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Old 12-25-2011, 12:26 AM   #1
agreen
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Default How hard is it to use a glass carboy as a primary for my first batch?

I am currently a home brew noob in training. I am getting my kit and ingredients tomorrow for Christmas and breaking it out ASAP. I have probably over researched the entire process and was wondering if the extra work it takes to use a glass carboy as my primary would be worth the effort. Keep in mind this will be my very first batch and don't want to make this too challenging. However I am very determined to make something tasty right out of the gate. Any advice is helpful.

Thanks Fellas

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Old 12-25-2011, 12:33 AM   #2
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It's not hard at all to use a glass carboy. Just don't drop it. I've had mine for 15 yrs and haven't had an issue. Don't know who told you they're hard to use or whatever.

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Old 12-25-2011, 12:44 AM   #3
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Not hard at all. Get a handle or, better yet, put it where you're fermenting before you put the wort in. I find it much easier to carry 5.5 gallons in an aluminum pot with handles than in a (slippery?) glass carboy.

There are a couple commercial options for handles, or, I have seen people use commercial-grade milk crates. They are very sturdy, have handles, and can keep objects from bumping against your carboy.

ALSO: NO HOT WORT IN GLASS. The thermal shock will break the glass and you will lose all your beer and risk serious injury from glass lacerations.

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Old 12-25-2011, 12:52 AM   #4
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I would also use a blow off tube instead of an air lock for the first few days. I use a 1" vinyl hose with a stan san soaked rag wrapped abound it and the carboy neck....other end goes in a 1 gallon bucket of weak stan san solution. You can also use 3/8" tubing stuck over the inside of the air lock stem (with the "hat" removed).

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Old 12-25-2011, 01:19 AM   #5
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Sounds good. I'll prob just start off with the carboy then. Thanks for all the pointers.

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Old 12-25-2011, 01:50 AM   #6
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I started off using plastic buckets and switched to glass. Now I'm back to buckets since I just had surgery to repair the nerve and tendon I cut in my finger when I was cleaning the carboy. No I wasn't drunk...I hadn't even had a beer. I know it was just one of those freak accidents, but the risk isn't worth it to me. And to be honest, the beers that I fermented in the buckets were just as good as the ones that were in the carboy. I like being able to monitor my fermentation which is why I stuck with glass. In the near future I will probably try a better bottle for the same reason.

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Old 12-25-2011, 02:08 AM   #7
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Glass is great. I have 1 glass fermenter and 3 plastic ones. The glass is 15 years old, the plastic ones are 30 years old. I prefer the glass.

Some cautions come with using glass, and all point to 'don't break it'.

- It is heavy. Once you have liquid in it, do not move it very far, and be very careful.
- When cleaning, take care. It is big and awkward. It will only fit in my laundry sink (6.5 gallon).
- Don't pour hot liquids straight into it.

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Old 12-25-2011, 02:22 AM   #8
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I have three glass carboys myself. I have had them all for about 10 years. I'm sure I'm pushing my luck with them though.

I am as absolutely as ridiculously careful as I can be with them. However, that certainly doesn't preclude me from being sliced wide from one of them on some freak 'oops'.

Oh and +1 for the blow off tube suggestion! Depending on what you are brewing, things can go 'oops' to 'holy ****' in a hurry. Always a good idea to start off with a blow off tube.

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Old 12-25-2011, 02:38 AM   #9
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I just finished my first brew ever and had no problem using glass carboys. A bit heavy and awkward, but no huge difficulty. I enjoyed being able to watch the fermentation take place. Quite a remarkable thing to watch for the first time.

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Old 12-25-2011, 02:57 AM   #10
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Other than the risk of being severely injured, there is no reason why you can't use glass. In fact, I used glass for both primary and secondary before "it" happened. I read a lot about infections from tiny scratches in plastic, so I was afraid to use it. When a carboy breaks, chances are that you'll have much more than a tiny scratch. I'm still getting used to my permanent stranger.

(I have almost no feeling in my right hand from a broken carboy.)

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