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Old 12-01-2012, 12:53 PM   #1
GQkudzu
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Default Using 1 gallons carboys for 5 gallons or brew

I can't really think of a good reason why this wouldn't work, but I wanted to see if I'm overlooking something.

I've made 2 batches of homebrew in a plastic 5-gallon water jug that turned out pretty well. However, I get more and more worried about scratches in the plastic and eventually plan to buy a glass 6.5gal carboy. In the meantime, I'm thinking of dividing the entire 5 gallons of wort from my next batch across 6 1-gallon glass jugs, leaving enough headspace in each that I won't have to worry about a blowoff hose -- just 6 airlocks.

I know there's the chance that fermentation won't be equal in all 6 jugs, but I'm thinking I could just take notes and prime and bottle together the jugs with good activity, separate from those that are a bit slower.

(Another practical motivation for this is I have a narrow half-wall that's essentially dead space, but it would be just big enough to hold 6 1-gallon jugs out of the way.)

Again, I know the ideal situation would be to ferment it all together in one large carboy, but won't this work in a pinch?

Thanks.

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Old 12-01-2012, 01:40 PM   #2
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You can do this but I would suggest sticking with the plastic jug. As you said, you will probably have quite a bit of variation in fermentation characteristics from gallon to gallon if fermented individually.

I would be worried that after fermentation in the 1 gallon jugs you would have to transfer 6 batches instead of one, this would increase your risk of oxidation or contamination.

If you do split it into 6 - 1 gallon jugs make sure you have a way to distribute enough yeast to each jug. I would suggest making a starter.

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Old 12-01-2012, 02:29 PM   #3
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Thanks, Bheher. Your comment about the yeast made me suddenly realize that my original idea wouldn't work exactly as I imagined it. I was thinking I'd just cool the wort and pitch the yeast while still in the pot and then transfer to the jugs. But I suppose the yeast will still be on top at that point, so jugs 1-4 wouldn't get very much, while jugs 5-6 got plenty. So, yes, I think a starter would be my best bet.

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Old 12-01-2012, 04:09 PM   #4
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No reason to fear plastic. I have a bucket I've been using for three years, put infected washed yeast in it at one point and still use it to make perfectly clean, non-infected beers. You just have to clean and sanitize properly.

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