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Old 04-22-2011, 04:48 PM   #1
Apr 2010
Glendale, CA
Posts: 754
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I have had two 6.5 gallon plastic buckets for about 12 or 15 batch each now and I have noticed a few mysterious off flavors in the last several batches. I am carefull when I wash them and try to get them clean with either a sponge or a scrubber part of the sponge. I use PBW and star stan (I tried povidone iodine for a few batches but it left a bad taste for me). There are a few minor scratches and scuff marks in them from the scrubber but I think they get sanitized with the star san.

I am curious - do you have a definite life span for your buckets? Do you replace them every so many batches or every so often? Given the price, ($8 or so) I think I have gotten pretty good use out of them but I don't want to replace them unnecessarily.

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Old 04-22-2011, 04:52 PM   #2
Oct 2010
Astoria, NY
Posts: 357
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I've been wondering the same thing about my Better Bottle. Used it for 9 batches so far, 6 being IPA's and now im noticing that it a little off.

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Old 04-22-2011, 05:13 PM   #3
Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc
Revvy's Avatar
Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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Some folks on here have used their buckets for over a decade. If you're careful with stuff, then there should be no issues with "lifespan."

Deep scratches are an issue but that's about it.

Khaler, there's really no reason to blame you better bottle for your off flavors, unless you are some how scratching the BB when you're cleaning it. I just use oxyclean and a soak, and a rinse, so there's nothing to scratch it, and I've used mine for over 4 years with no issues, same with buckets.

I'd look at other things as a source for you off flavors, such as autosiphon, bottling wand, even spigot, it's easy for biomatter to get lodged in small areas and spread infection. But there's really no cause to assume it's your better bottle.

Unless of course you are using your carboy brush meant for glass, to clean your plastic vessels that is.
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Old 04-22-2011, 05:31 PM   #4
wedge421's Avatar
Jan 2008
Harrisburg, PA
Posts: 958
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I always have issued with hop aromas sticking around in the buckets. Fortunately I have never had them carry over to a point where it is noticeable. Ive read 10 batches is the most out of a bucket but mine have gone through probably close to 35-50 and they still work fine. ALthough with that said I did switch over to a Fermenator

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Old 04-22-2011, 05:35 PM   #5
Oct 2009
Aurora, IL
Posts: 168
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I have NEVER used the scrubber of a sponge, everything I ever heard was this was the WAY to get bacteria in there that won't go away. I guess you could try a reallly good soak of Bleach and vinegar, but if your bucket has scratches, best to use them for other things and go get new buckets.

Note: I generally just use a soft cloth for cleaning.... NO SCRUBBING. IF for some reason you are having a hard time with residue just soak overnight with Oxyclean.
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Old 04-22-2011, 07:49 PM   #6
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Aug 2009
Canton, Georgia
Posts: 320
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I've gotten around 20 batches out of my bucket. I use hot water and sponge to clean it immediately after transferring the beer to a corny keg, no scratches equals no smells.
On Deck:

1. Dragonfly Wiz (hard lemonade)
2. Dragonfly Blood (strawberry hard lemonade)
3. Alpine Spring clone
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Old 04-22-2011, 11:19 PM   #7
Feb 2010
Gaithersburg, MD
Posts: 373
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I didn't know that a plastic bucket could become "worn out".. I've had probably 40 batches in mine and I just keep it clean when not in use. No scratches and no problem.

To me its like the question of how many times can you reuse beer bottles? Answer: until they break.

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Old 04-23-2011, 09:36 AM   #8
Lost Pirate
Apr 2007
Lorain, Ohio
Posts: 218

I've been using the same bucket for 10 years and never had a problem!

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Old 04-23-2011, 10:50 AM   #9
rico567's Avatar
Apr 2008
Central IL
Posts: 3,018
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My original 6.5 gal. "Ale Pail" was finally retired*, being stained a nice brown inside and (still) having a hop smell. OK, I was new when I got it, so when it first got stained and developed that odor, I threw in some PBW and filled it up with hot water. Took away the stain just fine, reduced the odor to barely detectable.....but then, within 2 or 3 batches the stain and odor were back. I consulted this forum, and decided that the stain wasn't going to stain my beer, and beer smells like hops anyway, so I just passed on doing anything with the buckets besides a good scrub with Dawn after use and Star San before the next. Works for me.

*I should note that I retired the original bucket because I felt that a 5 gal. batch could use a little more headspace. I got three of the US Plastics 7 gal. buckets with lids. These have not only the benefit of that extra 1/2 gallon of headspace (no more foamouts!), but also the US Plastics lids have real neoprene 'O'- rings to provide an actual seal.
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Old 04-23-2011, 12:32 PM   #10
fishkid's Avatar
Apr 2009
Clawson, MI
Posts: 317
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When I first started brewing in early 2009 my dad passed along all of his old brewing equipment from 1995 (He did 20 batches), I've been using his plastic fermenting bucket since. I have about 20 batches in it as well and I use it for everything, fruit, hop bombs, star anise, everything. Sure it has that beer stink to it but I've never noticed anything in the beer from it.

After I'm through fermenting in it, I rinse out the trub, scrub it down with light dish soap and a scotch brite sponge, nothing too abrasive, rinse the fermenter out and do an oxyclean soak for a few days.

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