I know the family which owns a local chinese restaurant near me. They have very many buckets which they toss regularly. The other day they gave me a Kari Out co. bucket at one time used for duck sauce, it appeared to have oil and red pepper in it when i opened it up some of which appears to have stained the plastic.enter image description here

Other than that, the bucket is in good shape and has a liner in the lid which is good, it smells very faintly of oil (think of those little crispy things they give you with soup).

I no longer have my dedicated brewing bucket and nearest LBS is over 30 minutes away but would like to make a small batch of beer and have everythinf else necessary.

What would the risk be by using this container for primary fermentation?

4 Answers 4


I have used similar buckets for fermenting everything from KimChi to wine. Although not in the same bucket. I used very hot water and PBW to clean/sanitise. Seems to work OK for home brewing.

I agree with the comment that there is always a risk in repurposing used plastic containers. But IMHO the risk is lessened if the original use was for containing food stuffs. Whether one can remove residual tastes or odours is another question but "peroxide" or "percarbonate" based cleaners do also seem to work quite well.

  • 3
    I also use 10l buckets from the local fries shop, these were used for mayo or boiled eggs. I have been using them for a year, no problems. As for odours, I rub them with ethanol for burners, this removes all odours, also these from fermented beer and yeast.
    – chthon
    Jun 12, 2017 at 9:53
  • I've been using similar buckets discarded from a backery nearby and never had problems. The first cleaning is intense of course.
    – rondonctba
    Jul 1, 2017 at 1:19

If you clean it and does not have any smells, then I would say it is possibly good.

Personally, I just go to the closest plastic shop and buy a bucket from them. I know this is not always an option.


There's always risk in repurposing plastics.

Mainly once it's scratched it can't be sanitized properly and can harbor microbes.

I would be concerned with the staining because it means the plastic is permeable.

Check the recycle code on the bottom. #2 in a triangle of arrows indicates HDPE and is good for fermentation. 1,2,4,5 are food grade containers, but not all are ok for alcohol and low pH.

If it's #2 food grade, clean it up and sanitize it. Give it a try.

  • 5
    I am not personally convinced by the "if its scratched its useless" philosophy. I take the point that very rough plastic surfaces can form a "bio-barrier" from built up "stuff" adhering to the surface. but if I saw a plastic bucket with built up "brew crud" that was difficult to remove - I would just go down to the local store and pick up a another one. They are usually "free" so no big deal to obtain and use. Scratching and crud build up is a problem all plastic buckets - including the expensive ones! Jun 12, 2017 at 12:51
  • It is #2 HDPE plastic.
    – John
    Jun 13, 2017 at 0:29
  • @barking.pete indeed. A scratch alone isn't much of a concern. Rule of thumb is, if the scratch is a different color and can't be cleaned toss it. Much like a cutting board gets cuts and traps bacteria. While a cutting board gets bright and new from a bleach soak, this isn't always practical for large brew plastics. Jun 27, 2017 at 16:06

No Way. It takes too long to make beer only to have a lousy bucket goof it up. Penny wise pound foolish. Buy a new Spidel if you want plastic.

  • Once that bucket has screwed you up then please come back and change your vote.
    – Pale Ale
    Jul 31, 2019 at 20:22

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