Better Bottle: Go All out?

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Sopor42

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I'm going to buy a couple of Better Bottles. I love clear fermentation vessles, but I just broke my first carboy the other day (no injuries, thank god!), so if I'm going to do it it will be Better Bottles.

My initial plan was a pair of 6-gallon bottles and carboy hoods. Simple, compatible with all my current equipment, and relatively cheap. However, in researching Better Bottles I feel that I need to investigate all the added perks that Better Bottles have to offer.

The top of the bottle has lots of options, but really they all start with the Ported Closure. This is an expensive option at around $25, but very flexible, allowing use of BB's spiffy Dry Trap airlock (another $16). Easy enough to turn into a blow-off by simply inserting a few feet of 1/2" ID tubing, and even has the potential to allow me to force beer out of the fermenter using CO2 (I have a well-setup CO2 system at my disposal).

There's also a closure that has threading for using hard plastic piping to make a rigid blow-off. Coolness factor is huger there (IMO) but I haven't found an online retailer with it yet.

Then of course there's the porting, spigot, and valve for the bottom. The ported bottle is a few more dollars, the "spigot" (Racking Adapter) is $28 and the Simple Valve is another $14, and this arrangement requires a $4 tool for installation.

Price per fermenter for "basic" setup: ~$32

Pricer per fermenter for "tricked out" setup: ~$120

So here's the ultimate question, are all the accesories to trick out a BB worth approximately $90? My gut instinct says no, but I would love to hear if anybody has any experience with going all out with a Better Bottle and what you think of it.
 
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I use all Better Bottles. but i just went with the basic set-up. i use universal carboy stoppers. not ports, valves, nothing. so much easier, less to clean, etc. save the cash.
 

Nurmey

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Welcome to HBT!

I love my BB but I wouldn't pay the prices for the "extras". I use carboy caps but everything else is just like using glass. I don't know how they can get away for charging so much for all that stuff.
 

Revvy

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I agree with the others, LOVE better bottles, but think the ports and stuff is just a waste of cash. I mean glass carboys and most buckets don't have those overpriced doohickeys on there and we've been brewing and winemaking in them for decades...so to me they are overpriced "junk" I mean if a basic BB costs you 32 books (seems like I never paid more than 15-20 for any of my three) and tricked out costs 4 times as much, if I were gonna pay 120 bucks, I would just buy 4 regular BB's instead.
 

sp1365

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Another one here who loves Better Bottles and thinks the extras are a waste of money.
 
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Sopor42

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Sounds like we have a consensus... however I'd still love to hear if anybody has decided to blow the cash on the extras, and what they thought?

At this point, though, it's looking like I'll just buy 4 basic setups.
 

Yooper

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I use all Better Bottles. but i just went with the basic set-up. i use universal carboy stoppers. not ports, valves, nothing. so much easier, less to clean, etc. save the cash.
Me too.

I do have one ported BB, which sounded great in theory. In my experience, transfer via the port are super slow, so I still just end up racking anyway. It defeats the whole purpose of the ported bottle, but I just don't like it. I like my regular BBs more.

I know that people who transfer from the port to port (I think SuperiorBrew was one of them) used the "dry" airlocks and liked it. I never understood exactly how he did it, though.
 

egurney

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I have all the extras and like them.
Transfer via the port was super-slow, so I bought the elbow that attaches to the closure and hook my CO2 up to it to give a little extra push - much better.
Personally I like not having use an Auto-Siphon.
After all the $$$$ I'm spending on this hobby, the extras for the BB were pretty insignificant.
Off to rack my Oaked-Vanilla-Bourbon Porter!
 

tophmck

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I have nearly all the Better Bottle bling. My favorite is the Dry Trap airlock, as it makes it possible to move the BB around without worrying about suck back.

This place carries the "Big Blow Off Closure", although that's one accessory I haven't invested in, since it works fine to just stick a tube into the ported closure.

The spigots and valves are nice too. I use them to take samples, plus it's nice to be able to transfer without a siphon. I haven't played around with closed-loop transfers yet, although that's definitely on my to-do list (I just got a C02 system).

