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5 Gallon or 6 gallon carboy???

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bandt9299

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With 1 batch under my belt now i was going to buy another glass carboy, my secondary now is 6 gallon and with the batches being only 5 gallons it leaves alot of air in the carboy, is this an issue????? I've read ALOT and can't seem to get an answer. The guy at my shop said "yea you should have a 5 gallon" but in the same breath said "as long as its fermenting a little, the air is pushed out and co2 remains" I left my first batch in there 2 weeks if that means anything. The only reason I ask is that I plan on doing wine in the future and the kits are all 6 gallon. Thanks
 

rightwingnut

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I have a six gallon for primary, and two fives for secondary. Using the six for primary is better, because the fermentation is most active. Of course, I had to use the six as a secondary for a batch...I don't think it's a huge concern, but ideally, you should have a five gallon secondary.
 

DeRoux's Broux

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bandt9299 said:
With 1 batch under my belt now i was going to buy another glass carboy, my secondary now is 6 gallon and with the batches being only 5 gallons it leaves alot of air in the carboy, is this an issue????? I've read ALOT and can't seem to get an answer. The guy at my shop said "yea you should have a 5 gallon" but in the same breath said "as long as its fermenting a little, the air is pushed out and co2 remains" I left my first batch in there 2 weeks if that means anything. The only reason I ask is that I plan on doing wine in the future and the kits are all 6 gallon. Thanks
nut's right. the less air space the better in the carboy. we always use 5 g carboys for secondary, and top up wort to 2-3 inches from the top of the carboy. i use a bucket for primary, but the 6 g carboy is good too.

DeRoux's Broux
 

arachnyd

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I generally use a bucket for primary and a 5 gallon carboy for secondary - the only reason for that is I happened to acquire a bunch of 5 gallon carboys cheap when I started brewing from a water company that was switching to plastic.

I have never used a 6 gallon carboy, but I don't think there would be a problem as long as you have co2 on - which should be the case until you disturb it. co2 is heavy, it isn't going to be replaced by air in a closed fermenter in any reasonable length of time even if fermentation is totally stopped.
 

Janx

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I completely disagree with the folks telling you to use 5-gallon carboys. The airspace is a total non-issue. The CO2 from fermentation replaces air, and beer never lasts long enough to get oxygenated anyway. Racking aerates it far more, and it still isn't a problem. This perception comes from winemaking, where airspace is an issue.

I would buy only 6-gallon carboys and I do. I have a few old 5's but they're nothing but a pain. 6's don't cost much more, they're more flexible, and they're smooth-sdied, where the 5's are ribbed and harder to clean.

Seriously, this issue of airspace blah blah is another one of those details you don't need to think about. Beer is drunk young and not susceptible to the problems wine can have. I guarantee no one on this board could pick up flaws in a taste test between a 5-gallon fermented batch and a 6-gallon fermented batch (same batch size, more airspace in the 6). No one would taste a difference at all because there wouldn't be one. Get 6 gallon carboys because they're more flexible
 

arachnyd

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actually, most of my 5 gallon carboys are smooth sided and I have never seen a flexible glass container :)

the extra room is probably a good enough reason for buying 6's if you are in a position where you have to buy
 
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bandt9299

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Janx said:
I completely disagree with the folks telling you to use 5-gallon carboys. The airspace is a total non-issue. The CO2 from fermentation replaces air, and beer never lasts long enough to get oxygenated anyway. Racking aerates it far more, and it still isn't a problem. This perception comes from winemaking, where airspace is an issue.

I would buy only 6-gallon carboys and I do. I have a few old 5's but they're nothing but a pain. 6's don't cost much more, they're more flexible, and they're smooth-sdied, where the 5's are ribbed and harder to clean.

Seriously, this issue of airspace blah blah is another one of those details you don't need to think about. Beer is drunk young and not susceptible to the problems wine can have. I guarantee no one on this board could pick up flaws in a taste test between a 5-gallon fermented batch and a 6-gallon fermented batch (same batch size, more airspace in the 6). No one would taste a difference at all because there wouldn't be one. Get 6 gallon carboys because they're more flexible
Thanks guys NUFF said, I'll buy the 6 gallon and then I'll have enough room for wine if needed, Thanks again.
 

Tony

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I ended up picking up a carboy for a secondary today, and ended up getting a 5 gallon instead of a 6. It was smooth inside, and was only 5 bucks cheaper than the 6 gallon. No issue about air with me, the 5's are smaller and most versitile for me. My supply brew supply guy believes that air is a big issue, but like Janx said, no one has actually proved anything pertaining to the issue extra space and taste yet. For me it was space issue and ease of use.

