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Old 08-20-2011, 08:00 AM   #1
pilotgarren
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Default 5 or 6 Gal Carboy

Looking to upgrade from the Ale Pale one day and and wondering whether I should get a 5 or 6 gal carboy. Is there an advantage of going to the 6 gal? It's only a few dollars difference, but that's all money I can add up for my next upgrade. I don't have any immediate plans to make wine and would buy a 6 gal one then if I hadn't prior.

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Old 08-20-2011, 08:57 AM   #2
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I would go with the 6 gallon. If you make a yeast starter and aerate, then you will need the extra space.

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Old 08-20-2011, 09:54 AM   #3
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I recommend doing your primary fermentation in a bucket and using a 5G glass carboy for any secondary.

But, don't be in a huge rush to move to carboys. I know many award-winning homebrewers that use both but tend to prefer their buckets (including me - though no awards). Buckets are cheap, light, easy to clean, easier to store, and safe. If I secondary, I use a glass carboy- or may even bottle and "secondary" in the bottle by letting it sit longer if it just needs to age. -My personal preference is to get the beer packaged and under CO2 as fast as possible and handle it openly as little as possible.. not using secondary saves a racking.

Cleaning a carboy after primary fermentation is more work than a bucket... most of my secondaries leave the carboy pretty clean so a quick rinse and mild bleach swirl is all that's needed. When I primary I fill the carboy with bleach water, let it soak a day and still need to scrub to get all the krausen residue completely clean. I don't have a drill powered "carboy cleaner" yet but building one is on my list.

With a normal 6-7G bucket, you can fill a 5 gallon carboy very full leaving very little room for O2. Same logic applies all glass, if you primary in a carboy get a 6-6.5G, if you are using it to secondary a 5G batch, get a 5G carboy so you don't leave much headspace in secondary.

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Old 08-20-2011, 10:11 AM   #4
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I use an HDPE bucket, IMHO there is no practical advantage to a carboy since I do not age my beer in the bucket. Primary only takes three weeks so oxygen permeablity is not an issue. It's far easier to get inside and clean a bucket, and I don't have to worry about foam/blow off.

However if you get a carboy get a 6g, space is nice.

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Old 08-20-2011, 10:29 AM   #5
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6.5gal carboys are typically used as a primary fermentor.

The extra 1½ gallons of space seems like less of a luxury when you have to deal with the blow-off in a 5gal carboy

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Old 08-20-2011, 11:55 AM   #6
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Yes. If you're heart is set on carboys, get the 6 gal. I have 3 6gal Better Bottles and they work great and I had less beer-canos. I got tired of cleaning up after what seemed to be the inevitable beer fountain with the 5 gal BB. But for the most part I just use them for wine, ciders, meads and secondaries.

But honestly, I prefer to use buckets. Plain old 7.5 gal bucket fermentors. Like someone said earlier. They're easy to way f'n easier to clean, easy to handle, tough and cheap.

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Old 08-20-2011, 12:34 PM   #7
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If you're buying glass, get the 6.5 gallon. If plastic, then 6 gallon. I prefer carboys because I push the beer out and in to a keg using CO2. It helps to be able to see the bottom of the racking cane to keep it out of the yeast cake/trub.

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Old 08-20-2011, 02:51 PM   #8
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6.5 glass carboy is what you should use for primary. Also a blow off tube. 5 gallon is for secondary as others have said. You want less head room when using secondary so you have as little O2 as possible.

I also prefer buckets as that is what I started with and I can get about 3 or 4 for the price of one carboy. Plus they give you more room inside (I get the 7.5 gallon).

The nice thing about carboys is you can see the fermentation and you can see the trub so when you rack you know where the cane should go.

So to answer your question, for primary definitely a 6 but I would go 6.5. Secondary use a 5. The advantage is the head room you will need when fermentation goes crazy.

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Old 08-20-2011, 02:57 PM   #9
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6 Gallon Carboy...$30 bucks free shipping here....If you sign up for the subscribe and save you get it for $25.50 with free shipping...Just remember to cancel it after you get the Carboy...

http://www.amazon.com/Paklab-Glass-Carboy-Liter-1-9-Pound/dp/B002VFXW5W/

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Old 08-21-2011, 12:07 AM   #10
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Thanks for all the great advice everybody, That's why I come here to ask.

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