The size of a bucket, or fermentation vessel, required depends on what you are brewing. Most kits are either 1-gallon or 5-gallon kits. However, if you are making your wines or beers from scratch, then it depends on how much you want to make. Most recipes are based on a 1-gallon brew and can be easily multiplied for larger quantities. As ever it is a balance between the effort made and the reward for your efforts. It is not too much more effort to brew 5-gallon than it is 1-gallon. It is when it comes to lifting, carrying or bottling that there is a noticeable difference in the amount of work required. (Please note, most fermentation vessels are designed with an extra bit of head space to allow for foaming etc.)
1 Gallon Buckets are easily stackable, making them easy to store. They are made from a food grade plastic, which is smooth and easy to clean and sterilise. Do not use vessels with a rough surface, as this will harbour bacteria etc, that will affect your brew. They are ideal for small kits and country wine recipes. however, will degrade over time. There is no hole in the lid for an airlock, however, this is easily achievable by drilling the lid to make a hole to the correct diameter of the airlock stem if needed.
These are not stackable, however being made from glass they are not reactive, which means you can store brews in them for months or years. Ideal for meads, and high-quality brews that benefit from maturing.
Easier to store than glass demijohns, but not buckets, cheaper than both buckets and glass demijohns and lighter, but will degrade over time, and are harder to clean. Good for starters, as will keep the cost down, very flexible and forgiving.
Like the 1 gallon bucket, they are easily stackable, made from a food grade plastic and are easy to clean, no hole in the lid for an airlock. Again this is easily done. Ideal for people making larger batches from scratch or doubling up on small kits.
Like the 1 and 2 gallon bucket, they are easily stackable, made from a food grade plastic and are easy to clean, no hole in the lid for an airlock. Again this is easily done. Ideal for people making larger batches from scratch or matching the bucket to the size of some of the Brewferm kits that produce 2 or 3 gallons of beer.
Like all buckets, they are easily stackable, made from a food grade plastic and are easy to clean. However, there is a choice of lids. One lid with a hole in for an airlock and one lid solid. Ideal for people making larger kits, for people starting the hobby in home brewing, and for people who like to brew beers from scratch.
Like all buckets, they are easily stackable, made from a food grade plastic and are easy to clean. However, most of these only have lids with holes for airlocks. We have one version that can have lids without holes but check with your local shop if they supply them. Ideal for people making larger kits and for people starting their journey in home brewing, especially wines, as wine tends to ferment more aggressively, causing more foam. The extra head space, in a 6-gallon bucket, helps accommodate this issue.
We also sell the Fermonster, Plastic 5 Gallon Demijohns, Glass 5 Gallon Demijohns, and 25 litre Drum Fermenters. As yet, we have not tested these products. However, some of the same principles will still apply. All plastics will be food grade, and all glass will be none re-active and therefore suitable for long-term storage. None of the fermenters are particularly stackable. However, the Fermonster and Drum Fermenter do have a certain amount of flexibility in their design. The drum fermenter and Fermonster have a defined area for a tap in the body of the fermenter, as well as a cap that will accommodate a bung or a tap. The cap also has the capacity to hold pressure. Both have a wide neck for easy cleaning. The demijohns require special utensils for a good clean. The plastic demijohn can be adapted to accommodate a tap; glass ones can not.
I hope this helps in your choice. If you want further advice please check out our other articles on the hints and tips page, sign up to our newsletter or contact Brew Mart by phone on 0114 2746850, or email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our shop.