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Best vessel for secondary ferm

Originally I thought I would add a 6.5 gallon big mouth bubbler for a secondary, but reading more about it it seems maybe a 5 gallon glass small mouth would be best to minimize oxygen exposure?

Any thoughts ?

Thank you !

Tom

Whatever has the least headspace. I use plastic carboys because glass scares me. 5 gallon.

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Plastic is lighter, and keeps oxygen out well enough for several months.
If you plan to age your beer for more extended periods you will need glass.
You should also be aware of some of the horror stories regarding injuries from broken glass. If you go with glass use all caution. I don’t use my one glass fermenter very often, but others on the forum swear by it.

For 95% of homebrew scenarios the choice comes down to personal preference.

BTW, “neither” is also a viable option; that is not doing secondary at all.

Thanks for the info. If I do a secondary I will go with the plastic. I don’t think I will be doing any serious aging. My first couple of batches don’t call for mandatory secondary so I am just leaving in the primary ( as per others helpful suggestions).
I did buy a 6.5 gal big mouth plastic that I planned to use as a primary fermentor. I am not sure if it will be a step up from the white bucket, but it would be nice to be able to turn the light on and see what’s happening in there.

Thanks again,

Tom

An interesting point… one of the big beers I aged for a couple of months is an Old Ale. That style actually benefits from a bit of oxidation. I don’t sweat the plastic.

I use and love the Big Mouth. My bucket is pretty much just where I mill grain these days.

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I have 2, 5G glass carboys that were given to me, and 1 6G plastic carboy that I bought. Mostly now-a-days, I only use them for the altbiers and lagers that I want to lager. I make sure that I fill them right up to the neck, even if it means adding some commercial beer. The whole thing goes in a swamp cooler filled with water and sits out in my garage.
Lately, I coldhop, and even add fruit to primary, although I wouldn’t hesitate to use the plastic carboy if all 4 of my primary buckets were full.

I prefer to secondary, I think my beers turn out clearer that way. I started with a 5-gal glass carboy, but I try not to use it much because with my current brewing situation, I have to move fermenters around a bit, and that’s asking for problems with glass. I have a few 5 gallon and a few 6.5 gallon plastic big mouth bubblers. Most times the beer isn’t in the secondary all that long so I’m not too worried about excess headspace. I like having the 6.5 gallons for if I need an extra primary or a little extra space because a batch was a little oversized.

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I’ve aged beers in plastic carboy for well over a year with no ill effects. Oxygen transfer through plastic isn’t really a thing. The only benefit of glass over plastic is that you can scrub them more aggressively without scratching them, while you have to be really careful with plastic carboys. Stuff a washcloth into the opening with some water, though, and you can swirl it around to scrub the inside nicely.

Found this way works nice. When ready just push to another keg. Simple

Thats yer “brightning tank”? Sneezles61

Correct. Actually I pulled the dip tube for the airlock side to keep it clean since I was adding fruits and stuff. I actually got the idea from you @sneezles61. For the bright tank which is what breweries call their secondary I don’t even use the airlock. I rack my beer out of my fermenters after a week or two then just let them sit in the keg for another couple weeks then just carbonate the keg when ready. Of course you need a supply of kegs. AIH is advertising them today at $31 with Facebook code

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Thats as I’ve been doing also. Sometimes its fun to rack off the primary with some fermenting to finish up and put into the keg, sealed tight, to let it self carbonate. Cask conditioned! Sneezles61

Wouldn’t hurt. By the way some of you people who don’t keg can still use a keg to secondary.

I bought three kegs Friday just for secondary and oxygen free-ish transferring purposes :grinning:

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And i may have to get more at aih…had to support the lhbs for these 3…his wife is preggers :grinning:

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I do use glass carboys. For second. But have been looking. At the 7.5 gall speidel plastic fermenters. Think gonna order a few. Use my big mouth bubblers for primary fermenting.

@tominboston To be sure its clear, and I’m assuming you are doing 5 gallon extract brewing here, 5 vs 6.5 gallon and glass vs plastic are two separate questions. A 6.5 gallon container is generally intended for primary fermentation of a 5 gallon batch because you want head space as the foam expands. For the secondary, you typically want a 5 gallon container to minimize headspace which will minimize oxygen. A larger container won’t ruin your brew, it just might be a little less perfect. You don’t have to do a secondary unless you are aging a while or adding ingredients in the secondary. I think most brewers will say you can leave brew in the primary up to 3 weeks but should do a secondary if you want to go longer before bottling or kegging.

Thanks Steve, yes you are correct I am brewing 5 gallon batches so if I do a secondary I will use a 5 gal bubbler. I bought a 6.5 gal but will use that for a primary as it would be good to be able to see what I am fermenting verses having to pry the bucket lid off on my current primary.

Tom

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