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Thread: Plastic Carboys

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Plastic Carboys

    A while back I posted that I had decided to drill holes in all of my plastic fermenting buckets and install spigots because I hate cleaning the auto-siphon and it would be easier to just hook up a hose and transfer to the keg via the spigot.

    Well, after my last batch I am re-thinking this. The spigot isn't ideal when re-pitching subsequent batches. Can't repitch the next batch on the yeast cake without cleaning the fermenter's spigot out. I'm also not always getting my buckets to seal enough to bump the airlocks which I know isn't necessary but it makes it difficult to monitor activity without thieving.

    I do not care for glass carboys. Too heavy and I'm afraid of injury. I've already been injured enough in my homebrewing career so I'd prefer to use plastic. I found this "The Bubbler" on Northern Brewers website and it says you don't need brushes to clean it. I find that hard to believe. Even my smooth glass carboys need to be brushed and when they dry you can see the film residue with brush marks in it. Has anyone used one of these "Bubblers" or know how they can claim you can clean a fermenter without a brush?

    Here's the link:
    http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/b...-6-gallon.html

    The plastic "Better Bottles" seem to me that you would scratch the inside of them when you use a brush on them. Also, I don't understand why the plastic ones have those ridges in the walls. Seems to me it would make it harder to clean?
    On Tap:
    Bottled:
    Kegged: Founders KBS Clone Brewed in '09 - might not be good anymore
    Primary:
    Secondary:
    Next brew: Not sure yet...

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2006
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    3,695
    Quote Originally Posted by Mikegobrew View Post
    Also, I don't understand why the plastic ones have those ridges in the walls. Seems to me it would make it harder to clean?
    Those ridges are there to avoid two things: Having a structurally unsound bottle if the ridges are removed and the wall thickness stays the same, or having to use more plastic resin to make a thicker-walled bottle that wouldn't need those ridges.
    On deck: a clone of Carolina Beer Co's Rye Stout, clone of Breckenridge's Vanilla Porter,
    Primary: Schwarzbier
    Secondary: Dortmunder, Hopweizen
    Keg Conditioning: Dunkelweizen, Roggenbier, Okto, Ord. Bitter
    On tap: Alt, Hefeweizen, Cigar City Maduro clone, Mild
    Bottled: Mead, Quad Rajet, Granola Bar Braggot

    Too much of everything is just enough.
    - J. Garcia

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    ok makes sense. Kinda like the ribs on the inside of a fiberglass boat hull. Although I have a 5 gallon glass carboy with those ridges and a 6.5 gallon glass one without. I have to use a brush to clean my glass carboys, so I wonder how you can clean a plastic one without. I will have to email NB and ask them about this.
    On Tap:
    Bottled:
    Kegged: Founders KBS Clone Brewed in '09 - might not be good anymore
    Primary:
    Secondary:
    Next brew: Not sure yet...

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    1,984
    Update to those interested...

    I emailed Northern Brewer asking them if you really do not need a brush to clean this since even my glass carboys need to be scrubbed. Their prompt reply was that indeed, a simple soak in a cleanser such as PBW or Oxyclean will work. Apparently the plastic is made of a hydrophobic plastic. I googled hydrophobic and it seems to be a repelling substance. Supposed to be easier to clean than glass. I am going to order some of them and test it out.
    On Tap:
    Bottled:
    Kegged: Founders KBS Clone Brewed in '09 - might not be good anymore
    Primary:
    Secondary:
    Next brew: Not sure yet...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    493
    Indeed, cleanser should do the trick. The upside to being hydrophobic is that the pores of the material are extremely small, making it difficult for bacteria to establish colonies. I'm still curious if it has a limit to how many times it can be used. It is not an inert substance, so over time it may deteriorate like a regular bucket. I'll have to read the product info.
    Two ciders please, I'm thirsty!

    On deck: Soon Cider
    Fermenting: None
    bottled: Old and dusty something rathers
    Secondary: None
    Kegged: Carbonated Water (enjoying home made soda syrups)

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    NB website says it should last a long time. I wonder if the hydrophobic part would help cut down on how much krausen can creep up and out?
    On Tap:
    Bottled:
    Kegged: Founders KBS Clone Brewed in '09 - might not be good anymore
    Primary:
    Secondary:
    Next brew: Not sure yet...

  7. #7
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    493
    It stands to reason, but I don't know how much it will help. The slick sides will certainly remove some support, but the underlying bubble armada will do what it wants.
    Two ciders please, I'm thirsty!

    On deck: Soon Cider
    Fermenting: None
    bottled: Old and dusty something rathers
    Secondary: None
    Kegged: Carbonated Water (enjoying home made soda syrups)

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