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Glass vs. Plastic Carboy

The instructions for the NB Chocolate Milk Stout Extract kit specifically says to use a glass carboy as the secondary fermentor. I have a plastic carboy that I normally use and was curious if it actually matters.

I cant imagine that it would matter, but I am only a year into this whole thing.

In all the threads that discuss glass vs. plastic vs. buckets, I’ve not seen many (any?) arguments for one vs. another that were based on anything other than personal preference.

NB would love for you to buy a glass carboy specifically to secondary this beer I bet. Love NB, but their directions need to be updated.

You don’t have to use a glass carboy for secondary. Many (most?) people don’t even use a secondary any more.

There was never any danger of a new glass carboy being purchased for this. I was just wondering if it mattered at all.

I usually do skip the secondary fermentor, but I wasn’t sure in this case because it requires that ingredients be added directly during the secondary fermenation phase.

You might be able to argue that if you were going to age for a REALLY long time it might matter (glass is less porous than plastic) but its a non-issue most of the time.

A secondary is probably a good idea on a beer like this where you are adding stuff, but its not strictly necessary, you could add it to primary. I’m increasingly being pulled into the no secondary camp, any more I only secondary when I just need to free up one of my primaries for another beer.

A glass carboy is a good idea for long-term (as in several months/years) aging when oxygen absorption is a concern (barleywines, lambics, etc.) In general, a secondary isn’t really needed unless you’re brewing a fruit beer, or you’re dry-hopping and want to harvest your yeast first, or for extended lagering. And a plastic bucket will suit you just fine (and maybe even better than glass) for stuff like a fruit beer where you’re just going to secondary for a couple of weeks at most.

At risk of Hijacking a thread :wink:

I have a Chinook IPA I am ready to dry hop this weekend. This willbe my 1st dry hop (My Rootin Tootin RIS will need it to but not til january). I have been adopting the lazy (or smart) mans approach lately and haven’ been secondarying anything not high gravity. I don’t plan to havest yeast on this batch so can I safely dry hop into the primary (in other words still forget the secondary) and roll on with no risk of flavor difference?

Barry

[quote=“Vulkin’”]At risk of Hijacking a thread :wink:

I have a Chinook IPA I am ready to dry hop this weekend. This willbe my 1st dry hop (My Rootin Tootin RIS will need it to but not til january). I have been adopting the lazy (or smart) mans approach lately and haven’ been secondarying anything not high gravity. I don’t plan to havest yeast on this batch so can I safely dry hop into the primary (in other words still forget the secondary) and roll on with no risk of flavor difference?

Barry[/quote]

Yes you can skip the secondary and go ahead and dry hop in the primary once active fermenation is complete.

Yep, just dry hop in your primary after active fermentation. I do it all the time.

Thaks guys!

Barry

So I have a new concern that has nothing to do with carboys but I figured why start a new thread. I brewed a pumpkin ale a couple nights ago and the next day my Air Conditioner decided to stop working. It wont be fixed until tomorrow which means that the beer will be fermenting in the upper 70’s, possibly in the low 80’s during the day today and probably for most of tomorrow. Is this going to ruin the final product or just speed up fermentation?

Ruined may be a strong word but temperatures that high are not a good thing for most beers. Toward the end of fermentation is at least better than starting off that way. The beer is a good size thermal mass, so its not going to just instantaneously warm up fortunately. I made quite a few beers during hot summers in oklahoma before I moved to NH and before I knew the importance of fermentation temperature that made it close to that hot at times. I certainly make better beer now, but I never “ruined” anything.

If you can rig up some sort of swamp chiller that would be a good thing. Even putting a wet tshirt over it and pointing a fan at it would be better than nothing.

Regardless of your ac issue, you should look into making a swamp chiller. Ideal fermentation temp is in the sixties, probably lower than you keep your ac. Also, actively fermenting beer can be several degrees warmer than the room.

I have been planning on getting a chest freezer to use as a fermentation chamber. I want to be able to make lagers and I figure that would be the best route to go and when I make ales I can just set the thermostat in the mid 60s. I just havent gotten around to doing it yet.

I can’t say with scientific authority, but there have been more than a few brews that spent about 8 months in the plastic bucket before I got around to kegging them, and I’ve never once noticed any off flavors from oxidization.

I can’t say with scientific authority, but there have been more than a few brews that spent about 8 months in the plastic bucket before I got around to kegging them, and I’ve never once noticed any off flavors from oxidization.[/quote]

I don’t doubt it. I’ve made mead in plastic better bottles that I let sit for many many months. I tend to eventually rack to a glass carboy just out of habit and because I can though. I imagine you would have to age for over a year before it was a concern. Almost never going to matter for most people.

great move. Found one on Craigs List, and had some dough to blow on Amazon, so I got a digital Johnson Controller (pre-wired cuz I’m lazy), but it really does give you complete control of cold side process.

You may also want to consider a brewpad. I have one on the inside of my chest freezer in case the ambient temperature is lower than my desired fermentation temperature.

Glad to see this thread is truly staying on topic :wink:

great move. Found one on Craigs List, and had some dough to blow on Amazon, so I got a digital Johnson Controller (pre-wired cuz I’m lazy), but it really does give you complete control of cold side process.

You may also want to consider a brewpad. I have one on the inside of my chest freezer in case the ambient temperature is lower than my desired fermentation temperature.

Glad to see this thread is truly staying on topic :wink: [/quote]

I was planning on doing exactly that, I just need to wait until I have the disposable income and the wife says its ok.

great move. Found one on Craigs List, and had some dough to blow on Amazon, so I got a digital Johnson Controller (pre-wired cuz I’m lazy), but it really does give you complete control of cold side process.

You may also want to consider a brewpad. I have one on the inside of my chest freezer in case the ambient temperature is lower than my desired fermentation temperature.

Glad to see this thread is truly staying on topic :wink: [/quote]

I was planning on doing exactly that, I just need to wait until I have the disposable income and the wife says its ok.[/quote]

This is all a great idea, but seriously there’s no need to wait, you can get pretty good results with a swamp chiller for way less cash. If you already have a large enough cooler to hold a bucket/carboy, then you already have everything you need.

Can a swamp cooler maintain a cold enough temp to make a lager without a lot of hassle?

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