Better Bottles

I wanted to real quickly ask the users of better bottles how they feel about them. I really like how lite and easy to carry buckets are; however, after having used them a couple times I think I want to try better bottles. The reason behind this, is that after using the bucket a few times, it is very clear that they are not very air tight.

Thoughts, suggestions…

You mean the lids don’t seal, or air permeating the plastic?

I’m not worried about the lids not being tight. You should have CO2 build up creating a positive pressure that keeps air from coming in. Some people don’t even lock the lid down, just sit it on.

For secondary I like better bottles, though. Less head space, and you may not have as much CO2 given off, so a better seal is ideal, IMO.

I get that and I knew that someone would point that out. While to some the air tightness is not an issue, to me I don’t like it and would rather not have it. But that is just me. In the past I had heard that better bottles had failure problems. Does this still occur? Also, how long are they good for?

I have 2 better bottles. A 5 gallon and a 6 gallon. I did like them for the reasons you mention, but have grown to only use them when absolutely necessary (meaning when nothing else is available). There are a lot of negatives to go along with the positives. The biggie is they scratch easily. My 5 gallon is now a dedicated sour fermentor due to picking up an unwanted infection. I’m assuming due to a scratch and something nasty getting in and staying in. They are a pain in the ass to clean. Even though they’re lite, they can be cumbersome to carry. You also can’t lift one and move it when full and an airlock installed. Lifting it creates suction that will pull the airlock solution into the fermentor. And like carboys, they take up a lot more space than buckets. It’s also a pain in the ass to get dry hops out.

So, yeah there are some positives when comparing them to carboys, but for me I’ll always choose a bucket over a carboy or better bottle for everything except long term aging. I’m slowly switching over from better bottles to glass carboys for this reason specifically.

EDIT: I like to chime in on these topics because I have 3 buckets, 2 better bottles, and 2 carboys. Not saying I’m an expert, but I do have a frame of reference on all 3.

Dobe, thanks for the input. I currently use glass carboys and the weight just seems so annoying sometimes, especially since you have to bear hug them to carry them. I never thought about the fact that better bottles would compress lifting them this way, I don’t know that I like that either.

just empty the airlock and you are fine - fill when you get back to where want to put them. Glass are great - but heavy and slippery and also when an accident happens you can really suffer. many people have - I learned quickly. I use buckets and a carboy for ales and porters. all better bottles and a bucket or two for my winemaking.

I have 4 buckets, 2 BBs and 3 carboys. I use the buckets mostly, the rest collect dust. I hardly ever use the carboys for extended aging, I have lots of kegs so I do my aging in those.

[quote=“K-9”] Glass are great - but heavy and slippery and also when an accident happens you can really suffer. [/quote]Put your BBs and glass carboys in milk crates, easier to carry and a lot safer in the case of glass carboys.

Just my opinion:
Buckets: They stink I’m a yeast pervert and I like to watch.
Better bottles: I had one and used the rocking method to oxygenate. I’m a moron. It developed a hairline crack on a seam on the bottom, just glad It leaked full of Star San and not wort. Plus I never trusted that I was getting it clean. Think about it, did your Mom scrub behind your ears or soak your head in acid over night.Hmmmmmmm.
Glass carboys: 2 6.5 acid for primary, 3- 5 gallon for secondary on large beers. They are heavy, but they clean up great, and I can peak during the process.

I have 12+ buckets, 5 glass carboys, and 3 BBs (with racking valves). I prefer the buckets for volume, ease of use, and cleaning. If your buckets aren’t sealing well, get a quality bucket with a gasket in the lid - mine are air-tight.

I have a couple buckets, 2 6.5G BB, 2 6.5G glass and a 5G glass.
What I’m learning is to generally use the buckets for primary - I used one of the BB for my last primary and it was a pain to clean, even using PBO.
I’m planning on doing more extended aging, so the BB will mostly be for shorter aging, the glass for longer term, and sours.
I’ll stick with the bugs in glass just because of the easier to sanitize part.

Buckets are great because you can really get in there and clean them. They’re also very cheap. BB are nice too, and if you’re using PBW to clean then they’re pretty easy also.

