Plastic Carboys vs Glass Carboys

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St Allie

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This is a good point, I think Allie covers the leaching thing well but what about the commit Dugger made about the corks and barrels.
I agree with Duggers comments regarding barrels and corks...

My comments were pointedly discussing the glass versus plastic option.... I just feel there may be an unnecessary level of hysteria developing, about plastic water jugs.

This topic has come up a number of times with no real resolution.. and am sure other wine sites see this topic regularly as well.

Allie
 

e-wine

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St. Allie,

If the polymeric formulation is designed for the application, you really do not have to worry about anything leaching out of the plastic and into the wine. The molecular activity of alcohol is greater that than water but I'll bet you the water is less pure than the plastic from the outset. As far as the vapor barrier properties of plastic again, the design of the system comes into play. Inside every box of cereals or crackers you see on the supermarket shelves, you have a plastic bag. You open the bag and the cereals or crackers are fresh indicating a sound vapor barrier. And we're talking about a wall thickness less than 3 mils (I know it's multi-layered and I can confirm the thickness if anyone wants to push that issue.) They use a different polymer in the plastic carboys but look at the wall thickness compared to the film used to make the bag. As I pointed out earlier, they use plastic in the boxed wine and you don't have any taste issues because of the plastic. Just to be clear, I do agree with your logic. And as I said earlier, I would use plastic if that is what I had available but I prefer glass. Part of winemaking is art and with any art, you get opinion. You can't debate opinion and that is why the issue is never resolved. Well, at least that is my opinion.

e-wine

As a Frenchman once told me, "In God we trust, everyone else, bring data!"
 

St Allie

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e-wine

As a Frenchman once told me, "In God we trust, everyone else, bring data!"
LOL..

Opinion and debate are wonderful things, however, they are not of themselves, immediately interactive. (opinion is a statement and debate is an opening statement, with rebuttal and closing statements..)

What we have here is a discussion..

My comments as previously stated, are against the automatic shutting down of a viable option, (plastic water jugs), without any factual reasons beyond scare mongering. This is an opportunity to explore a cheap to free carboy option for some here. ( I saw your comments about using them if that was what was available.. I also expressed the same view earlier in this thread.)

Just a comment regarding cardboard packaging. In NZ we still get arborio rices and dried pasta's etc from italy.. packaged in cardboard.. with a plasticized outer cardboard, but still only folded shut. So really, it may as well be on the supermarket shelves in a paper bag.

I am glad we agree on logic..

it could be a long evening of rebuttal otherwise ..

grins

Allie
 

pwrose

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Well, the opinion debate rages on,,,, lol. I could listen to this all day me luvs a good battle, especially when there is something to back up each side.

But for now I think that I have my answer for using the freebies.

USE THEM

I have glass carboys for bulk aging but the free plastic carboys will work for me short term. And because I have access to them I just might become a drunken skeeter pee expert.

Thanks for the info and the entertainment.
 

Dugger

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I agree totally with what you are saying, Allie, about plastic perhaps not being given a fair shake, but since there is a lack of definitive information and it is one of the few things over which I have control and glass carboys are relatively inexpensive here ( $20) I prefer to stick with glass.
My comment was focused on the oxygen issue, since I know so little about what constitutes good oxygenation and where the line is where it becomes a negative factor in ageing wine.
 

myakkagldwngr

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I guess that regardless of what your wine starts off in, plastic water bottles, better bottles or glass carboys.
We will all agree on one thing,
the best thing for it to end up in is your mouth and stomach. :dg
And just FYI, I have to use all three bottles.
 

e-wine

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Tom,

Thanks for the links. Since I do not have access to a plastic carboy, I was not sure if they were made from PET or not. The plastic bottle I used as a temporary secondary was PETE which is the same polymer used in soda bottle and is represented by a "1" inside the chasing arrows. With that said, just because the bottle has a "7", does not rule out a composite or layered wall. I've worked more with PE, PP, and PS and I don't know what type of co-extrusion blow molding construction is allowed with PETE but with PE, you can change the layers based on the application. If you want an example of co-extrusion, cut open a quart size Pennzoil bottle. The inside layer is not pigmented. Basically, I don't know how they are constructing the 5 gallon water bottles so I can't say they would not work without running permeability testing and "taste" testing or from obtaining data from those tests.

Additionally, the main concern I saw against plastic in the links was scratches on the inner surface of the bottles as a possible breeding ground for bacteria. This is true for any container whether it's glass, plastic or stainless steel. And yes, plastic is more susceptible to scratching than glass but it is a matter of degrees. After all, oak is more susceptible to scratching than some plastics yet we reuse barrels.

St. Allie,

I like your noodle example regarding cardboard packaging. I remember Skinner use to package the lasagna noodles in a box with only a plastic window. They may still do that but I think they now have an overwrap to protect against product tampering. Because of the nature of the noodles, you actually have to boil them in water to get them to absorb moisture. An open box of crackers will go stale overnight (well, at least they will on the Texas Gulf Coast.) Different product demands, different packaging requirements. That is exactly my point.

