. The racking assembly work great but they are quite pricey...then again beer isn't a cheap hobby.

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Old 07-21-2009, 05:52 AM   #3
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I have a Coopers, a Better Bottle and several other objects for fermenting. The BB is easier to clean than the Coopers and sounds like it would fit with what you want. I like the wide mouth top of the Coopers, but sometimes it is hard to get open and it has a few areas that don't clean easily. The BB with some PBW or Oxyclean is a breeze to clean. I'll skip the 15 gallon inductor tank as I assume that is more than you want on a boat.

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Old 07-21-2009, 07:02 AM   #4
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I would go w/ the Better Bottle and orange cap myself.
JJ

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Old 07-21-2009, 02:33 PM   #5
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I have the BB with racking adapted and a Cooper's fermenter. BB is easier to clean and the racking adapted is nice and easy to use. But the Cooper's is much larger than six gallons; if filled to the rim, it will probably hold 7.5 gallons total. When I decided to make a Blackberry Wheat last month, I chose the Cooper's so I could make a bigger batch (6.5 gallons).

I'd probably choose the BB if I had to make a choice, but you can't go wrong with either one.

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Old 07-21-2009, 02:46 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scinerd3000 View Post
better bottle....bar none best investment i have ever made. Get that with one of the orange plastic caps which fit OVER the mouth and not in like a stopper. The racking assembly work great but they are quite pricey...then again beer isn't a cheap hobby.
My sentiments exactly. BB all the way.
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:01 PM   #7
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Hey all you landlubbing better bottle users, I want you to go walk up to you better bottle full of 5 gallons of water, and push in the sides of it, wrap your arms around it and squeeze it really tight and watch it flex.

Then start rocking it back and forth while you sing "row row row your boat" and watch how the liquid starts to build up momentum inside the BB and feel how the bottle flexes while the fluid momentum takes over.

Then think about it being on a rocking boat in a strong sea, maybe with a bungy cord across the middle, or some other method of securing it.

Then read this thread http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f11/bett...learned-97078/

As much as I love the better bottle for my home use, we are not talking about homes here we are talking about boats, where boats rock and slam up and down in rough waves....And everything on the boat whether stowed or not, does the same. And any liquid inside is going to be building up it's own momentum in the container.

Here's what BB mentioned in their email when Jason wrote them about his problem.

Quote:
Every once in a blue moon a carboy develops a crack on the bottom. Nearly
all the time, it is because the user was rolling the carboy on its bottom
edge while it was full. The creates a tremendous amount of flexing in the
bottom panel.
If brew on board is going to be trying to stow his fermenter in any way to keep it from rolling/sliding around below or above deck, it's going to build up so much liquid momentum and plastic flexation that more than likely any pressure point where the strapping crosses the flat plastic is going to become a weak spot on the bottle and during a major bit of boat movement in the opposite direction, like up and down on a wave trough, if going to result in a decapitated better bottle and precious beer all over the place.

Heck with enough constant liquid motion any point on the bb could become a flexation/weakness point and crack....Especially if there happens to be a weakpoint in the plastic anyway.

Brewonboard, if you insist on having a spigot for ease of use, then I think your best bet would be either a coopers pressure barrel or even just your plain ole Ale Pail with spigot.



If you can't find ones with spigot then just buy a bottling bucket spigot and mount it yourself (You might even want to add a dip tube like I show in my bottling tips thread.) And between spigot uses (while it is fermenting) wrap the outside of the spigot in some sanitized plastic bags with rubberbands, to keep and nasties from contaminating it.

The buckets have plenty of necessary headspace for 5-6 gallon batches, and the plastic is a little more rugged and has less flexation than the better bottles. And of course it's air tight.

I know that the idea of modding something else is appealing, but now that you've played around and seen what doesn't work, you can go with what we know works......And in your unique situation, I think it would work much better than the betterbottle where a lot of rocking and motion and flexation is going to occur.

I wouldn't risk my beer on a boat with the better bottles, no matter how awesome I think they are. They are just not flex proof enough for the high motion situations.
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Old 07-21-2009, 03:53 PM   #8
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I would recommend these small barrels from usplastics.com. I'm not too sure where you're located, but if you can get your hands on them, they work really well. I've been using these or the earlier variant of them for a few years now.

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Old 07-21-2009, 05:20 PM   #9
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I'd say the Coopers because you can get you hands in it to clean it. The BB will take more watter to clean because you will have to soak off the kraeusen crust.

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Old 07-21-2009, 05:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Revvy View Post
.....I want you to go walk up to you better bottle full of 5 gallons of water, and push in the sides of it, wrap your arms around it and squeeze it really tight and watch it flex.......
I did just what you told me to and squirted Apfelwein all over the closet. When the SWMBO get home, she is going to be really pissed! I am going to tell her, "The Revvy made me do it"!

Honestly, I didn't give it enough thought, but I can see your point. You have to admit though, Better Bottles are great for us landlubbers.
Sorry Brew-on-Board, I withdraw my suggestion.
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