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Brew n00b here. I've been reading the Palmer book and looking around for gear. I've got a kegerator so not planning on bottling. That kind of makes half the stuff in the "homebrew starter" kits not usable for me (capper, bottles, caps and maybe the siphon depending if fermenter has a spigot) so kind of piece-mealing things.

Thought I'd go with a 6 or 7 gallon bucket fermenter (I have two 5 gallon corny kegs) because if I decide to scrap the whole project, well, I still have a $30 bucket I can use for ice fishing. The problem is, every bucket fermeter review I find complains of the lid not sealing or it didn't come with and o-ring or somehow otherwise it just inexplicably leaks. So, I gave up on the bucket and started looking into PET carboys. The Bigmouth Bubbler looked great and easy to get in and clean until I found out everyone complaining the lid blows off and saw pics of people rigging up straps and duct tape to hold the thing in place. Is it really this hard to make a fermenter that doesn't leak? wth?

So, I figure a brew kit is about $40 bucks and the cheapest you can get a crappy fermenter for is about $30. If things go bad during primary because the bucket leaks, it's $70 shot and you haven't even made a beer yet. Now I'm eyeballing the Anvil 7.5 or Chapman ST07NP but that's a good chunk of change for starting out. Maybe I could use one of my corny kegs to ferment with, but haven't read up on that yet. I got this far and thought I'd throw it out here. Plenty of you guys are using buckets to ferment. Which one works for you?

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    I have two Brewcraft 8 gallon fermentation buckets and have been using them for a couple of years and never had a problem with them keeping the lids sealed properly. I don't like those standard 6 gallon buckets that have been repurposed into fermenters. You want something purpose built like the brewcraft. If you are going to ferment with foamy yeast, you will want the head space an 8 gallon fermenter will give you. The problem with the big mouth bubblers is that they are only 6.5 gallons. Pick a low foaming yeast or use a defoaming chemical. – farmersteve May 25 at 15:16
  • I'd rather have the head space. Is the brewcraft any harder to wrestle around with the two handles on the side? It seems a bucket handle would be more of an advantage for moving a full fermenter. – HomeBrew May 25 at 20:26
  • Honestly, I don't move it much when I am fermenting. Only lift it up to a table when I rack into a keg. If you can lift 5+ gallons of beer with two hands, then I would go with this. – farmersteve May 26 at 14:30
  • Should be fine lifting it. I'll likely need to ferement in the basement though (6 stairs down) so going to look into a hand truck for stairs or something. Thanks for the find. I really like the capacity, price and cleanability on this thing. – HomeBrew May 27 at 9:42
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The main problem with leaking buckets and fermenters is that when the fermentation finishes, normal air will start to enter and might start oxidising your beer. This air will mix with the carbon dioxide. How much it might stale and oxidise your beer depends on the size of the leak and the exposure time of course.

For the fermentation itself a leaky bucket is not a problem, I regularly ferment using an open fermentation, but when the fermentation slows down I transfer it to a carboy with an airlock, which is sure to be airtight.

All right, this might not really the answer you might be looking for, but what I am trying to say is, don't be fixated about such things. If you adapt your process, a leaky fermenter is less of an issue than you might think. Of course, this is also a question of scale. I only brew about two gallons, so my fermenters and carboys are more practical to move around.

You could start with your inexpensive plastic fermenter and then transfer to your corny kegs to finish off the fermentation before transferring it to your keezer.

Since you are using a keezer, I suppose that your beer on tap will be used relatively fast, so don't worry about oxygen. Are you using your corny kegs in the keezer, or do you have still other kegs in there? At least try to match them in volume so that headspace is minimised.

I bottle, but ultimately a whole lot of my beers (except some simple ones) are transferred from primary to a secondary vessel to finish off the fermentation, and then they are transferred to a bottling bucket, and then into bottles. I haven't had oxidised beer yet.

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    Thank you. I was thinking fermentation must be strictly air tight with only c02 exiting the airlock. Obviously it can be done quite the opposite as you have shown. Maybe I will just get the cheap bucket and see how it works out. A five gallon keg will last about a month. I don't know if transferring during the fermentation process would produce enough oxygenation to be a problem during that time span. The "keezer" I have is just a simple kegerator that can fit two corny kegs. I am still working out how to carbonate the "new" keg (c02 manifold or regulator) when I brew a fresh batch. – HomeBrew May 22 at 17:36

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