Glass or PET Carboy

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d40dave

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One of my glass carboys broke. I'm thinking about switching to PET. I was wondering what others would rather have. Thanks for any input
 
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hotbeer

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I'm glass, but only because I do 1 gallon batches and have a bunch of 1 gallon glass jugs. Along with the fact I've seen as a child the results of my Mom trying to catch a glass falling from the cabinet and my sister forcing the wash rag into a beverage glass while doing dishes. Both requiring trips to the ER and lots of stitches to the very deep cuts.

So I grew up with a careful respect of how to handle glass. Or at least so I have thought for the last almost 60 years since seeing those accidents and not getting hurt myself despite having broken many a things made of glass.

If I brewed larger batches, I too would probably be plastic of some sort unless I went with stainless steel.
 

AlexKay

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I've had glass just shatter spontaneously. If there's a defect in the material, sometimes no amount of careful handling will keep the glass from shattering. Go plastic.
 
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d40dave

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I got a used better bottle a while ago. It is much lighter. I need to carry my carboy up a flight of stairs and I really notice the difference in weight. I would certainly go with PET except thinking that PET might get scratched more easily and could be less sanitizable.
 

hotbeer

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..... except thinking that PET might get scratched more easily and could be less sanitizable.
Might, but I think that there might be a difference in what type and how badly it's scratched that might harbor a potential infection.

While I can't say from experience, the normal light scratches you might accidently do to it from cleaning probably aren't the type scratches that will be an issue.
 

seatazzz

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I highly recommend Fermonsters. They are PET, light and easy to carry, and also have the wide mouth to make cleaning a snap. Mine have never known anything scratchy, since I can get my whole arm into them with just a soft sponge or microfiber towel to clean them. They are also great if you are brewing anything that requires dry-hopping. Also, they have the added bonus of being able to add a spigot. And they are not too pricey either, which is the main reason I chose them.
 
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+1 for fermonsters. I've never even touched a glass fermenter. Couldn't pay me to take one home. Not just because of the gory photos I've seen of what damage a broken carboy can inflict, but also because the thought of cleaning up 6 gallons of wort or beer makes me light headed. I don't think I'd ever get it all up. Have to move or burn down the house.

"But PET can scratch.."
Its real simple; I never put anything into my fermonsters that is capable of scratching them. O-Cell-O cellulose sponges, microfiber washcloths, and my bare hands are the only things I use to clean them. I use a DIY keg and carboy washer with a sprayball, and tap hot oxiclean solution to blast away kraeusen rings, which reduces the need for mechanical scrubbing.
 
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bracconiere

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SS hasn't been brought up? maybe some cheap SS milk pail?

edit: $150 a piece? damn, but i'm thinking it'd be the last $300 i spent on fermenters! but that's 15 gallons, i saw some for $80-90 for 6.5-7 gallons

edit: i'm buying it, and i swear i SAVE money! :mug: the dryer i got refunded for that would have cost me $220 was way more expensive, and someone just gave me one for free that works better for deculming....so a $150 pail is a great savings!

 
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Toxxyc

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I don't think a single drop of beer I make touches glass at even one step in the process. Where it's not stainless steel or silicone, it's PET or HDPE2. I see no reason for glass, unless it's for transport, and then it's only in swingtops I use to bottle from the keg, right before leaving.
 

madscientist451

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I have both glass and plastic carboys. I use plastic for primary and glass for secondary (cider, wine and mead). Haven't broken a glass one yet, however some of my better bottles have developed leaks. Another option would be using corny kegs.
 

Beermeister32

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When I started in this hobby, glass seemed like the natural thing to use to make your finest beer. I mean, we drink out of glass, beer bottles are glass, what could be better than glass? Right?

So I bought glass carboys. Then I saw all the deep slices and permanent tendon damage they can cause to your hands and body. Those heavy and strong bluish green water carboys from the 1930’s aren’t the same as the thin gauge, razor-sharp and fragile glass carboys sold for beer today.

Then you realize you are lugging around even more weight from the glass. PET carboys are so much lighter. The extra weight when you are already hefting 5-6 gallons of wort around makes a big difference.

Then there are the stories of people setting them down too hard and the odyssey of moving them around, fracturing them and then dealing with a Sunami of 5 gallons of sugary wort spilled in a kitchen, basement or worse - over a carpeted floor space or staircase for the Mid-Westerners.

Anyway, long story short - I tossed all my glass carboys in the dumpster. Go PET. Makes no real difference to the beer, and no trips to the emergency room!
 