Anyway, it's all useful stuff, but it is really expensive. I would spend the money again in a heartbeat, but I can totally understand why most people wouldn't spring for it.
 

ChshreCat

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For the price of all the extras you could almost buy a chest freezer and temp controller and REALLY go all out. :D
 
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Sopor42

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For the price of all the extras you could almost buy a chest freezer and temp controller and REALLY go all out. :D
I already have all that =D

Allright, so those who have spent the moula for the bling seem not to regret it. Since I do have the CO2 system at hand to allow for closed loop, even pressurized transfers, to other BBs and kegs... I might just do it.
 

samc

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I like BB's and have one. However since fermenting in a Corny keg and it's larger 15 gallon cousin I have not used my BB. I have the ported version and don't much care for the tiny spigot.
 

masonsjax

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I have one dry trap airlock, its nice, but I will not buy more. Not when I can buy 5+ S-bubbler airlocks for the same price. The dry trap fits in a standard universal medium carboy bung, the kind that's sorta hollow on top. I would not pay for their expensive oring bung. I have no problems siphoning so theres no reason for me to get ports/ spigots either. I think they just would be more trouble when it comes to cleaning. I will buy more plain 6gal BBs, but none of the extra$.
 

raceskier

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Here's another vote for all the bling.

I went ported 5 and 6 gal bottles from day one of my brewing.

Why?

I can go straight from my kettle spigot through my plate chiller directly into the racking port on the BB. It greatly reduces the opportunity for any contamination.

For transfers, I purge the secondary or bottling BB and lines with CO2 and use the closed loop racking system. Minimal if any O2 exposure.

For bottling, I put a HEPA filter on a fitting to the BB closure. Again reducing the opportunity for contamination. (You could even go low CO2 pressure here instead.)

For bottling, the bottling wand plugs straight into the BB racking outlet. Very easy to use.

I reduce my beer O2 exposure to the actual bottle filling operation.

Am I paranoid? Hell yes. No infections ever. (Knock on wood.) My friends and family constantly beg me for beer, so I must be doing something right. Not saying it's the only way to go, but it protects my beer every time.
 

SpaceCoastBrew

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I have the ported BB with the bling as well. It does make for a good closed loop system as others have noted, but I've found that I could get away with less. You can use a 3/8" ID racking cane to install the spigot instead of their special tool. Also, if you use a milk crate to transport your BB you shouldn't have to worry about the BB flexing and pulling any water from your 3 piece/S airlock. With the port/spigot you will have the potential for a small leak if an oring doesn't seat just right.

If it helps you sleep at night - it's money well spent.
 

Cliff897

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with a piece of metal tubing the diameter of the valve you want to mount you can heat it (not even to red hot) and burn a perfect hole in a PET bottle.

If you possess the skills necessary to draw a roughly decent circle you can burn the hole with a hot nail.

Try it out on a few Liter/ quart PET Soda bottles and you'll get the hang of it pretty quickly.
Then all you need is some duct tape , a stick of wood that can reach through the neck opening, and a box wrench the size of the nut that goes on the inside of the bottle.
Armed with the valve and a couple of O rings from the BORG you can mount your own tap.
 

Grimster

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Sounds like we have a consensus... however I'd still love to hear if anybody has decided to blow the cash on the extras, and what they thought?

At this point, though, it's looking like I'll just buy 4 basic setups.
I ordered 4 ported BB's, 3 3 Gallon and a 5, not realizing the stinking little plastic spigot would be ANOTHER $28 or more PER bottle. The picture DID show a spigot so I just 'assumed' I mean seriously how much can a spigot cost? The ones for my buckets at the LHBS are like $3 or $4 each right?

So now I'm trying to not only buy the spigots but finding someone with the dang things in stock. RebelBrewer had one so I ordered it to get me started, I have 3 gallons of apfelwein I'm dying to get going!

If I were doing it again I would definitely not buy the ported ones, there's plenty of other places I could spend that extra $30 per bottle than on a silly little plastic spigot.

I'm actually quite tempted to go get a step bit and open that hole up till it takes a regular bottling bucket spigot on the other three bottles and then figuring out some way to get the dang nut on it inside the bottle :D
 

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