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Rookie Review - The Big Mouth Bubbler

As a rookie brewer, I’ve been using the 6.5 gallon bucket for my first few brews. After fighting the lid, the first one broke trying to remove it and the second lid, a sealed lid, was very hard to remove when making gravity readings or getting ready for bottling. So I decided to look into another fermenter and choose the Big Mouth Bubbler (BMB). I had read several reviews on it and finally decided to purchase it a few months ago.

Since then I’ve brewed three batches and have come to love the BMB. Here’s what I like about it;

  • You can watch your brew ferment. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is as a rookie brewer to fill up that translucent bucket, put the lid on it, and wait not knowing what’s going on it the bucket and relying solely on the airlock activity (which isn’t a valid method for a leaky bucket). With the BMB I can watch the krausen form, watch the yeast swirling around eating up all of the sugars, and when the airlock activity stops you can see the yeast drop to the bottom as it finishes up.

  • So easy to clean and sanitize. The cleaning part is so easy with the large opening. You can get your whole arm in the BMB to help clean it. The only drawback is the dimpling in the sides. It seems to catch little bits of stuff, but doesn’t take away from the ease of cleaning off the scum ring from the krausen and any sediment/yeast in the bottom after raking to the bottling bucket.

  • The lid accepts the same bung hole stopper as a glass carboy so I didn’t have to make any additional purchase. The lid is also easy to clean as the gasket can easily be removed for cleaning and sanitizing. I’ve read complaints about the lid pushing out during active fermentation. I’ve noticed it push out, but it still seals well.

  • You only have to remove the bung and airlock to make gravity readings. The robber fits nicely through the bung hole so you don’t have to fight removing the lid from your bucket.

  • It’s pretty rugged, but it is plastic. It won’t break if you drop it when your hands are slick with cleaner or sanitizer.

So what didn’t I like about it?

  • Well my biggest complaint is that it has no handles. Moving it isn’t easy without handles, but I was able to purchase a cheap macramé carrier made of nylon for $7. It fits perfectly and makes moving the BMB a breeze.

  • Be careful when sanitizing it and using hot water. I think it’s spec’d at 140F, but I’d be careful using very hot water. I’ve seen posts where it has melted the BMB. I believe they have introduced a glass version if you want to pay the extra premium for glass.

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Perhaps someday, you’ll get past the watching part… I switched to the stainless steel buckets… No way will I go back… Sneezles61

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I find watching the first day or two to be very interesting. And it’s part of the fun for new, rookie brewers. I hope I don’t loose that excitement in the brewing process. I also like the minimalistic approach to keep it “home” brewing.

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It’s really fun to see the look on the faces of your friends when show them a piece of the brewing process… A few of mine would look in horror… Sneezles61

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Me do use them as well. Only down fall make sure the cap is thight so it does not leak. Me did move to. Speidel fermentors. Best buy i did. Huge air lock. Has handels. And easy to clean. Must say nice price as well

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You realize you can drill a hole in the bucket lid and stick a bung of any size in and never actually have to remove the lid except for filling and cleaning .The one thing that is great about buckets is they have a nifty handle built in which comes in handy for lifting the buckets out of the fermenation chamber. By the way they make a simple tool to remove the lid. I’ll give you the watching part I guess

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I have 3 BMB, 2 plastic and 1 glass, I also have a glass Carboy and some buckets. The BMBs are my favorites

Thanks for the review @olanwade Good info for anyone considering buying one.

Used to be all I fermented in was glass carboys. I will admit that it was cool being able to see what is going on inside. Now I have gone to almost always my SS 12 gallon conical and plastic buckets. The conical has a SS lid also so you can’t see in but they do make a clear plastic lid. I never bought one because I could see me breaking it since they are hard plastic and at this stage of the game I don’t worry about it. It will ferment and if the bubbler isn’t going I just wait then open the lid to see if there is a problem after a day or two.

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I could see the conical as a nice option for 10 gallon batches or bigger. I used to to do 10 and 15 gallon batches and had thought about investing in one. I would split it into a few buckets and do different secondary additions to make different beer. It actually caused me to brew less so now I just do 5s

I ended up doing 20 gallons so half goes in the conical and the other half in two buckets. The buckets also get used to transport half the wort from the chiller to the conical. The handles are… well handy.

Buckets…simple, cheap, effective. Wanna see in? Open the lid. No Blowoff worries because they really don’t seal well enough to trap the gas inside.

I like the idea of conicals but chilling them is problematic for me at the moment. @hd4mark how do you chill your conical?

Because of it’s size the best thing I could come up with is to place it right in front of a window a/c unit. The stand I built is high enough to put a cornie keg under it making it tall enough for the a/c to blow directly on it. 60’s is about the best I can do so discovering Kveik yeast will be a big help in the summer.

I’m sure a smaller conical would fit in an upright fridge but for now I am staying with the big one and dealing with the warm temps. It’s that or figure out a way to build a large chamber that won’t break the bank.

A 6.5 BMB is the biggest fermenter that fits in my closet temperature control system. All the SS that I’ve looked at are too big.

I’ve been procrastinating on my fermentation closet project. I have the materials and a window AC unit with the thermostat disconnected. I’m going to build, in some unfinished space where my current brew cave is, a 4x6x8 insulated closet with the temp controlled window AC in one wall. put shelves inside and use some 14 gal food safe drums my LHBS gets LME in for fermenters. Not as elegant as conicals but cheap n easy. Got the idea from Mullerbrau.com aka Greg Muller @mullerbrau .

edit… @olanwade sorry for totally derailing your thread…for you pervs who just have to watch the yeast orgy use BMBs because glass will send you to the hospital sooner or later.

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They make them in plastic as well. @olanwade the $13 straps they carry here for the BMB are very well made and have excess material for holding down the lid so it doesn’t come out.

I have been using two BMB for a couple of years now and very happy with them.
I picked up a couple of carriers from https://www.carboy.net/ that I really like.
A wire through the handles and over the lid keeps the lid on through fermentation.

My plastic BMB’s are at least 4 years old now and are still fine, only concern I had was the plastic at certain points along the sides of the fermenter seems a bit stressed, “crinkled” and thin… no leaks yet thankfully but I will be more careful to avoid stressing the sides while cleaning…
I still use these for ales and hefes that I bottle. I use glass carboys for lagers and beers that I transfer to kegs with CO2 sans oxygen…

Yikes! Holy Cow, you’re going to speak it into existence :fearful:

Just FYI I still have my bucket (and my glass carboy). This gives me the opportunity to have two batches going at once, but my favorite right now is my BMB.

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