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  1. Cool Better bottles carboys vs glass?

    Okay in just about to go out and buy a wine making equipment, so that I may get started on my ventures....now looking around on a few web sights I'm not confused just wondering which is better a better bottle carboy or glass? figured I would utilize what I have and ask.
    ~ck~

  2. #2
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    There's been lots of discussion of the pros and cons of better bottles vs glass, I'd spend a while messing with the search function on these forums and see what you can dig up, then if there's still anything left unanswered for you bring it up in this thread and I'm sure people will be happy to answer.

    No easy answer on "which is better" though, they're just different.

    Welcome to the site and good luck with your meadmaking! Be sure to post your recipes/ideas/questions.

  3. #3
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    Whichever one you get, buy a milk crate along with the carboy. All of mine are glass (I have nightmares of the sides of a better bottle flexing and causing a geyser!), and I'm not that strong to easily manhandle them when full. I'm always nervous when i rack and wash. I finally filched some milk crates from work (I bought 'em, so they're mine ), and wow! Much easier to move those suckers around, and especially to lift. You can even use two people if necessary. They also keep the carboys separated so they don't clink together disastrously.

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    Oh, and welcome to Gotmead!

  5. #5

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    I'm using both right now... For my beers, I like the 6 gallon Better Bottle primary, and 5 gallon secondary. I have a "Chinese" knock-off that's going back... After just one brew going through it (in secondary fermentation, going to just 7% ABV) the plastic is showing discoloration (like it's been stressed) so I don't trust it at all. The Better Bottle (acutal) are not showing any of that...

    If the weight of the glass isn't an issue for you, and you can make sure you don't drop them, or clink them together too hard, then you could go that route. In the small sizes the cost difference is typically minimal. It's when you get to the 5 gallon and above sizes that it gets to be a larger difference. Oh, and the plastic/Better Bottles have a wider mouth, so you can fit a larger funnel in there... Makes things easier on the pour I find.

    I'm leaning towards long term, and high %ABV fermentations in glass... Short fermentations (a few weeks or so) and/or lower %ABV then the Better Bottles should be great... Of course, I would recommend staying clear of the clones since you cannot be sure they're built to the same standards (as I'm already finding out)...

    I would also say, that if you do go both, make sure you inspect your carboys (both kinds) every time you use, or clean, them... At the first sign of something being not kosher, don't use them... You don't want to have it fail either in the middle of the night, or when you're at work, and come home to ~5 gallons of sticky stuff all over your floor (unless you're fermenting where there's a floor drain and hose hookup)...

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    Better Bottles are significantly lighter. A LOT lighter! If your brewing space is such that you have to move things around a lot, the weight savings can be really nice. They are also less likely to shatter, which means less danger of cuts in case something goes badly.

    Glass is less gas permeable, harder to scratch, and can take a wider range of temperatures and chemicals (for cleaning), so it does have some advantages. It also doesn't flex when you pick it up, which is something you don't think about until your Better Bottle moves a little and shoots liquid out the top.
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

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    Quote Originally Posted by akueck View Post
    It also doesn't flex when you pick it up, which is something you don't think about until your Better Bottle moves a little and shoots liquid out the top.
    Ooh, now I remember the reason why I don't use my 5-gal plastic carboys unless I have no other choice...
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

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    One other tip - skip the racking port on Better Bottles. They are a pain to remove and clean, and don't add much value in my opinion.
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Medsen Fey View Post
    One other tip - skip the racking port on Better Bottles. They are a pain to remove and clean, and don't add much value in my opinion.
    VERY good tip... Besides, that little hole adds a lot to the price (if memory serves)...

    The only container I have with a hole drilled into it is the bottling bucket...

  10. #10

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    Well I use both but I lean towards glass. The reason why is because the Better Bottles flex and when i move to rack and bottle the flex seems to stir up any bit of lees and my mead gets cloudy again. With glass this effect is minimal when moving to bottling.

    Just my opinion and its not worth a lot right now...

