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Old 03-01-2009, 05:23 AM   #1
UYLDAR
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Default Fermenting vessels... HDPE vs GLASS vs P.E.T

As a newbie I am getting various suggestions regarding this.

Seems the best ideas I have got are to use glass for the 2nd ferment and transferring from a plastic ferment bucket to another plastic bucket for the 2nd is not useful.

Seems to me that my best thoughts are not what others seem to think.

Anyhow, what is the best primary fermenter, secondary fermenter and the reasoning for not using a HDPE bucket for secondary if thats what is used for the primary?

Not to jump the guessing but I was planning to do the following the next time I purchased equipment:

6 gallon glass primary fermenting bottle
5 gallon glass secondary fermenting bottle OR
5 gallon corny keg

Rather then invest in all this heavy glassware, maybe there is better plan.

Next wrinkle.... can this P.E.T plastic be used as if it was real glass?

Thanks in advance
D

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Old 03-01-2009, 05:35 AM   #2
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HDPE works as a primary or a secondary.

PET works as a primary or a secondary.

Glass works as a primary or a secondary.

The only thing to watch out for on those buckets is the amount of headspace you have. If you're racking a 5 gallon batch into a secondary container that's 6-6.5 gallons, you have a lot of extra room. That isn't a problem if you're only going to leave it in secondary for a few weeks, but I wouldn't want my beer sitting with all that oxygen for several months of bulk aging.

Oh, and don't use a carboy brush on plastic. You will scratch the plastic, and those scratches will harbor bacteria.

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Old 03-01-2009, 05:38 AM   #3
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Buckets as secondaries have two major issues. First they have a large head space. As the beer has finished fermenting this will be filled with air and not displaced rapidly by CO2 like in your primary. This will cause oxidation and off flavours. Secondly buckets are oxygen permeable so you can't leave your beer in them for long periods of time or again you will get oxidation and off flavours. I have both glass and Better Bottles and use them for both primary fermentation and conditioning. I've been switching to BB over time because they are lighter and don't break into dangerous shards of glass. The only downside is you cannot clean them physically like with a bottle brush as that can scratch them and lead to infection problems.

ll was a faster typist. Same points made.

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Old 03-01-2009, 06:50 AM   #4
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Yeah, the only problem with plastic buckets for secondary is the big headspace.

Carboys with 1.5 gallon extra room or buckets for primary
Carboys of the right size for secondary.

I wouldn't use #7 misc plastic, but either of PET and HDPE should be fine for both primary and secondary. They're slightly more O2 permeable than glass, but relative to the other ways oxygen enters the system that's negligible. Glass is clearer, easier to clean, and more scratch resistant. Plastic's lighter, more flexible in terms of porting and such, and more break-resistant.

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Old 03-01-2009, 02:42 PM   #5
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I like glass because it lasts so much longer than plastic. The downside to glass is that it is fragile and heavy, but I switched to glass about 20 years ago, and have only retired one carboy in that time. When I used plastic, I had to replace it every couple years. Others manage to use plastic for a lot longer, but they must me more careful than I am.

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Old 03-01-2009, 07:13 PM   #6
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Thanks for the advise!

I guess emptying that old 5 gallon water bottle I have tossed spare coins in for decades is not a good idea... lol

I think I will go with a PET primary and use a corney keg for secondary as I located free shipping on the "better bottle" but not for the glass one. If I stumble across a glass one locally I will get it too.

Thanks
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Old 03-01-2009, 07:22 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by llazy_llama View Post
HDPE works as a primary or a secondary.

PET works as a primary or a secondary.

Glass works as a primary or a secondary.

The only thing to watch out for on those buckets is the amount of headspace you have. If you're racking a 5 gallon batch into a secondary container that's 6-6.5 gallons, you have a lot of extra room. That isn't a problem if you're only going to leave it in secondary for a few weeks, but I wouldn't want my beer sitting with all that oxygen for several months of bulk aging.

Oh, and don't use a carboy brush on plastic. You will scratch the plastic, and those scratches will harbor bacteria.
So a 6 gal carboy for a 2ndary,is ok for a week or less? how long is too long?
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Old 03-01-2009, 08:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
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So a 6 gal carboy for a 2ndary,is ok for a week or less? how long is too long?
I probably wouldn't leave it in for longer than 2-3 weeks. If you absoloutely have to bulk age for longer than that, get a bunch of glass marbles, sanitize them, and add them to the bottom of your carboy. They'll act as filler, and will take up that extra room to minimize your headspace.

Thanks, Yooper, for that handy trick.
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Old 03-01-2009, 08:03 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ajf View Post
Others manage to use plastic for a lot longer, but they must me more careful than I am.

-a.

I respectfully disagree.
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Originally Posted by Catt22 View Post
I would never use a dead mouse in my beer. It's much better to use live ones. You could probably just steep a dead one, but live ones must be mashed. Actually, smashed and mashed would be best.
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