Bucket or 6.5g Carboy for Primary?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by JimSmetana, Jan 8, 2013.

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  1. JimSmetana

    JimSmetana Initiate (0) May 11, 2012 Illinois

    Quick question. Seems to me if you are going to use a secondary fermentor (carboy) then a bucket is fine or maybe preferable as a primary fermentor. Pros and cons of each?
     
  2. hopsandmalt

    hopsandmalt Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2006 Michigan

    Buckets are fine for short primary fermentation. I always use a carboy though. I like to see the action.
     
  3. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,668) May 21, 2010 Texas
    Society

    I use buckets for all primaries, and my carboys for secondaries or bottling. BTW I really like my 8 gallon primary bucket, it's less likely to need a blowoff tube and is actually shorter than the 6.5g. If I had two 6.5g buckets, one of them wouldn't fit into my freezer chest.
     
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  4. JimSmetana

    JimSmetana Initiate (0) May 11, 2012 Illinois

    Good info. I think my only concern (and I have yet to buy anything) is needing an extra hand to pour/aerate the cooled wort into the primary if it is a carboy using a funnel.
     
  5. Jaysus

    Jaysus Initiate (0) Jan 16, 2003 Pennsylvania

    Use a siphon.

    P.S. I primarily use buckets for primary... but not always.
     
  6. harrymel

    harrymel Initiate (0) Dec 15, 2010 Washington

    Buckets FTW, except with added creatures.
     
  7. OldSock

    OldSock Zealot (575) Apr 3, 2005 District of Columbia

    I used carboys/BetterBottles for a long time, but about a year ago I switched to 8 gallon wine buckets and wouldn't go back. They are easier to clean, no need for a blow-off, easier to dry hop in etc.
     
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  8. premierpro

    premierpro Aspirant (266) Mar 21, 2009 Michigan

    I only use buckets. They are heavy enough with five gallons in them!
     
  9. ShawDeuce22

    ShawDeuce22 Initiate (67) Mar 17, 2009 Massachusetts

    Where did you source these? LHBS?
     
  10. AlCaponeJunior

    AlCaponeJunior Poo-Bah (2,668) May 21, 2010 Texas
    Society

    I got mine from brewmaster's warehouse, but they seem to be out of stock ATM. Somebody's gotta have them though.

    BTW I agree "no bugs" on plastic buckets. I'm not brewing any wild ales for now.
     
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  11. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

  12. kaips1

    kaips1 Initiate (0) Feb 20, 2011 Kentucky

    either way as long as they are sanitized it doesnt matter, cleaning up is easier with a bucket but you get less o2 exposure with the carboy
     
  13. leedorham

    leedorham Initiate (0) Apr 27, 2006 Washington

  14. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,751) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I also use 7.9 gallon buckets for my primary fermenters. As has been mentioned this size provides lots of headspace so a blow-off should not be needed (I have never needed a blow-off).

    There are available from many vendors. I bought one bucket from my LHBS and a second bucket from Northern Brewer: http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/7-9-gal-fermenting-bucket.html

    Cheers!
     
    OldSock likes this.
  15. nedvalton

    nedvalton Initiate (0) Dec 29, 2012 Alabama

    I use bucket for primary as well to avoid blowoff tube. Bottle carboy for secondary so i can see slurry whenbi rack to keg or bottling bucket.
     
  16. DAllspaw

    DAllspaw Disciple (353) Nov 7, 2009 Indiana

    I use a bucket, and strain wort, which offers some aeration before you close the lid and really shake it up, which is helpful, unless you use forced O2. This is for primary, then carboy for secondary.
     
  17. ipas-for-life

    ipas-for-life Aspirant (249) Feb 28, 2012 Virginia

    I use buckets for the following reasons.
    Cheaper
    Easy to clean
    Easy to pour and strain wort from my kettle into the bucket
    Lighter- Handle makes for easy moving
    Keeps light out
     
  18. hopsandmalt

    hopsandmalt Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2006 Michigan

    Buckets are also easy to scratch when cleaning/stiring/storing equipment in them and therfore need to be replaced more often.
     
  19. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Only if you aren't careful...my original bucket is 5 yrs old and other than a little discoloration looks and feels brand new...but then it has never seen detergent, scrubby pads, or uncushioned storage items. YMMV
     
  20. JimSmetana

    JimSmetana Initiate (0) May 11, 2012 Illinois

    Thanks for all the help guys. Going with the bucket for primary and a 6.5g glass carboy for secondary.
    First brew this weekend!!
     
  21. OldSock

    OldSock Zealot (575) Apr 3, 2005 District of Columbia

    Best to use the smallest carboy you can for secondary. Less head space means less air (oxygen) in contact with your aging beer.
     
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  22. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,751) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    If you do intend to secondary you want as OldSock mentioned, the smallest carboy for a given batch of beer (typically 5 gallons).

    You might want to consider whether you even need a carboy (secondary). I personally never secondary my ales. I have four 5 gallon carboys but I only use them for lagering and long term aging of ciders.

    Cheers!
     
    RichardMNixon likes this.
  23. clearbrew

    clearbrew Initiate (0) Nov 3, 2009 Louisiana

    I prefer my buckets because they are easier to clean, and when not in use, you can stack buckets together!!! My hobbies already take up to much space (quoting my wife).
    I do have a glass carboy for longer secondarys though.
     