By the way, thanks for all the help and info you all have provided on this site.
 

D-brewmeister

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Just a note on using glass carboys for primary fermentation -- bigger seems to be better (I would kill to have a 14 gal. demi-john like Janx!) for a couple reasons. First of all, the smaller the carboy, the smaller the batch you can brew. When I was starting out, all I had was one 5 gal carboy, and I would rack from it after primary into a bucket, clean it, then rack back into it. Then I bought a second 5er, so I could rack straight from one to the other (much easier, and safer). But the problem I had was that after accounting for the space taken up by trub at the bottom of the primary, and the blowoff from the top durring ferment, I would only end up with 4 1/2 gallons of finished beer, or even less. I then bought a 6 gal for primary, and when I racked into the 5 gal secondary, I was able to fill it all the way up, ensuring maximum batch size. The other issue is directly tied to blowoff. From everything I have heard, you loose some of your hop flavor if the carboy gets totally full of krausen and has to shoot some of it out of a blowoff hose (as my last batch did with a vengance), not to mention lost beer volume. (I have also been lead to understand that there might be some benefit from blowoff, something to do with eliminating hangover causing elements, but I'm not too sure). I was lucky enough to get a 6.5 gal given to me lately, and intend to start using that for my primary, to minimize how much beer and hop stuff is pushed out of the top.
 

homebrewer_99

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Janx said:
I completely disagree with the folks telling you to use 5-gallon carboys. The airspace is a total non-issue. The CO2 from fermentation replaces air, and beer never lasts long enough to get oxygenated anyway. Racking aerates it far more, and it still isn't a problem. This perception comes from winemaking, where airspace is an issue.

Seriously, this issue of airspace blah blah ...
I agree with you Janx, except for where you said it "replaces air". I think you would be more correct in stating that the CO2 "displaces" the air. Which has more significance. I'm not being a stickler for words here. I'm just trying to help the person you are replying to to better understand the process (as we do).

Along the same lines, when bottling you should place your sterilized/sanitized caps on the bottle and let them sit for a minute or so (they're not heavy). Don't be so quick to cap it. Allow the fermenting brews CO2 to "displace" the air from the top of the beer. This will ensure any "air" is removed from the bottle and only CO2 is between the brew and the inside of the cap. :D

Later.
 

D-brewmeister

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homebrewer_99 said:
Along the same lines, when bottling you should place your sterilized/sanitized caps on the bottle and let them sit for a minute or so (they're not heavy). Don't be so quick to cap it. Allow the fermenting brews CO2 to "displace" the air from the top of the beer. This will ensure any "air" is removed from the bottle and only CO2 is between the brew and the inside of the cap. :D
So, if your brew has been in the secondary for a while, and for all intents and purposes fermentation has stopped, is it likely that there would be enough co2 venting when you are bottling to displace any air? I would think that minimizing the time that there is any chance for airborn nasties to get in there is the most important thing (sanitation aside). Or you could use o2 absorbing caps to achieve the same.
 

Janx

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Tony said:
My supply brew supply guy believes that air is a big issue
Your guy is wrong. I'm sure he's trying to help but airspace in the fermenter is of absolutely no consequence. The air is DISplaced by CO2 almost instantly.

Maybe he is a winemaker primarily? Airspace is a big deal when you're aging wine because the fermentation is completely over and no more CO2 is generated to displace air, and the time of aging is seriously longer.

Prove it to yourself sometime. Take a long burning match and stick it down in the neck of your carboy. It'll go out. Because there's no air :)

BTW, I can't be responsible for anyone dropping matches in their beer ;)

Glad you found a solution that works for you. I don't use demijohns for secondary for the same reason. Carboys are easier to move around, so I use them for secondaries, but I do like being able to ferment an entire 12 gallon batch in one fermenter in the primary.

Cheers! :D
 

Tony

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Janx said:
Your guy is wrong. I'm sure he's trying to help but airspace in the fermenter is of absolutely no consequence. The air is DISplaced by CO2 almost instantly...

...Maybe he is a winemaker primarily? Airspace is a big deal when you're aging wine because the fermentation is completely over and no more CO2 is generated to displace air, and the time of aging is seriously longer.
Thats funny, because they do alot of wine as well as beer. Good call!!!

Like I said, space is the issue for me right now, so im doing my best with the 5 gallon carboys. It makes complete sense that the air would be displaced with CO2, as that why we put airlocks on the top..to watch the release of CO2 from fermentation.
 

harley1

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My supply source said 6 gal carboys are just fine to use for secondary and said to just add 1 TBSP of sugar to it to force the air out
 
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