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Screwy Brewer

Glass Carboy Vs. Ale Pail Which Is Better

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A brewing buddy asked me why I don't use a glass carboy to ferment my beer and I said that I thought the plastic buckets were a lot easier to use. I find them lighter, easier to clean, a lot less likely to break, better for dry hoping, easier to store and because they have a spigot that makes racking beer child's play.

Any thoughts pros or con that I left out?

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I used 2 glass bottles in the 80's when I was much younger, stronger and thought it was the only way. I've since sold those and never looked back.

You pretty much covered all the reasons except 1. Pales are cheaper.
Plus, most LHBS and online stores that sell new kits include Pales with glass as an option so many don't even realize that they're not missing anything.

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"Screwy Brewer" post=325053 said:

and because they have a spigot that makes racking beer child's play.

I put an "Italian spigot" on my Lowe's bottling bucket, but not on my 6.5 gallon fermenter bucket. I have a 1/2" auto-siphon instead. Should I go ahead and slap one on the fermenter too? I would be easy and cheap.

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A bucket is sure a lot easier to handle, the only thing you don't get to see is the yeast storm. Anybody thats ever fermented in glass knows what I'm saying.

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"Screwy Brewer" post=325053 said:

A brewing buddy asked me why I don't use a glass carboy to ferment my beer and I said that I thought the plastic buckets were a lot easier to use. I find them lighter, easier to clean, a lot less likely to break, better for dry hoping, easier to store and because they have a spigot that makes racking beer child's play.

Any thoughts pros or con that I left out?

Nothing I can see!
Agree with all of the above!
:cheers:

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Guest System Admin

Carboy = CRASH!!!!!

I already busted my Erlemeyer.

Don't want to be picking up 10,000 little pieces of carboy.

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"Wings_Fan_In_KC" post=325087 said:

Carboy = CRASH!!!!!

I already busted my Erlemeyer.

Don't want to be picking up 10,000 little pieces of carboy.

FrozeninTime wrote: Glass shatters easily, ale pales don't.


Tell me about it, first hand experience last night, even got to see that my blood is still red.

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indeed. glass beats human flesh all the time. although the 5 gal kit im looking at has both so may just have to exercise some caution.

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"BigFloyd" post=325061 said:

"Screwy Brewer" post=325053 said:

and because they have a spigot that makes racking beer child's play.

I put an "Italian spigot" on my Lowe's bottling bucket, but not on my 6.5 gallon fermenter bucket. I have a 1/2" auto-siphon instead. Should I go ahead and slap one on the fermenter too? I would be easy and cheap.

I have the same spigots in all my fermentors and bottling buckets now, these spigots along with the valve in my boil kettle have made transferring beer really easy to do.

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Another great advantage of a bucket is that you don't have to worry about light penetrating it. I have 3 Ale Pails, 1 six gal glass carboy and a 5 gal Better Bottle. Where I ferment is pretty dark so I don't have to worry too much about the light. One thing I have noticed about the buckets, do not leave your beer in them over 3 weeks. Everytime I have, it resulted in some oxidation. I've never had the problem unless I put off bottling for a few days. I was more worried about getting a soapy taste, but it was defintiley oxidation that affected the beer. The pails WILL permeate oxygen after a while. But for the most part, I prefer my buckets because they are easy to clean and are cheaper to buy. And now that I do yeast starter for every beer, they usually only stay in the fermentor for 2 weeks before getting racked to the keg.

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"BigFloyd" post=325061 said:

"Screwy Brewer" post=325053 said:

and because they have a spigot that makes racking beer child's play.

I put an "Italian spigot" on my Lowe's bottling bucket, but not on my 6.5 gallon fermenter bucket. I have a 1/2" auto-siphon instead. Should I go ahead and slap one on the fermenter too? I would be easy and cheap.

A spigot is one more place bacteria can hide. No spigot means les cleaning. I find my autsiphon just as easy to use plus I can avoid drawing off the bottom.

