5gal water jugs, $6....safe for brew?

I noticed at my grocery store (winco) that they have 5gal “campers” water jugs for $6. These aren’t the blue plastic water cooler jugs. They are thick #2 plastic, white, stackable water jugs. here’s an image i found online.

are these ok for fermenting??? I only ask because i need more fermentation vessels for wine/cider/beer and glass carboys can get pricey quick! If these could at least last me a few rounds, I could swap them out with glass or better bottles when i get the extra cash on hand. I’ve got a few weddings coming up that people have asked me to bring ciders too and i don’t want to spend $100+ on just carboys when i can spend <$20 on a container that will do the job just as well. (obviously the stacked position in the pic is bad for fermenting, don’t think that I over looked that detail :smiley: )

I know the blue water jugs are bad because they can leak oxygen into the must/wort/whatever or something like that, but these guys seem pretty solid. Should I go pick up a few???

Like you noted, the only downside of plastic is that it is permeable and can oxidize. However, myself being an ale pail user, if #2 plastic is the same stuff used to construct those, I would say give her a go as long as they are ‘food grade’ (like Vittles Vaults or other non-traditional fermenters).

Those will be fine. Just be careful cleaning. No scratching.

how do i know if oxygen has permeated the bottle and is affecting what’s inside?..

HDPE plastics, #2, are great barriers to moisture. I didn’t find a site which touted the impermeability to gases. Below is an oxygen permeability chart. Compare HDPE with PET and then decide. Might make an acceptable large capacity growler.
Table 1. Oxygen permeability of different polymers.
Oxygen permeability (x10-13 cm3. cm cm-2 s-1 Pa-1
LDPE-low density poly ethylene
HDPE-High density poly ethylene
PET-Polyethylene terephthalate
FEP-Fluorinated Ethylene Propylene
PFA- Tetrafluoroethylene-perfluoro

I would argue that the beer is not in the fermenter long enough to make O2 permeability an issue.