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Old 10-07-2005, 07:29 PM   #1
Oct 2005
Westminster, Uk. But only till the end of December :(
Posts: 126

My aunt owns a small antique business. I went up to see her earlier in the week and she told me that she believes she has a five gallon glass carboy in her storage building. A few years back, she bought a bunch of stuff from the estate of an an old man who died and his kids where just selling his stuff. She got it in a package deal which included a lot of nice antiques, (I think they threw it in just to get rid of it) Anyway she told me that she will try to look for it this weekend and if she finds it, I can have it. I know in my last topic, someone said that a secondary fermenter needed to be glass. However, every bit of documentation I have read says to either get food grade plastic to be your primary fermenter or stainless steal. Could I use this glass Carboy as a primary fermenter? What is the difference, why should your secondary fermenter be glass and what differences can I expect if I use the glass as my primary?


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Old 10-07-2005, 07:37 PM   #2
I use secondaries. :p
Walker's Avatar
Sep 2005
Cary, NC
Posts: 10,987
Liked 101 Times on 89 Posts

5 gallons is arguably too small for use as a primary, because there will be little headspace for the krauesen to form on top of the beer. You might need to use a blow-off tube or risk popping the rubber stopper out of the thing.

I think that most of us probably use a 6.5 gallon carboy for a primary, and 5 gallon carboy for a secondary (all glass, naturally.)

I can't really comment on using plastic fermenters. I have only done it a couple of times, and that was very long ago. I prefer glass primaries, because I can see what's happening at all times.

Ground Fault Brewing Co.

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Old 10-07-2005, 08:31 PM   #3
homebrewer_99's Avatar
Feb 2005
Atkinson (near the Quad Cities), IL
Posts: 17,792
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As a general rule/practice, plastic will be fine as a secondary as long as you try to get it out and into bottles in about 2 weeks of so.

I kept a batch of Weizen in a plastic primary for 32 days and it won Best of Show and Best of Style, so not every rule is rigid.

However, glass as a secondary is the way to go since it allows you the ability to see how your brew is clearing. This is especially true of you plan on lagering for 2-3 months.
HB Bill

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Old 10-10-2005, 12:48 AM   #4
david_42's Avatar
Oct 2005
Oak Grove, Oregon, USA
Posts: 25,595
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I've never used anything except plastic, the extra weight of the glass would be more than my back can handle these days. I've got two 5 gallon glass bottles, but just don't want to risk it.

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Old 10-11-2005, 10:28 PM   #5
Oct 2005
Posts: 35

plastic, glass, stainless, whatever you want as long as it can be sanitized and it makes good beer.

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Old 10-13-2005, 02:37 AM   #6
Aug 2005
Tampa, FL
Posts: 606
Liked 7 Times on 6 Posts

I still use a plastic primary on occasion.. I have a 6.5 glass and the bucket. Of course the glass is preferred as it is easier to clean, you can watch the progress, and it is not gas permeable.

The reason secondaries are almost always glass is because they are used for aging.. you don't want any oxidation of the beer and plastic will allow oxygen access to the beer. Glass is not glass permeable and will not allow oxidation of the beer to occur as the beer sits, ages, and clears.

I'm told that rough cleaning of plastic with a copper scour pad or the like will result in scratches that can, after an infected batch, carry the infection to future brews despite attemps at sanitizing.

Glass is certainly preferable to plastic and I don't know any homebrewers who use steel fermentation containers. The only caution with glass is that you should cover it with a towel to keep the light out..

If you plan on using the glass carboy as your primary then you need a 6.5 gal container as that will leave room for an "active" fermenation. A 5 gal carboy is perfect for a secondary.

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Old 10-14-2005, 06:56 AM   #7
Sep 2005
Lebanon, NH
Posts: 30

Anyone use any of those new BetterBottles? Seems like it would be an easier to carry fermenter (with the tap) and still be able to see your brew?

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