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Old 11-09-2011, 04:36 AM   #1
Oct 2011
Anna, TX
Posts: 20

Hello all,

Can 5 gallon water cooler jugs be used for fermenting provided you could find a bung that fits or is this just a horrible idea in general?

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Old 11-09-2011, 04:43 AM   #2
Sep 2011
Bend, OR
Posts: 940
Liked 85 Times on 65 Posts

I've heard of people doing it, you'd just want to be sure they're not too oxygen-permeable or else you run the risk of oxidation. You'd also want to be sure they were clean and sanitized, not scratched inside, etc.

EDIT: Read this thread. But be warned, it's full of BPA fear-mongering, which is just ridiculous IMHO (as a scientist). Posts #13 and #14 will make you feel better, though.

EDIT 2: On second thought, don't bother. I'll boil it down for you: It's safe, it's been done, and since you're only going to be in it for a week or three, you'll be fine even if there is a risk of leeching flavors over the long term. There are some theoretical risks, but you'll probably be alright.

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Old 11-09-2011, 04:47 AM   #3
Kaz's Avatar
May 2010
Amish Country, PA
Posts: 1,064
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You can use it, just beware of a couple things...

A 5 gallon jug is really only good for maybe 4.5 gallon batches and you could lose up to a gallon or more of wort to blow off. Most 5 gallon fermenters hold 6-7 gallons to allow for krausen.

Use a blow off setup and not an airlock, also due to the smaller volume.
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Old 11-09-2011, 05:44 AM   #4
Oct 2011
Marysville, WA
Posts: 607
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I use them as a secondary fermentor. The ones I use are cube like and fit nicely in my kids college fridge to cold crash before bottling. Haven't noticed a problem. Cleans up fine.

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Old 11-09-2011, 01:33 PM   #5
Oct 2011
Evans, GA
Posts: 131
Liked 5 Times on 5 Posts

I'm using an office water bottle right now for Ed Wort's Apfelwein. From what I read on this site, as long as the bottle is a 1 rated plastic you are ok. Just like a Better Bottle. A #10 stopper fits these perfectly.

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Old 11-09-2011, 03:35 PM   #6
Dec 2010
, Texas
Posts: 88
Liked 5 Times on 4 Posts

I looked into this also and some info that i found helpful was to look for one that has a recycle code of either a 1 or 2 on the bottom and try not to use one that has a 7 on the bottom and 3-6 is up to you

hope that helps

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Old 11-09-2011, 06:31 PM   #7
Nov 2010
Solway, MN
Posts: 9,574
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I'm using one of these now. I'd look at the bottom to see the recycle number but is full of beer ready to be bottled. I haven't noticed any off flavors from using mine. I intended to use it just for a secondary but when I ran short of fermenters it was pressed into use.

I couldn't find a stopper the right size locally so I drilled a hole in the lid and fastened an airlock in with something like "Shoe Goo" and it works fine.

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Old 11-09-2011, 06:36 PM   #8
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Dec 2007
"Detroitish" Michigan
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The only issue is batch size....4-4.5 gallons max.
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Old 11-09-2011, 09:12 PM   #9
Oct 2011
Anna, TX
Posts: 20

i looked at the bottom of the bottles that i have and all of them say 7 (other) on them and also say "only to be used for water" and "not to be used for any other liquid"...I think im just gonna steer clear of using these bottles. Thank you all for the great advice and warnings.

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Old 11-09-2011, 11:09 PM   #10
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Aug 2011
San Diego, CA
Posts: 4,617
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Good move- most office water jugs are super permeable to oxygen and only really good for keeping water off the floor. Ale pails are cheap if you don't want to spend the scratch on better bottles.
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