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Old 11-27-2012, 04:36 PM   #1
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Default Sizing of Fermenter/Carboy

So I want to do some secondary fermentation and that means adding a Carboy to my equipment. I'm wondering if I should get a 5 or 6 gallon carboy. I've seen some say get the 6 and have some head room, but then I also though wouldn't the additional air in there be a potential problem for the process.

Thoughts... Thanks!

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Old 11-27-2012, 04:43 PM   #2
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If you are using carboys, go with a six or six and a half for primary - you need the head room (and will still likely need a blowoff tube).

For primary, five is perfect. You don't want that headspace, as it can only lead to more oxidation risk.

Edit - I typoed when I wrote this. Meant to say FOR SECONDARY, five is perfect. Sorry!

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Old 11-27-2012, 04:46 PM   #3
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IF it was a true second fermentation, then the CO2 produced would fill the headspace. Since it sounds like you want a bright tank, where NO actual active fermentation will take place, you want as little headspace as possible.

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Old 11-27-2012, 05:02 PM   #4
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I use 6 gallon carboys for primary/ secondary and also have a couple 3's if I want to split up my batch for secondary and do different additions. As for headspace, I would think that a protective CO2 layer forms which keeps oxygen from getting to your beer. The bigger concern is making sure you rack your beer in such a way that oxygen isn't introduced in that process.

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Old 11-27-2012, 05:09 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
IF it was a true second fermentation, then the CO2 produced would fill the headspace. Since it sounds like you want a bright tank, where NO actual active fermentation will take place, you want as little headspace as possible.
Can't say I'm familiar with a bright tank... I'm very new to brewing, picking out a starting kit, have done it a couple times with others and know I'll want to brew things that require secondary as I am a big beer lover.

Was comapring two set ups:
http://www.williamsbrewing.com/COMPL...TTLE-C291.aspx
vs
http://www.austinhomebrew.com/produc...ducts_id=12737

Love the kettle in the williams set up but lacks a carboy for secondary so it would be an add on the austin has everything but a kettle at the same price point. I haven't seen much other difference in the set ups yet which I think makes the williams a better deal overall knowing what I'm after.

Thoughts?
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Old 11-27-2012, 05:10 PM   #6
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I only move bigger beers (9%+) to aging vessels when it's actually of benefit. Even then, it's after it's been long enough in primary to be otherwise ready to drink. I have two 25L sanke kegs that I use as aging vessels (I ferment in tall 1/4 bbl sanke kegs). As such, I push the beer into aging vessel with CO2 and then top it off with more CO2 to ensure no oxygen/air gets inside. I then seal it up and leave it alone until it goes to serving keg.

For my meads, I use 1/6bbl sanke kegs for both fermenting and aging. I also use a CO2 push to move from one vessel to another. With the ability to completely seal off these vessels, air getting in (to do harm) isn't a factor.

IMO/IME, people tend to use a second vessel/bright tank far too often with ale yeasts. Every time you rack, you increase the risk of oxidizing, infecting, contaminating your batch. IMO, it's simply not worth it. Especially since I get super clear brews time after time without the use of a bright tank.

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Old 11-27-2012, 05:21 PM   #7
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I figure the ability to age it for the time I want and free up my basic equipment to do something else is reason enough, but maybe not.. again I'm new and trying o figure it out as I go. In the end the cost of the carboy isn't really relevant in my decision making so if I might want it why not get it now, if I'll never use it then why bother....

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Old 11-27-2012, 05:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MustGoFast View Post
I figure the ability to age it for the time I want and free up my basic equipment to do something else is reason enough, but maybe not.. again I'm new and trying o figure it out as I go. In the end the cost of the carboy isn't really relevant in my decision making so if I might want it why not get it now, if I'll never use it then why bother....
Get more primaries... Also, look at the tons of threads about NOT using a secondary. There are times to do it, just not nearly as often as kits would have you believe. There are more than a few people that have had beers in primary for over 6 months without any ill effects.

BTW, when I'm aging, it's also with something that works BEST when not in primary. Something like wood. For dry hopping, I'd do it in primary (before). These days, I dry hop in serving keg and get a MUCH better result.
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Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
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Aging:mead
Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
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Old 11-27-2012, 06:35 PM   #9
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Good advice... just did way to much reading on the topic.. at this point the use of a secondary seems like religion (some sware by it some say worthless). I think it's clear to me anyway that I don't need it for now. I know I'll want to oak age something long term in the future, so when I get their I'll buy it.

Any other thoughts on the 2 kits I linked in? Right now I'm leaning heavily towards the williams, maybe with an APA as my first brew.

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Old 11-27-2012, 06:39 PM   #10
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I'd actually go with the 40qt kettle kit, for the extra $10...

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On Tap: Caramel Ale, Mocha Porter II, MO SMaSH IPA
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Fermenting
K1:
K2: Epic mead
K3: TripSix
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Mead [bottled]:Oaked Wildflower Traditional, Mocha Madness, Blackberry Melomel, maple wine
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