I have long been a fan of using plastic buckets for my primary fermentation. They are easy to clean and they make it easy to get the beer in and out. I generally ferment in primary for ten days before either racking to a keg or extended conditioning in secondary. My beers are good and I have never had any issues with the quality of my beers that I can relate directly to the choice of my fermentor.
However, I was recently reviewing the recipes for each of the individual award winners from the latest NHC (National Homebrew Competition). The recipes and their techniques are printed each year in the AHA magazine, Zymurgy.
After reviewing all the winners, I discovered something that I thought was interesting; none of those brewers had fermented in plastic. Almost all the recipes list what they fermented in and it was always glass or steel (glass was used ~95% of the time). I found this quite interesting. If all these award winners were not using plastic, should I switch over to make better beer???
There are a couple other possibilities to explain this. Plastic gets such a bad rap sometimes, that it’s possible people say they used glass to avoid the taboo. But I doubt they would lie about something like that intentionally. No one even mentioned using a “Better Bottle“.
It could be possible that glass is just a “step up” type of choice that many homebrewers serious about better beer brewing make. The choice of glass may have little relevance to the quality of the brew and fermentation; but it could be an indicator of a brewers that are being extra careful about ALL parts of their process.
Surely, it would be interesting to know what would happen if all the same brewers with all the same recipes and ingredient just used buckets, would they have all come out on top still????
Perhaps a few side by side comparisons are necessary to figure it out. I have no delusions that glass doesn’t have some better qualities than plastic, but I still really like the price and the easy cleaning of plastic buckets.
So I was wondering how many readers here use glass exclusively (or stainless) for fermentation? Maybe its time to make the switch BACK to glass.