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-   -   Size of Primary Fermentation Bucket (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/size-primary-fermentation-bucket-244687/)

smyrnaquince 05-10-2011 12:17 PM

Size of Primary Fermentation Bucket
I just bought a "kit" that my LHBS puts together. It will make 5 gallons of a Guinness clone.

I own clean, food-grade buckets with lids:
  • Three (3) 5-gallon buckets
  • Two (2) 4.5-gallon buckets

I believe that I need something larger than 5 gallons, though, to allow for the foaming that will take place. My problem is that I don't know if this is a one-time thing for me, so I am reluctant to buy a larger bucket.

Would any of these work?
  • Use a 5-gallon bucket and let the foam/kreusen overflow
  • Mix it in a 5-gallon bucket, but then pour half of it off into a second bucket (4.5- or 5-gallon) and ferment as two batches
  • Only add enough water for 4 gallons, ferment in a 5-gallon bucket, then add the extra gallon of water to the bottling bucket

I plan on letting it ferment for 3 weeks in the bucket, then bottling (i.e., no time in a secondary fermenter). For using a bucket as a primary, should I drill a hole and insert a fermentation lock, or can I just lay the cover on the bucket and not snap it down tight? (With the second option, I'm figuring that the CO2 layer would build up and cover the wort, but the loose lid would keep bugs and dirt out. If I do need to use the fermentation lock, should I snap the lid down or just place it on top?)


jd3 05-10-2011 12:22 PM

A 6.5 gallon bucket at lid is like 12 bucks? You need an airlock, and if you used a premaid bucket it would have a hole and gasket.

The loose lid will allow wild yeast in. You want a solid seal and an airlock or blowoff tube.

malweth 05-10-2011 12:35 PM

There should be no problem splitting the beer (after pitching) into two buckets. Just be sure the rest of your process is OK.

I've done it with wine when I had a similar problem for my first batch... though there are some differences, I can't see a problem with splitting wort.

lschiavo 05-10-2011 12:41 PM

I think you would be fine splitting between two buckets. A lid set loosely on top should work as well...I had a bucket that the lid would not seal and the airlock never bubbled...not much different I guess.

DrBrewDC 05-10-2011 12:42 PM

Restaurants, on a regular basis (sometimes daily), get more food grade plastic buckets for which they have a use. Many of these buckets are 6.5 gallon. If your concern is cost, try stopping in to a local joint and asking the manager if he could help a guy out. Good luck.

Nurmey 05-10-2011 02:33 PM

I agree with Ischiavo, split between two bucket for best results. Also, loose lid is fine and will not allow anything bad to get in. Primaries do not have to be air tight for good beer.

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