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Old 12-04-2013, 06:33 PM   #1
rustyknives
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Default Bucket or carboy?

So, I have a 5 gallon carboy and an equal sized bucket. Should I use the bucket or carboy for primary and the other for secondary? Or just the carboy for both and rack into the bucket to clean the carboy?

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Old 12-04-2013, 07:49 PM   #2
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Carboy is better for secondary so you can eliminate most of the headspace. Only time it matters for primary in my experience is if you have a recipe that calls for a lot of fruit, spices, or other additions that will be difficult to remove from your carboy when you rack to secondary, in which case I always use a bucket.

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Old 12-04-2013, 07:54 PM   #3
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What type of beer will you be brewing? Will you be adding, fruit, adjuncts or dry hopping?

A secondary may not be required, and you will need the bucket for bottling. I recommend against racking to the bucket just to clean the carboy, and the rack back to the carboy to use as a secondary. The risk of infection it too high IMO.

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Old 12-04-2013, 07:56 PM   #4
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How big of a batch? I can tell you from experience that it's very difficult to degas when it's in a carboy, you can easily end up a coke and mentos - style fountain (I did with only 4 gal in my 5 gal carboy). Go with a bucket if you've got it for primary (I didn't). That way you can add fruit easier if you're going to, and can rack off of it into secondary in a carboy for less headspace.

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Old 12-04-2013, 09:49 PM   #5
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I'm going to be making a simple 5 gallon batch of mead if i can.

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Old 12-05-2013, 05:47 PM   #6
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Or try one of the new wide-mouth glass carboys. Best of both worlds.
I plan to get one or 6 when money isn't so tight.

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Old 12-05-2013, 05:54 PM   #7
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Its irrelevant whether you are making a mel, cyser, pyment, traditional or whatever.

A bucket gives you a larger, wider air/liquid interface which enables easier aeration for the early stages, plus a wider area that allows more room for any foam to lift and expand if you get any kind of eruption in the early stages of ferment.

Then once primary is complete its easy to rack to the carboy for secondary......

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Old 12-14-2013, 06:38 AM   #8
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What about limiting O2 during primary fermentation? I know you want to start with lots for the yeasties to divide, but don't you need an airtight seal (and airlock) once it gets going? I ask, because my carboys always foam out while in primary, and I'd like to try buckets, just not sure how they work.

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Old 12-14-2013, 08:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bryophyta View Post
What about limiting O2 during primary fermentation? I know you want to start with lots for the yeasties to divide, but don't you need an airtight seal (and airlock) once it gets going? I ask, because my carboys always foam out while in primary, and I'd like to try buckets, just not sure how they work.
Carboys can do that. If there is a reason that reduces the free flow of the CO2, maybe capping or whatever, as the residual pressure builds, eventually it will erupt and the tiny amount of nucleation when the pressure causes the eruption will cause it to flow until the equilibrium returns......

With the bigger air liquid interface in a bucket, anything that causes a cap has more space to break under similar circumstances and hopefully enough space for the erupting co2 so that any bubbles pop and the co2 just discharges out the airlock.....

The theory is just a basic high school physics lesson where the open surface area isnt funnelled into a small area creating a jet to push out through the airlock or force it and the bung out.......

It can be ameliorated by frequent movement which is where early stage aeration or just swirling or even just vibrating thw whole fermenter comes in.

It helps nucleation enough to reduced the build up of dissolved CO2 so that you get a greater steady flow of it during the early fermentation when its production is at its greatest, ergo the chance of eruption is greatly reduced.

There is at least with traditionals, anecdotal evidence, that stir plates can even reduce down fermentation times. Some have posted about using them with show meads where there has been no nutrients added but the quick exhaustion and death of yeast cells combined with the constant motion have fermented such brews in a couple of weeks, rather than the many months posted about with static batches of same/similar brews i.e. the quick exhaustion and death of the yeast cells provides enough base nutrient for the newly budded cells to do their thing etc.......

Practically ? You won't be able to stir plate or use a lab swirler for batches much bigger than a gallon for size and equipment reasons (unless you're one hell of a good production engineer), so we generally resort to aerating/stirring/swirling as many times a day as we can - 2 or 3 times for most people.......

Hopefully that makes sense (it does to me at least) and hopefully you follow my poor explanation of this effect.......
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