Glass Carboy vs Plastic Bucket

Posted on January 31, 2010 by

The “Should I use a Glass Carboy or Plastic Bucket” debate has been raging on for some time. Every time I go through the internet and read homebrewing forum boards or chat with people about one or the other I get a laundry list of reasons for and against on both the glass carboy vs plastic bucket issue. I thought I would take a moment to list out what I’ve found for anyone wondering one way or the other. So with out further ado…GLASS CARBOYS vs PLASTIC BUCKET

Based on use as a Primary Fermenter

Plastic Bucket For Homebrewing Glass Carboy for Homebrewing

Pros : Plastic Bucket

  • Cheap
  • Easy to move around
  • Easy to alter into bottling buckets
  • Opaque to skunking from light
  • Won’t break if you drop
  • Easy to sanitize
  • Great to carry supplies in
  • Can be used to sanitize in
  • Can use wort chiller inside
  • Pros : Glass Carboy

  • Fun to see in
  • Lasts forever
  • Can use a wort wizard
  • Many accessories fit easily
  • Provides a great seal
  • Can be scrubbed till the cows come home
  • Cons : Plastic Bucket

  • Can scratch and harbor bacteria
  • Will need replacing
  • Airlock grommets can fall in beer
  • May not seal perfectly, but should be fine
  • If infected you gotta toss it
  • Can’t use a wort wizard
  • Can’t see inside
  • Cons : Glass Carboy

  • Heavy as hell
  • If you drop it, it is gone
  • Can’t use a wort chiller in it
  • Expensive
  • Can explode if you put hot wort in it
  • If you are new to brewing, use the plastic bucket. They are cheap and easy to use. If you are just looking for information, I am not going to tell you which one to use. Sorry, I think its a matter of preference. I hope with the above thoughts though you can make your own decision as to which would work best for you. Personally, I use both. It depends on how I’m feeling, what I have available without beer in it, and if I’m going to be doing any traveling from one place to another after brewing.

    If you have any thoughts as to if you think you should use plastic or glass, please let me know. Just remember this isn’t a battle, but a way to inform people so they can make their own decisions.

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    • Jimmy

      I use both and find that it usually comes down to “which ever one is clean”.

    • mike

      Yea man. That is the same way for me, or which ever doesn’t have beer fermenting in it. I do have to say though, the plastic is easier to work with, but the glass is just so much cooler to see and makes me feel more sterile.

    • BrewBoy

      While I’m not looking to feel more sterile, although that would make me worry less, I do worry about breakage. Glass carboys are very heavy and slippery (espcially when wet) and are very awkward. If choosing the glass route for primary or secondary (my preference) fermentation, get the carboy handle. It’s five bucks to save the investment in the carboy and more importantly, its contents. Happy brewing!!!

    • mike

      Yea. Since I started using buckets, I really like how easy it is to transfer to the bucket and to move around. It is really nice for grabbing readings as well if you don’t have a thief.

      I heard a story about a dude who put his hot wort into his glass carboy and it shattered. A piece of glass flew off and severed his hand right off… Could be a urban myth, but shit, that sounds terrible…

    • Kyle

      Gotta be real careful with glass carboys.  My Uncle’s friend had to go to the hospital when one dropped, shattered, and cut his leg up something fierce…

    • Julie

      Hello, I have a large clear glass carboy, would like to purchase others, do you have a price ???

    • Eric

      You also have to be careful crossing the road, sitting in a chair, and breathing.

    • vern theis

      no racking with a hose just open the spitit at the. when using plactic pail

    • vern theis


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