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Best way to turn a bottling bucket into a fermentor?

I scored a bunch of equipment recently on CL and with it came two 6.5gal bottling buckets. Both have airlock holes drilled in the lid, and since I already have a bottling bucket that works just fine, I was thinking I could convert at least one of them back into a fermentor. Is there a standard way of doing this?

I suppose I could just leave the spigot attached but turn it to face upwards, but it seems like it would be annoying to clean after every batch.

I recommend taking apart the spigot on a fermenter or a bottling bucket after each use. Spigots have too many places for contamination to hide. In my experience they aren’t difficult or time-consuming to take apart and reassemble.

I’ve used bottling buckets for fermenters for many years. I prefer spigots to autosiphons for ease of use and for sanitation.


How do you deal with the trub if you’re using the spigot?

I always worry about those plastic spigot. Leaky and intensive to clean. Lots of nooks and cranny. Not so bad if you can take apart the spigot on an empty bucket, but with a full one, it seems fussy.

The spigot on a bottling bucket is not at all difficult to remove and clean. At the least on the one I use. No tools needed, just hand tightened. Consists of two silicone washers, a nut, and the spigot. I turn it sideways when not in use so it doesn’t get hung up on anything. I’ve never had it leak and I clean it all the time. I have never used it as a fermenter. If converting to a fermenter I wonder though if it would seal best with one of those lids that attach as a regular lid but the center screws on and off. The ones I have do have a rubber ring that seal them.

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Prop something under the buck so the spigot side is slightly higher. Then as it’s emptying let the bucket back down when you can see the trub layer. Close it right before any trub flows into it. On most beers I’ve done the trub layer stays lower than the spigot. When done take the spigot apart and soak in cleaner.


You’ll usually get a small amount of trub initially, but it will settle out in the keg or bottles.

Since 1990 (+/- one year) I’ve never had a spigot leak If I’ve cleaned and reassembled it correctly - hint: the washer goes on the outside of the bucket and don’t over-tighten by twisting the body of the spigot more than an eighth of a turn!

I don’t see any advantage to turning the spigot opening up. The spigot WILL hang up on any dangling hoses, cords or stray cats. Just plan ahead a bit to clear the path when moving the bucket. And chase Brew Cat out of the brewing room.

The only problem I’ve had with a spigot on a bucket fermenter is that I decided to go to a stainless fermenter and spent more than I wanted on an SS BrewBucket. Actually, the BrewBucket was worth what it cost.

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I second most of what you posted but have been wary of using one to ferment. I’ve been kinda afraid of leaks…

If you don’t trust the spigot, fill the bucket with hot water (fittings on hot water lines leak more frequently than identical fittings on cold water lines), put it in a sink or tub, put a cup under the spigot and check it in a day or two. Repeat with cold water, just to be sure.

Leaks are part of my concern, but I also have a fundamental problem with sanitizing it. You can clean and sanitize right away, but then have to assemble the spigot and put it in place, closed, and let it sit for a few weeks. The internals of the spigot mechanism has to sit there, and might stay sanitized, but who knows what’s happening in there. The output spout is exposed to whatever… I will grant you that it’s a minor risk, and maybe I’m paranoid, but I don’t trust anything the beer touches that I can’t fully disassemble and sanitize immediately before using it.

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I know this will sound kind of out there in left field but here goes. Sopose you sanitize the spigot then put a silicone stopper on the inside tied with a sanitized fishing line( New of course ) and the other end out side the fermentor. Thin line should be OK. Then wrap the outside in saran wrap or a small baggie secured with rubber bands. I know it’s out their but its a thought.:beer::beer:

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