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jerrylotto

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Get a conical like the Fermzilla or the FastFerment. The only thing I used carboys for any longer is water storage.
 

jerrylotto

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Stainless steel. A Brew Bucket style SS fermenter is affordable, much easier to clean and durable.
Some day, I'm going to upgrade to a stainless fermenter but between the cost of pumps, glycol chillers and inline heaters, sight glass and sampling ports, triclamp fittings and ball valves, it gets a little pricey. A chest freezer style fermentation chamber works better with PET (or glass). I have fermented in kegs and conicals and I like the conicals better.
 

superiorsat

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I use fermonsters but the clamp down lid stainless steel milk can idea seems to be a good one. Slap a gas and liquid post on with a floating dip tube and bingo.
 

davidabcd

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I found glass to need too much attention to be worth it.
My plastic fermenters never have anything abrasive touch them and the access is total and so very easy to keep clean.
 

Deric

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I swore you could never make quality beer in plastic. Then one day a carboy broke. Luckily no one was injured - sure made a mess though. Bought a couple plastic "carboys" and never looked back. Less weight, much easier to clean.

+1 for the Fermonster.

I also once swore you could never make quality beer with dry yeast. 🤷‍♂️

:mug:
 

Spikybits

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For stainless - a "loose handled" 5g ball lock used costs 27.99 from AIH - i have 14. out of all of them, only 1 truely has a loose handle. the rest have a chunked handle or bottom, maybe a 1"x1" chunk
 

bwible

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I have a collection of 3 gallon and 5 gallon glass carboys. I guess I’ve been fortunate, never had one break and make a mess. I found one with a crack in it awhile back and discarded it.

I mostly brew 3 gallon batches so I use my 5 gallon carboys for fermenting 3 gallons. That makes them a little easier to move around, not being full. A 5 gallon batch is a rarity for me these days.

I bought a 3 gallon Fermonster and I think a 7 gallon one. Those are much lighter. The main reason I bought them was for the wider opening at the top that allows you to reach inside and clean them, and also makes things like dry hopping or adding oak much easier.

If you’re thinking about going plastic, the wide mouth opening is a huge bonus. Just be sure to get the wrench that allows you to screw the top off. It is only a few dollars. You need the wrench, trust me.

I can’t believe a 5 gallon glass carboy costs almost $50 now. If I were starting over, I would not be buying glass.
 

Gusso

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I replaced my glass carboys with Speidel fermenters about 1.5 years ago. Great decision.
 
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I would say the only problem I've had with my fermonsters is a couple of lid failures. Both times the material split right where the top surface meets the sides, making the oring visible from the outside. I might have caused it by screwing them on too tight, but I only use my hands. For a while I was wiping the oring with a bit of keg lube but stopped doing that, still it seems like the star san makes the oring slippery enough to tighten it too far. Luckily its not to hard to find replacements. Seems like they could thicken up the wall in this area, add some GF to reinforce the material, or maybe it is a flow issue during molding.

The bummer part is, I discovered it the first time on a batch of wine that had been bulk aging for several months, it was too oxidized to drink. The second time I noticed it when getting ready to keg a finished beer. I worried that it might have gotten infected or oxidized but luckily it had only been in there for a couple of weeks and the beer was fine.
 

bwible

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The other thing with Fermonster is they don’t make a 5 gallon one. At least not that I have seen. They sell a 3 gallon, a 6 gallon, or a 7 gallon. I don’t understand why they wouldn’t sell a 5 gallon version when that has been a homebrew standard size for generations.
 

porterguy

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Big Mouth Bubbler. Easy to clean. Light weight. The odds are pretty good that hauling a glass fermenter will only get harder as you get older (personal experience tells me). Loss of muscle mass is a fact of life.
 

davidabcd

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They sell a 3 gallon, a 6 gallon, or a 7 gallon.
Would it be because something like a 7 gallon fermenter makes it so you wouldn't need a blow-off tube for a 5 gallon batch?
I'm just guessing. I use a 7.9 gallon bucket for my 5 gallon batch.
 

Melicious

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Go glass or stainless for anything that will be sitting in contact for an extended time with foods, especially liquids, which can more easily absorb chemicals. Personally, I'd rather be safe than sorry with my health, since most of the messaging casting doubt on this science is from big-money oil/plastics industry funding:

"PET plastic (polyethylene terephthalate) is the plastic most commonly used in single-use plastic water bottles. It is BPA free, but PET is also associated with many of the same health risks such as stunted growth, reproduction issues, low energy levels, body balance issues, and inability to process stress."

