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Old 07-28-2006, 06:40 AM   #1
aldeswari
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Default Another newbie question...

Why is that some people use fermenting buckets and others use carboys to ferment their wort?

Forgive me, I looked around on John Palmer's site but couldn't find anything. I haven't started my first brew yet but I hope to soon.

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Old 07-28-2006, 06:47 AM   #2
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The plastic buckets are easier to work with because of the wide opening and most have a spigot to eliminate siphoning when racking the beer. The plastic bucket is fine for primary fermentation but for prolonged storage glass is better. The plastic can allow oxygen to get into the beer and that's a bad thing. Lots of people ferment in buckets then rack to a glass carboy for the secondary. I just prefer to use glass for both. I like to see what's going on in there.

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Old 07-28-2006, 07:19 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RichBrewer
The plastic buckets are easier to work with because of the wide opening and most have a spigot to eliminate siphoning when racking the beer. The plastic bucket is fine for primary fermentation but for prolonged storage glass is better. The plastic can allow oxygen to get into the beer and that's a bad thing. Lots of people ferment in buckets then rack to a glass carboy for the secondary. I just prefer to use glass for both. I like to see what's going on in there.
Ah, I see. Thanks a lot. And I agree, it is nice to see what's happening.

Edit: Actually, I'm curious. What is the difference between primary and secondary fermentation? This has been bugging me for quite a while.
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Old 07-28-2006, 07:41 AM   #4
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You need to very careful when cleaning a plastic bucket. Little scratches can harbor bacteria which will infect your beer.

Primary is where the fermenting is done while the secondary is where the clearing of the beer will happen. There is little to no airlock activity during the secondary.

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Old 07-28-2006, 07:58 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noldar
You need to very careful when cleaning a plastic bucket. Little scratches can harbor bacteria which will infect your beer.

Primary is where the fermenting is done while the secondary is where the clearing of the beer will happen. There is little to no airlock activity during the secondary.
Ok, so it's not actually fermenting? Or just very little...
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Old 07-28-2006, 10:17 AM   #6
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the yeasts are performing different duties during secondary fermentation. someone else with more knowledge can chime in and correct me if need be, but i believe during secondary, the yeasts clean up some of the earlier byproducts from the active primary fermentation, such as diacetyls as well as converting some fusel alcohols into esters. these secondary duties are operating alongside the primary duties as well since you will see that even in secondary fermentation, the SG will drop somewhat, but at a much slower rate till it plateus.

i personally use plastic for primary. i have a 6.5 gallon glass carboy, and i've only used it once. the reason being is that it won't fit well in my chest freezer that i use as my fermentation chamber. i would rather have consistent fermentation temps than be able to see what i'm fermenting.

like others have said, plastic buckets are much easier to deal with for primary, you are producing enough co2 to make any oxygen that permeated through just blow off through the airlock. plus, glass can be dangerous if you have an accident. there are a number of stories of people not only losing 5 gallons of beer, but also needing to go to the hospital and have multiple stitches.

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Old 07-28-2006, 10:35 AM   #7
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Here are the pages from John Palmers' website pertaining to Secondary Fermentation, and Buckets vs. Carboys

John

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Old 07-29-2006, 04:44 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gnef
the yeasts are performing different duties during secondary fermentation. someone else with more knowledge can chime in and correct me if need be, but i believe during secondary, the yeasts clean up some of the earlier byproducts from the active primary fermentation, such as diacetyls as well as converting some fusel alcohols into esters. these secondary duties are operating alongside the primary duties as well since you will see that even in secondary fermentation, the SG will drop somewhat, but at a much slower rate till it plateus.

i personally use plastic for primary. i have a 6.5 gallon glass carboy, and i've only used it once. the reason being is that it won't fit well in my chest freezer that i use as my fermentation chamber. i would rather have consistent fermentation temps than be able to see what i'm fermenting.

like others have said, plastic buckets are much easier to deal with for primary, you are producing enough co2 to make any oxygen that permeated through just blow off through the airlock. plus, glass can be dangerous if you have an accident. there are a number of stories of people not only losing 5 gallons of beer, but also needing to go to the hospital and have multiple stitches.
Perhaps the worst thing in the title "secondary fermentation vessel" is the use of the word "fermentation" in it's name. The purpose of the secondary isn't really to complete or continue fermentation, although that can and does occur, to a small extent.

The main purpose of secondaries is to let the fermented wort (aka, beer) to settle out more suspended solids, to allow yeast to drop out of suspension, and to allow the flavor profile to settle in.
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Old 07-29-2006, 04:51 AM   #9
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The pros call the "secondary" their bright tank. I think homebrewers started calling them secondary fermentors because they racked too soon and fermentation started up again. Or maybe not.

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