Glass Carboys or Plastic Carboys
For Home Wine Making and Beer Brewing – Which is Better?
We are often asked about the use of glass carboys versus plastic carboys as a secondary fermenter for wine making and brewing beer. What are the differences (besides the obvious that one is glass and the other plastic), does it matter which is used, and or which one is better?
Well, here are the pros and cons the way we see them:
Carboy Type
Glass is easier to clean and sterilize
Glass is heavy and slippery when wet
Glass does not scratch
More expensive to purchase
Stopper seals a bit better with glass
More expensive to ship as it is heavier
Glass will not transfer any air reducing oxidation
Will break, crack, or shatter when dropped
Carboy handles and stoppers are less expensive to purchase
Carboy Type
Less expensive to purchase
Plastic can scratch while cleaning
Plastic is lighter & easier to handle
Scratched plastic surface can hold onto bacteria and threaten wine or beer
Less expensive to ship as it weighs less than glass
Plastic can hold onto the odor or flavor of its prior contents
Plastic is not as slippery when wet
When a full plastic carboy is lifted the bottom can bulge out creating a vacuum and pull airlock water into the carboy
Will not break when dropped
Stopper does not seal as well as glass
During long term storage or aging plastic can transfer air through the actual plastic causing oxidation
Stoppers and carrying handles are more expensive for plastic carboys
In conclusion, plastic carboys certainly will and do work to make wine and beer, however we feel they have enough drawbacks causing us to prefer and recommend the use of glass carboys rather than their plastic counterpart. In short, glass is more sterile, won’t pick up flavors from its prior use if properly cleaned where plastic can, but glass is more expensive to buy and heavier making it harder to handle and more expensive to have shipped.

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