Plastic Milk Jugs for the Secondary

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Arctic Contributor
Oct 26, 2008
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I am laying on the floor ready to be kicked around for even asking this, again. I got my buddy hooked on the wine, and he has started a 5 gallon batch of mixed frozen juice concentrate,(fermenting like crazy). Anyway, when it is ready to "come off" next weekend he has nothing to put it in. I suggested he transfers it to regular milk jugs using blow off tubes. He has no intention on bottling this batch, so I am figuring if it is only going to be in these jugs for 3 or 4 weeks it shouldtn't be a problem. When it comes off the secondary I suggested he freeze it overnight and then go for it. So, if it is only going to be in these jugs for that short of a time, the plastic issue may not be that critical.
Covering my head waiting for a reply

My guess for your friend is...milk plastic is thin, designed to keep milk safe from air for 3 days.. Not designed for fermentation. If your mate is really stuck for fermentation containers.. choose the 3 litre apple juice containers from the supermarket, or... the 2.25 litre coke containers..They are thicker plastic than milk containers, and as a short duration option less likely to allow oxygen near your wine.

other option is to rack off into sterilised buckets.. resterilise the primary fermenter and transfer back into to it.. let it finish the secondary ferment and then do whatever you intend to do..

I don't know if the alcohol will leech through the plastic or not. I have always been told it wouldn't work. I then think hey, apple cider is put in the plastic jugs and it doesn't oxidize. Apple cider is wine without the alcohol. All I can say is give it a try and see what happens. If it works it works, if not, well, we told you so. :D
Im not fond of the idea but have no proof either for or against it, All I can say is look around for some glass Apple juice jugs or wine jugs for future batches if you can.
I think my main objection to thin plastic milk jugs Wade.. is that they are thin, I move my coca cola bottle fermenters carefully as it is, because if you squeeze em, the wine will squirt up into the airlock.


( thrifty winemaker par excellence!)


I've been looking at those 5 litre containers myself..we have big rectangular ones here, the white food grade plastic.. Have put those on my shopping list for my next batch of cider.
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I've got a bunch of the square milk jugs, they are " #2 in the triangle", I also have some jugs that were from juice, 1/2 gallon size, those are " #1 in the triangle". I absolutely don't want to bring up this subject again about plastic, but does anyone really think it would hurt for a few weeks ? I personnally have glass for me.
(tightwad looking for an easy way)
I know it seems like a way to save money right now, but what happens if your friend ends up with a batch of wine thats either spoiled or drinkable, but not really good because he used the wrong kind of fermenter.

Do you think he'll want to want to make more wine?

The right equipment really isnt expensive. $25 or so should get a carboy and a proper airlock and will last a lifetime.
I use coca cola plastic soda bottles in a pinch for extra fermenters ( if I have an extra 1.5 to 2 litres, just pop a bung and airlock on it).. there's no appreciable difference to glass that I can see. Just ensure plastic containers are the food grade plastic and sanitised.

Yea, this is a discussion that can, has, and probably will go on forever. I think the 5 gallon containers that LUC is refering to are the ones that are typically used for water coolers. Though I have no proof either, I would tend to think that the 2 litre soda bottles are probably not a bad choice, and I further agree that a glass carboy is only 25 skins or so, but 25 skins will keep me warm for a week. I really wish we could find out for sure about the plastic issue. As I have said this issue has been discussed before and no one seems to beable to prove or disapprove either way.
A few years ago, when I only had one carboy, I thought it would be a good idea to use a plastic 5 gallon water bottle as a secondary to make a wine kit.
It was a 28 day kit, so it was only something like 18-20 days in the secondary. The resulting product was so bad that I ended up dumping it.
I dont know if it was the water jug that caused the failure or not, but i've never used one for a fermenter since.
My "lesser half" bring plastic 5 gallon water bottle home for FREE which got me using them and I use them ALL THE TIME with GREAT results So Far~~~ :b