Old 5 gallon carboy

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Senior Member
Feb 10, 2009
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I scored an old 5 gallon carboy while shopping at the street side flea markets in Cut-N-Shoot Texas today. I got it for $14. I think I got a good deal. She said she has another ifin I want it.
Flea markets and garage sales are an excellent way of getting brew/wine making equipment on the cheap. If the carboy isn't chipped or cracked in any way, it's as good as new once it's cleaned up. I would examine it carefully before buying, the same way you should check them at home before you rack a new batch. Hairline cracks are most obvious when looking at the carboy in direct sunlight.

I lucked out once on 200+ free wine bottles and 2 carboys that a lady in our nieghborhood had left for the taking at the curb. I decided to knock on the door and make sure it wasn't waiting there for some reason, and she told me it was her late husband's and that she was going to throw it out, but felt her husband would have wanted someone else to use it...

And use it, I have. After a good 15 years since, those 2 carboys are still going and must have seen at least 20 batches each so far.
It seems to be in good shape. I am thinking of going and looking at the other one she has.
I'd go for it if I were you. If the price is even a bit cheaper than buying new where you live, you'll be kicking yourself if you get into this hobby and let it go. I like the 5 US gallon size - still really easy to move around and lift at my age, plus it fits 20L standard grape juice pails perfectly after primary fermentation without topping up.

5 gallons is about 25 750ml bottles. Between myself and my wife, family, and friends, we go through at least an average of one bottle a day. Considering the wine stays in the carboy for at least 3 months before bottling, I need a number of carboys just to start a new batch or two each month and break even. So I'll have 6 to 8 carboys going at once, while 1 or 2 primaries are going.

It sounds like a lot, but you'll find out it isn't. This is especially true if you'll have friends over regularly that like your wine. You need to make an excess at first just so you can stash some away to enjoy aged a couple years.

My point is that if you get into this, even 2 or 4 carboys won't be enough.