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Glass Vs Plastic carboy

post #1 of 25
Thread Starter 
Hello all

I have been collecting supplies to begin my adventure into home brewing but I have a question. Do you recommend glass or plastic carboys?

I have heard rumors around the web that there is a risk ( and has supposedly happened ) of the glass carboys exploding under pressure during the home brew process!!!!

Like most of you from a safety standpoint this was a bit worrisome, especially with children at home.

Does anyone have any advice on this matter? I have access to both plastic and glass carboys.
post #2 of 25
I've always have used glass and have brewed for almost 6 years and have 6 glass carboys. I havn't had a issue and and i'm a little rough on my carboys. But it could happen from shock of the transfer from hot to cold.

my one issue is the added weight from the glass.
post #3 of 25
I would think it would blow the stopper holding the airlock off before it blew up the carboy.
post #4 of 25
I have used glass carboys too. Never had a worry about having them blow. But having said that they are glass and can break. You drink out of glass glasses, cups etc though. I would go for the glass for one reason and that is they won't scratch as easy as plastic. That should make them easier to clean, beacuse you won't have to worry about nasties in the scratches.

post #5 of 25
My friend had a glass one explode on him, lucky he did not get hurt, but he switched to plastic carboys. He is not sure what happend, thinks maybe the was a small crack in it already. I've only helped him once so I really cant speak from experience, but they can explode so if it were me I'd go with plastic.
post #6 of 25
Glass in my opinion is 10x better. You can also clean it better...As long as the weight dif doesn't bother you then I would go with glass.
post #7 of 25
Glass, without a doubt. There is no way a glass carboy is going to explode unless the person brewing does not know what they are doing. You would have to have the top totally sealed shut for that to happen which is unlikely because you have a rubber stopper and an airlock on it. IF a carboy were to explode, most likely it has a crack somewhere in it. If you use a glass carboy, best thing you can do as they get heavy when full of liquid, it to get one of those webbed jackets that go around it with a carrying handle. Not only does it help if you have to move it around, but the webbed jacket provides a bit of a cushion when you sit it down.
post #8 of 25
Thread Starter 
Thanks for all the advice, I had just heard about it second hand

I think I may try the glass
post #9 of 25
Glass will not scratch as easily as plastic. Glass will not hold bleach odors like plastic can.

Yes, Glass is heavier, glass will break eventually. Plastic will handle shock/rough treatment better.
post #10 of 25
I use both. For quick fermenting beers I use plastic buckets. Easy to clean and pretty cheap at the homebrew store. Once they start to get scratched, I use them to store grain or sanitizer. I use the glass for secondary and longer fermenting times.

I keep the glass carboys in milk crates to make them easier to move around.
post #11 of 25
Nothing but glass I have 5 of them. Glass is getting hard to find so if you are needing some I would start looking now. Never had one blow.
post #12 of 25
I have been brewing wine at home for 13 years now and always used glass, not a problem. I did work in a U-brew wine shop for about a year as a second job when I was in school. they used all glass and out of moving about 10000, I had 2 break. we had ceramic floors int he shop and glass and ceramic doesn't play well togeather. so just be gentle when puting it onto a ceramic/hard floor.

post #13 of 25
Some people swear by their plastic better bottles and other plastic type carboys. I personally use glass and have always used glass. Sure they weigh more and are more fragile than plastic but as others here have stated, they clean up better than plastic and you don't run the risk of having scratches where bacteria can live/thrive in.

As for "carboy bombs" I have heard of them but that mostly happens when the carboy is weakened and the rubber bung got stuck and the airlock got stuck. Otherwise the most you have to worry about is going downstairs or wherever one day and looking at all the krausen/foam/beer on your ceiling...usually it will blow the airlock/bung before an "explosion"

Pick up a carboy belt/handle/carrying thing-a-ma-jig and it makes your life with glass much better...and 1 word of advice. Don't leave it outside with sanitizer in it soaking when it gets below freezing. It likes to break that way...icon_redface.gif <---blame it on too many homebrews.
post #14 of 25
Thread Starter 
I think I may try the glass, i just didn't want to be the one guy something happens to lol
post #15 of 25

Glass is the way to go and spend the few bucks to get a carboy handle but don't pick it up by just the handle. The necks can snap under the load.
I use a filing crate to hold and carry carboys. A 5g might fit in a milk crate.
(That's a Blood Orange Wheat in the carboy)

post #16 of 25
I use the plastic bucket for primary fermentation. If it gets stuck and blows up, it's not gonna scatter shards of glass everywhere.

I picked up a glass carboy for secondary fermentation. By that time, the major activity is finished and there's little risk of such an event.
post #17 of 25
Thread Starter 
Good Point, maybe I can take this approach, any other thoughts on this?
post #18 of 25
yup, food grade plastic 5 gal bucket for the first week then rack into a glass carboy

are you making wine or beer? for beer I just use plastic as it realy isn't in there long enough to worry about it. wine I tent to bulk age for up to 4 years in the carboy so only glass. speaking of which my home made blackberry has been aging for 2 years.. maybe its time to bottle it this weekend.

post #19 of 25
Glass has my vote. been brewing all grain for 10 years and have never had one break. You just have to be careful. If it breaks it is because there was already a crack or chip in it or set it down too hard. If the plastic gets any scratches at all, they tend to hold dirt, germs, odor...I personally would prefer to take the chance of the carboy breaking than have crappy tasting beer.
post #20 of 25
Not sure if this has been said yet but.... Plastic no matter what anyone thinks or says is porous. That being said Plastics have grown by leaps and bounds over the years. As I see it, a plastic carboy will not last as long as a glass carboy. But that doesn't worry me, (things are replaceable) what does it the fact that germs and foreign contaminates thrive on finding nooks and crannies (or scratches) to live in... What this means is that should you get a small scratch from the metal in a bottle brush, you could have serious problem... worst of all a spoiled batch of beer... this will not happen with glass. Most batches will push their way out of a carboy before shattering the glass. leaving you a empty carboy and a sticky mess on the floor. Either way, something got into your wort and made the mess. It Happens... Go with glass, to me it is more sanitary. And when "brewing beer" cleanliness is godliness...
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