can you ferment in a plastic milk bottle?

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Harrisonjmarsh

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ill explain what i'm trying to do so you can get an idea on why i want to use small containers and also something that doesn't cost much. a couple of mates and i have now brewed our 25th brew and are looking to start experimenting and trying different things. we want to brew up a batch of wort and distributed it into a heap of smaller fermenters and then pitch different types of yeast to try get a better understanding on the flavours that different strand of yeast produce.

ill save you the time and answer that question by saying of course you can ferment in a milk bottle. but i wanted to know if anyone has done this before and what would be the best equipment to use? i'm not sure if a milk bottle will be a good idea because i heard they are porous.

any creative methods out there for this equipment?

churs
 

philmud

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How many seperate fermentations are you planning? You can get 5L water containers from Bunnings or Big W - they are certainly made of sturdier plastic, though I don't see why that would matter, especially if you don't need to reuse them. Have a look at the non-beer thread. Lots of people brew ciders in 3L juice bottles, you might get some tips there.
 

Ducatiboy stu

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Mmmmm...4ltr milk bottles...good way to split a mash and try different yeasts and hops
 

Cube

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Drink faster?


Try half batches. Christ, splitting a brew into milk bottles between mates is just asking for trouble and by trouble I mean shit beer. The result will be you will not brew beer. You wil brew a mix match of mates temp control, yeast control and sanitisation control which will be out of the park. In other words give yourself a pat on the back for doing what we all have likely wanted or tried but a ruddy good upper cut and keep the experiments to smallish batches under the same control/environments that you can control and note what you are trying to do.
 
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So you've done 25 brews and now you're looking to experiment. What did you do with those 25? Farmland lager and a kilo of sugar?

Come on man step up.
 

Harrisonjmarsh

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we're brewing a batch a week at the moment and thought this would be a cheaper way to try more things that we wouldn't otherwise try. it's only purpose would be to learn first hand the different effects and taste test them against each other at the same time. its something that we'd like to do on the side of our normal brewing. i imagine this is the kind of thing people have been doing for centuries. nothing beats first hand knowledge....... anyway i'm thinking about using 5l water containers but i'll try source some from gumtree
 

fletcher

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i know what you mean mate and i'm doing the same, except i am fermenting in 2L growlers with a foil lid in my ferm fridge. i prefer glass because i can pour almost boiling wort into them without warping (like milk bottles would) but whatever works. once done, crash chill in normal fridge, then decant into smaller bottles and prime. takes a while and it can be finicky but i prefer spending less to get a better idea on hop tastes and hop combinations (and yeasts and temps) before i make a 20L batch.
 

pokolbinguy

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5L would be a better volume so that you can have better control over variables and actaully end up with say 4L (6 Largies) of the final beer. remeber you will have losses, spill some, etc so 4L from 5L is probably a good aim.

If you just do 2L, by the time your done you wont have much finished product. Also it might be worth keeping some volume to 'age' and look at later.

All of a sudden 10+L seems like a better idea!!
 

Green-Lobster

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goon bottles, not bag of. 2 ltr like mini demijohn . beechworth apple juice comes in this style as well as heaps of cheap ports and things . Glass has to be better than plastic. Good luck. failing that get another 3, 30 ltr fermenters and start yobbing it up a bit more.
 

toncils

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Harrisonjmarsh said:
nice one

i'm thinking 5l will best suit what i'm trying to do. it should leave me enough room to try a couple of different combinations with different yeast and hops.
maybe in something like this
http://www.ebay.com.au/itm/Water-Jerry-Cans-5L-KOOKABURRA-/370909543087?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_15&hash=item565bee7aaf&_uhb=1
thanking

Keep in mind this probably won't be a regular thing- once you've distributed your brew 3 - 4 times they'll potentially become redundant (and $13 aint cheap!). I personally like the idea of milk bottles; better than letting them go to waste.

Not sure if your local brew shop sells fresh worts, but they come in 15l jerry cans just like those in your link. Most people throw them out, but I've sanitised a few for fermenting.

Perhaps buy a few 3l juice bottles and make some simple (nasty) cider?
 

damoninja

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This is what me and my mates are planning on doing

But in a slightly... less stuff around way
  1. Each buy a fermentation vessel. New, second hand, whatever, you can get them for like $30 second hand on gumtree
  2. Talk about what you like / are interested (or confident) in brewing trying.
  3. Brew 2-3 batches each.
  4. Taste them when ready
  5. Go to step 2
 

damoninja

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I reckon it would be worth bottling at least 2 stubbies of each to let them each age out and drink one at 3 months and one at 6 months.
 

manticle

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Nothing wrong with your idea at all.

I have not fermented in milk bottles but I have done small batch cider in 1 L juice bottles. Lid on, backed off a few turns to release carbon dioxide. That's important or the bottles will blow. I have also made starters in juice bottles (same idea, at least fermentation wise).

Better to do it under one roof as cube suggests, then you can all compare apples with apples.

HDPE is best plastic to use for fermentation but any non bpa, food grade plastic should be OK so long as you have temp control and CO2 release.

What's with the naysaying?
 

yum beer

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I think the idea is sound but the practicality and expense of getting small amounts of different yeast for each batch might be restrictive.
May be more effective if each if you do a half batch with different yeast or hop combos. Will still allow you a wider range of flavours but still be viable with amounts of yeast required.
 

DJ_L3ThAL

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Make sure you report back results!!!

Ive started similar process as you and damoninja with a group of 10 mates I go camping with although we are doing full sized batches (4 fermenters at a time) so that we have enough yield for fun times. After all we brew for fun not to match the throughput of megaswill....... right!?
 

Pokey

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Have a look in the bottled water section at the supermarket, The woollies here has 5 litre bottles that may be suitable
 

lael

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Sounds great to me! I've been thinking about doing the same - but in erlenmeyers - maybe 3L - not too expensive from KegKing, can be sanitised easily, and can use to grow your yeast for farming / splitting and then storing. The 5L ones are getting expensive, but more than that are MASSIVE
 

Tilt

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manticle said:
Nothing wrong with your idea at all.

I have not fermented in milk bottles but I have done small batch cider in 1 L juice bottles. Lid on, backed off a few turns to release carbon dioxide. That's important or the bottles will blow. I have also made starters in juice bottles (same idea, at least fermentation wise).

Better to do it under one roof as cube suggests, then you can all compare apples with apples.

HDPE is best plastic to use for fermentation but any non bpa, food grade plastic should be OK so long as you have temp control and CO2 release.

What's with the naysaying?
I agree. I've run a successful trial on 6 different yeasts for cider on supermarket apple juice using the bottles I bought it in as fermenters.
I decanted 200ml from each one to provide some headspace, and dosed them up with a bit of malic acid and strong tea then added a proportional amount of yeast for a 3L batch (a range of dried, slurry and wild yeast from skins of fruit from my backyard).
They were all kept together during the ferment at roughly the same temp and decanted via syphon into batches of bottles to compare flavours over time. I was concerned about oxidation so tired to balance between ageing the cider and not having it too long in thin, permeable plastic container.
It worked well - no infections, and only a small batch of each variety to try over time.
I say go for it - as long as you can be sure you get rid of every skerrick of milk and get the bottles well sanitised. With beer I'd also rack off pretty quickly into glass so you avoid light strike and oxidation.
 

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