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Old 11-06-2012, 07:08 PM   #1
ndtyank49
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Default First kit, Carboys or buckets?

Hey guys,

I just made my first batch of beer with a mr. beer kit. It was a lot of fun so i'm looking into buying a bigger kit. Most likely a 5 gallon one. Am I better off going with a carboy (plastic/glass)? Or buckets? Any other advice would be much appreciated.

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Old 11-06-2012, 07:13 PM   #2
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Do a search for some info, there have been plenty of debates on this issue. Buckets are cheap, easy to move but can get scratched and the lids are a PITA. Glass carboys look good, are expensive, won't scratch but can break and are heavy and hard to move. Better Bottles are a mix of the two. Lots more out there though, bottom line is you can use whatever fits your budget and works for you as long as you use it right.

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Old 11-06-2012, 07:14 PM   #3
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Plastic buckets are cheaper and easier to work with and clean. The down side is that it doesn't look as pretty. Also plastic is slightly permeable to oxygen. So if you run out of bottles it's nice to be able to rack to a glass carboy for ageing.

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Old 11-06-2012, 07:26 PM   #4
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I use both and you may eventually wind up with both. I probably use plastic buckets more than anything. I usually just use a primary fermentor and I find dry hopping in the buckets is so much easier. A 6.5 gallon glass carboy is nice. It is pretty cool to see what it looks like while the beer is fermenting. Also glass carboys are really nice if you want to condition a beer for a long time although you can do that in the bottle as well.

As you are just starting out I would start with plastic buckets and see where it takes you. I own 6 plastic buckets and 1- 6.5 gallon and 1- 5 gallon carboy.

Sounds like it's time to upgrade your brewery!

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Old 11-06-2012, 07:27 PM   #5
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Just my 2 cents, but after having used buckets and carboys, I'd go carboy if for any other reason, so you can have visible evidence of what's going on during fermentation. Fermentation notes are a big thing for me and with carboys you can just sneak a peak anytime and know just what's happening every hour and that's a big part of the learning process, for me anyway. For many reasons, it's not a great idea to keep popping the lid on the bucket to see your progress, check gravity, and so forth. There are more pros than cons for carboys or better bottles IMO.
Hope this helps

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Old 11-06-2012, 07:37 PM   #6
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I guess this is a hot topic. I've been brewing for years and my glass carboys just collect dust. You have to open the fermenter to take a gravity reading regardless of it being a bucket or carboy, and the bucket is much easier to get down to the beer to collect your sample... IMHO. As for scratches and contamination, I'm still using the same one I bought in 199x. It inside looks brand new. Much easier to clean because you can get in there with a rag and scrub.

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Old 11-06-2012, 07:38 PM   #7
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I started with buckets and have moved to carboys pretty much exclusively. I've kept the buckets for times when I have more than five brews going, but that's fairly rare for me. I like being able to see the fermentation, but a new person may be alarmed by what fermentation actually looks like, freak out and scream "infection!"...when it's really just normal fermentation. Carboys are a bit heavier and certainly can break, but when setup with a BrewHauler, are very safe and easy to handle. Plus, they're way easier to clean and it's easier to avoid trub when racking to a bottling bucket. I would suggest 6.5 gallon carboys, personally...unless the $40+ each is an obstacle for you.

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Old 11-06-2012, 07:41 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by revco View Post
I started with buckets and have moved to carboys pretty much exclusively. I've kept the buckets for times when I have more than five brews going, but that's fairly rare for me. I like being able to see the fermentation, but a new person may be alarmed by what fermentation actually looks like, freak out and scream "infection!"...when it's really just normal fermentation. Carboys are a bit heavier and certainly can break, but when setup with a BrewHauler, are very safe and easy to handle. Plus, they're way easier to clean and it's easier to avoid trub when racking to a bottling bucket. I would suggest 6.5 gallon carboys, personally...unless the $40+ each is an obstacle for you.
I did the reverse! I was a winemaker first, and used glass carboys exclusively. But I'm a weakling (135 pounds, soaking wet) and hate lifting heavy glass full carboys.

I almost always use just buckets, then package the beer although I occasionally do use a plastic better bottle for oaked beers.
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Old 11-06-2012, 07:45 PM   #9
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Do yourself a favor, buy a 8 gallon bucket. Not 5, not 6, not 6.5..8 gallon.

You will never need a blow off tube, never need to worry about krausen screwing up your airlock no matter how big your beer is. Never have to make a post like so many other new brewers here wondering if their beer is ruined because the lid and beer inside of their 6.5 gallon bucket blew 10 feet across the room.

The price difference between a 6.5 and 8 gallon bucket is like $1.25 max.

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Old 11-06-2012, 07:58 PM   #10
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i purchased a wine kit (plastic bucket for primary and glass carboy for secondary) and use it for beer all the time, its nice to see the fermentation happening in the glass then use the bucket as a bottling bucket, this seems to work best for me. before that i used the bucket and bottled from there and used carb tabs, teh the current way saves money too

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