What do you use as a fermenter?

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Eskimo Spy

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What do you use as your fermenter? Carboy? Ale Pail? Better Bottle? And what size do you use, if applicable? I'm currently using an ale pail, but thinking about moving to a 6.5G carboy or a BB, looking for some input on what's easiest to use for racking, bottling, etc.
 
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I use all of the following:

6.5 gallon Ale Pail
6 gallon Better Bottle
21 gallon stainless conical fermenter
Assorted Erlenmeyer flasks and wine jugs

For 5 gallon batches, I prefer to do a non-racked ferment in the Better Bottle (ported with a spigot). For big batches, the conical is the only choice. When I'm out of space, the Ale Pails come out. For small batches of wine, mead, cider, and yeast starters I use the other glassware.
 

devaspawn

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I use a 7.9 gallon bucket with a spigot attached. Real easy for using to transfer to secondary. Also, doubles great as a bottling bucket.

I understand that you can add a spigot to a better bottle as well. I don't like this idea though. I would probably lose 4 to 6 ounces of beer if I were to use it as a secondary if I had the spigot.

Also, I have never had a blowoff with my bucket for 5 gallon batches. Not to say that it's not possible (it certainly is possible), I just find that is less of a likelyhood. the bucket is easily 1.5 gallons more than most of the glass and better bottle carboys out there. Also, the pressure is diffused across a much wider area. If you've read any of the stories about people's ceilings being painted you will notice they are all carboy stories. Less room in a carboy neck to gradually expand so it shoots out with explosive force.

Nothing wrong with a carboy as primary. Hell, I use it for my meads and ciders. I just find that the bucket is easier to move and has more space. I guess the main drawback is that you can't watch the fermentation take place and you can't observe the krausen.

:tank:
 
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Eskimo Spy

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Yuri:

Why do you prefer the non-racked ferment? Simplicity? Less chance of any problems? Or is the BB part of the reason?

Davaspawn:

The main reason I'm considering a 6.5 gallon carboy or BB is for the reason you mentioned, I want to see the krausen.
 

Got Trub?

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I have switched over to the unported 6g BB for my fermentation vessels and like Yuri do not rack to a secondary.

I prefer the lower weight, can observe fermentation and minimal risk of contamination/infection. With controlled fermentation temps my risk of blow-offs is now about zero - although I still use one for ales because there could always be a first time!

GT
 
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You nailed it - simplicity. There's a theory (that I'm citing very loosely) that keeping it on the yeast for a longer period of time results in a cleaner flavor profile. I think Jamil uses the technique.
 
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Eskimo Spy

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You nailed it - simplicity. There's a theory (that I'm citing very loosely) that keeping it on the yeast for a longer period of time results in a cleaner flavor profile. I think Jamil uses the technique.
So, using any ale for example, how long would you keep that in the primary if you don't rack to a secondary, on average?

And did you go with the ported BB for bottling, or for another reason? I think I would still want to rack to a bottling bucket.

By the by, I assume you're the Yuri on youtube. If so, I like your videos, very well done.
 

devaspawn

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I did one for 2 weeks once. Simple Amber Ale. It came out fine it just took a longer time in the keg to clear up.

:tank:
 
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Eskimo Spy

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I did one for 2 weeks once. Simple Amber Ale. It came out fine it just took a longer time in the keg to clear up.

:tank:
I don't keg too often, mostly bottle for myriad reasons, mainly because I give away a lot of beer. All my friends think I'm a wizard, lol :mug:

So, does the bottling alter how you would handle things?
 
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Yup, that's me on YouTube. Thanks!

Simple: I keep it there until it's done. If it's in the Better Bottle, I wait until it's clear. If it's in the Ale Pail, I wait until I think it's clear. Most of the time it's 3 to 4 weeks. Cold crashing helps. I kept my 8-8-8 imperial stout in the Better Bottle for something like 7 weeks without racking. IMHO, it worked well.

I went with the ported Better Bottle because it offered the most flexibility. So far, I've had no issues. Others report possible sanitation problems, but I attribute that to poor sanitation techniques, not the fermenter itself.
 
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Yup, that's me on YouTube. Thanks!

Simple: I keep it there until it's done. If it's in the Better Bottle, I wait until it's clear. If it's in the Ale Pail, I wait until I think it's clear. Most of the time it's 3 to 4 weeks. Cold crashing helps. I kept my 8-8-8 imperial stout in the Better Bottle for something like 7 weeks without racking. IMHO, it worked well.

