Glass vs. Plastic Carboys

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Rocky

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I know that this debate has gone on for many years and people have strong opinions on which is best for carboys, glass or plastic. The pros and cons of the two choices seem to reduce to:

Glass: Heavier and harder to manipulate in use, easier to clean and assure good sanitation, more expensive than plastic, more readily breakable, shatters rather than leaks when they fail.

Plastic: lighter in weight and easier to manipulate, less expensive, less breakable but softer surface and more porous therefore more subject to contamination.

To me, this last point (more porous, softer surface => spoiled wine) trumps all the advantages of plastic. I do have a number of plastic carboys, some I purchased new, and some used. My point in this thread is, firstly, to be very careful when buying used plastic carboys which may be scratched on the inside, and possibly harboring substances that could ruin your wine and secondly, to take extreme care when cleaning plastic carboys that you buy new.

I have been burned twice by contamination on the inside of used plastic carboys, which I chose to trash rather than use. Just a thought.
 
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I have been burned twice by contamination on the inside of used plastic carboys, which I chose to trash rather than use. Just a thought.
That is the key point for me. There are methods of handling glass (pumps and lifts come to mind) and losing even a gallon of wine to contamination is too much for me.
 

Rocky

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Rocky said:
I have been burned twice by contamination on the inside of used plastic carboys, which I chose to trash rather than use. Just a thought.

To be clear, I did not lose any wine. I saw the problem on the inside of the carboys and could not clean it, so I trashed the carboys.

I am wondering, though, if I made up a solution of Star San and sloshed it around in the carboys, would that take care of any contamination?

My point is, I will no longer buy used plastic carboys and I advise my friends on the Forum not to buy them either.
 

bstnh1

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Rocky said:
I have been burned twice by contamination on the inside of used plastic carboys, which I chose to trash rather than use. Just a thought.

To be clear, I did not lose any wine. I saw the problem on the inside of the carboys and could not clean it, so I trashed the carboys.

I am wondering, though, if I made up a solution of Star San and sloshed it around in the carboys, would that take care of any contamination?

My point is, I will no longer buy used plastic carboys and I advise my friends on the Forum not to buy them either.
I've been using plastic carboys for 10 years with no issues at all. I wash them right sifter they're emptied.
 

Rocky

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I've been using plastic carboys for 10 years with no issues at all. I wash them right sifter they're emptied.
I agree Brian. When I buy them new and care for them myself, I have no issues. Frankly, I don't understand how some of the used ones I have seen got so scratched up on the inside. I rinse mine out immediately with hot water, add a detergent (like "Dawn Dish Soap"), insert a small wash rag into the carboy which has about a gallon of liquid in it and then agitate it by shaking it for about a minute. I rinse with hot water and put it on the drying rack. Never had an issue with ones I have owned from the start. It is the used ones that have given be issues.
 
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Has anyone used the plastic water bottles that Wally World sells? I saw they have 1, 3, 5 gallon, etc. Price is really good.
What is the food grade marking?

Many moons ago a customer brought in a sample that he had bulk aged in some type of plastic container. The wine tasted just like plastic smells, and there's no fixing it. For that reason I'm very cautious of using any plastic not designed for wine (acidic, alcoholic), unless someone can report long experience with an item.

I know people do it successfully, but I'm just not comfortable with the idea of aging wine for 3-12 months in plastic.
 
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Rocky

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I had a 3- or 4-gallon water bottle and I know I got it at Sam's Club years ago. They are food safe, but the problem is outgassing. This dissipates over time, so I left the bottle in my wine are for about 6 months, uncovered and empty. At that point, the outgassing was complete and there was no issue. Still, I only used the bottle for very short-term, interim storage, never for long term aging.
 

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