Best Carboy Fermenters(Review 2019) – Why choose a carboy over fermentation bucket?

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If you’ve bought yourself a home brewing kit and have been looking up instructions online, then you might have come across something mentioned that you don’t find in your setup called the carboy. This is because home-brewing kits tend to include the basics you need to keep the cost down by chucking in a fermenting bucket in place of the carboy to make them more affordable. However, whilst a fermenting bucket can do the job, carboys provide some benefits you might want to take advantage of.

You might want to see this first: Best Conical Beer Fermenters

In this post, we will take you through the benefits of carboy in comparison to a fermenting bucket, how to use a carboy, what material is better for carboys out of glass and plastic, and some of our favorite carboys in each type for everyone’s budget and brewing needs. Once you’ve brewed with a carboy instead of a basic bucket you won’t look back.

What is a carboy?

The word itself actually comes from the Arabic word ‘qarrāba’ meaning ‘big jug’. However, a carboy is essentially a special vessel that has a narrow neck. Carboys are also typically used in brewing. They are usually made from either plastic or glass and can be used at the primary and secondary fermentation stages of the brewing process. The tapered neck of the design helps to prevent unwanted things out of beer that you don’t want in there, particularly, too much oxygen.

Carboys come in a range of sizes with capacity typically ranging between 5 and 15 gallons. If you want to make a big batch of beer you’re going to want a bigger carboy but beware that glass is heavy, so be sure to check you will be able to maneuver your carboy when it is full. You may also hear carboys referred to as demijohns so don’t be confused by this as you may find people use the words interchangeably.

Why choose a carboy over fermentation bucket

As with any choice you make in life, there are often pros and cons on either side of the decision you make. When it comes to choosing between bucket fermentation and carboys it is no different and it will come down to what works best for you. However, it is true to say that the more advanced homebrewers tend to favor carboys over the fermentation bucket for reasons we will outline below.

Perhaps the key advantage of the carboy (or demijohn) comes from the fact that it has a tapered neck. This reduces the amount of oxygen and other unwanted contaminants getting into your beer. It also helps to ensure oxygen can be easily channeled out of carboy by funneling the air upwards with the addition of a blow-off tube or an airlock. The downside of this design is that it can make adding in your hops harder and make them more difficult to clean.

Carboys are also almost always transparent which allows you to monitor the fermentation process more easily without having to open up the bucket lid and potentially allow in unwanted oxygen and contaminants. However, too much light can cause issues for the clarity of your beer too. Both glass and plastic carboys are also less likely to get scratched on the inside which means they tend to last longer before you have to replace them due to scratched sides which can cause sanitization issues. Glass carboys are also more impermeable than plastic options.

This being said, buckets do come with a set of their own benefits. For example, it is a lot easier to pour your wort into a bucket than into a carboy and requires only a strainer, rather than a strainer and a funnel which can easily lead to spills. Buckets are almost always plastic so unlike glass carboys they are not susceptible to shattering. The added space around the lid makes it easier to add hops, use a hydrometer, and clean without the need for a special cleaning brush. It doesn’t hurt that buckets are also much cheaper than carboys either.

What is better, a glass carboy or a plastic carboy?

We’ve already gone over the fact that everything comes with both positives and negatives and it is no different when it comes to choosing between a glass or plastic carboy. Ultimately, the decision comes down to your preferences, your bank balance, and what suits your home brewing setup. Here, we will outline both the pros cons of plastic and glass carboys to help you make the right decision for your own needs.

#1 The pros and cons of glass carboys

From being the most traditional way of brewing to being a great way to monitor your brew, a glass carboy has all sorts of benefits. However, glass and carboys also come with their own list of associated cons. Here, we outline them all to help you make the right choice for you.

Pros Cons
They are the traditional brewing method Glass is HEAVY!!!
Durable – use them again and again with very  little degradation Carboys tend to have a more limited capacity than a plastic bucket
Easier to sanitize (doesn’t scratch easily) Glass is pricey
Is impermeable (lets in less oxygen than plastic/PET carboys) Glass is more fragile than plastic
Less likely to be contaminated Potentially more difficult to clean
You can see how the brew is going Harder to add hops to

 

#2 The pros and cons of plastic carboys

Don’t rule out a plastic carboy just yet! With many of the benefits you would associate with glass carboys and less of the cons, plastic carboys have a lot to offer. Here, we outline everything you need to know about the pros and cons of plastic carboys to help you decide the best brewing device for your needs.