There are some really great (and some scary) stories here on NB about glass carboys. If I didn’t make so much wine, I’d probably get rid of all of mine.

I have 2 BB, appx 10 carboys, a 15 gal conical that I’m thinking about getting rid of (the welds are rough and I’m too afraid to use it), and a 12 gal SS cornie style fermenter.

I’m brewing again on Sunday, I’ll be using the BB.

I have a half dozen BBs and love them. They don’t scratch that easily, in fact if you keep the large brushes to a minimum they don’t scratch at all. Don’t add boiling water to one though, they won’t take that.

Dobe, I’d bet anything you could sterilize that BB and use it for normal brews.

[quote=“tom sawyer”]I have a half dozen BBs and love them. They don’t scratch that easily, in fact if you keep the large brushes to a minimum they don’t scratch at all. Don’t add boiling water to one though, they won’t take that.

Dobe, I’d bet anything you could sterilize that BB and use it for normal brews.[/quote]

I’ve read a lot of posts that would contradict your statement. It’s plastic. It scratches easily. Bacteria can get into those scratches and can be very hard to get out. I have no scientific proof to back this… just what I’ve read many times.

I have BB’s, glass carboys, buckets, and Curtec drums. By far my favorites are the Curtec drums and buckets. I only use the carboys and BB’s for beers that need long term bulk aging, wine, cider, and mead. Not sure what brand of buckets you guys are using that leak but I have yet to get a 6.5gal bucket without a good seal.

I just take the airlock out when I need to move it and don’t initially put it in until it is in its fermentation home.

I just take the airlock out when I need to move it and don’t initially put it in until it is in its fermentation home.[/quote]

Sure, but if I want to move the BB say from a fridge to another spot in my house, I can take the airlock out and move it, but that suction is pulling oxygen into the fermentor. Not good.

[quote=“dobe12”][quote=“tom sawyer”]I have a half dozen BBs and love them. They don’t scratch that easily, in fact if you keep the large brushes to a minimum they don’t scratch at all. Don’t add boiling water to one though, they won’t take that.

Dobe, I’d bet anything you could sterilize that BB and use it for normal brews.[/quote]

I’ve read a lot of posts that would contradict your statement. It’s plastic. It scratches easily. Bacteria can get into those scratches and can be very hard to get out. I have no scientific proof to back this… just what I’ve read many times.[/quote]
They are all I use and I haven’t had a problem. I’ve done about 15 brews. I’m no expert and I know plenty of people here have done much more than that, but thus far they have been perfect for me.

I want to move to the Curtec drums but sourcing them has been interesting.

I am a Carboy brewer. 3 - 6 gal and 5 - 5 gal. I would like ot get two Cutrec drums and relegate all my glass to secondary (and cut my # of brew days in half).

Barry

[quote=“dustinwwww”][quote=“dobe12”][quote=“tom sawyer”]I have a half dozen BBs and love them. They don’t scratch that easily, in fact if you keep the large brushes to a minimum they don’t scratch at all. Don’t add boiling water to one though, they won’t take that.

Dobe, I’d bet anything you could sterilize that BB and use it for normal brews.[/quote]

I’ve read a lot of posts that would contradict your statement. It’s plastic. It scratches easily. Bacteria can get into those scratches and can be very hard to get out. I have no scientific proof to back this… just what I’ve read many times.[/quote]
They are all I use and I haven’t had a problem. I’ve done about 15 brews. I’m no expert and I know plenty of people here have done much more than that, but thus far they have been perfect for me.[/quote]

I’m not saying you WILL get an infection or have issues using a better bottle. All I’m saying is they are more likely than other options due to the fact that they are plastic, do scratch easier, and are harder to clean. Read up on infections and plastic. Once you get an infection, you don’t want to use any plastic equipment that touched that beer for another beer again… unless you’re fermenting a sour.

[quote=“Vulkin’”]I want to move to the Curtec drums but sourcing them has been interesting.

I am a Carboy brewer. 3 - 6 gal and 5 - 5 gal. I would like ot get two Cutrec drums and relegate all my glass to secondary (and cut my # of brew days in half).

Barry[/quote]

Elaborate please, on the “Curtec” or “Cutrec” drums…Got a pic, perhaps, and what they are normally used for?

Thanks!