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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Using a water bottle as a carboy?
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Old 08-10-2009, 03:30 AM   #1
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Default Using a water bottle as a carboy?

So I'm a complete novice with homebrewing, starting my first brew tomorrow, hopefully. I was wondering for future, larger batches, what people think about making a carboy from the water jug that you'd often see on a water cooler, those large, translucent blue 5 gallon containers. Has anyone tried this, or have any reason that its not a good idea? I know that this kind of plastic is fairly O2 permeable, so it wouldn't be suitable for aging or storing, but what do people think about using them for primary and secondary fermentors? I'm a college student, so I'm looking for cheaper alternatives to a $30 or $40 glass carboy, of which you end up needing at least a couple. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks a lot!

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Old 08-10-2009, 03:46 AM   #2
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My advice is use it for short term storage...no extended aging. When they stop making baby bottles out of polycarbonate i will revise my position on the matter.

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Old 08-10-2009, 05:37 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by corexcore View Post
I'm a college student, so I'm looking for cheaper alternatives to a $30 or $40 glass carboy, of which you end up needing at least a couple. Any input would be appreciated. Thanks a lot!
Why not just use buckets? Food safe 7g buckets are available for about $10 each.
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Old 08-10-2009, 06:34 PM   #4
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There is a lot on here on this subject. Bottom line is check the number in the recycling triangle. 1 OK, 2 alright, anything else don't even bother.

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Old 08-10-2009, 10:07 PM   #5
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Alright, thanks. I ran a search and looked for a while, but couldn't find much of relevance. I'm sure there is a lot, I just wasn't really sure what to search for. Thanks a lot for the advice, that's a good call, looking at the recycling triangle.

Can those food safe 7 gallon buckets be used for secondary fermentation, or be used for storage for a number of months, until ready to bottle? Or are they only suitable for primary fermentation? I was worried a bit about the fact that they don't narrow at the top, that too much air might get in and such, as well as that the plastic bucket top just doesn't seem air tight. I imagine it must be, but I'd still be concerned. Does anyone have experience using these sort of buckets for secondary fermentation/longer-term use?

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Old 08-10-2009, 10:21 PM   #6
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I brewed an 8 gallon batch of lager Saturday. I put 5 gallons in a 6 gallon Better Bottle and 3 gallons in a 5 gallon water bottle from Home Depot.

They are both thumping away at 50*F, we will see what, if any differences there are in a few weeks.

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Old 08-10-2009, 10:28 PM   #7
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Alright, excellent. I'll keep an eye out for any updates on that. I hope its no real difference, just that you have to work harder to clean the plastic. That'd be excellent, as I'm hoping to make a 5 gallon batch of mead for next summer, and I'd have to start brewing within the next couple months for that to work out. I hope there's no differences in the two batches.

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Old 08-11-2009, 03:13 PM   #8
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Can't go wrong with a ale-pale or similar bucket you can buy at a LHBS. If I were a cash-strapped college student, I wouldn't even bother with a glass carboy at this point. Chances are you won't be making the types of beer that require extended aging where oxygen permeability/oxidation is an issue.

Where in Maine are you?

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Old 08-11-2009, 04:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
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I hope its no real difference, just that you have to work harder to clean the plastic. T
The last thing you should be doing is working harder to clean the plastic.


Work smarter: Fill with hot oxyclean. Let sit. Dump. It'll be clean. Sanitize before you use.
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Old 08-11-2009, 04:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Synovia View Post
The last thing you should be doing is working harder to clean the plastic.


Work smarter: Fill with hot oxyclean. Let sit. Dump. It'll be clean. Sanitize before you use.
Sometimes, if you wind up with that "epoxy krausen", it takes a couple of tries with the oxyclean.
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