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"Gymrat" post=325155 said:

"BigFloyd" post=325061 said:

"Screwy Brewer" post=325053 said:

and because they have a spigot that makes racking beer child's play.

I put an "Italian spigot" on my Lowe's bottling bucket, but not on my 6.5 gallon fermenter bucket. I have a 1/2" auto-siphon instead. Should I go ahead and slap one on the fermenter too? I would be easy and cheap.

A spigot is one more place bacteria can hide. No spigot means les cleaning. I find my autsiphon just as easy to use plus I can avoid drawing off the bottom.

+1. I use an auto siphon to rack all my from the fermentors. I t allows me to leave more trub and hops behind resulting in a cleaner/clearer beer. especially if I cold crash. But you also have to make sure the siphon is clean and sanitary too.

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"Knightmare" post=325162 said:

"Gymrat" post=325155 said:

"BigFloyd" post=325061 said:

"Screwy Brewer" post=325053 said:

and because they have a spigot that makes racking beer child's play.

I put an "Italian spigot" on my Lowe's bottling bucket, but not on my 6.5 gallon fermenter bucket. I have a 1/2" auto-siphon instead. Should I go ahead and slap one on the fermenter too? I would be easy and cheap.

A spigot is one more place bacteria can hide. No spigot means les cleaning. I find my autsiphon just as easy to use plus I can avoid drawing off the bottom.

+1. I use an auto siphon to rack all my from the fermentors. I t allows me to leave more trub and hops behind resulting in a cleaner/clearer beer. especially if I cold crash. But you also have to make sure the siphon is clean and sanitary too.

True dat

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I have a speidel 30L fermetator on order. A little pricey but I think it will work well for me. It will ferment 5 to 7.5 gallons per batch. and it's made in Germany.


[attachment=10597]Speidel.jpg[/attachment]

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Looks pretty there I like the handles on both sides. What did it run you, if you don't mind me askin?

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I used to have 6 and 5 gallon glass, won't go there again unless I'm brewing sours. All the reasons already stated. One glass carboy explosion is enough for a lifetime.

RE: Auto Siphon vs. Spigot... You have to sanitize the auto siphon too. I'm fond of having just a short little bottling wand to sanitize instead of a bunch of tubing like I did back when I had my carboys. I don't personally see a racking cane, siphon, etc. as a benefit to me.

If I was going back to brewing 5 gallons all the time, I'd get me a speidel as above, OR a big coopers fermenter, OR a bucket with a spigot I think.

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I like the Better Bottle carboys. It just never occurred to me to use a bucket as a fermenter. Glass doesn't suit me, because I ferment in my basement, and concrete slab floors just don't cut it with glass carboys.

I don't find the Better Bottles to be that hard to clean. I just bottled a batch today, and while I was labeling them, I had the carboy filled with an OxyClean solution. After bottling, I just dumped it out, triple rinsed it, and it's clean as can be. No leftover krausen ring, and no need to scrub.

As far as light getting in, I just cut a hole in a black plastic garbage bag and cover the thing, with the blow-off/airlock coming through the hole. No problems so far.

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Cant Really say which is better but i like the ale pails for their weight and ease of cleaning and dry hopping.

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I have two ale pails, both with spigots.. I don't see the spigot as any problem. I do them just like I do my LBK, I take them apart and clean and sanitize them.

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My love affair with auto-siphons fell apart once I started using spigots on my fermentors and a valve on my brewing kettle to go with the one on my mash tun. Auto-siphons can be a pain when they lose suction and they don't guarantee you won't suck up some cold break anyway. Cleaning and sanitizing the spigots aren't a big deal they come apart easily and can be cleaned with a small line brush.

