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Quick Overview about Carboys

3/25/2015 5:11:00 PM | by Eury


A Carboy also known as demijohn is basically a rigid and large container mainly used in transporting liquids and corrosive liquids such as acids and other chemicals. It is classified into plastic and glass carboy which is sometimes encased in basket work or a box perfect for beer and wine making. These carboys are airtight sealed with carboy bung for glass carboys while drilled bung for plastic carboys, which can be easily sanitized and do not hold odor. These usually come in with various volumes ranging from 3.8L to 24.7L. A 4.5L carboy is usually called a jug while 57L carboy is known as demijohn.

Glass Carboys are usually applied in brewing applications used in fermenting beverages like wine, cider, beer, mead, and perry. A process called racking deals with a method that uses primary carboy for initial fermentation then transfer to secondary carboy for conditioning. These glass vessels have scratch resistance characteristics often acquired by most wine and brewery corporations. It can accommodate any type of brewing production featuring a fermentation lock that prevents oxygen and bacteria to enter during the process.

Plastic Carboys are mainly seen in laboratories that are used to transfer purified water. These are preferred in collecting and storing waste solvents more than glass carboys because of the lesser chance of breakage when solution is placed in wrong labeled carboy. These are sturdy storage carboys made of PET or polyethylene terephthalate copolymer plastic that won’t break.

Glass vs. Plastic Carboys

Which is better in wine and brewery applications?

Glass Carboys – Advantage
• Glass carboys are impermeable to oxygen which gives the wine or beer a long lasting freshness even after the secondary fermentation.
• These carboys provide good airlock seal which prevents the occurrence of oxidation during long term storage.
• Glass is inert which means that no chemicals or solvents will leach out.
• Glass is easy to clean and sanitized featuring a high scratch resistance.
• These are clear which allows you to see the activity inside during the fermentation process.
• Glass carboys have necks with perfect size to accept a blow off hose for dynamic and initial fermentation.

Glass Carboys – Disadvantage
• Glass carboys are fragile and heavy to handle. They are dangerous to carry. especially when wet, so proper handling procedure must always be applied.
• Sunlight through clear glass has the possibility to harm the wine inside.
• Glass carboys cost about 50% more than plastic carboys.

Plastic Carboys – Advantage
• Plastic Carboys are much lighter and safer to handle
• These features larger necks which make it easier to clean as well as dry hopping and oak additions.
• These can be fitted with various attachments with specific design.
• Plastic Carboys are cheaper to purchase since it qualified the flat rate shipping.

Plastic Carboys – Disadvantage
• Plastic Carboys need more care during cleaning to avoid scratch that can attract microscopic bacteria and eventually ruin the wine.
• These are difficult to monitor during fermentation and clearing
• Plastic has difficulty in getting a good airtight seal
• Plastic Carboys has bigger chance in allowing oxygen diffusion across barrier during long term storage
• These may leach solvents when filled with acidic and other alcoholic fluids

Some brewers prefer only one, but both types of fermentors are widely used in brewery applications that can make a great wine or beer in the homebrewing industry.


Plastic Carboys are excellent in storing media like distilled water, detergent, paints, lubricants, acids and other chemicals and solvent that is used in factories, laboratories, and manufacturing industry. These come in popular shapes and sizes featuring a heavy duty container with handy carrying handles. These are thick-walled and wide mouth container used for rugged transferring and storing fluids that is sometimes used as reservoirs and waste traps.

Dependable and large capacity, plastic carboys are sometimes used as jerry can which mainly served as a robust fuel container. These are usually labeled through its color and printed materials on the container itself to prevent mixing from other types of fuel.

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