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Toxxyc
23rd January 2018, 12:05
Good morning everyone,

So recently I've been considering doing a few small batches of all kinds of things - like beer, mead, wine, cider, etc. etc. Biggest reason is that I don't want to risk an expensive failure, and would rather try small than to spend hundreds of bucks on expensive ingredients, only to have it come out as...crap. So I've been looking for carboys, specially in the 1-gallon range, but found nothing in SA. I did find some larger ones (around 5-gal), but at almost R1k a piece is is both expensive and doesn't suit my needs.

Searched around a bit and came across and idea. Consol sells these 3l glass jars with lids. They're water and air-tight, and spare lids are cheap-cheap. They have a bunch of pros, like having wide necks, so they're really easy to clean and to add ingredients to, and their lids are VERY cheap to replace. They also have these chalk-board type patches on the outside, so you can clearly mark your contents and just wipe it off for the next run.

I got pricing from Consol, for these bottles: https://www.consol.co.za/products/jars/01662501

They quoted me R120 for 6 bottles, with lids coming in at R4 a piece extra. Would that be worth it? I mean for ~R150 I can brew a lot of different stuff in different batches. Double up the jars and I can have both primary and secondary vessels ready to go.

Am I missing something or am I on to something here?

jay95
23rd January 2018, 15:11
Consol jar should work. You will need to make a hole in the lid for the bubbler and with time all kinds of nasties will grow there. Or replace lids frequently.

Or look for something like this at your homebrew store.

http://beerguevara.com/product/demi-john-5l-glass-carboy/

Toxxyc
23rd January 2018, 15:17
Consol jar should work. You will need to make a hole in the lid for the bubbler and with time all kinds of nasties will grow there. Or replace lids frequently.

Or look for something like this at your homebrew store.

http://beerguevara.com/product/demi-john-5l-glass-carboy/


Correct, yes. I failed to mention that I'll be drilling a 13mm hole in the lids and fit an air lock, which is why I want to buy more lids. Will have a set for brewing and a set for aging then.

EDIT: That 5l carboy is CHEAP, wow! Still more expensive, but suited for the job. It's a better option, I take it?

jakeslouw
23rd January 2018, 16:46
the only downside with small batches is that you can't do fine adjustments on multiple hops additions ................. unless you have a jewelers scale

camsaway
23rd January 2018, 19:06
I know the whole plastic thing - but I do small batches in 10L white HDPE buckets. About R25 each at most plastic shops including the lids.

JIGSAW
24th January 2018, 00:19
http://beerbros.co.za/shop/5l-glass-carboy/

http://beerguevara.com/product/fermentor-4-5l-glass-carboy/

+1 on those plastic buckets ... they work great and cleans very easy :cheers:

Toxxyc
24th January 2018, 06:50
Hmm so the buckets might be easier. I'm enjoying the idea of the 5l carboys, to be honest. I've been considering "modding" one of those bungs by drilling and additional hole through it, and then to sink a stainless steel or glass rod through the extra hole. So one hole will fit the air lock and the other a long rod that sticks out the bung and seals. To degas then all you have to do is wiggle the rod around, meaning there's no risk of contamination by opening the bung at all. The only time you'll remove the bung then would be to rack or bottle the brew, which is ideally what you'd want, no?

AtronSeige
24th January 2018, 07:30
Those big jars work well. I use them for small fermentations. I used small buckets for a while, but I found the amount of loss (due to leftovers) to be quite high. I devised a system where the buckets would be tilted, but that caused more issues. Whatever vessel you use, try to get one with small base and high sides.

If you search for wine demi-johns you might find similar products to the beer-guevera products listed. Otherwise you might want to go buy a few big bottles of OBS and use them.

I assume the degassing is for non-beer. :)

Finally - Secondary is not needed in 99% of the cases.

Toxxyc
24th January 2018, 07:44
Those big jars work well. I use them for small fermentations. I used small buckets for a while, but I found the amount of loss (due to leftovers) to be quite high. I devised a system where the buckets would be tilted, but that caused more issues. Whatever vessel you use, try to get one with small base and high sides.

If you search for wine demi-johns you might find similar products to the beer-guevera products listed. Otherwise you might want to go buy a few big bottles of OBS and use them.

I assume the degassing is for non-beer. :)

Finally - Secondary is not needed in 99% of the cases.

Yes, this is mostly for non-beer fermentation, but still a little for for beer (hence this location for the topic). De-gassing isn't needed for beer, but for brewing higher gravity drinks like mead or building a base for something like rum it may be needed. The high concentration of CO2 in the brew tends to turn the solution very acidic, and that's not good for the yeast.

On the secondary - for the making of wines/mead, it is crucial. You HAVE to rack at some stage, you have to stabilize and you have to age. This makes these jars really easy to use, since their wide necks and clear sides makes it easy to see when it's ready for racking.

PS: Regarding OBS - I can't seem to find those 5l jugs anymore. The largest ones I can find are those 2l "oortjie bottels". That's too small, I don't want to do batches *that* small.

PPS: I have access to a grain scale, so I can REALLY fine tune hops if I want to. It does 0.1 grain increments, which is around 6.5mg. That's quite fine, IMO.

JIGSAW
26th January 2018, 08:22
Hmm so the buckets might be easier. I'm enjoying the idea of the 5l carboys, to be honest. I've been considering "modding" one of those bungs by drilling and additional hole through it, and then to sink a stainless steel or glass rod through the extra hole. So one hole will fit the air lock and the other a long rod that sticks out the bung and seals. To degas then all you have to do is wiggle the rod around, meaning there's no risk of contamination by opening the bung at all. The only time you'll remove the bung then would be to rack or bottle the brew, which is ideally what you'd want, no?

You hammering this point way to much ....

People have been opening buckets to add hops ... remove bungs to degas wine for donkey years.
If everything is sanitized and you not doing it at the local municipal rubbish dump, you'll be fine to open any container for what ever reason.

RDWHAHB :cheers:

Toxxyc
26th January 2018, 08:38
Heh, I'm overthinking things, like I usually do. It's a fun learning experience - thanks for the reassurance :P

Langchop
31st January 2018, 08:34
Another option that has worked well for me for a while is glass beverage dispensers
-Easily cleanable and non permeable glass
-On some you may be able to use the existing tap
-Wide opening on the top makes cleaning a breeze [I initially used pinpricked glad wrap to seal the top. I now use a packet held in place by an elastic band, which accommodates some vacuum without drawing in air]
-I found some with an angled shape, so I call it my "conical-ish" fermenter.
-Pretty cheap: I think i paid about R150 for a ~9L dispenser


1514

Toxxyc
31st January 2018, 08:46
Yeah that looks like a really good idea - better than some ideas I've had, to be honest. I see these dispensers are relatively expensive these days. I can already see me ending up just buying a 10l bucket with all the shebangs for it and then brewing 7l batches for a while before I can go AG in full-sized batches. Equipment is hella expensive (large pots).