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Old 02-16-2014, 11:29 PM   #1
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Default First Batch Logistics Question

Hello all, glad to be a part of the community. A little background, I've brewed a few 1-2 gallon "Mr. Beer" clones before with mixed success(never great, although not expected) and wanted to get a little more serious, so my wife bought me an equipment kit for 5 gallon batches. I finished my first boil last night using a True Brew Pale Ale ingredient kit (all Munton's products). I'll admit, no matter how many times I read and re-read Palmer's "How to Brew," I made a few mistakes, however none that should make the final product undrinkable. Some off flavors, however, are very possible/probable...(pitched the yeast a little too hot at 95F, steeped the Crystal 60 a little too hot at 175-180F). Needless to say, I am anxious to start another batch to improve my procedures based on notes taken, but also want to give this batch a fighting chance at being at least mediocre. Now that I've rambled enough and you've probably lost interest, my question is this...my wife bought a kit with a 5 Gal Carboy(instead of the 6) and a 6.5 gallon bucket with spigot attachment. Since the 5 gal would not have left enough headroom for primary fermentation, I used the bucket. I assume the only use for a 5 gal carboy is secondary fermentation, which by reading many of these threads, is not necessarily encouraged. The only reason I was planning on the secondary vessel was to clear the 6.5 gal bucket to clean and prep for a bottling bucket due to the spigot. Since I am now thinking twice about racking for secondary, I just wanted some opinions on the best way to bottle when the time comes. Do I buy another bottling bucket with spigot? Bottle straight from the primary and hope the sediment is below the spigot and stays stable? Rack to the carboy right before bottling, clean the primary and re-rack as a bottling bucket? Rack to the carboy and siphon bottle forgoing the convenience of the spigot? Your thoughts/advice is appreciated.



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Old 02-16-2014, 11:41 PM   #2
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Welcome to the hobby!

If you're saying that your kit came with only 1 bucket which has a spigot attached, and 1 5 gal carboy.. Then yeah you did the right thing in using the bucket to ferment instead.

You really should have a 6.5 bucket without a spigot to ferment and the bucket with the spigot used only for bottling. But now that it is in there...

You really can't easily bottle beer from your "primary" you wont be able to effectively mix your priming sugar without stirring up all the trub that has settled for weeks. I also don't recommend you try to prime each individual bottle because that can be trouble unless you use carbonation drops.

What you could do.. If you have an autosiphon. First transfer the beer into the carboy and prime it. Then..

you could connect your transfer tubing to your autosiphon, at the end of the tubing connect your bottling wand.. Then press the mechanism on the bottling wand inward (with maybe a sanitized item) this will make it so air can escape... Then use the autosiphon to fill the entire length of the tubing and bottle wand and once it's full of beer release the mechanism so now it is essentially an autosiphon bottle wand. This way you could bottle from your carboy. Make sure that the bottle wand stays lower than the carboy or else it won't siphon.

I wouldn't get another bottling bucket cuz you don't need two. You do need a primary bucket but getting one now won't help because you still would only be able to use it the way I describe above. Good luck! Get a couple primary buckets!


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Old 02-16-2014, 11:45 PM   #3
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For your situation as long as you follow good sanitation and keep oxygen exposure to a minimum I would think logistically it would be easiest to rack to the carboy in 2 weeks or so then clean your bucket to use it for you bottling day. I have never needed to secondary as of yet so I am not sure how long to leave it in there before bottling. Another 2 weeks would probably be good. I would spend money on another carboy before another bottling bucket.

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Old 02-16-2014, 11:59 PM   #4
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Exactly what jekeane said.

Find your nearest brewer store and get a 6.5 carboy for your next batch. They're about $45 where I live. That's your best bet, imo.


You could also bottle straight from the bucket and try not to suck up any trub, then use priming tablets for carbonation. Then you don't have to worry about stirring anything up...

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Old 02-17-2014, 12:30 AM   #5
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Thanks guys, I think I'll follow Jekeane's advice and definitely invest in another carboy for the next batch. Just curious, how much more of a pain in the ass is cleaning the trub out of a carboy vs. a bucket?

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Old 02-17-2014, 12:42 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmack7 View Post
I assume the only use for a 5 gal carboy is secondary fermentation, which by reading many of these threads, is not necessarily encouraged. The only reason I was planning on the secondary vessel was to clear the 6.5 gal bucket to clean and prep for a bottling bucket due to the spigot. Since I am now thinking twice about racking for secondary, I just wanted some opinions on the best way to bottle when the time comes.
Again, welcome to the hobby. Brewing is actually very forgiving, so don't worry too much about the little stuff like which vessel to bottle out of. Keep reading and find a system that works for you. Everyone in this hobby brews beer differently! There is no right way or wrong way of doing things. The topic of "transferring to secondary" is a topic that is hotly debated. Your kit was probably designed with the intention to do primary fermentation in the bucket, then "transfer to secondary" in the 5-gal carboy, and then when bottling day comes you would presumably transfer your beer back from the carboy to the clean bucket with priming sugar. Doing a secondary fermentation in a glass carboy shouldn't be discouraged at all (as long as you're careful about sanitation and aeration), but it is not strictly necessary for most batches. I tend to transfer a lot of my beers to secondary just because I have one 6.5 gal fermenter and several 5 gal fermenters, and I like to age my beer more than necessary. But I think that, in general, 1 week in primary and 3 weeks in a secondary fermentation does the same thing to a beer as just the whole 4 weeks in the same primary.

So now that that's out of the way, nobody is a perfect brewer right out of the gates. I'm on all-grain batch 45 and I'm still finding little things to improve upon each time I brew. If you improve one thing per batch you brew, and continue to learn, eventually you will be overflowing with amazing beer!

Good luck, hope that helped a bit.
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:48 AM   #7
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Thanks guys, I think I'll follow Jekeane's advice and definitely invest in another carboy for the next batch. Just curious, how much more of a pain in the ass is cleaning the trub out of a carboy vs. a bucket?
Get a jet bottle/carboy washer and a good carboy brush. With these 2 items carboys are a piece of cake to clean.

I started out using a 5 gallon carboy as a primary for 5 gallon batches which is fine, just use a blowoff tube because you're gonna get tons of krausen with that tiny headspace.
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:49 AM   #8
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Thanks guys, I think I'll follow Jekeane's advice and definitely invest in another carboy for the next batch. Just curious, how much more of a pain in the ass is cleaning the trub out of a carboy vs. a bucket?

The bucket is much easier. I just soak the carboy for a while in a star san after washing out the trub with water, then use a carboy brush, then rinse with star san again... then plug it up for the future.

I think it's Northern Brewer that makes a wide mouth carboy now. It's kinda like a carboy/bucket hybrid. It looked like a pretty good idea. I'd check that out first before you make any decisions...
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Old 02-17-2014, 12:49 AM   #9
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Thanks guys, I think I'll follow Jekeane's advice and definitely invest in another carboy for the next batch. Just curious, how much more of a pain in the ass is cleaning the trub out of a carboy vs. a bucket?
I've only used buckets, and they are easy as heck to clean.. Carboys look like a PITA to clean, but thats just opinion as I never have had to clean one... With the right brushes I am sure they are OK, but still a PITA...


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