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Old 06-12-2008, 08:58 PM   #1
Pogo
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Default Carboy question

I been just been given several 3 and five gallon blue-tinted plastic carboys that are currently available through a bottled water service.

On the bottom it states that the bottles are approved for use with water only.

With all of the concerns over the different grades of plastic in use with the disposable water bottles, and all of the different numbers assigned to them 1, 3, 7, etc., does anyone know if these blue carboy bottles will hold up to being exposed to use with alcohol? I can't find any kind of number identifying
code on these bottles anywhere.

Also, won't the blue tint interfere with my being able to evaluate the progress/condition of the must as it works?

Thanks,

Pogo

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Old 06-12-2008, 09:33 PM   #2
kenche
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Your biggest concern should be with oxygen permeability. Most water bottles will allow oxygen transfer, which will oxidize your beer and produce off-flavours.

There should be a stamping on the bottle somewhere, I believe it is a requirement.

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Old 06-12-2008, 09:36 PM   #3
markg954
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i just used a blue tint plastic five gallon water jug to brew apfelwein. i had no problems, and i could see the bubbling fermentation. i figure, if you can drink water out of it, you can drink anything out of it, just don't heat real hot becuase it tends to release chemicals from the plastic. not to mention melt. use only room temperature liquids in this.

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Old 06-13-2008, 08:50 PM   #4
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Color of the bottle doesn't matter. Wines won't "skunk" but exposure to sunlight will cause them to fade. A dark spot or cover a carboy is a good idea.

The numbers on the bottom indicate the Material it was made of. #1 & #2 are the only 2 that can "safely" be used with homebrewing due to oxygen permeability.

Also, with a #7 designation, you don't know what the heck the bucket was made of, so you cannot guarantee that you are not leeching something into your beverage. Unlike water, which is one chemical, you are unleashing a wide variety of chemicals onto the plastic with wine/beer.

That said, many folks have used #7 buckets successfully. I think the Equipment forum has a looooong post on using water bottles and the such. Just use the google search and type "Using water bottles" to get a couple of threads.

To summarize, a #1/#2 bottle with no scratches will work just as well a better bottle.

There should be a stamp SOMEWHERE on the bottle. I think it is a requirement.

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Old 06-14-2008, 10:20 AM   #5
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I've used the plastic water bottles before. Never had any problems with them. Just make sure you don't pour any kind of boiling water into to it as markg954 said. Another thing is that make sure you have a way to put an airlock on it. I made a 5 gallon batch and the airlock wasn't on it good enough and the whole batch went to vinegar. Was very disappointed. But i think if you don't have another type of carboy then the big plastic water bottles are the best way to go.

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Old 06-14-2008, 01:21 PM   #6
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Thanks all!

I see that I'm not the first to ask this question. I'll do my homework from now on before I seek advice, and do a search first. Thanks ClutchDude!

When I asked my question, I was just concerned about a cheaper way to get the fermenting/brewing job done.

Now, the conerns over plastic's long term impact on our health are spooking me.

I bought a glass 6 gallon carboy yesterday, $26.00 US + tax.

If I do eventually add plastic carboys to my inventory, thanks to you guys, I now know to use BB's or ONLY water company carboy bottles with the number one (1) inside the triangle embedded into the bottle itself.

Thanks again,

Pogo

BTW - The blue-tinted carboys I was given are not coded with any numbers that I can find. So, I'm tossing them.

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