I've lagered quite a few Oktoberfest recipes for 6-8 weeks at 36° F and never had any issues with oxidation, while Ale Pails and PET bottles are more permeable than glass carboys and bottles they won't begin to cause any problems with oxidized beer or loss of carbonation for a year or more. I think issues with oxidation are more likely caused when the wort is very hot, at bottling time or during storage.

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I'm with Mashani. You have to use glass if you want to brew a sour (unless you want to have a dedicated plastic fermentor or wood barrel). I use them for long lagering periods too, although I think Better Bottles are fine for a short lager period of a month or less. I have one each of 5 & 6 gallon glass, and 5 & 6 gallon Better Bottles, and four bucket fermentors, one of which is outfitted with a spigot and used almost exclusively as a bottling bucket. You can't beat the buckets for ease of cleaning.

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"Screwy Brewer" post=326488 said:


I've lagered quite a few Oktoberfest recipes for 6-8 weeks at 36° F and never had any issues with oxidation,

Screwy, when you are doing an Oktoberfest or other style you are going to ferment cool, what pitch temp do you like to shoot for?

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"BigFloyd" post=326566 said:

"Screwy Brewer" post=326488 said:


I've lagered quite a few Oktoberfest recipes for 6-8 weeks at 36° F and never had any issues with oxidation,

Screwy, when you are doing an Oktoberfest or other style you are going to ferment cool, what pitch temp do you like to shoot for?

BigFloyd the Hammerfest Marzen I brewed last weekend cooled down to 56° F before I oxygenated it and pitched my yeast starters. Right after that I moved the fermentor to the fermentation chamber and cooled it down to 50° F by the following morning, it's been fermenting between 52-54° F all week.

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"berryman" post=325120 said:

"Wings_Fan_In_KC" post=325087 said:

Carboy = CRASH!!!!!

I already busted my Erlemeyer.

Don't want to be picking up 10,000 little pieces of carboy.

FrozeninTime wrote: Glass shatters easily, ale pales don't.


Tell me about it, first hand experience last night, even got to see that my blood is still red.

Since you are still posting I assume you are OK?

But ya when I was considering moving away from the Mr. Beer LBK I went to a friends relative who has brewing since before I was born. I got to witness 2 5 gallon fermenters klink together. It's amazing how much of a cement floor 10 gallons of beer can cover in a split second.

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Like many of you i switched from glass to an ale pale. The pale is lighter, safer if dropped, super easy to clean and has plenty of head space plus i like the volume markers on the side. I fermented an Alt that conditioned for 4 weeks and couldnt detect any off flavors and was the best beer i ever made. I had a spigot attached (my LHBS does that for free) but it leaked a bit during fermentation so now i just use that for my bottling bucket. Maybe I could try a new gasket.

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"Duff" post=326695 said:


I got to witness 2 5 gallon fermenters klink together. It's amazing how much of a cement floor 10 gallons of beer can cover in a split second.

Now that there is enough to make a grown man cry! :(:(:(:(:(:(

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I brew on the first floor and ferment in the basement. I've found that the pail is a lot easier to muscle down the stairs than my glass carboy.

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"Duff" post=326695 said:

"berryman" post=325120 said:

"Wings_Fan_In_KC" post=325087 said:

Carboy = CRASH!!!!!

I already busted my Erlemeyer.

Don't want to be picking up 10,000 little pieces of carboy.

FrozeninTime wrote: Glass shatters easily, ale pales don't.


Tell me about it, first hand experience last night, even got to see that my blood is still red.

Since you are still posting I assume you are OK?

But ya when I was considering moving away from the Mr. Beer LBK I went to a friends relative who has brewing since before I was born. I got to witness 2 5 gallon fermenters klink together. It's amazing how much of a cement floor 10 gallons of beer can cover in a split second.


Now that would be a shame to loose all that beer and a awful mess to clean up. Mine broke in the sink while trying to remove the hop sack and clean. I cut my finger picking up the pieces of glass mixed with leaf hops, should have used the shop vac. 1 glass carboy down, 3 to go.

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