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Plastic bucket and carboy volume calibration

I knew my plastic bucket markings were not correct and wanted to mark my 5 gallon carboy. So I grabbed the new scale I bought to measure by weight and not volume. So I used a plastic 2 quart beverage container and used the tare feature and then measured out 4.17 pounds for 2 quarts. Well my scale reads in a few different units. I used pounds and ounces and for some reason thought 4 pounds 1.7 ounces = 4.17 pounds. I thought about it after I finished measuring out 5 - gallon marks on the carboy then just the 5 gallon mark on the plastic bucket which turned out to be about a 1/2" or so off. Actually .17 pounds equals about 2.7 ounces. So the marks are of 2 ounce weight per gallon.

So…1 1/4 cups per 5 gallon batch…closer than you were on the bucket before. I wouldn’t sweat that too much. Would annoy me if I’d done that though. :oops:

Marked my carboys with electrical tape when I first purchased them…used a plastic one gallon pitcher so I may be off more than you. :shock: And of course the tape has slipped around due to temp changes, condensation, sitting in swamp coolers, etc. Keep telling myself to go back and measure by weight, mark with paint or nail polish but other things take priority it seems.

Having said that I do feel that accurate volumes obviously affect your efficiency numbers as well as to some degree the consistency of recipes from batch to batch.

My two new kettles are Bayou Classic 1064s with the etched quart markings. Nice for filling and post boil but impossible to read during a boil. For this reason I’ve been considering adding a sight glass to the BK.

I guess if I cared more about accuracy of efficiency numbers I’d do this. Whenever I’ve been unhappy with a batch it’s had little to do with this issue.

The reason I got started on measuring the volumes is I was thinking of using etching cream to mark my carboy but wanted it to be accurate before I did it. I went back this morning and rechecked the marks on the carboy (I’m OCD) and realized that with using 4 pounds 1.7 ounces and not 4 pounds 2.7 ounces like it should be that the first gallon was pretty close and by 5 gallons it was off significantly. Turns out my carboy is 5 gallons right around where the neck starts to curve. I then transferred it into my old bucket which turned out to be 1" off. Which is 13" up from the bottom of the outside. I measured against my current bucket which is in use and at 13" it is off 5/8". Which might different from the first bucket but I can’t fill it up currently. I then removed water until it matched the old 5 gallon mark it was more that 1 1/2 quarts. Which is at least 4 - 12oz bottles.

The reason I care so much that the volume is accurate is a little of everything but mostly for consistency. From mixing Star San, topping off my batch, less head space in carboy when racking to a secondary, priming sugar calculation, and having a little more beer to bottle in the end. I average about 48-49 bottles per batch. 53.333 is a full 5 gallons worth. You lose a little in different steps of the process but 4 or 5 - 12oz bottles worth seemed like a lot.

I almost made the same mistake the other day when I did my kettle.Your still way better than some of the factory markings I’ve seen which have been way off.

I did not use weight but used a half gallon pitcher I previously measured and marked with a pretty accurate measuring cup (according to reviews online which probably doesn’t mean much). I’ve found that the bucket I use, the markings are pretty accurate. I just know that I need to fill to the bottom of the line not the top.

I am not a stickler for super accurate volumes. I usually just wing it and make adjustments as needed. measuring my first runnings from my mash is about the only time I am really concerned about it so I know how much water to sparge with. I always just prepare more sparge water than I need and measure out what i don’t need and pour the rest in the cooler. I measure my first runnings with the sight glass on my kettle which may not be super accurate but I know the boil off relative to that sightglass so it all works out.

I have the same 3 pots for my HKT, MT, and BK. The manufacturer has told me that it is .95" per gallon which I have confirmed. So I literally measure my volumes with a ruler.

I measured by ounce to mark my carboys. Tedious, yes. Accurate, yes, in my mind. For markings, I used a sharpie on the outside of my glass carboy and covered the mark with a strip of clear packing tape to protect the mark from being worn/wiped off. Works great.

Never thought about covering sharpie mark with tape great idea! Right now I just used masking tape and put the top edge at the water line and wrote the number on the tape. The edge is a nice sharp line. I know it isn’t permenant but it is temporary.

Cool way to mark your carboys.

https://www.brewhardware.com/product_p/carboycal.htm

I did see the decals when I was searching for ideas. Looks pretty cool. I thought about etching marks into the carboy with Armour Etch cream but its like $12 for 3 oz bottle. My wife had a bunch of nail polish so I grabbed some red and used masking tape to make some lines. Didn’t bother with any numbers. Just made the top edge of the nail polish the exact line. The top 5 gallon line was a little tricky because it was on the curve.

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