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Old 07-11-2009, 04:16 AM   #1
Panther1911
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Default Looking at getting a new fermenter

I am very new to home brewing. My first batch is in my fermenting bucket right now. I bought a home brew kit at a garage sale that come with a fermenting bucket and a bottling bucket. So I have the first batch going in the bucket. I would like to be able to have two batches going at once. I am looking at getting a better bottle for my second fermenter.

I am debating between the 6 gal and the 5 gal. For the most part I only plan on making 5gal batches of beer. What are the pros/cons of each?

I was thinking of getting one of those carboy caps for it so I could run a blow-off tube and air lock from it. Can I run the air lock and the blow tube from the start of fermentation, or do I have to run the blow-off tube for a while then switch the the air lock?

How do I set up a blow-off tube? What kind/size of container do I use? How much water do I put in it?

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Old 07-11-2009, 04:21 AM   #2
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You don't want to ferment a 5 gal batch in a 5 gal container. I understand your're planing on using a blow off, but you don't want to purposefully create a situation where a blow off is necessary.

blow-off = lost beer.

I'd recommend a 6.5 gal container for a 5 gallon batch.

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Old 07-11-2009, 04:31 AM   #3
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6-7 gallon fermenters are for 5 gallon batches. You need the extra head space in the vessel. 5 gallon ones are for doing a secondary where you want to minimize the head space.

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Old 07-11-2009, 04:42 AM   #4
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What they said. As far as doing a blowoff, just get a bottle or something to hold water, and some tubing, and that's it. I only use buckets and take the grommet out and stick the tubing in there (it's snug) and the in the bottle of sanitizer, like half full. No strict guidelines to it. I use 1.75 bottles of liquor people have left here.

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Old 07-11-2009, 06:01 AM   #5
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Wouldn't a foam control agent used in the fermenter help prevent a blow off?

I don't personally use it cause I'm cheap, but I know of lots of brewers that do and they never worry about it any more.

Aslo cooler ferments not only provide a cleaner flavor but naturally reduce the need for blow off. IME

So for a lack of proper sized fermenter hardware, using an anti-foam could help you relax and have a homebrew.

just my tuppence....

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Old 07-11-2009, 06:20 AM   #6
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I would think for another primary a second bucket would be just fine and then getting a 5 gallon carboy/better bottle for secondary and aging would be ideal.

People always talk about keeping things topped off, at least with wine and mead (perhaps this is just because they are more worried about oxidation with those than beer makers are since for average gravity beer a couple of months or more is a long aging compared to 6 months to a year for many wines and meads) so it seems that keeping a smaller fermenter for secondary/aging would be best to minimize head space (isn't this the point of a carboy/better bottle opposed to a bucket?).

I don't mean to hijack the thread, but thought maybe I could add to the question.

I guess what I'm saying is, since he's going to use plastic (better bottle instead of glass carboy) anyways, he might as well just go with a bucket. Since they're both plastic, why would a better bottle be any better than a bucket for primary (especially since a 6 gallon BB is going to be slightly smaller than a 6.5 gal bucket). Then, for secondary go with the smaller BB to keep things topped up. Unless a BB is likely to last longer than a bucket (considering a lot of people will only use a bucket so many times before retiring it to hold equipment), then I could see the BB as a better investment.

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Old 07-11-2009, 06:21 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtrainer View Post
Wouldn't a foam control agent used in the fermenter help prevent a blow off?

I don't personally use it cause I'm cheap, but I know of lots of brewers that do and they never worry about it any more.

Aslo cooler ferments not only provide a cleaner flavor but naturally reduce the need for blow off. IME

So for a lack of proper sized fermenter hardware, using an anti-foam could help you relax and have a homebrew.

just my tuppence....
I've never used foam control. The questions I'd have:

Will it really save you if you use it in a fermentor with zero head room?

Does it have any negative impact on head?
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Old 07-11-2009, 06:22 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtrainer View Post
Wouldn't a foam control agent used in the fermenter help prevent a blow off?
Reduce, but not prevent. People on here have posted pictures of their blowoffs that have happened while using foam control. I'm sure they'd have been much worse if they hadn't used it, but it still happened. Nothing works better than a little head space in your primary or a blow off tube. Or both if you want to be safe.
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Old 07-11-2009, 07:04 AM   #9
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Temp control is the first place to spend money > $20.

With minimal shop skills you can get a food grade bucket and lid at H-D/ Lowe's for under $10, a grommet and then an airlock from the LHBS. Probably smarter to get the airlock first so you can fit the grommet to it and know what size drill bit you will need for the lid. Grommets are in the little drawers with bolts and washers and so on, hardware area.

If you got any dough left head over to lawn and garden for a big water tight pot for like a potted palm, there's you water bath. Run your primaries at <70°F, under 65°F for ales will be even better by moving (plastic) bottles half filled with water back and forth between your freezer and your waterbath.

Now you got one batch in temp controlled primary, a second batch at room temp secondary and you are out well under $50 unless you have to buy a drill bit and a drill.

EDIT: Primary and water bath in the big bucket that came with the kit, secondary in you new, white, food grade 5 gallon bucket from the store. Use the self checkout so no nimrod can pile crap in your new bucket causing scratches before you ever get it out of the store. If you can get another 6.5 do that, after about a week in the waterbath pull that batch out, and leave it in the same bucket on it's own yeast cake for a couple weeks while the other bucket is in the waterbath...

Go forth and swill commercial no more.

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Old 07-11-2009, 05:47 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Poindexter View Post
Temp control is the first place to spend money > $20.

EDIT: Primary and water bath in the big bucket that came with the kit, secondary in you new, white, food grade 5 gallon bucket from the store. Use the self checkout so no nimrod can pile crap in your new bucket causing scratches before you ever get it out of the store.

Go forth and swill commercial no more.
While I generally agree with Poindexter here... I'd like to point out that using the self check out removes one more working person from the economy. You save nothing other than protecting your new fermenter er bucket. I still protect my new fermenters yet since I get no self serve discount, I use the checkers.... Drives the mgnt nuts when they see lines at the check out... and the self check registers are empty.

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