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Donatelo

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I am thinking of starting a new batch of wine , but a smaller amount. I'd like to do three gallons. Wal Mart has plastic water bottles for purchase. They were made to hold water for the water dispenser., like the office water cooler.
Would these be suitable for starting my must and use as a carboy?
 

cmason1957

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Starting your must, yes (but not really, since they provide little headspace). Long term aging, I wouldn't trust them. They are intended for a liquid at or near PH 7.0, you will be putting a liquid at or near PH 3.5. I would worry about the long term effect of leaving wine in them. They are not nearly as thick or good as PET (Better Bottles)
 

Johnd

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I'm in the same boat with @cmason1957 , low pH liquid, lots of chemical reactions taking place during AF and even during bulk aging, seems that going with a Better Bottle carboy or glass, both designed to handle what we do in them, would be a prudent expenditure to protect your investment......why even take the chance???
 

Donatelo

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I was thinking of the same thing using empties from Lowes. Although I was only going to use them as temporary bulk storage until I was able to free up some carboys.
That is what I was thinking also.I don't think it would be good for a 3 gallon bulk wine storage. I'd bottle after about 6 weeks.
 

Donatelo

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I'm in the same boat with @cmason1957 , low pH liquid, lots of chemical reactions taking place during AF and even during bulk aging, seems that going with a Better Bottle carboy or glass, both designed to handle what we do in them, would be a prudent expenditure to protect your investment......why even take the chance???
I suppose that I need a 3 gallon carboy. Another 100 mile trip to the wine store.
 

tjgaul

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Donatelo,

While you're at the wine store you might as well pick up a couple 3 gal carboy and another 6 gal as well. Once the addiction kicks in you will be needing them and this way you can maximize your time and gas investment.

I concur that the proper container is worthwhile. However, if I was making a cheap, small batch intended for quick drinking I might succumb to temptation and just brew it in what you have on hand.

Whatever choice you make . . . good luck.
 

Donatelo

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I just bought 'Carboy - 3 Gallon Glass' on Learn To Brew
https://www.learntobrew.com

This three gallon glass carboy is perfect for a small fermentation of a batch of beer or wine. The carboy is completely nonporous, making it easy to clean and sanitize. Glass fermenters are preferred for acidic wines.
Only reason I bought this is because I got free shipping. Saved a 200 mile round trip.
 

jmac

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I use the Walmart 3 gal carboys--although they are not code-1, so not the best. I have 3 of them with 2 caps drilled out to take a rubber stopper/airlock and the other cap left solid to store for a short month or a RO water run. I love that i can buy it both with (and return to get) RO water. I use it as a primary fermenter sometimes for test batches and some short storage. It's also great to rotate in to circulation when all the heavy hitter, glass carboys are taken or when you need a smaller head space. Just don't forget about it in a corner for a year and you'll be fine.

ALSO--use your area CRAIGSLIST! There are vinters always leaving the hobby and giving up their equipment (especially carboys) at a severe discount from your wine supply stores. Why...I just bought an Italian floor corker that came with a 6 gal & a 5 gal carboy for $75 bucks total! It was from a daughter of a long-time vinter that had just passed away. I feel both honored and lucky to have all three items to care-take until I can pay it forward to another someone like you and me.
 
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montanaWineGuy

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I use Culligan water bottles for long term storage/clearing, and there is no problems at all with the wine. Locally available, and inexpensive is the perfect answer to making a lot of wine.
 

Donatelo

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I can do the Cullen water bottle. I have 5 , but my wife would get after me for taking her water bottles. I'll have to buy a 5 gal. of water, then use the water on other projects. Gotta keep the peace, You know?
 

montanaWineGuy

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I dumped the water. I have a mountain fed creek that runs year long in front of my cabin. Best water I've ever tasted, that Culligan cannot begin to match. I think those 5 gallon bottles cost me about 12 each. I bought 3 and have used them all several times. I'm tempted to buy more.
 

benchmstr

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they work, they are the correct grade of plastic, and they are BPA free...

the are $6 a piece...I use them at bottling after I end up with less than 6 gallons and don't want to clean a heavy glass carboy

the bench
 

David Squires

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I purchased several of the american maid water bottles. They have a handle on the side. I looked on bottom of bottle and they are listed as a 1 which I thought was PET.Have not used for bulk aging but as secondary so far. Still new at this and learning as I go.
 

cpfan

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There are hundreds (or more) different PET plastics. Just having the 1 logo does not mean that it is "correct grade". The 1 is a recycling symbol, not a manufacturing symbol. It just means that it can be recycled with other PET plastics.

As mentioned above, how does the ph of the liquid affect the specific plastic in that bottle.

I ONLY use vessels intended for wine making. I know that my comments are not going to convince everybody, but if you are striving for "best practices", do not use water jugs. If you're not trying for "best practices", then whatever.

Steve
 

Donatelo

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Thanks, Steve. I have since invested in 2 three gallon glass carboys and 4 one gallon glass jugs with lids. I'll still use the wally world plastic water bottles ,but only as a temporary measure.
 

Snowcreek

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I've sometimes been able to find 6 gallon glass carboys on Amazon for well under $40 when they go on sale. If you have a Prime membership, you'll have free shipping as well. I was initially worried about how a large glass container would fare being shipped, but the ones that I've received have been fully wrapped in bubble wrap and double boxed.
 

Donatelo

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All of the glass that I bought cost me $90..i can get brand new glass 6 gallon carboys for $40.
 

Snowcreek

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Sounds like a good deal!

I haven't been lucky enough to find the elusive $5 yard sale carboys yet like some have, but I try to keep my eyes open in the spring and summer here. I've tried looking on craigslist for deals, but it seems that most within an hour drive still want $30 for each used class carboy which just isn't worth it for me.

How long do you typically keep your wines in the water bottles? Have you noticed any off flavors or anything else that takes away from your finished product? Seems like they could be useful in a pinch for a transfer container, short-term storage while waiting for a carboy to open up, or with super quick wines like SP or DB.
 

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