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Clear Carboys?

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From everything I've read, light is beers sworn enemy. My LBK is brown, bottles are brown. So, why is it that all the Carboys I see are clear?

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Don't know the answer, but I do put a black plastic trash bag over mine when I am using it during secondary fermentation.

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Well, it is technically UV light that is the issue.  So we are talking direct sunlight.  Which no experienced brewer is going to plop their fermentor in a bay window, they are going to put it in a dark corner or a nice, temperature controlled chamber.  So other than for totally new brewers, the color and opaqueness of the fermentor isn't a real issue.

 

I also suspect, but have no way to verify, that most of these carboys are made in the same factory as water cooler bottles, so they use clear glass/plastic because of that.

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Technically, the light affects hops and breaks down one of the chemicals in the hop so that it resembles (or is the same as) the chemical that skunks spray. Now while I do not know for certain why glass carboys are made from clear glass - I would suggest that the benefit of using clear glass far outweighs the cost of making the glass opaque or impervious to UV light. Here's why: As Bluejaye suggests it is incredibly easy to store a carboy in a darkened closet or basement or to cover the carboy with a garbage bag or towel. Cost to the brewer - zero (or almost zero). The alternative - producing opaque carboys means that with such a narrow neck it would be almost impossible to determine whether the carboy was perfectly free of dried krausen or wine sediment. Such detritus would neutralize any attempt to sanitize effectively and would in fact harbor all kinds of contaminants. Cost to the brewer would be any next batch of beer or wine. If I had my druthers I would very much prefer a transparent carboy that I can inspect and so know is spotless inside and so can be sanitized effectively even if that means I need to cover the vessel with a garbage bag.

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I like being able to see what's going in in the carboy.  Keep in mind that clear glass in itself does filter some UV light just not enough for long term storage of beer where light might be an issue.

If you are just moving beer from your basement to your fridge to your belly I would imagine that color doesn't matter.  Taking it on a picnic is a different matter.

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But you wouldn't take a 5 or 6 gallon carboy to a picnic would you? Who's pouring?

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No no no.  Not the carboy itself.  I rack it to a 5 gallon pump sprayer, backpack style.  The kind you spray fruit trees with.

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it would be almost impossible to determine whether the carboy was perfectly free of dried krausen or wine sediment. Such detritus would neutralize any attempt to sanitize effectively and would in fact harbor all kinds of contaminants. 

 

This is a pretty good point.  An food-grade bucket isn't a problem because the opening is huge, you can see right in.  But if it was a carboy with a narrow neck, and the glass was brown, it would be harder to be certain everything was spic-n-span clean.

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Why does it make a difference anyway? It's going to be in a fermentation chamber or in a basement anyway.

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No no no.  Not the carboy itself.  I rack it to a 5 gallon pump sprayer, backpack style.  The kind you spray fruit trees with.

and that container is food grade?

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and that container is food grade?

No I was joking.  But yes you can get food grade/ non reactive containers from all sorts of sources.

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