  24. hopsandmalt

    hopsandmalt Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2006 Michigan

    read "microscopic porous scratches that are harboring contaminants and may lead to beer spoilage":astonished:
     
  25. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,751) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Society

    I can’t personally comment to GreenKrusty101’s buckets but I have used buckets for over a dozen years without any infection problems.

    I clean up just using a wet paper towel and hot water. There were (are) no scratches in any of my multiple buckets.

    Cheers!
     
  26. JimSmetana

    JimSmetana Initiate (0) May 11, 2012 Illinois

    OK so 5g carboy not 6.5g for secondary. Minimize oxygen space.
     
  27. WickedSluggy

    WickedSluggy Disciple (381) Nov 21, 2008 Texas

    6 gallon carboys sometimes will blow off large amounts of yeast. That is a really bad thing. It used to happen to me. When making higher gravity beers, I was sometimes losing what seemed to be half my yeast population through the blowoff tube. It is something that no one ever talks about, but I have diagnosed the problems occuring with other brewers as well. They tend not to make the connection, but when I explain finding an inch of actual yeast in a blowoff bucket, they start to get it. I now use the 6.5 gallon "acid carboys" for most fermentations. The 6.5 gallon is big enough to avoid most of the blow-off loss. They have the size advantage of a bucket, but they are easier to do anaerobic transfers (under low CO2 pressure) - which is the only way I ever rack fermented beer.

    Of course, I have used buckets for fermentations. I still have some. I might consider using them again if I can come up with a good process that creates a littlle CO2 pressure for the transfer. Maybe through a bottling spigot.
     
  28. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    I guess I better buy all new buckets...or buy some stock in publicly-traded bucket retailers, as they seem to know how jerk our chain : )

    Bleach would solve the off-white problem...but I don't even do that anymore.
     
  29. hopsandmalt

    hopsandmalt Initiate (0) Dec 14, 2006 Michigan

    Don't get me wrong, I own and regularly use several fermentation buckets. I'm just sayin' thet won't last forever.

    You wouldn't use discolored tubing woul you?
     
  30. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    Use it all the time without fear...most yellowing is caused by UV
     
  31. inchrisin

    inchrisin Zealot (571) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    I use ale pales (buckets) exclusively. By the time I need to get the beer off the cake (6 weeks for me) it's time to package the beer anyway. carboys and better bottles are a PITA to clean anyway.
     
  32. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania

    .... carboys and better bottles are a PITA to clean anyway.

    I just put some bleach in my glass carboy and it eats just about everything. And/or I use my sump pump and oxyclean. I have a copper pipe that I bent into a "J" that sits inside. I should take pictures of all the ways that I utilize the pump.
     
  33. JimSmetana

    JimSmetana Initiate (0) May 11, 2012 Illinois

    So no problems with the extra oxygen with a bucket for your total ferment time? What about getting the beer off the trub?
     
  34. GreenKrusty101

    GreenKrusty101 Initiate (0) Dec 4, 2008 Nevada

    If you are worried about oxygen, don't rack it to a secondary to begin with.
     
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  35. inchrisin

    inchrisin Zealot (571) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    I actually find it pretty easy to get the beer of the trub. I ferment on the basement floor or in a tupperware in the winter. I move the bucket (and it's nice to have a handle that comes with the bucket) to a chair or counter a day before racking.

    When I get to the last gal of wort, I tilt the bucket and I get all but about an oz or two into my keg. I can't angle the racking cane in a BB as easily and I think I leave too much beer behind. It's probably less than a beer, but still.
     
  36. yinzer

    yinzer Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2006 Pennsylvania


    May I lightly disagree? What problem were you seeing (in the result)?

    I'm not saying that there isn't yeast that comes out, but this is said to be the best yeast if you want to re-pitch. I know this was talked about on TBN.

    http://www.byo.com/stories/wizard/a...om-high-kraeusen-settles-back-into-the-carboy
     
  37. geezerpk

    geezerpk Initiate (0) Nov 8, 2010 South Carolina

    I use nothing but buckets. Between uses, I fill one with water, add an ounce of bleach and an ounce of vinegar and let them cook for and hour or so, then pour the solution into the next bucket. This removes 90% of the stains and sanitizes them well enough to suit me. Do my buckets have some scratches and dings — hell yes — they're at least 3 years old. How often do I have a problem with infections — that would be never. (Okay, I have had 2 or 3 infected bottles due to inadequate sanitizing/rinsing).
     
  38. JrGtr

    JrGtr Devotee (472) Apr 13, 2006 Massachusetts

    I'm sticking with buckets for Primary. I used a carboy for my last one, and it was a pain in the ass to clean.
    I'll stick with Carboys for long-term aging and alternate stuff, like ciders and such.
     
  39. inchrisin

    inchrisin Zealot (571) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    I like your ways. It should always be noted that you're playing the Ph level of bleach. Too much vinegar can make chlorine gas. Just trying to keep everyone safe :slight_smile:
     
  40. HugeBulge

    HugeBulge Initiate (0) Dec 31, 2012 New York

    i got a 8 gallon ss conical on ebay.......never looked back
     
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