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Plastic or Glass Carboy for fermentation

I don’t expect a right or wrong answer here, just curious as to what folks opinions were.

Realized that I’ve tried brewing too many brews at once and don’t have another secondary carboy, so I think I’ll be getting another one. I currently have a Better Bottle 5 gallon.

So, Plastic or Glass carboy for secondary… which do you prefer and why?

For secondary, glass. When I use a secondary its typically for bulk aging and I want the vessel to be impermeable to oxygen. Glass has this quality, plastic does not.

I thought plastic was impermeable to oxygen

I need to start reading posts slower.

You are right. Better bottles are impermeable. Buckets are not. In the case of better bottle vs glass, it doesn’t matter. I only have glass, so that’s my preference because I already have them.

For secondary I doubt it matters one bit as far as the beer’s concerned.

I prefer BB’s, but that’s what I started with so I really don’t have a lot of basis for comparison. My brother uses glass and we’ve both got opposite opinions: I don’t like his carboys because you can’t pick them up by the neck and it’s a lot of extra weight to haul up and down the stairs. He doesn’t like mine because they’re flexible so you need to swap the airlock for a solid bung to prevent suckback when you pick them up.

You can also use SS corny kegs for secondary. They have handles!

[quote=“roffenburger”]I need to start reading posts slower.

You are right. Better bottles are impermeable. Buckets are not. In the case of better bottle vs glass, it doesn’t matter. I only have glass, so that’s my preference because I already have them.[/quote]

All plastics are permeable to some degree. Sure, you may not want to age a beer in a bucket for years, but for most cases, buckets, better bottles, etc… they will work just fine. Plenty of home brewers use plastic to ferment and even age for certain amounts of time. I agree that glass is probably the best option for long aging though.

In reality, the amount of oxygen that can work its way through a plastic bucket or better bottle is miniscule compared to how much oxygen is introduced when popping the lid/top to take a gravity reading.

People make WAY to big of a deal out of the permeability of certain plastics when talking about home brewing.

I was referencing a long term aging-several months.

Can you quantify “several months”?

With no scientific basis or personal experience, I would say that ~6 months is probably OK for plastic. Going 10-18 months may be an issue. But could still be OK.

I’ve had a forgotten beer turn to vinegar in a glass carboy (6-7 months). Though probably from a dry air lock.

First I’ll mention that I always primary in a plastic bucket and that I rarely do a secondary. When I do a secondary I use glass carboys because it’s what I came across for cheap. However, if I had my choice, I’d probably go with plastic. I typically do all my transferring upstairs in the kitchen and my fermenting and aging in the basement. I don’t like carrying full glass carboys up and down the stairs. I see the weight and durability as the deciding factor in my situation.

Can you quantify “several months”?

With no scientific basis or personal experience, I would say that ~6 months is probably OK for plastic. Going 10-18 months may be an issue. But could still be OK.

I’ve had a forgotten beer turn to vinegar in a glass carboy (6-7 months). Though probably from a dry air lock.[/quote]
I agree with you on the timeframe.

I used to carry 6.5 gallon carboys up and down stairs at the place I lived last; it’s sketchy business. I use a brew hauler, but you can’t always trust that stuff when it comes to full glass carboys. I ferment 4 gallons in 5 gallon glass carboys now and use brew haulers. It works out pretty well and I don’t have to carry them far (about 10 feet at the most). I keep contemplating switching to better bottles because of all the horror stories I read about broken glass carboys, but haven’t made the switch. I’m sure it’ll actually take breaking one for me to make the switch.

Is there any reason you couldn’t use this for fermentation? http://www.amazon.com/Camwear-Polycarbo … pd_sim_k_2

Like a bucket, but with the benefits of a better bottle…just get the lid, drill it for a grommet and stopper…

Might be something I look into if glass doesn’t work out for me in the future. I realize it’s only 22 quarts, but I brew 4 gallon batches, so it’d be perfect for me.

$43 w/lid? Why not just buy a carboy/bucket/better bottle… or several for that price.

I don’t know…I guess you’re right. This has the best of both options though…clear bucket. But it doesn’t matter that much…
I’m pretty careful with glass and don’t ever move it far, so I’m not worried about it, but this could be an option.

Plastic or glass for primary.
Glass or stainless steal for secondary.

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