Based on my knowledge of both glass and polymers, I would not rule out plastic without some type of technical proof. A bad batch or an off taste made in a plastic carboy is no more proof than one made in a glass carboy and I know that has happened. I believe we are both in agreement here.

pwrose,

I agree with your "summation" of the issue. I haven't read anything that would rule out the use of the water bottles. By the way, what number is inside the chasing arrows?

e-wine
 

pwrose

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well I am a little saddened,,, all but one of the bottles that I have, have a #7 in them. The only bottle that has a #1 is one that I purchased myself somewhere else.

Im going to pout for a little while and think about what to do and then I will be back to discuss it...... LOL
 

St Allie

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Tom thanks for the links.

my plastic water bottles have the number seven on them..

I've been using them for a year with no issues. I don't use a bottle brush on the insides.. however I really do sanitise well.

I'm going to continue to use them as secondaries..that said.. I have bulk stored wine in them.. recently grapefruit wine has sat in two of them for seven months.. I'm currently cleaning off labels to get them bottled in glass.. Will let you know if there is a detectable plastic taste at all..

I haven't seen a discernable difference, between bulk storing in glass compared to plastic so far..

now if I die of cancer.. it could be the bottles..or it could be the wine..

(if I get run over by an ambulance.. we'll just call that bad luck... )

Allie:D
 

St Allie

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My comment was focused on the oxygen issue, since I know so little about what constitutes good oxygenation and where the line is where it becomes a negative factor in ageing wine.
yes this is a possible issue..

after using plastic for the past year though.. I don't see much evidence of oxidation in my own wines.

Allie
 

St Allie

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St. Allie,

Based on my knowledge of both glass and polymers, I would not rule out plastic without some type of technical proof. A bad batch or an off taste made in a plastic carboy is no more proof than one made in a glass carboy and I know that has happened. I believe we are both in agreement here.

e-wine
yes we are in agreement..

:i
 

Nubz

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I use 2 water jugs
one a 3 gallon one a 5 gallon and as long as you're really careful while moving them you wont have too many problems
My wine doesnt end up tasting like plastic either

Since I only do this 2x a year(2 batches in the spring and 2 in the fall)I don't feel like spending a ton of money on it and they work fine for what I do

I will say that I think glass would be better because of a few things
like moving it around a squeezing it too hard and having a mess or stirring up the sediment easily
but its all up to what you can get your hands on
it's not like we're making wine for resale to get us all rich lol
 
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myakkagldwngr

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Nubz, if you only do a few batches a year you're the one who should go glass.
Me, I have 1 better bottle, 2 glass carboys and 7 water bottles. All, full. And two primaries working too.
I would love to go all glass, but heck right now I need three more carboys and sure can't afford to buy glass.
If work comes in I might swing a couple better bottles for the same price as a glass carboy...
If not, I'll be buying another water bottle.
 

rawlus

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i use both, mostly BB but i have a few glass for the purposes of vacuum degassing when necessary...
BB clean easier than glass, easier to store, easier to handle, drop, kick, etc.
the advantage to me for glass is vacuum container, that is really about all they are useful for to me.
the unique disadvantages of glass far outweigh their benefits for me with the exception of vacuum. heavy, breakable, difficult to store, require care in handling, do not clean as easily, difficult (and dangerous) to handle when wet, and so on.

i can invert a BB with one hand and put on a Jet bottle washer attached to the sink, because the BB is hygroscopic nothing really sticks to it, some PBW to fully clean and then a little kmeta spray before plugging it ready for next use, i can stack these things on their side 100 high if i need to, they can topple down and make nothing but alot of noise.

as to their deflection when moving, i try not to move carboys if i can help it. when i do, i take the floater out of the 3-piece airlock so i don't have the issue of suction of airlock fluid into the wine. to me, it is not that big an issue.

but different people have different preferences.

IMHO, if your LHBS is only selling glass carboys, then they have an incomplete assortment of products and i probably would not patronize such a store with any frequency because they are likely ignoring other common products as well.

i dont use water bottles, one because i dont have any on-hand and two because i think BB is more refined solution.
 

myakkagldwngr

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We have only one Mom & Pop store here close by and they only stock glass. The whyno of the business says they perfer glass due to the possibility of plastic scratching.
My thought on that is if the scratch is half way thru the plastic, the sanitizer goes just as deep as the wine will.
 

rawlus

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in my experience, the scratching warning by glass advocates is less of a concern than it's often made out to be. i have several BB's that have been in continuous use for years and all are as crystal clear and scratch free as when i first bought them. he BB's tend not to hold onto residue the way glass does - so scrubbing the inside between uses is rarely if ever necessary... scratching just doesn't ever seem to happen because of this.
 

George_A

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Most of the scientists that have researched on this topic hint that the highly solvent power of alcoholic beverages in contact with plastic for long periods of time may extract undesirable components of plastic/oil which is then consumed by people.

I would recommend anyone: 1) not to store wine for many years in plastic. 2)Store the wine in the dark so that the plastic doesn't degrade. 3)Keep the carboys and bottles in a cool place. 4)Use glass for long-term storage (several years or more)
 

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