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Old 11-16-2010, 07:54 PM   #1
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Default 5 Gallon Glass Carboy as Primary?

I have two 5 gallon glass carboys and two 6.5 plastic buckets. Is the 5 gallon too small to use as a primary? Is there an issue with using the 6.5 gallon plastic fermenter for a 21 day primary fermentation?

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Old 11-16-2010, 08:07 PM   #2
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I use plastic for all primary. There's absolutely nothing wrong with it. Also, all of my beers are in the primary fermentor for at least 3-4 weeks depending on style. I've never had an issue and I probably never will.

A 5 gallon glass carboy is too small for a 5 gallon batch. I usually like to allow a gallon of head space when I'm using an airlock, and 1/2 gallon when I'm using a blow off tube. Even with 1/2 gallon of headspace, you'll have a lot of blow off material. If you do a 4.5 gallon batch and use a blow off tube, it'll work if you monitor it closely.

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Old 11-16-2010, 08:17 PM   #3
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ok, I'm going to be leaving my beer in the primary for 21 days and then transferring to a 5 gal glass carboy for my secondary so I can dry hop. I guess it will be easier to get my final liquid volume up to 5 gal exactly using the plastic feremter because it has gallon marks on the side of the bucket. Just kind of upset I won't get to see all of the yeast action through the glass.

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Old 11-16-2010, 08:41 PM   #4
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Been using 5's as primaries for my last few batches, but with a twist. Transfering 3-1/2 to 4 gallons into two five gallon carboys. If you have the capacity for the standard 5-1/2 (pre-bottle/keg) gallons that most brewers shoot for, you can probably handle the 7+ gallons it takes to do this. If mash or boil size is an issue you can partial mash and top off the carboys.

More beer for the same amount of work is always good!






Edit:
No need to secondary. You can dry hop in your primaries.
Or if you must, use the big bucket and combine the two for dry hopping.

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Old 11-17-2010, 04:09 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dgoldb1 View Post
ok, I'm going to be leaving my beer in the primary for 21 days and then transferring to a 5 gal glass carboy for my secondary so I can dry hop. I guess it will be easier to get my final liquid volume up to 5 gal exactly using the plastic feremter because it has gallon marks on the side of the bucket. Just kind of upset I won't get to see all of the yeast action through the glass.
Watch out for those markings on the side of your bucket. They're almost all wrong. You don't know how mad I was when I found out I was brewing 4.5 gallon batches because the markings were wrong. I did that for the first year I was homebrewing, then had to go back and re-work all my notes. I'd make your own markings on the buckets just to be sure.
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Old 11-17-2010, 09:22 AM   #6
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I primary in nothing but 7 gal. plastic buckets. My standard primary duration is 21 days. Great beer, no worries.

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Old 11-17-2010, 11:59 AM   #7
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I have used my 5 gal carboy for fermenting, had a bit of foam come up into the airlock so I bought a blowoff tube for next time. Dump 5 1 gal jlugs of water into a carboy or bucket to see where the line should be.... unless you add a bit extra there will always be less than 5 gal of beer unless you don't leave the sediment layer behind.

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Old 11-17-2010, 02:42 PM   #8
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I use 5 gal carboys for primary all the time as I have 3 of them and only 1 7-gal. I usually size the batch appropriately (~4.5 gal) but sometimes still get pretty close to the 5 gal mark. The amount of blowoff will depend on the yeast strain and ferm temp. I've never lost more than a quart os so. Sure, that extra bit of beer (5 gallons pre-packaging) would be nice, but not enough to make me want to invest in larger carboys. Maybe when I start kegging I will change my tune.

Can't comment on buckets as I don't use them for fermenters, but sounds like you're good there based on other replies in here.

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