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5 Gallon Carboy for Prime?

Quick question:

I am trying to turn out a few brews to be in time for the holidays. I have two batches I need to get started right away, but only 1 empty 6 gallon carboy. Is it ok to do a primary in a 5 gallon carboy or do I need to go out to get another 6 gallon? I know with the 5 gallon I would have to use a blowoff hose due to the less extra room, but wanted to ask the experts.

Still learning the ropes with only 6 brews under my belt, so I appreciate all the help.

Yes you can. If you have a firm handle on ferm temps. you might not even need a blow off tube. But if you can’t stay in the 60-65 range I’d use a blow off tube.


You can primary in 5gal but it will likely result in blow off and a loss of beer. I would personally get a second 6gal carboy. Its not like you’ll never use it.

Get a bucket or 3.

I’ve mostly used glass carboys but recently bought a few buckets. I can see why guys like them. Light, easy to clean, easy to carry, easier to store, less concern for slippage/breakage.

Whether or not you could primary in a 5 gal carboy kind of depends on your final volume, the recipe and yeast even if you have temps under control.

Right on. I start with 5.5 in the fermentor to account for loss to trub. Regardless of temp. control, you will lose some volume.

A bigger carboy or bucket would be useful down the road.

Thanks for the advice, time to go get another 6 gallon carboy. :cheers:

Or, brew a smaller batch.

I’d get a bucket. Aside from the ease of use (no fuss cleaning, inexpensive, etc) you can always use it for a batch of sanitizer when you don’t have two batches going at once.

Get a wine fermenting bucket they are 8.5 or 9 gallons and cheap. You can ferment 7 gallons if you want . keg 5 and bottle a 12 pack plus. Drill a 1 1/4 inch hole in the lid for taking samples and put in a spigot for draining.

Buckets are cheaper…Get two

All good suggestions (above). If you’re in a bind, you could also use the smaller fermenter as a secondary and transfer the beer after the initial vigorous fermentaion has subsided to free up the larger fermenter.

Don’t do it - get a bucket. Buckets are lighter, cheaper, easier to handle, easier to clean, easier to store and make just as good beer. But most importantly, they are safer. Do a search for “broken carboy” and you’ll see some real horror stories.

The only advantage a carboy has over a bucket is that you can see the fermenting beer. But why do you need to? Unless you want to increase the chance of skunking…

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