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Basic Question about Fermenting

This is my first time brewing and very excited to have a couple brews ready by Christmas! I just want to make sure I do everything correctly, so here is my question if anyone is willing to answer:

I am brewing the Chinook IPA and Bavarian Hefeweizen and I purchased the Deluxe Start Kit with an additional Glass Carboy. The riddle is, am I able to brew them both today? The Chinook requires a secondary fermentation (requiring the 6 gal. carboy) but the Hefe does not. The simple question really is if you’re only going to do a primary fermentation, do I use the 5 gal. carboy for that, only?

Thank You in advance, wish me luck!

  • Matt

You don’t have to do a 2nd with either, a longer primary will work. A 5 gal carboy doesn’t give you much room, so keep temps down and be prepared for blowoff.
The hefe will probably have a vigorous fermentation, so I’d use the 6 gal for that one.

Thank You, if you’re able to answer this, then please.

I have already activated my liquid weihenstephen wyeast for the Bavarian, and I don’t want to go to waste. I may just do what you suggested, but can I use two 5 gal carboys to ferment 5 gals of brew? In other words, if I fill 2 5 gals with 2.5 gal of brew to ferment, would that have an effect of the beer in the end? Because I was thinking that would be good if it works.

Thank You.

you could also stick that pack in the fridge and buy another fermenter…especially for your first brew; keep it simple and learn what you are doing with the recipe and recommended methods by brewing 5 gallon batches for five gallon recipes.

just my thought that yopu could always brew that next beer, next week; the yeast will be fine.

The deluxe kit came with a 5 gal and a 6 cal carboy correct? and you got an additional 6 gal also so now you have two 6 gal carboys and one 5gal, if I’m following correctly. Brew both and put each into a 6 gal carboy, keep the temptures down to control blow off (where foam comes out the top of the fermentor) once the primary fermentation is done (prabably the hefe first) then you can rack that to the 5 gal carboy and not have to worry about blow off then clean and sanitize the 6 gal that the hefe came out of, then rack the IPA into that one.

Madd Maxx, I wish I had two 6 gals but it is 5 gals and one 6 gal. If I had been more knowledgeable on brewing, I would have gotten an extra 6 instead of the 5. I don’t know how long that liquid wyeast is good for, so I want to use it. I could very well hold off until the Chinook is ready for second then begin the Bavarian, but I really don’t want that liquid wyeast to go bad (feels like abuse). So I was thinking three options:

A) skip the second fermentation on the Chinook and use the 5 gal carboy then watch for blow over and brew the Barvarian

B) Buy a 5 gal plastic container, drill a hole at the top and attach the pressurizer to do a Jimmy rig, but what I do not know is if too much room for pressure is a bad thing.

C) Or! Brew the Chinook now (which is boiling now), add it to the six gal. carboy and follow second fermentation then brew the Barvarian once the Chinook is ready for Secondary (leaving the 6 gal avail.) I just don’t know if the Weihenstephan will be good then.

FYI - My first brewing involved a few Founder’s Rye PA’s, hope you get what I’m saying.

So from a experienced brewers perspective, what sounds like the best option? Or is there a mysterious D?

First, just activating the yeast won’t cause it to go bad. You can put it in the fridge and pitch it into a starter a few days before you brew. You’re gonna want headroom for 3068. I brewed a vienna hefe last Friday with 3068. Fermentation started in about 4 hours at 65*. I skipped the blowoff tube. Next morning the airlock was full, so I went to switch over to blowoff. Pulled the airlock out and sprayed beer all over myself. :oops: Looks like you’re already brewing the IIPA.
If you do 2nd it to free up the 6 gal, don’t rush racking it. I’d use it as an excuse to buy another 6 gal. or bigger. Don’t worry about the yeast going bad though.

I agree with @mrv, use it as an excuse to buy another carboy, 6.5 for primary, 6 works too but with the blow off caviet. 3068 gets rowdy. Funny how some yeasts are very mild, don’t even come to the top, almost afraid and others just let it all spill out. You don’t really need secondary, especially for the Heff.

Do you have a local homebrew shop? A second fermenter is probably a good thing to have anyway, and a plastic bucket will only run $10-15.

You could also brew one of them as a 4 gal batch. Just leave out some extract so the gravity stays where you want.

I may be a little late on this but you could use your bottling bucket for a fermenter and cover it up with aluminum foil.


I did a primary in a 5 gallon carboy a few years ago when I was in the same boat. I used a blow-off tube and had no problems. I have since bought more glass, but at that point in my brew-career I made do with what I had and was very happy I did. Two fresh brews on tap at the same time; it was fantastic!

Thanks for the responses fellas. Just to update what is going on, I decided to do this on the spare moment: I used the 5 gal. Carboy for my IPA, so far it is not blowing over but I expect that to happen soon. The Hefe is in the 6 gal. right now and boy, is it active. Problem with that one is I added too much water, so the pressure is building with much less room to expand. I hope they turn out well, moral of the first experience: Drink less while making beer. I had a hiccup or two with the second batch. Also, I found all the excuse I need to purchase a new 6 gal. Carboy. Next step: Porter. Need that thick beer for this Michigan weather.

Thanks for the help,

  • Matt
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