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Secondary - but not a carboy

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OBX

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I read all the time that you should use a secondary glass carboy, but not sure why it has to be glass. If it's OK to leave the wort in the primary for 2 weeks and then rack to a bottling bucket, why could you not leave the wort in the primary for a week and rack to a secondary plastic bucket for a week or 10 days? Why does it have to be to a glass carboy? I have read that a plastic water cooler jug won't work either because it might somehow allow oxygen in through the plastic (not sure how that's possible). I understand the water cooler jug might be a little hard to clean. So why couldn't I use another bucket and then fit the lid with the bubbler on it as the secondary?

:confused:
 

homebrewer_99

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You are correct. You do not have to use a glass carboy as your secondary...provided you do not allow your beer to sit for several weeks.

If you use it for a week or two then your beer should be OK.

Carboys are best used for longer storage periods, say months, for lagering.

Even your primary bucket will allow air to enter through it within a couple of weeks.

Unfortunately, I have even left beer in a primary for 30+ days (I had a heart attack and couldn't lift heavy objects). Fortunately, the same batch won 2 first place prizes.

If you were to use 1 plastic bucket for 2 weeks as a primary and another for 2 weeks as a secondary, then I can not see you having any problems. :D For periods longer than 2 weeks I would go with the carboy (I have 6 primaries and 5 carboys, and use them all).

Later.
 

tnlandsailor

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The main advantage of glass is that you can visually verify that it's clean and it's easy to sanitize. Plastic does work fine for primaries or secondaries, but has it's own set of quirks. First, it's vulnerable to scratching. If the scratches are deep enough, they are impossible to clean and sanitize effectively. Second, plastic has a tendency to pick up and hold on to smells and colors of things that were previously in it. I don't think I would be too concerned about oxygen migration through the walls of the plastic. If any occurs, I think it would be such a small amount that it would pale in comparison to the normal sources of oxidation such as racking.

I don't think there is anything wrong with using plastic. Plastic is handy, light, easy to clean out, and darn convenient. But, plastic can also be the source of problems in the brewery that you might not track down for a while. I've heard people claim to have used plastic for years and swear by it.

Personally, I think you eliminate a potential problem by doing all your fermenting (primary and secondary) in glass.
 

homebrewer_99

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I agree with the previous post also, but if you pay attention to your cleaning techniques you should be able to eliminate most or all of the smells from the buckets with long soaks of bleach water solutions in conjunction with other sanitizers.

Another thing is you could use a bucket to match a particular style, light and dark beers, for instance.

As he mentioned earlier, I have used my buckets for over 10 years and they do have slight colored stains on them. After emptying, I usually fill my buckets with hot water and let it soak for a while to loosen the caked on hops and such. When I "scrub" I only use a sponge. No brushes of any sort. No abrasive green pads. It just wipes off with a soft sponge which I rinse and repeat until it's clean. Afterwards I refill it with a bleach water solution (to the top) for a day or two. Then I'll rinse and "re-scrub" with a sponge, rinse and dry. All ready for the next time. :D

You just have to find a routine that works for you.

Sanitation is the goal!

I also rinse my bottles out after pouring the beer into a glass. This way I only use a brush when I sanitize them before using them the first time. After that I never need to scrub them, just use the jet sprayer on them.
 

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