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View Full Version : How many people are currently using bucket primaries?



goodvibes
01-28-2008, 08:39 AM
Just curious to see who's using what.

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-28-2008, 09:33 AM
I use both these days...

If I am making something that has a lot of fruit to add/take out before a normal racking, I use a bucket. Adding or removing steeping bags full of stuff or punching down a fruit cap is easier in a bucket.

But if I am making something like a straight mead, I use a 6.5 gallon glass carboy.

liff
01-28-2008, 10:07 AM
I like the buckets. More better when aerating, cleaning, and stirring. Just my opinion.

Liff

vanoob
01-28-2008, 11:19 AM
I chose Other because I use both extensively. Like Pewter, it just depends on the nature of he batch. Lots of fruit and/or desire to aerate aggressively and I use a bucket. For traditional or juice only I usually opt for a carboy (out of laziness) and switch a sanitized cloth for an airlock around day 5.

Yo momma
01-28-2008, 06:17 PM
I use a bucket for everything because it is easier to clean plus easier to handle the spillage. You can make a 6 gal. batch and rack into a five gallon carboy plus have some spillage for later. :drunken_smilie:
:cheers:

wildaho
01-28-2008, 06:23 PM
Buckets for me too. Aeration and cap management are so much easier. :icon_thumleft:

wayneb
01-28-2008, 06:32 PM
For all the reasons mentioned, buckets are the best way to go.

GrantLee63
01-28-2008, 07:48 PM
I use a bucket as it is easier to aerate during the first 3 or 4 days - one volcano out of a carboy was all it took for me ! After the aeration period, I always transfer to a 6 1/2 gallon carboy.

- GL63

Medsen Fey
01-28-2008, 10:58 PM
I am partial to cornelius kegs as primary fermenters. It is easy to aerate through the lid, they are easy to clean, they don't scratch or stain, they keep out the light, and I can fit 4 of them in the fridge (as opposed to 1 carboy) to keep the temp controlled. When transfer time comes, you can easily move it to the secondary by pushing it with CO2 from canister to canister without exposure to air (you can also put a filter in between easily). Taking a sample for testing or tasting is simple. Best of all, if you have butterfingers (like me) they cannot shatter. For $30 they are hard to beat.

With all that said, if I am making a batch with lots of fruit, I still think the plastic bucket is the way to go.

Medsen

ucflumberjack
01-28-2008, 11:08 PM
I use buckets just because i use the carboys for aging and dont have extras. i would probably not use buckets at all if i had enough carboy space.

Oskaar
01-29-2008, 12:02 AM
I use everything from a bucket to a corny keg. Depends on what I'm making.

Cheers,

Oskaar

goodvibes
01-29-2008, 12:58 AM
I started usings the bucket primary not only because i found it easier to manage overall, but lately i've been using d47 for some cysers i have going and it's been near impossible to aerate in my carboy without ending up with a huge mess. Haven't had any problems with the bucket primary yet so i'll probably stick with it. thanks for the responses....just wanted to see what others were up to.

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-29-2008, 11:06 AM
I am partial to cornelius kegs as primary fermenters. It is easy to aerate through the lid, they are easy to clean, they don't scratch or stain, they keep out the light, and I can fit 4 of them in the fridge (as opposed to 1 carboy) to keep the temp controlled. When transfer time comes, you can easily move it to the secondary by pushing it with CO2 from canister to canister without exposure to air (you can also put a filter in between easily). Taking a sample for testing or tasting is simple. Best of all, if you have butterfingers (like me) they cannot shatter. For $30 they are hard to beat.

Medsen,

What do you do to keep the pressure from building during fermentation and exploding the cornie?

Thanks,
Pewter

Medsen Fey
01-29-2008, 12:53 PM
Hello Pewter,

I don't think you have to worry about exploding kegs. They are supposedly rated at 130 PSI (though I would never want to test it), and I believe the yeast would go dormant before reaching anything approaching that pressure, but if anyone has seen such a thing, please chime in.

Normally, I will keep the lid unlocked and covered with a sanitized cloth for the first 2 or 3 days when aeration is most important. You could easily unscrew the pressure relief valve in the lid and use a cotton ball in the opening as well. When I am done with aerating, I either attach a blow-off tube or an airlock. There are numerous different ways of accomplishing this - and it really isn't difficult (I for one, am not particularly mechanically inclined).

An easy solution (but kind of pricey) is a Keg Fermenter Kit (http://www.midwestsupplies.com/products/ProdByID.aspx?ProdID=6120). You can probably get the components and put it together yourself for less than $10 if you have an airlock already.

I've not tried a Keg Pasty (http://www.kegpasties.com/) but it looks like a simple way to put an airlock on. Another approach to airlock installation can be seen here (http://www.bodensatz.com/upage/?page=mike_a_kegs).

From the kegging information page at Leeners.com (http://www.leeners.com/kegginghow2.html) comes the following:


Primary fermentation: About the easiest way to temporarily set up a keg as a primary fermentation vessel is to simply remove the entire gas IN valve assembly and tube. Slip a length of 1/2-in. ID. vinyl tubing over the threaded fitting and run it into an airlock.
If you brew beers that typically have enormous amounts of blow-off, you can modify a keg lid for dedicated use as a fermenter by drilling a hole big enough for a blow-off hose. Enlarge it if needed using a hand grinder or a file. Fittings, washers, and seals available at your local hardware store will enable you to use a blow-off tube that's larger than 1/2 in.
Secondary fermentation: To avoid these modifications and the cleanup associated with primary fermentation in Corny kegs, you can use them only for secondary fermentation. After completing the primary in an open fermenter, I rack to an unmodified, sanitized Corny. Every other day or so I relieve gas pressure that builds up inside the keg by simply pressing the gas-side valve or the pressure relief valve open for a second or two.


