Plastic vs Glass Carboy II, The Revenge

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6 Responses

  1. dan says:

    I don’t think you need to worry about oxygen and sour beers with regards to plastic carboys. Most pro brewers doing sours age them in oak barrels which allows a lot more oxygen in than the better bottle will. I have 2 barrels I use for sours and have also not noticed any oxidation problems. I have aged a sour pale and a couple of fruited lambics for nearly a year in plastic and not had any problems either.

    As for non-sours, I have never aged anything longer than 4 weeks or so (dopplebock and imperial stout) in plastic (or glass for that matter) before moving it to a keg so I can’t speak to the effects on those beers. I have, however, had an imperial stout in a whiskey barrel for about 6 months and didn’t have any oxidation issues. I think the whole O2 in plastic thing is overblown and not really a big deal.

    If the plastic is scratched there is the possibility that some bacteria could get in there and be missed by the sanitizer. Once I use a plastic vessel for a sour, I generally dedicate that one as sour only just in case. Plastic scratches pretty easily.

  2. Matt says:

    According to the Better Bottle website, popping the bung on a carboy to take a sample will introduce more oxygen than will leech through the walls of the carboy over a year. I have yet to hear any real evidence or results from a controlled experiment that show that a plastic carboy will oxidize your beer, sour or clean.

    Personally, I have 9 sours currently sitting in better bottles. I am planning to dedicate these carboys to sours permanently, but I would probably do the same with glass, just in case. I also have only aged a clean beer as long as a few months in plastic, mainly because I believe long-term bulk aging is unnecessary if you have a strong fermentation (proper pitching rate, well aerated, proper temp control), and I prefer to do any aging of big beers in the bottle.

    As you might have guessed, Im a big proponent of plastic. IMO, the advantages far outweigh the disadvantages.

    • Simply Beer says:

      Awesome Matt. After my rocky start with Better Bottles, I’m becoming a fan. With all the great tips, feedback and personal experiences people have left, there seem to not be a whole lot of negatives with Better Bottle. I’m glad I put up these posts. Hopefully they have helped others as well.

  3. Jeff Crane says:

    I will be one more proponent of Better Bottles for long term aging of sours. I don’t have a ton of experience, but with my few batches, the beer aged for 14 months in the Better Bottle was much more complex. The bottle was stained a bit but this bottle is dedicated to my yearly Flanders Red so it is not a concern.
    I also remember Mike T at the Mad Fermentalist agreeing that Better Bottles are a good option for long term aging of sours.