There aren't many glass carboys here, but there are lots of plastic 5 gallon water bottles available. What are the pros and cons of using them instead of glass.
I'd be careful using plastic water bottles. They might (likely do) have micro-scratches inside that could prevent adequate sanitation for one, but the biggie IMO is that they are permeable to oxygen over time so not great for storage/conditioning. Probably OK for the primary if you need to get going. Alternatives? Mailorder a carboy, or one of the new "Betterbottle" plastics that are supposed to be impermeable to O2. Some water companies that do 5-gal bottled water for offices still have 5-gallon glassies you can get for a deposit. Glass carboys often are available at auctions and yard sales too, Or do one-gallon batches in glass juice jugs.
Really I'd recommend finding glass if you can arrange it. Ever come down towards Boulder?
Bees, brews and fun
in Lyons, CO
For a 5 gallon batch, I'd agree. Make the splurge. You can also try large hobby type shops. Around here we have a "New River Pottery" that has had cheap 5 gallon glass carboys from time to time. I'm going to post a new topic on finding suppliers....
I'm not a brewing supplier, but I play one in my taproom
I'm not positive, but Boulder may be the closest shop for you. What's Brewin' is a very low-key local shop with quality ingredients and doodads. I managed the shop there for a time, but have moved on since and can recommend them as good people. Unfortunately no internet vending. We had lots of folks from your neck come down and stock up; dry wine yeasts keep for well over a year and most nutrients/acids/etc virtually indefinitely. Certainly worth swinging in for carboys, stoppers, airlocks, and the basics: shipping carboys is expensive! If it's only a couple times a year, time one of them for (maybe) February 2006's International Mead Festival which has been a true gem in past sessions, educational for the palatte and the mind if not the liver [img]redface.gif[/img]
Also, if you're feeling froggy, check out the area meaderies Medovina Meadery in Niwot (beekeeper's meadery, very kind and knowledgeable guy) and also Redstone Meadery in Boulder, with a tasting room and a wide variety of meads. Boulder's a great town for a tasting day!
Bees, brews and fun
in Lyons, CO
I buy carboys from www.homebrew.com and get them shipped. If you include the cost of gas, I can get them shipped to my house for the same price as driving to the closest brewshop and buying them there.
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FWIW, I agree on the glass vs. plastic - stick with glass. When you buy your carboys, make sure to pick up a plastic dipped metal handle for each that permanently clamps on the carboy neck - makes hauling and handling MUCH easier.
I mail ordered all my carboys. Back when I bought them, the mail order price was better than at the local shops. It's been a while tho, so I don't remember exactly where I got mine.
If you have access to a water cooler, grab some of the plastic caps that come on the water-filled plastic carboys. Even after they've been torn off, they still seal a carboy well enough for storage (keeping dust out). I store mine full of lightly-chlorinated water so they're ready for their next use.
Careful with thermal shock with glass. When I was just learning, I figured I'd sanitize by pouring boiling water into my carboy - cracked the bottom out clean, and I ended up with a glass disk and a big glass funnel! Other than that one loss, my glass carboys (with handles) have held up great for over 10 years!
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