Size of Primary Fermentation Bucket - Home Brew Forums
Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Beginners Beer Brewing Forum > Size of Primary Fermentation Bucket
Cool Brewing Corny 5G & Mini Giveaway
Sign-up To NEW HBT Article Newsletter - Brewing Articles Direct To You!

Thread Tools
Old 05-10-2011, 12:17 PM   #1
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Concord, MA
Posts: 585
Liked 18 Times on 16 Posts
Likes Given: 3

Default 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?)


smyrnaquince is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 12:22 PM   #2
Join Date: Apr 2011
Location: , The Back of the Bus
Posts: 439
Liked 8 Times on 7 Posts


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.

jd3 is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 12:35 PM   #3
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Wakefield, RI
Posts: 464
Liked 24 Times on 22 Posts
Likes Given: 159


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.
[Carboy #1] "Oud Renard Rood" Flanders Red
[Carboy #2] Whitewood 12 Abt
[Carboy #3] Opus Mosaic Brown

[On Tap (Keg)]
(L) Shut De Do (Belgian Golden Strong / Tripel)
(on deck) Pineapple Wine
(on deck) Russian Imperial Stout (1 year aged)
malweth is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 12:41 PM   #4
lschiavo's Avatar
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Surrounded by Yoopers
Posts: 4,389
Liked 985 Times on 663 Posts
Likes Given: 871


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.
lschiavo is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 12:42 PM   #5
Join Date: May 2011
Location: Hesperia, MI
Posts: 247
Liked 3 Times on 3 Posts
Likes Given: 8


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.
DrBrewDC is offline
Reply With Quote
Old 05-10-2011, 02:33 PM   #6
I love making Beer
Nurmey's Avatar
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Omaha, NE
Posts: 3,970
Liked 30 Times on 26 Posts
Likes Given: 6


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.

Batch 1 Brewing
The American Revolution would never have happened with gun control.
Nurmey is offline
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
primary fermentation in bottling bucket dirtvet Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 6 02-25-2014 04:02 PM
Opening the bucket during primary fermentation? thisgoestoeleven Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 16 01-05-2012 10:31 PM
Primary Bucket - Ok for extended primary fermentation? GonzoIllini Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 13 10-26-2011 02:08 AM
primary fermentation bucket or carboy wyclef Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 7 02-16-2011 06:40 PM
Primary Fermentation in Bottling Bucket rjester Beginners Beer Brewing Forum 7 01-07-2007 10:33 PM

Forum Jump