You can also take the poppet valve out of the Gas/In Post and fit a large tube (I forget exactly what size) over the whole post for a blow off tube. I find the quickest way for me is to just to attach a connector to the Gas/In post of the keg, attach a hose to the connector, and put the hose into a wine bottle partially filled with water. It takes me no more time than rigging up an airlock.

With any of these methods, since there isn't a lot of headspace, I do suggest using antifoam drops - though with a blow-off tube it really isn't necessary.

Yet another long answer for a short question.

Medsen

butterlily5
01-29-2008, 09:38 PM
I use a carboy, mainly because both my husband AND my mom-in-law can taste the difference. So, I deal with the problems with much patience (and many colorful sailor words!) :BangHead: ;)

Oskaar
01-29-2008, 10:38 PM
I use 3/8 inch tubing for a blow-off on my cornies. I like the barbed connectors.

Cheers,

Oskaar

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-30-2008, 11:29 AM
Random thoughts related to the thread...

I am currently rethinking things as I am out of glass and have a few empty cornies...

Trouble is that I REALLY like glass for the secondaries because I can see how things are clearing and how much lees has built up...

The other problem is that since each racking loses a little volume, I like going from 7 gallon plastic to 6.5 gallon glass to 6 gallon glass to 5 gallon glass as a racking sequence. 5 gallon cornies don't fit into it nicely unless I do half batches in two cornies...

Because they are so space efficient, it'd be nice to store longer term in cornies, but I have the problem that since I don't use chemical stoppers, I have to worry about fermentation in a sealed vessel.

And I have heard tales of at least one cornie that exploded sending metal shards through tent walls at a summer SCA event. Don't remember the details but I can't help but think that cornie bombs are possible, even if more unlikely, than bottle bombs.

Comments?

Medsen Fey
01-30-2008, 05:15 PM
I agree that not being able to see the clearing and the build-up of lees is a negative - this is my one big complaint with using the corny kegs. When I take samples for tasting I can check the clarity, but it just isn't the same as being able to look at a carboy.

The lack of intermediate sizes doesn't bother me much. When I have done larger batches, I just split it into two kegs - since I flush them with CO2 or inert gas it doesn't really matter how much head space is in there. If the total volume in the two gets down to 5 gallons, I can combine them again.

Fermentation in the vessel really doesn't present a problem. Sometimes folks who brew beer will prime the beer in the keg so that it ferments to carbonate the beer naturally and it seems to work just fine. If you do have some refermentation that occurs, you can release the pressure every once in a while as you check on it. I do this as my meads de-gas while aging after fermentation is complete (typically every 2-3 weeks). Alternatively you can keep an airlock on (or a fancy pressure release valve if you prefer).

As for an exploding keg, I'd like to know what someone did to cause that - it can't have been easy. I would love to see that (at a safe distance, mind you). I may get my chance, as I am planning to cook a batch in my "attic estufa" this summer and plan on keeping it in the keg. In 120 F heat, if a keg can go, that will probably do it. You've got me thinking that I may want to keep an airlock on it (maybe with glycerin so it doesn't dry out).

On a different note, when I use a bucket, I hate fussing with bucket lids that are hard to get on and off (if they seal well). I saw the Tuff Tank fementers with a screw top (http://www.eckraus.com/9_GAL_TUFF/Page_1/TT090.html) advertised and I was wondering if they might be a lot easier. Is anyone using these (or something similar)?

Also, Butterlily you said your husband and mother-in-law can taste the difference between the carboy and bucket. How's that possible? Is your bucket old? Does it have some odors that remain in it between batches? I'm just wondering because I've not heard that before.

Medsen

butterlily5
01-30-2008, 06:30 PM
Medsen,
Actually, my bucket it brand new, and well cleaned, since I always clean & sanitize it every time I make or move something, just in case I need the space. But, they have both separately asked me about a plastic taste they detected, so I decided not to go that route anymore. Besides, I can see what's going on, and I like that. :usa2:

Medsen Fey
01-30-2008, 09:38 PM
Sorry for straying off topic, but I looked up yeast fermentation under pressure. Fermentation stops at 7 bar of CO2(approximately 101 psi). This should not blow a keg that is not defective in some manner.

Pewter_of_Deodar
01-31-2008, 11:56 AM
Medsen,
Actually, my bucket it brand new, and well cleaned, since I always clean & sanitize it every time I make or move something, just in case I need the space. But, they have both separately asked me about a plastic taste they detected, so I decided not to go that route anymore. Besides, I can see what's going on, and I like that. :usa2:


I have friends that can taste the plastic in a batch as well without being told how the batch was fermented. I am not going to stop using plastic but I may limit the time in the plastic to a minimum even though my taste buds are not sensitive enough to notice a difference...

I clean my fermenter pretty thoroughly when I am done with it, as well as allowing it to set full of water for a day or two, then sterilize it and sometimes have to repeat the process since I can still smell the last batch in it. Once I get the smell of the old batch out of it, I can usually smell the "plastic" smell.

So for now I will use the plastic when I have fruits to deal with and change over to glass when I rack off the fruits... Aeration in glass doesn't seem to be a problem for me...