View Full Version : Primary fermentation in plastic

12-15-2005, 01:02 PM

I have a question before I get my first brew going. Every other concern I have had has already been addressed sufficiently already (thanks for that!.) Im making a Sac which I hope to infuse with vanilla/ginger at the first or second racking.

So the question: Is it recommended to do the entire fermentation of the must in glass, or can you get away with doing the primary fermentation in plastic and then rack to glass without problems with flavour / oxidation?

Reason I ask is for cleaning purposes. The glass carboys I have are the tear drop shaped ones made in Italy and they look like a bugger to clean. The plastic fermenter on the other hand would make for much easier cleaning when it comes time to rack the must from the lees.

Recommendations would be most appreciated. Thanks

12-15-2005, 01:05 PM
Plastic buckets are extremely popular in all forms of brewing for the primary fermenter.


P.S. Welcome.

12-15-2005, 01:27 PM

Let me add onto my previous somewhat brief post with this:

Any plastic pail can be used as a fermenter as long as it is made of the appropriate food grade plastic. Water coolers, ice chests, and even trash pails are even used by some homebrewers.

See Dmntd’s post in the forum: http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=2715.msg22085#msg22085


12-15-2005, 01:31 PM
I will also repeat that FOOD GRADE plastic is fine for your primary.

Two additional things... Make sure it has a smooth, un-nicked surface because nicks and crevaces can provide things that ruin the batch a place to hide. I also will santize my plastic twice (as opposed to once for my glass) and rinse it an additional few times to make sure I get all the sanitation chemicals out of the plastic before my must touches it...

But if you are careful, plastic is fine...

Good luck,

12-15-2005, 02:32 PM
I keep mine in a plastic pail for the initial stirring and aerations (3 days). At the end of the 3 day mark my last aeration is done by pouring (not siphoning) the must through a sterilized funnel into a glass carboy. The reason I do this is that it's the first 3 days that you are most likely to have problems with excessive foam production and blowoff... Especially when you are stirring or oxygenating your must. I had a chocolate geyser where I lost a gallon. See don't try this at home... http://www.gotmead.com/index.php?option=com_smf&Itemid=103&topic=1082.msg8234#msg8234

Plastic Primary for the first three days is the rule I live by... no longer, no less.

Hope that helps,

12-15-2005, 10:26 PM
Thanks peeps thats the info I was looking for.

My buckets are new and I have checked them for deformations and scratches etc. And they will be thoroughly cleaned. Honey is so expensive where I live - even raw from an apiary so I dont want to waste it.

Thanks again.

12-15-2005, 10:51 PM
I have the same carboy as you <tear shaped> in regards to cleaning I have had no problem. I put neo pink in there with some hot water and swish it around and everything comes of.

You can buy beer kits here that have a plastic primary, with a bottling valve at the bottom and a yeast minimizing thing <just a piece of plastic that faces upward> it works just fine for beer, with no off flavors.


12-16-2005, 01:20 AM
Welcome to the forums ;D
As long as you are really good with the sanitizing, and as long as the buckets are food grade, you should be fine. I use plastic buckets for primaries all the time, both for mead and for beer.


12-16-2005, 01:30 AM
The plastic fermenters I am using are from a homebrew shop and are designed for the purpose of fermenting beer. They have the tap, bubbler and thermometer and are not a bucket as such - more like a drum with a cap that is about half the diametre of the drum itself.

12-16-2005, 01:36 AM
That sounds really good. Where did you get them?- do they have a web site?
Oh, yeah, how many gallons do they hold?


12-16-2005, 06:45 AM
From memory, most beer fermenting barrels/drums hold about 30 litres.

Most brew shops will have them available (with tap, grommet, seal, lid, airlock and maybe digital stick on thermometer). you may have to ask tho. I've seen them on a couple of brew sites in .au under the beer brewing equipment. I'm waiting to see how my first couple of meadish type brews some out before I purchase one (because it would also mean I have to get a 25 litre carbouy).

12-17-2005, 10:26 AM
The fermenters that I have are 60L x 2 and 30L x 2.

For the life of me I cant find a pic of the fermenters anywhere. The store I bought the units from are not online as far as I know. But here is a pic of something similar. All that is missing is everything... sorry bout that. As soon as I can take a photo of it I will, if you are interested...