Glass or Plastic carboys?

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SkyeBrewer

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I am looking to expand my tiny homebrew shop. ( I have 1 fermenter and 1 glass carboy). My question is that I see these plastic better bottles for half the price of their glass cousins, what's the downfall? Is it just that you have to worry about flavor contamination ie. beer only carboy or wine only? Little help with the pros and cons would be appreciated!
 

TyTanium

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Scroll down to the bottom of this page...see all those "similar thread" links? You'll find more information than you ever wanted to know in those threads :mug:
 

EyePeeA

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Better Bottles take the slight edge for me for safety reasons. You never have to worry about them slipping out of your hands & shattering into a thousand pieces. I've had four of them for 5 years now with no signs of breakage, wear, or scratches. My other two carboys are glass, and they're in just as good shape.

You will need slightly different-sized stoppers for glass vs. plastic due to the latter being more flexible. Long term (3+ month) brews may be better suited for glass carboys. I would not age in a bucket for several months, though better bottles are not as permeable as some people claim and they could probably even handle 6 months of aging.

The advantages/disadvantages are otherwise very miniscule. Scratching the plastic ones is not exactly a null issue, but it's much more difficult to accomplish than you think. My four have zero scratches because I don't clean them like an idiot. So, I wouldn't decide on the scratch issue. Nor would I let the small price difference for glass carboys bring me down.

TyTanium makes a good point. Reading the replies to past threads on this topic will give you a quicker idea without waiting for a stream of new replies on such a widely-covered matter.
 

Revvy

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There's hudreds of threads discussions on here, at least one a week, asking the same question, but the answer is always the same. It's a matter of preference.

Very few people give any real credence to the whole glass vs plastic idiocy. Most of us laugh when we hear those arguments bandied about. It's usually from the extremely noobish, and/or unscrupulous (or just plain ignorant) LHBS people trying to pimp an expensive glass carboy to the unsuspecting, rather than a cheaper (and just as fine) better bottle or plastic bucket.

The yeast don't care what they do their job in....In reality a fermenter is a fermenter is a fermenter.....glass, plastic, carboy, bucket, jerry can, keg, milk jug, ceramic crock, glass hurricane jar, stainless steel or plastic conicals, pet food storage vessels (vittle vaults), HD or Lowe's buckets, frosting buckets, water jugs, the old Mr Beer jug...All of those and anything you can think of, all work perfectly fine, and have been used by hundreds if not thousands of brewers...

No one type is better or worse than any other...good beer or crappy beer can be made in all of them, dependant onthe brewer, NOT what it's fermented in...
 

distributistdad

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Glass:
Pros - purist, will last forever, no chance of scratches or blemishes hiding bacteria and potentially causing infection
Cons - heavier, more expensive, breakable

Plastic:
Pros - cheap, easy to find used (think Culligan water jugs), lighter than glass and less prone to breaking
Cons - basically the opposite of the glass ones - scratches can carry contamination, will deteriorate over time (though, albeit would take quite a while).

Both are going to likely break if you drop them from more than a few inches when full, so that's something to bear in mind. I use glass and will stick with them, but that's really my own preference.

Finally, I would urge you to get some sort of carrying apparatus regardless of what material your new carboy(s) are made of. Check out the net-type ones that cradle the bottom of the carboy with dual handles.
 

brewbobaggins

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Agree with everything above. With anything you'll be aging, glass is the way to go if you don't want oxygen getting in there, as plastic is rather permeable. But for >90% of homebrews, the only real difference is preference.
 

amandabab

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a large blow-off is easier and cheaper with glass (just stick it in)or a plastic bucket (just drill a hole).

A pre-made threaded or cobbled together large blowoff hose for a better bottle is about the price of a carboy.
The better bottle could be better if it abandoned its "lets re-porpose a water cooler tank" mold and redesigned them. I'd LOVE a better bottle that was less flexible. One would support the weight of a burton unit like a carboy or bucket.
A thicker better bottle would be more heat tolerant and be as easy to clean as glass without changing the material. A cheap 8-gallon plastic hdpe drum is better than a better bottle in every way.

It was marketing genius to to "better" in the product description.
 
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