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petersch
07-26-2009, 08:57 PM
New mead maker here. I don't want to spend money on a carboy, so can I just use one of those 5 gallon buckets with a sealed lid? I can make a hole and a seal for the bubbler air lock. Is there some special reason to use a carboy? Does having a large exposed surface area have anything to do with it?
Thanks all...

akueck
07-26-2009, 09:53 PM
A food grade plastic bucket is a great fermenter, but not a great storage vessel. Carboys and/or kegs are going to be what you're looking for to store mead for more than a few weeks to a month. Plastic buckets are too air permeable and you will oxidize the contents over time. An alternative to a glass carboy are the plastic Better Bottle carboys, which are supposed to be less gas permeable than your typical bucket. They are also lighter and cheaper than glass, and won't shatter if you drop one.

Medsen Fey
07-27-2009, 10:23 AM
Stainless steel Cornelius kegs are another option that I find practical.

Whatever you choose, you need something other than a bucket to prevent oxidation.

Buckets will allow so much oxygen that I've even considered using bucket aging for my Meadeira batches to see it that would be a better approach than using an estufa.

wildoates
07-27-2009, 12:06 PM
Yah, I've got an experimental batch that's about 3 gallons but no 3 gallon carboy to rack it into. I've got a million of 5 gallons though. I hate to buy another 3-gal just for this!

AToE
07-27-2009, 12:12 PM
If you want to save money, I've been using 1 gallon glass jugs. They're extremely cheap (5-6$) and you can do several smaller batches at once - so if you wreck one you've only wasted a small amount of honey.

I couldn't imagine using something opaque, glass is so much more fun, you can watch the action directly.

If that's a little too small for you, 3 gallon carboys are pretty cheap anyways, you'll probably spend more money on the honey than the glass to get started.

Dan McFeeley
07-27-2009, 12:16 PM
Another possibility, and possibly cheaper, is collecting a few one gallon/four liter containers used for jug wine. It'll work but you won't get the full bulk aging effect using a full size carboy suited for your batch size.

Medsen Fey
07-27-2009, 12:23 PM
Yah, I've got an experimental batch that's about 3 gallons but no 3 gallon carboy to rack it into. I've got a million of 5 gallons though. I hate to buy another 3-gal just for this!

The mineral oil option (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showpost.php?p=105643&postcount=4) is worth considering.

And AToE, what may be the ultimate aging vessel is opaque - A wooden barrel! :)

AToE
07-27-2009, 12:29 PM
The mineral oil option (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showpost.php?p=105643&postcount=4) is worth considering.

And AToE, what may be the ultimate aging vessel is opaque - A wooden barrel! :)

Fair enough! I guess opaque sheilds from light too. I was just thinking about how much I would miss being able to see the yeasties doing their work if I was using an opaque fermentation vessel.