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Old 12-21-2011, 01:10 PM   #1
hog300
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Default New to Homebrewing 5 gallon Carboy Question

Hello I am new to homebrewing and I should have done more research before I bought my primary fermenting carboy vessels. I found a great deal on 5 gallon glass carboys and I went ahead and purchased 4 of them. I went to the local homebrew store and the owner informed me that I could not ferment a 5 gallon recipe in a 5 gallon carboy. I understand that the fermentation process will produce foam and I would have a blow off. So I bought a cheap fermenting bucket to do the job. I am disappointed because I wanted to watch the process through the glass and I don't really want to buy a 6.5 gallon glass carboy. What can I do to use the 5 gallon carboys? It is as simple as using a ratio to factor each of the ingredients to make a 4 gallon batch instead of 5 gallons, in the carboys that I already have? This would allow for the additional space for the foam and not run the risk of spillage. If anyone has the answer to my dilemia please inform the newbie. Thanks

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Old 12-21-2011, 01:13 PM   #2
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Yes, most would recommend making smaller batches. Roughly a 3-4 gallon batch should provide enough room to prevent excessive blow off. You could still rig up a blow off tube to help. Have you thought about trying to sell maybe 1 or 2 of the 5 gallons to offset the cost of a 6.5? You could probably sell 1 of the 5 gallon carboys and pitch in 10-15 bucks for a 6.5. Just a thought. There are a lot of tools to help convert a bigger batch down to whatever size you'd like to try. So, don't get discouraged, just look for solutions. At least you have a bucket for bigger batches right?

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Old 12-21-2011, 01:24 PM   #3
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Yes I have the plastic bucket fermenting as we speak. Yeah I have thought about selling 2 of the 5 gallon and purchasing the 6.5. I was hoping I could just use what I have and make sure I am going to continue the hobby before investing in the 6.5 carboy. Is there a problem with adding the amount of yeast for a 5 gallon recipe to a 4 gallon? Would the extra yeast impart unwanted flavors?

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Old 12-21-2011, 01:31 PM   #4
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Not at all. It seems a lot of people use the yeast for 5 gallons when in fact they are actually under-pitching (In regards to kits that is without starters). The yeast from a 5 gallon into a 4 would ensure you have proper pitching. Over pitching, from what I've talked to my LHBS about, takes a pretty hefty amount over the appropriate amount to cause any off flavors. So, you're good to go!

Side not, you could always brew a 5-6 gallon batch and just split it between 2 of your 5 gallons. Just another thought to use the equipment you already have.

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Old 12-21-2011, 01:38 PM   #5
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i would look on the bright side and say that you are all set with the secondary fermentors and just need primaries now! lol

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Old 12-21-2011, 01:51 PM   #6
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^^^ That's a way to look at it too! Woohoo!

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Old 12-21-2011, 02:23 PM   #7
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I use 5 gal plastic carboys for primary, and I brew 5 gal recipes. It fills it right to the top, however, with a blow off tube, all the foamy goodness blows off into a separate container.

I guess people get uncomfortable having it that full, but I honestly haven't had issues with it.

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Old 12-21-2011, 02:46 PM   #8
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I vote for doing two different carboys. Let's you experiment with different additions and fermentation times too.

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Old 12-21-2011, 03:01 PM   #9
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Thanks for all the information.

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Old 12-21-2011, 03:06 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by snaps10 View Post
I vote for doing two different carboys. Let's you experiment with different additions and fermentation times too.
That, my friend, is a stellar idea!
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