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Old 12-13-2008, 03:58 AM   #1
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Default Primary Fermenter = Bottling Bucket?

So here's my idea. Take a clear, food grade 6gal bucket and install a tap in the bottom. It will be used as my primary fermenter for 5 gallon batches and kits. If I don't feel the need to transfer to a secondary it can hang out there and when it's ready to go into the bottle I can just use the tap at the bottom to dispense into the bottles. Now the questions:

Can one easily drill and fit a tap into a food grade bucket? I know it can't be hard but I want to make sure that it's just a screw on seal and doesn't involve plastic welding or such.

What about that "scunge" that forms on the top that is affectionately called krausen? Does it stay at the top where it's out of the way or does it drop to the bottom when the yeastie-beasties are done? The reason I ask is because even though I've brewed a few batches (at an on-premises place) I've never watched the process. If they sink to the bottom that might be a problem when I try and dispense from the tap at the bottom of the bucket.

Any other problems with my proposed setup? I'm trying to figure out a compact system and wish to "tap" everyone's experience before I invest, which will be soon. Very, very soon.....

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Old 12-13-2008, 04:07 AM   #2
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I'm no expert but the additional step of moving the beer to a bottling bucket is more than worth the headache filling out of primary would cause you IMHO. All the trub and yeast usually drops to the bottom of the bucket, so to avoid having your trub cover (or partially cover) the spout would require you to drill fairly high up the side of the bucket. To get that 'last bit' of beer you'd have to tilt and tilting would mean your last bottle would be all yeast.

Not to mention the difficulty in getting your priming sugar into the solution. You'd have to dump it in and stir (or something) to get it to mix with the beer and stirring will rouse the yeast off the bottom of the primary and again, you're bottling a lot of yeast. Granted, you need yeast in your bottles to carb the beer, but not as much as you'll likely get.

But what do i know, i'm sure you aren't the first to try and i'm sure some people will continue to do the method you've suggested.

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Old 12-13-2008, 04:19 AM   #3
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Hmmm.... I suspected that the little trubs dropped to the bottom. If that's the case then what's the idea behind the Better Bottles with the handy taps on them?
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Old 12-13-2008, 04:30 AM   #4
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I recommend that if you are bottling that you either get a second primary bucket or you should always secondary if you only have the one primary bucket. Your first bottle will be full of yeasties as well as the last couple. To guarantee an even distribution of your priming sugar you want to make sure that it's well mixed with the beer. Pouring into the primary will put far more trub/yeast in your bottles than you want. I have drilled 2 of my buckets for the spouts. It's no big deal. The spigots that I got were plastic and had rubber washers for both the inside and the outside of the bucket. No welding was necessary. I used a 1 inch spade bit and centered my hole 1.5 inches above the OUTSIDE of the bottom of the bucket. I used really fine grit sand paper to smooth out the edges of the hole, sanitized the hell out of it and put the spigot on. No muss, no fuss.

The idea behind the better bottle with the spigot is that many people use carboys as secondaries. There is much lower level of trub when you go to bottle or transfer to a tertiary. Thus using a spigot to bottle/keg straight from the BB is no big deal.

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Old 12-13-2008, 05:42 AM   #5
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Some ideas are best left in the brain...

A year from now you'll realize what a waste it really is and that this question comes up at least every year.

Sure, it shows that the Christmas present brewers are thinking, but doing a search would have resulted in more info and replies for you to read before you had asked the question...

Different yeasts produce different levels of trub than others. Where do you place the hole? Too low and you can rack trub, too high you'll lose beer...

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Old 12-13-2008, 06:29 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99 View Post
Some ideas are best left in the brain...

A year from now you'll realize what a waste it really is and that this question comes up at least every year.

Sure, it shows that the Christmas present brewers are thinking, but doing a search would have resulted in more info and replies for you to read before you had asked the question...

Different yeasts produce different levels of trub than others. Where do you place the hole? Too low and you can rack trub, too high you'll lose beer...
Obviously not a fan of innovation. That kind of thinking wouldn't have gotten Thomas Edison very far. I asked the question because I am looking at different ideas to suit a specific purpose; brewing on a sailboat.

As for your suggestion to do a search, I bite my thumb at that. I see that all the time on forums, "try a search before you post" yet I posted in the "beginners brewing beer forum". I used to post frequently on a gun forum and when 9mm vs .45 came up for the 25th time in a week I ignored it if I was in the mood and imparted wisdom to the newbies if I felt the urge. The title of my post was pretty clear.

In spite of your tone (hidden behind smiley faces) I appreciate your responding to my question. I have learned some from your response.

BrewOnBoard (another Christmas present brewer)
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Old 12-13-2008, 06:48 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BrewOnBoard View Post
Obviously not a fan of innovation. That kind of thinking wouldn't have gotten Thomas Edison very far. I asked the question because I am looking at different ideas to suit a specific purpose; brewing on a sailboat.

As for your suggestion to do a search, I bite my thumb at that. I see that all the time on forums, "try a search before you post" yet I posted in the "beginners brewing beer forum". I used to post frequently on a gun forum and when 9mm vs .45 came up for the 25th time in a week I ignored it if I was in the mood and imparted wisdom to the newbies if I felt the urge. The title of my post was pretty clear.

In spite of your tone (hidden behind smiley faces) I appreciate your responding to my question. I have learned some from your response.

BrewOnBoard (another Christmas present brewer)
I gave you the kudos for thinking, but also tried to relay the fact that this is not a new idea.

If you had done a search you may find what the other guy did...or didn't do. Since I have my preferred method (and don't care one way or the other), I won't check for myself. Therefore, recommending a path for you to research.

I can see brewing on a house boat or a yacht, but a sailboat? I don't know how often you sail, but I would recommend against brewing on a sailboat since the wave movement will shake the fermenter and continually aerate the brew during fermentation. Not a good thing.

As someone who's worked with (Army) weapons since 1972, the .45 has my vote and 9mm's are for wimps. Why just go for the kill when you can get a free maim too...
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Old 12-13-2008, 06:50 AM   #8
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If you are brewing on board a boat I would recommend a tertiary vessel. There's still noticable trub on the bottom of a secondary. I know you are looking for compact so at the very least do a primary, secondary it, then use the first bucket to bottle. Too much swishing around on a boat to do otherwise and avoid the dreaded yeast farts. I don't care if you have a 50 mile an hour wind blowing across your blowhole...IT STICKS TO YOU, MAN!!!

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Old 12-13-2008, 07:17 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99 View Post
I can see brewing on a house boat or a yacht, but a sailboat? I don't know how often you sail, but I would recommend against brewing on a sailboat since the wave movement will shake the fermenter and continually aerate the brew during fermentation. Not a good thing.

As someone who's worked with (Army) weapons since 1972, the .45 has my vote and 9mm's are for wimps. Why just go for the kill when you can get a free maim too...
My favorite gun is my custom stainless Kimber .45.

So all is forgiven.


As for recommending against brewing on a sailboat all I can say is

ARE YOU MAD!!!!!!!!!! I WILL FIND A WAY!!!!!!!!!!

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Old 12-13-2008, 07:26 AM   #10
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Why not just buy the bucket pre-drilled with a spigot?

http://www.northernbrewer.com/pics/fullsize/buckets.jpg

http://www.northernbrewer.com/pics/f...ing-spigot.jpg

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