Beginner question re: buckets and carboys

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emontag

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I just got my first kit (BSG K6) as a gift which comes with a bucket and a carboy. The bucket is fitted for attaching a spigot so it would be good for bottling. But the directions suggest using the bucket for fermenting not bottling. The manual says to transfer from the fermenter to a bottling bucket. So the carboy seems superfluous for brewing until I get into more advanced techniques with secondary fermenting. The manual actually says that a bucket is easier for primary fermenting. It seems to me that I should get another bucket that doesn't have a spigot hole to make my life easier and use it for fermenting.

My question is whether I am understanding this correctly. And why doesn't the kit come with 2 buckets?
 

Evan_L

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Maybe they assume you will primary in the spigot bucket, rack secondary to the carboy and therefore have the bucket available for bottling? If the carboy is 5G that makes sense, more headspace for primary, less for secondary.
 

biggmatt

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Since you got the equipment you should a secondary fermentation. It's always worth it. It isn't hard to do.
 

strambo

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I'd get a bigger bucket for primary (8 gals), that way you don't have to use a blowoff tube and can dedicate the bucket w/ spigot to bottling.

Use the carboy for aging big beers or primary on another ( perhaps smaller) batch while the primary bucket is full.
 

podz

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A bucket with a spigot makes transfer easier, imo, because it has horizontal suction in just the right place above the yeast cake. If you're siphoning dark beer, for example, it might not be too easy to see where the yeast cake begins until it's too late.
 

laughingboysbrew

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I just got my first kit (BSG K6) as a gift which comes with a bucket and a carboy. The bucket is fitted for attaching a spigot so it would be good for bottling. But the directions suggest using the bucket for fermenting not bottling. The manual says to transfer from the fermenter to a bottling bucket. So the carboy seems superfluous for brewing until I get into more advanced techniques with secondary fermenting. The manual actually says that a bucket is easier for primary fermenting. It seems to me that I should get another bucket that doesn't have a spigot hole to make my life easier and use it for fermenting.

My question is whether I am understanding this correctly. And why doesn't the kit come with 2 buckets?
Welcome! I would ferment in the carboy, then transfer to the bucket for bottling. Does the bucket have a lid with a small hold for an airlock? If not, I wouldn't use it for a secondary regardless (risk of oxidation).

Do you have a thief and hydrometer? Not required, but a great next investment. It'll help you 'track' fermentation progress so you know when to siphon to the bucket. (versus 'wait 2 weeks')
 

laughingboysbrew

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Don't buy another bucket... The main purpose of what your manual is calling "secondary fermentation" is to move the beer off of the trub (hop particles/yeast/etc that have settled to the bottom during primary fermentation) into a clean secondary vessel for a period of time to clear up. Some people here will tell you 'secondary ferm' is a waste of time... Just ferm in carboy...when done fermenting (about 2 weeks), transfer to bucket leaving behind the "crap" and then bottle from there ASAP (trying to avoid exposure to O2).
 

unionrdr

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If the carboy is 6-6.5 gallons,ferment in that & bottle from the bucket. As an interesting aside,I have spigots on my fermenters as well. But the one on the bottling bucket I made lower so as not to have to tilt it so much to get the last beer out.
 

NTXBrauer

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You have the traditional starter kit that I am sure many of us here began brewing with. Instruction was to start primary fementation in the bucket, then rack to the carboy after a week and let sit for another 2 weeks, the rack back to the bucket for bottling.

I did this when I first began, but learned from the process that leaving the beer in 1 FV produced just as good of a beer. You also minimize excess exposure to O2 by eliminating racking to a 2nd.

As mentioned above, I would use the carboy for your primary. Keep in mind that you will only end up with around 4 gallons of beer(assuming you have a 5 gal carboy), but you will gain experience in the process. If you stick with the craft, I would suggest buying another FV that is 6-6.5 gallons, to be used as the primary. This way you can ensure you end up with 5+ complete gallons of beer. Most of all, have fun brewing. :mug:
 

Homercidal

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The kit comes with a 7.8 gallon fermenting bucket and a 6 gallon glass carboy. Just so people are aware.

Firstly, it's up to YOU to decide if you want to use a secondary or not. This will likely determine how you use this setup. I highly suggest you read up the MANY MANY threads already debating the pros/cons of a secondary. Suffice to say that there is no perfect answer for everyone. It's a matter of convenience, mostly. The purpose of a secondary is to get the beer off the yeast to prevent the dead yeast cells from autolysing and creating bad flavors. Many people had fermented in a primary for many weeks without issue. Some say they can taste the difference.

For using a secondary: Ferment in the bucket. After the primary fermentation rack to the carboy. After the secondary, use the bucket again as a bottling bucket.
For NOT using a secondary: Ferment in the carboy. After primary fermentation and maybe 1-2 weeks of secondary time, rack into the bucket for bottling.

How long you do the primary and secondary ferments is going to vary. I cannot tell you exactly how long is long enough. You will have to use the hydrometer and take readings. After the beer has reached expected FG (Or very close and stable over several days) you can rack to secondary. If you are not using a secondary then just give a week or two for the beer to clear up and then bottle.

I personally keg, so when it's time for me to secondary I usually just rack to the keg and let it sit for a week or two before moving to the kegerator. IMO there is nothing wrong with using a secondary. When you think about it, the only downside is that you have to rack one more time, which some consider to be a risk of infection. I don't think it's a real concern. There are many times you expose the beer to the air for a few minutes. Unless you are extremely careless, there is little chance of picking up a real infection. The upside is that when you rack to a secondary you can use the primary again for another batch. In your case, though, you don't have a dedicated bottling bucket, so you are kind of SOL on that regard.

If I were in your shoes, I'd buy a dedicated bottling bucket and use your current bucket for a fermenting other batches. Fermenting buckets are pretty cheap.
 
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