    Steve


    Oh yes welcome to Gotmead! You will like it here.
    - Quemadmoeum gladis nemeinum occidit, occidentis telum est. ~Lucius Annaeus Seneca

  11. #11

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    Thinking about it a bit more this afternoon... I'll probably stick with glass carboys for mead, and use the plastic ones for beers... Flexing is less of an issue in beers than mead... Especially the dark things I'm brewing...

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    If the carboy was as full as I usually keep mine I imagine any flex would pop the airlock off and shoot mead/beer out.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by AToE View Post
    If the carboy was as full as I usually keep mine I imagine any flex would pop the airlock off and shoot mead/beer out.
    Are you over-filling them I'm putting the listed volume in them (5 gallons in a 5 gallon)... Plenty of headspace so that as long as you're not slinging them around like you're insane, they should be fine... I have been putting them on towels in order to just slide them along the floor when needing to move them. At least for the 5 gallon sizes... 3 gallon and smaller is a snap to pick up as needed. Granted, I've only been doing that when it was just filled, or when taking it to the sink to clean (already emptied out)...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
    Are you over-filling them I'm putting the listed volume in them (5 gallons in a 5 gallon)... Plenty of headspace so that as long as you're not slinging them around like you're insane, they should be fine... I have been putting them on towels in order to just slide them along the floor when needing to move them. At least for the 5 gallon sizes... 3 gallon and smaller is a snap to pick up as needed. Granted, I've only been doing that when it was just filled, or when taking it to the sink to clean (already emptied out)...
    I haven't met a carboy that is actually the volume it says it is yet! I have bigger and smaller single gallons, and bigger and smaller 6 gallons (works great for secondary to tertiary, just a slightly smaller container). I fill them up as much as necessary to minimize headspace, I try to shoot for partway up the neck full, but sometimes end up with a little more headspace than that. The less the better.

  15. #15

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    Ah... Before I actually put anything in mine for the first time I fill it with the listed volume... I find some way to mark it so that I know when it's "full" without going too high, or too low... The plastic ones are easy to mark with a sharpie, as are buckets... Glass ones I just use tape...

  16. #16
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    That works. I'm not really concerned with what actual volume I have (more the better though, as I'm bound to lose some every time I rack and will end up having to top it off with glass beads), I like to keep headspace as minimal as possible. I haven't had any issues yet, other than if I put it into the carboy before it's done fermenting and it bubbles up the airlock (really only happens to me with beer).

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    As far as stirring things up before bottling, I try to move things the day before I bottle. Even in glass things move around, so just give them time to settle out again.

    And yes, the flexing of the PET carboys makes the airlock go insane. And when you set it down it goes in reverse. If you can finagle it so the carboy doesn't have to move, you don't have to worry about it. But then, you can just use glass since you don't have to move it...
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

  18. #18

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    Wildoates, thanks...... great idea using milk crates. Nobody has mentioned it yet, but glass just seems much more natural and organic to me. Never have trusted any kind of plastic, no matter how food safe it claims to be.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Leaf's Reckless Son View Post
    Wildoates, thanks...... great idea using milk crates. Nobody has mentioned it yet, but glass just seems much more natural and organic to me. Never have trusted any kind of plastic, no matter how food safe it claims to be.
    Actually, plastic is technically much more "organic" than glass, which is just some melted rocks.

  20. #20

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    Quote Originally Posted by AToE View Post
    Actually, plastic is technically much more "organic" than glass, which is just some melted rocks.
    Curious to hear your logic behind that one...

    Glass has been made for centuries. Plastic is only been around for a decades... Depending on the actual plastic is what's used to make it. Glass is [essentially] the same base material with modifications that are fairly straight forward. Plastics can be completely synthetic (made in a lab)...

    If you do want something that can be completely flavor neutral, then glass is going to be the better choice. Plastics, no matter how good (of what's currently available) will always be vulnerable to being tainted. Scrub them a little too much and you score them and then forget about using them for fermenting. It takes a LOT to score glass (you need some pretty abrasive stuff to do it)...

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