Pros Cons
Lightweight, cheap and no chance of shattering! Susceptible to scratching due to being softer than glass
Durable – use them again and again with very  little degradation Carboys tend to have a more limited capacity than a plastic bucket
Less likely to deteriorate quickly than a plastic bucket which makes them a good middle ground between a glass carboy and a plastic bucket brewing method Plastic is porous (increasing the likelihood for contamination of your brew)
Although not impermeable like glass, the design helps to keep out excessive levels of oxygen protecting your brew Limited lifespan in comparison to glass carboys
Less likely to be contaminated than brews in a bucket Potentially more difficult to clean
You can see how the brew is going Harder to add hops to than a bucket (although easier than a glass carboy)

Top 5 Best Carboy Fermenters 2019

#1 Best 6 Gallon Glass Carboy: Kegco’s Clear Glass 6-Gallon Carboy

When you brew beer the last thing you want to have to do is brew in small batches. Fortunately, with this glass carboy, you get 6 gallons of room which will equate to a full 5-gallons worth of your finest homebrew. Made of sturdy stuff, this glass can see through a decade of brewing without a scratch coming between you and your beer. The handy straps that come with it also make this carboy far more portable than most glass options.

Other things to like about this glass carboy are that: because it is glass, it will not retain any contaminants that will negatively affect the taste of your brew; it has plenty of room so you won’t have to make lots of mini-batches; it will keep oxygen at bay during the brewing process. The downside of this carboy is that it is not shockproof so you need to be careful when moving it around, especially when full.

#Carboy #Glass #Glass_Carboy #Brewing #Brewing_Beer

#2 Best Value 6 Gallon Glass Carboy: Northern Brewer’s 6-Gallon Glass Carboy for Beer Brewing and fermentation

If you are after a glass carboy that won’t cost you an arm and a leg but still leaves you with a decent amount of volume to brew your beer in, then you’ll love this carboy. Built to last, this product can be scrubbed by an absolute ruffian without causing the semblance of a scratch. This means sanitizing this carboy will be a breeze and you’ll never be caught out by an unexpected bad batch.

Other pros of this glass carboy are: that it is one of the cheapest on the market that hasn’t shirked on quality; it is big enough for even a hearty brewer’s tastes; it is suitable for use in both primary and secondary fermentation, and; when you buy this you get access to a range of useful videos on home brewing. The downside of this carboy is that it doesn’t come with the rubber stopper that you will need to keep oxygen at bay,.

#Carboy #Beer #Home_Brewing #Homebrew #Glass_Carboys

#3 Best Wide Mouth Glass Carboy: Kegco’s 4.75 gallon Carboy Fermenter

If you’re interested in glass carboys but are put off by the potential difficulties you might face when it comes to cleaning up after yourself, then you should check out this wide mouth carboy. Perhaps it is not technically speaking a ‘carboy’ in the classic sense. However, it comes with most of the benefits you expect from a carboy without the majority of the cons thanks to the fact you can actually easily access what you put in it!

Other benefits of this wide mouth carboy are that: it can be used for both the budding beer making and the blossoming sommelier; it comes with a handy set of straps to transport it safely; it comes with a built-in airlock as well as a useful dial to help you keep track of when your brew is ready, and; it is easy to clean. The downside of this carboy is that it doesn’t have the classic design, it is more likely to be scratched, and it is not huge.

#Wide_Carboys #Wide_Mouth_Carboys #Carboy #Brewing #Portable_Carboy

#4 Best Plastic Carboy: Vintage Shop’s 6 Gallon PET6 Carboy

This carboy is made from PET, otherwise known as polyethylene terephthalate, that has been tested and approved by the FDA for food safety. Other benefits of this plastic carboy include the fact that it is incredibly lightweight in comparison to a comparable glass carboy, it has a larger neck opening than glass variants, and it is easy to fit a spigot into this device so bottling will be a breeze with this carboy.

Other benefits of this plastic carboy are that: it is highly portable, even when filled to the brim with your special brew; it is clear which makes it easy to keep an eye on the brewing process, and; it is far cheaper than glass competitors of the same size and quality. The downsides of this carboy are that it is more likely to be scratched than a glass carboy and, because it is clear, you will need to brew your beer in a darkened space to avoid it going off.

#Beer #Homebrewing #Carboys #Plastic_Carboys #Plastic_Carboy

#5 Best Carboy Airlock: Home Brew Ohio’s Twin Bubble Airlock and Carboy Bung

You may have noticed that a number of carboys do not come complete with a bung that is going to be vital when it comes to the brewing process. If you have invested in such a piece of kit, then you should check out this dual purpose bung that will keep out oxygen and let it out as it is produced during the brewing process.

Other benefits of this bung are that: it is a great price and includes 2 for the price of one; it can be fitted to pretty much any vessel you are fermenting beer in (so long as it has a narrow spout/neck, and; it helps to ensure your homebrew does not get ruined by excessive oxygen exposure. The downside of this device is that it can be hard to connect to some carboys.

#Airlock #Home_Brewing #Bung #Carboy_Bung #Carboy_Bungs

Conclusion

Carboys are not an essential piece of kit for the novice brewer. However, if you are someone with a passion for homebrewing and want to get to really know how to make the best beer in your own home, then you are going to need to get as carboy. Glass and plastic options have different benefits but whatever your needs, you will find a carboy suited for you on this list.

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