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Old 08-17-2010, 05:37 AM   #1
Shue
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Default Primary fermenter options...

I'm brand spanking new to this homebrew business and have been looking for an alternative to plastic as the primary fermenter. The size of a homebrew kit is 23L (same size as the largest carboy available). After an exhaustive search on the net I found stainless steel fermenters in the UK that would only cost and arm and a leg. Maybe a demijohn? Will the extra SA:volume ratio throw off the fermentation process?

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Old 08-17-2010, 06:48 AM   #2
billvon
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shue View Post
I'm brand spanking new to this homebrew business and have been looking for an alternative to plastic as the primary fermenter. The size of a homebrew kit is 23L (same size as the largest carboy available). After an exhaustive search on the net I found stainless steel fermenters in the UK that would only cost and arm and a leg. Maybe a demijohn? Will the extra SA:volume ratio throw off the fermentation process?
Glass or plastic carboy (work well) or bucket (works OK.) SA:volume shouldn't be a big deal; I've noticed no difference moving from plastic buckets to 5 gallon carboys/6 gallon better bottles/7 gallon glass carboys.
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Old 08-17-2010, 12:13 PM   #3
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I think if you are going to glass or better bottle you either get one of the bigger carboys, for headroom for krausen (6 or 7 gal), or go with a 5 gal carboy and a wide-mouth blowoff tube, and resign yourself to the fact that you're going to be scrubbing a lot of krausen off the top of your carboy.

I did a quick-turnaround ale to fill in a gap in my pipeline a few weeks ago, in a 5 gallon carboy (because all my other vessels were full), with a blowoff tube, and it looked like a fermentation bomb went off in the top of the carboy (I had double-pitched dry yeast to see if it would save me a couple of days, so things got going hot 'n heavy pretty fast).

Nothing a carboy brush and some elbow grease can't fix, though.

I'm sticking with buckets for now because I'd rather carry a 5 gallon bucket down the basement stairs than a full glass carboy, but If you get a harness for your carboy you can haul that sucker all over. I'm probably going to upgrade to glass when my buckets wear out, but for now it's plastic, baby.

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Old 08-17-2010, 12:31 PM   #4
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I use buckets for fermentation of beer, large enough to handle the krausen and easy to clean. Buckets are easier to handle, and I make beer about every other weekend. I have about 20 glass carboys of different sizes, but I need them, for wine, and they're expensive. I only move then two or three times in a year.

One of these days I am going to invest in a conical fermenter or two.

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Old 08-17-2010, 12:42 PM   #5
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I am getting ready to start 5 gallon batches soon and really believe that the 6.5 gallon plastic buckets are the way to go. Been reading a ton of material as we are looking to move from Mr. Beer into 5 gallon extract kits and feel the plastic buckets are the easiest to deal with. I will ferment in them for up to four weeks and then if seconday fermentation is needed rack to a plastic BB 5 gallon bottle.

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Old 08-17-2010, 12:52 PM   #6
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I just started using a sanke keg as my fermenter. You can use the 1/2 barrel for 10-13 gallons or the 1/6 still for 5 gallons. The diptube needs to be removed which is simple. I use this setup http://www.brewershardware.com/Sanke-Fermenter-Kits/ which fits perfectly in my kegerator which I use for fermentation chamber with temperature control. You can also get a carboy stopper and an airlock for a simpler setup.

Cleaning the keg is the hardest part with this setup. I boil with PBW and might be exploring the homebrew cleaning attachments for drills.

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Old 08-17-2010, 12:54 PM   #7
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+1 on plastic buckets. They are just plain easy to use as a primary.

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