Glass vs Plastic

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Glass vs Plastic

Post #1 by tomk » 2 years ago

My inlaws have a bunch of plastic water bottles in the basement (the big ones for water coolers, that kinda look like blue plastic carboys). Can I just use these for fermenting cider? or do I need need to go out and get some glass carboys? and if so, how might be the best (and cheapest) way to get some?
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Re: Glass vs Plastic

Post #2 by Mr_Tastyfish » 2 years ago

Those plastic water bottles are safe to use as fermenting carboys, I started out with them. However, they are not great for long-term aging as the plastic is somewhat oxygen permeable. They also degrade relatively quickly, depending on what you're using to clean them. Glass is better, but be careful when picking up used carboys on the cheap.
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Re: Glass vs Plastic

Post #3 by bellybuster » 2 years ago

my ciders spend a lengthy time in secondary so I would say glass or stainless. beer kegs make great fermenters
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Re: Glass vs Plastic

Post #4 by kombat » 2 years ago

I would not ferment anything in plastic water bottles. They're not intended to contain anything alcoholic, or with a pH as low as beer or cider. They're rated to hold water. That's it. Get a proper glass carboy fermenter, or a plastic one that's rated/intended to hold alcoholic, low-pH liquids.
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Re: Glass vs Plastic

Post #5 by Warthaug » 2 years ago

I"d have to disagree with kombat - I used a couple of those for nearly a decade without issue. Plastics are not ranked food-safe by the materials they are intended to hold, but rather must meet a universal standard intended to ensure their safety across a range of conditions considered to typical of foods - that includes low pH and alcohol content. In fact, the polycarbonate that the larger jugs are made of is the preferred material for alcohol packaging due to its total non-reactivity with alcohol and its (compared to other plastics) low air permeability.

As others have mentioned, the biggest issue with water bottles in place of glass (or better bottles...I think) is their higher O2 permeability. That means that they are fine for primary fermentation or short secondary fermentation, but should be avoided for long-term ageing.

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Re: Glass vs Plastic

Post #6 by XXXXX » 2 years ago

I agree with warthaug.

These bottles are PET bottles. Same plastic as the plastic carboys that can be purchased for fermentation, and the same plastic used for alcoholic beverages (whiskey, vodka, etc)

And they're food safe. Which as warthaug mentioned is for all foods, not a specific one.

I personally dont like plastics for food usage and try to minimize its usage, but that's really my own hangup. Although I prefer glass and stainless whenever possible, the evidence suggests that PET plastic is perfectly fine.
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Re: Glass vs Plastic

Post #7 by SeanGodd » 2 years ago

I agree with the above. Since you are going to put a cider in it. I would not use this as a vessel. Ciders need long term aging. But it would be a good experimet to see how long you can age in them :) then you can let us all know

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Re: Glass vs Plastic

Post #8 by bellybuster » 2 years ago

Not all PET is created equal

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