I went with the ported Better Bottle because it offered the most flexibility. So far, I've had no issues. Others report possible sanitation problems, but I attribute that to poor sanitation techniques, not the fermenter itself.
What do you use for an airlock on a BB, by the way?

I think for now, I will go with two 6 gallon unported BB's. If I don't like it, I can always get another one! For the time being, all I'm brewing are ales, since I don't have a cooler set up yet, I don't want to mess with fans and buckets, and my walk-in closet keeps the ferment right at 70º.

So, I'll use the BB's as my primary, then move to one of my carboys if I want to use a secondary.

Thanks for the info guys, as always, this place is worth the pittance asked for the all the great info.
 

devaspawn

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I have bottle a few of my batches. I let it sit in primary for 3 weeks and then carboy for 2. I add gelatin finings to secondary and I cold crash during that two weeks and then I bottle it. With that method I have always had enough yeast to prime with and my bottled beer comes out crystal clear. I am sure there are other ways of doing it but I find this method to work each and every time.

:tank:
 
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Eskimo Spy

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Is the cold crash in the secondary needed? Or can you just crash it in the bottle after 4 weeks? And for an ale, what's a good temp for a cold crash?
 

devaspawn

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Not needed but because I have a Kegerator and the space in it to do that I prefer it. Less trub in the bottle after all is said and done. Which means less chance of trub getting into your glass. If I wasn't able to do a cold crash I would still secondary and still use gelatin finings in the secondary. Neither step is NEEDED per say but you won't catch me not doing it. If I were to offer you a beer and it was a little cloudy and you got a little trub from the bottle in your glass, you'd take it as par for the course. I like to try to turn people onto good beer though. If they are BMCers or have even tried a few microbrews, they tend to get turned off by that stuff and it only reaffirms in their minds that BMC is the sh*t and microbrews and homebrews are for idiots. Don't get me wrong. By no means to I brew for them. I brew what I like and for no one else. I like to share though and my methods help to me to facilitate that.

Also, it's REAL SWEET when I can look at a glass of my homebrew and think to myself, "I don't have to be Jim Koch to make a real clean looking and tasting beer."

:tank:
 
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I guess it's time to find an old fridge and a temp controller, and move up another rung on the ladder. I do love me some gadgets, though! Thanks.
 

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I love my ale pails. They're so easy to use and move around, I dig 'em! Plus I bought like 5 for $0.99 each when the dumbass at the kinda lhbs didn't know the price and just said "hows $0.99 each sound?" :D
 
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The only reason I don't like the ale pails is that I can't see the fermentation.
 

Alamo_Beer

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I can understand that but then why do you really need to see it? The yeasties know what they're doing....it's not like you can watch and then say EAT FASTER DAMNIT!!!!!!!!!! or anything....

Plus, I leave my beer in the primary for at least 4-5 weeks so by the time I rack to a keg (or a bottling bucket when I was doing that) the beer is nice and clear...
 
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I can understand that but then why do you really need to see it? The yeasties know what they're doing....it's not like you can watch and then say EAT FASTER DAMNIT!!!!!!!!!! or anything....

Plus, I leave my beer in the primary for at least 4-5 weeks so by the time I rack to a keg (or a bottling bucket when I was doing that) the beer is nice and clear...
I like the idea of being able to see what kind of fermentation is happening, plus I don't leave my beer in the primary as long as you do. But, cleaning the pail is 10x easier than messing with glass, but the better bottles seem very easy to clean. The pail does have the advantage of being easier to move, for sure.
 

Alamo_Beer

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Another plus for the pail is I use a paint mixer to aerate my wort....the big opening of a pail alows that.
 

damrass

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I use 6.5 gallon glass carboys, but the next one I buy will be a 6 gallon ported BB with racking spigot (I hate using an autosiphon when it's time to keg).
 
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Yeah, I'm really torn on the ported/unported version. I like the idea of not having to sanitize the autosiphon, for sure. So, I could go from primary to secondary, or straight from primary to bottling bucket using the ported BB sans siphoning.

Wow, that does sound good...
 

devaspawn

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Another plus for the pail is I use a paint mixer to aerate my wort....the big opening of a pail alows that.
Well, I realize I am about to argue against my own preference but...

I bought the lee's stirrer and the only thing it doesn't fit in is the 1 gallon carboys. I don't know about the paint stirrer but the Lee's stirrer blades collapse to fit in the carboy and the fold back out once you start the drill.

It's an option if you decide to go carboy instead of bucket...

:tank:
 
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