Sealing a plain ol' 5 gal bucket

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kokonutz

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Hi....got some food grade 5 gallon buckets with lids here. I realize people use these all the time for fermenting - I'm hoping to get the grommets installed today, but need to know how/if I need more to seal the lids? I'm hard pressed to believe these are airtight as is and I've seen some venders installing gaskets. Anyone got a DIY solution?
 

odie

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The lids typically have a big oring. If the bucket can hold 5 gal of paint then it's airtight.

I started using these blue "easy lids" from Lowes. no oring and they snap on and off easy. seal amazingly well too, damn near air tight. I use a solid lid with no airlock. as the lids swell upward somehow excess co2 pushes past and bleeds the pressure off. But it will suck inward when I cold crash it so it's sealed pretty well IMO.
 

IslandLizard

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Mind, using 5 gallon buckets for (primary) fermentation will limit you to a maximum volume of 4 gallon batches, due to some required headspace for the krausen to expand into. 4.5 gallon tops if you have ways to prevent large blow offs.

As for secondaries, which are generally not needed anyway, using buckets for such is not recommended, due to too much headspace and large surface area.
 

odie

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unfortunately 6, 6.5 & 7 gal buckets are mighty pricey by comparison :( But it's a one time purchase...still using mine with a 1993 production stamp :O it's been well cared for.
 

Nate R

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What about two 5-gallon buckets? At about $2.50/each from Wally world for a food-safe bucket, it don;t come much cheaper than that! (But the lids are an extra $2.00 or so....)
One would just have to split the yeast.. Or maybe a good way to play with two different yeasts.
 

IslandLizard

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What about two 5-gallon buckets? At about $2.50/each from Wally world for a food-safe bucket, it don;t come much cheaper than that! (But the lids are an extra $2.00 or so....)
One would just have to split the yeast.. Or maybe a good way to play with two different yeasts.
Sure, but realize, 2 buckets take up twice as much floor space in the ferm chamber (FC). Alas with less height, if that's a limitation in the FC.

To make using that extra (floor) space in the ferm chamber worthwhile (if it's available anyway), filling each 5 gallon bucket with 3.5-4 gallons of beer for a total of 7-8 gallons, would be a good option. Except for some extra heating time, it takes about the same amount of time to brew 7-8 gallons as it takes for 5.5 gallons, for 30-45% more beer. Provided, one has the kettle size for it. In that case, brewing at higher gravity with topping each up in the fermenter with a gallon of water is not a bad alternative either for most beers.

Alternatively, if there's space for two 5 gallon buckets in the FC, brew 2 different beers, or split a larger batch and use different whirlpool and dry hops, etc.

Since we should fill kegs that are 100% liquid pre-purged through the liquid out post (lid remains on until next cleaning) the extra 1-1.5 gallons of headspace is not an issue.
 

V-Fib

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Stalk facebook market place and craigslist for home brew equipment in your area. If you are near a suburb or city things pop up frequently. 6.5g buckets and carboys are pretty common. I made the mistake of buying everything I needed to make 3 gallon stove top batches. Then went to outdoor 5 gallon batches on a propane burner, then for some reason went to a double 5 gallon set up to brew 2 different batches at once to a 10 gallon set up.

Most recipes are set for 5 gallons of finished product so a 6.5g fermentation vessel. If you drop to a 4 gallon brew its the same amount of time with the down side of more left over hops and grains since that can just be wasted money in the long run.
 

IslandLizard

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Most recipes are set for 5 gallons of finished product so a 6.5g fermentation vessel. If you drop to a 4 gallon brew its the same amount of time with the down side of more left over hops and grains since that can just be wasted money in the long run.
That "waste" is only if you buy kits. But hops and grain (even when mixed) can be saved and repurposed. Besides, many kits are skimpy on hops, so now you got the opportunity to make them right. ;)
 
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r1994o

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Once the fermentation is completed and you have broken the seal on the bucket, how soon do I need to bottle the beer?
I opened the bucket on Wed, Can I bottle it on Saturday or is that too long?
 

odie

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Once the fermentation is completed and you have broken the seal on the bucket, how soon do I need to bottle the beer?
I opened the bucket on Wed, Can I bottle it on Saturday or is that too long?
if you just peaked inside and resealed it you are probably ok for a couple days or so.

there are people here who go to extremes to prevent any and all oxygen. There are those who do not care. And there are those in-between.

as far as oxidation effects...the only thing that really matters is what you think/believe/taste/perceive...do a batch, split fermenters, let one get exposed and one sealed. bottle both and taste compare. make your own judgement.

personally, once fermentation is complete I prefer to not break any seal and just start the cold crash and then keg as soon as possible, only breaking the seal so that the fermenter can actually drain into the keg.

I will note that those blue Lowes "easy lids" I mentioned above that have no o-ring or gasket...they seal tight enough that if I do not crack the lid, the bucket will not drain due to the "vacuum seal" so that tells me a lot about how well those blue easy lids really seal.

I try to minimize oxygen exposure but do not endlessly obsess over it.
 

r1994o

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Thank you all for the advice. It was really helpful.
R/
HuskerRed
 
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