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Old 01-06-2013, 02:08 PM   #1
subzero829
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Default Dumb equipment question

Okay so yesterday a few friends and myself went out and bought the most expensive and all inclusive beginners beer kit we could find. It came with stuff we can't even identify. Unfortunately what it didn't come with we're instructions.

Inside there were two 5 gallon buckets. One was a regular 5 gallon bucket and the other was a fermenter. It had a pour spout at the bottom and a spot for the airlock on the top. It also came with a 6.5 gallon carboy.

Here is where my dumb question comes in. What is the difference between the fermenting bucket and the carboy? As I have seen in videos that alot of people ferment in them........ I am just a little confused on the function and use of each of these three items.

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Old 01-06-2013, 02:14 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subzero829
Okay so yesterday a few friends and myself went out and bought the most expensive and all inclusive beginners beer kit we could find. It came with stuff we can't even identify. Unfortunately what it didn't come with we're instructions.

Inside there were two 5 gallon buckets. One was a regular 5 gallon bucket and the other was a fermenter. It had a pour spout at the bottom and a spot for the airlock on the top. It also came with a 6.5 gallon carboy.

Here is where my dumb question comes in. What is the difference between the fermenting bucket and the carboy? As I have seen in videos that alot of people ferment in them........ I am just a little confused on the function and use of each of these three items.
I would use the larger capacity carboy as my primary fermentation vessel: the extra capacity gives you some headroom for the more vigorous activity that occurs in primary, reducing chances of a blowoff. The bucket can be used as secondary fermentation, also the spout is handy for bottling.
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Old 01-06-2013, 02:14 PM   #3
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My kit recommended using the bucket for primary fermentation and using the 5 gallon carboy for secondary fermentation. I did not do that.

I decided to go with 6.5 gallon carboys for primary fermentation and I do not use a secondary. You can't really brew a 5 gallon batch and use a 5 gallon carboy for primary...there is not enough headspace and the kreusen will blow out the top.

Plenty of people use buckets for primary fermentation....and skip secondary altogether. It's a matter of preference (glass vs. plastic).

Check out the beginner forums for instructions, and I recommend getting an introductory book like The Complete Joy of Homebrewing and read the beginner section. You will enjoy it more if you have a good understanding of the basics before you start, and it is a quick read.

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Old 01-06-2013, 02:15 PM   #4
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Do difference. Some people ferment in buckets, some in plastic or glass carboys. Carboys look like large bottles.

They probably included the carboy to use as a "secondary fermenter". This is something most brewers don't do anymore. We used to transfer the beer from the first fermenter (i.e., your bucket) to a second fermenter, leaving as much of the bottom trub behind. We did this in an effort to make our beer as clear as possible. Turns out, if you just leave it in that first fermenter, it will also clear up (might take a little longer).

My suggestion to you is just use that carboy as one fermenter and the bucket with the airlock as the second fermenter and do two batches at the same time.

Good luck.

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Old 01-06-2013, 02:18 PM   #5
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The regular bucket is the primary fermenter the lid with the airlock goes on it. It should actually be a seven gallon bucket. You do not necessarily need to use this. What type of beer are you brewing? The 6.5 gallon carboy in this kit is supposed to be your secondary fermenter, but if you are brewing a beer with an O.G. of 1.075 or so it can be used as the primary fermenter. The bucket with the spigot is a bottling bucket.

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Old 01-06-2013, 02:20 PM   #6
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I just realized I type really slow.

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Old 01-06-2013, 02:22 PM   #7
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No real difference. As long as you sanitize the ferment vessel it shouldn't matter If you use the carboy or the bucket.

Just a few minor differences:

Carboys have smaller openings= less possibility for contamination but also more difficult to oxygenate the wort before you pitch your yeast.
- also if you plan to dry hop then you will have to rack your beer into the bucket if you are using a significant amount of whole leaf hops or even Pelletized hops

Carboys are typically transparent. Light penetration could have some adverse affects on some strains of yeast.

Carboys are nice because you can observe your kreusen as fermentation occurs,
But I always just use ferment buckets and plenty of sanny
MAINTAIN PROPER FERMENTATION TEMP RECOMMENDED FOR STRAIN OF YEAST.... Makes all the difference in final quality!

Best of luck in your first brew!

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Old 01-06-2013, 07:01 PM   #8
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Thanks everybody. Yes the bucket is 7 gallons but its meant for 5 gallon batches so it is only marked up to 5. The first batch if beer I am making is a English Bitter. The guy who worked at the homebrew shop I went to recommended it as a good starter brew.

I think I am going to use the carboy for the fermentation. I would actually really like to be able to see the beer clearing up during the fermentation process.

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