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Old 12-13-2008, 03:24 PM   #1
PtotheL
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Default Primary fermentation in a bucket instead of carboy ?

Hi,

I'm new to these forums and to home brewing. I spent the last week reading from beginning to end Palmer's HowToBrew website, and spent some more time around here.

So I'm about to be as confident as I can be before starting my first batch.

However, I am somewhat unclear about the primary fermentation vessel.


My LHBS sold me the starter kit, including a 6 gallon bucket and a 5 gallon better bottle carboy with air lock.

All the pictures I saw around here and on John Palmer's website shows the primary fermentation being done in a 6 gallon air-locked or tubed carboy.

On the other hand, my LHBS tells me that the primary fermentation should be made in the 6 gallon bucket with the lid just resting on top, allowing the Co2 to leak out.

I asked the guy about oxydation and he told me that it isn't a problem at this stage of fermentation...

Fine, this make sense, however I plan on leaving the beer on the yeast cake for 1 to 2 weeks and only then rack it to secondary...

So here are my questions:

Since the bulk of the fermentation will be done and the beer will still be in the bucket with simply the lid resting on top, does this call for oxydation/infection problems ?

Should I just buy myself a 6 gallon glass carboy with airlock/blow-off tube as my primary fermentation vessel and use the 6 gallon bucket to sanitize my equipment instead ?

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Old 12-13-2008, 03:30 PM   #2
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You could use the bucket. Before brewing, drill a hole in the top of the lid, install a rubber grommet, and insert an airlock into the grommet. When you pour your wort into the fermenting bucket close the lid to the 6 gal bucket tight.
This will allow CO2 to escape without having to leave the lid off.

5 gal carboy doesn't have the head space to ferment 5 gallon of beer

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Old 12-13-2008, 03:40 PM   #3
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Most folks start with a bucket and many continue forever using a bucket as primary. I started backwards and used 6.5 glass carboys for 3 years before I bought a bucket. What a dumbshecky I was for not using a bucket from the beginning. I love my bucket primaries!

As OhioGuy said, if your bucket doesn't have a drilled lid, drill it and get a grommet.

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Old 12-13-2008, 03:40 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OhioGuy View Post
You could use the bucket. Before brewing, drill a hole in the top of the lid, install a rubber grommet, and insert an airlock into the grommet. When you pour your wort into the fermenting bucket close the lid to the 6 gal bucket tight.
This will allow CO2 to escape without having to leave the lid off.

5 gal carboy doesn't have the head space to ferment 5 gallon of beer
Thanks for the input.

Yeah, I know that the 5 gal carboy is too small for primary, and this one I'll only use for secondary.

What I was pondering is buying a new 6 gal carboy for primary, but I think that for now your solution will be just fine (and less expensive).

When I gain some experience and start running more than one batch in primary at once, I'll buy the 6 gal glass carboy.

Thanks again.
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:43 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nurmey View Post
Most folks start with a bucket and many continue forever using a bucket as primary. I started backwards and used 6.5 glass carboys for 3 years before I bought a bucket. What a dumbshecky I was for not using a bucket from the beginning. I love my bucket primaries!

As OhioGuy said, if your bucket doesn't have a drilled lid, drill it and get a grommet.
That's what I'll do thanks...

So, are you saying that it is actually better (or at least more practical) to only use plastic buckets with the lid drilled and accomodated with a gromet and airlock than to use glass carboys ?

If so, then why are all the pictures of experienced home brewers I see around here shows carboys as primaries ?
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Old 12-13-2008, 03:50 PM   #6
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It's a personal preference.

Carboys work great but they are heavy, hard to carry when full, and harder to clean. I can lift a bucket full of wort but I have to have my hubby carry a full glass carboy downstairs. Also, pouring your wort into a bucket is MUCH easier.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with carboys and I still use them if I'm going to secondary.

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Old 12-13-2008, 04:08 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nurmey View Post
It's a personal preference.

Carboys work great but they are heavy, hard to carry when full, and harder to clean. I can lift a bucket full of wort but I have to have my hubby carry a full glass carboy downstairs. Also, pouring your wort into a bucket is MUCH easier.

There is absolutely nothing wrong with carboys and I still use them if I'm going to secondary.
Gotcha. Well off the the LHBS to get the additional gromet and airlock.
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Old 12-13-2008, 07:23 PM   #8
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You could always just leave in in the bucket the whole time and use the 5 gallon carboy for a batch of apfelwein...

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Old 02-22-2010, 11:32 PM   #9
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just came across this thread during a search ( i know i am about two years off) wondering if a bucket is as light sensitive as the glass carboy. My closet(where i ferment) is often a few degrees cooler than the rest of my house and was wondering if i could primary in a bucket in the kitchen to keep it up a little.

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Old 02-23-2010, 12:05 AM   #10
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I have a related question to this thread as well while it's up:

Would it be improper to use a 6.5g carboy as a secondary fermentation vessel for 5g batches of beer? I'm wondering if all that extra headspace would oxidize the beer.

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