 

harrower

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Go glass or stainless for anything that will be sitting in contact for an extended time with foods, especially liquids, which can more easily absorb chemicals. Personally, I'd rather be safe than sorry with my health, since most of the messaging casting doubt on this science is from big-money oil/plastics industry funding:

"PET plastic (polyethylene terephthalate) is the plastic most commonly used in single-use plastic water bottles. It is BPA free, but PET is also associated with many of the same health risks such as stunted growth, reproduction issues, low energy levels, body balance issues, and inability to process stress."

Probably causes cancer in California!
 

MaxStout

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I used to be a big fan of glass carboys, and never (knock wood) broke one. But I went stainless for fermenters and only keep a few glass for the occasional long-term aging. Still have a couple 3 gal glass for small batches, and those are not so unwieldy.

If you insist on glass carboys, at least keep them in plastic milk crates. Safer to carry and the bottoms won't touch a hard floor that could cause it to break. Those Brewhaulers are not a good idea, as the carboy can slip between the loops of webbing.

The Italian-made carboys are more robust than those made elsewhere. And if you're thinking of the glass Big Mouth Bubblers, there's a thread around here somewhere pointing out some that had very thin walls.
 

bracconiere

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I use fermonsters but the clamp down lid stainless steel milk can idea seems to be a good one. Slap a gas and liquid post on with a floating dip tube and bingo.

damn, you might have just inspired me to do closed transfers! and fermenting under pressure! just have to calculate what to set the spunding valve too, so that it pushes 10 gallons into two kegs! BRILLIANT? (not sure if it'd be overcarbed though, lol :mug:)
 

sibelman

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Though PET gets lots of love here, I'm basically with @Melicious. (Plastic still figures prominently in my operation, if you include silicone hose hot side and EVAbarrier to /from kegs.)

Even after the Stout-pocalypse that sent my freshly brewed batch across the garage, and me to urgent care, I declined to switch to plastic. But I'm not completely stupid/inflexible. For safety, I've got a stainless Spike Flex+ now, and have given away some of my dangerous glass carboys.

If you go with glass, @d40dave, take great care.
 
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d40dave

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I have decided on PET carboys to replace my 5 gallon carboys which is the size that broke. I will sell my two 6 gallon carboys and replace with some sort of widemouth PET fermenter. I also have two 3 gallon glass carboys I use for wine. I will keep them. I leave wine in them for several months and they are easy to handle. @sibelman thanks for the concern. Anything stainless seems to take up too much space. I usually have about 3 batches fermenting at any one time.
 

Shenanigans

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I use mostly plastic 30 liter buckets.
But I got a good deal on a 45 liter Spiedel stainless steel fermenter for about 100 which will probably last a lifetime.
I have a glass big mouth bubbler but have never used it.
Some senseless purchase I made in a Black Friday sale.

Used 5 gallon soda kegs sound like the best budget option for SS if you are brewing smaller batches but another option for bigger batches is a stainless steel pot.
You can easily find big new or used ones and as you are using it only for fermenting not boiling it doesn't have to be high quality.
Normally the weight of the lid is enough to keep it in place and just let the CO2 produced seep out the sides but if you want you can make a homemade gasket, clamp it tight and drill a hole in it for an airlock.
Then you have a big air tight stainless steel fermenter for under 50.
 

dwhite60

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I still do buckets for most beer fermenting and will continue to. They're easy to carry and they fit inside each other so they take up less room.

I do have one glass carboy I use for diastaticus yeast, like Belle Saison. I don't need this very often so I can fill it with sanitizer and let it sit a while to kill off any residual yeast.

I have one 3 gallon Better Bottle I use for mead and wine.
 

porterguy

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Go glass or stainless for anything that will be sitting in contact for an extended time with foods, especially liquids, which can more easily absorb chemicals. Personally, I'd rather be safe than sorry with my health, since most of the messaging casting doubt on this science is from big-money oil/plastics industry funding:

"PET plastic (polyethylene terephthalate) is the plastic most commonly used in single-use plastic water bottles. It is BPA free, but PET is also associated with many of the same health risks such as stunted growth, reproduction issues, low energy levels, body balance issues, and inability to process stress."

I keep one glass carboy around just for this purpose of extended time fermenter when necessary.
 

porterguy

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Using stainless I do miss the old days of viewing the fermentation through clear glass. Maybe somebody makes a "fermcam" or some such.
I suggest you move quickly on that before someone else gets rich off your idea. Come to think of it, they've already been invented. They use them for colonoscopies. :oops: Prices for used ones on eBay are probably pretty good, and I bet hospitals can only use them one time.
 
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