A carboy is a large glass container used during the beer brewing process. It has a large round container portion, and it bottlenecks just before the opening at the top. Imagine a glass version of a water-cooler bottle without a handle.
What is a carboy used for? before we get to that, let’s first revisit the basics of home brewing. We know that there is some equipment that is needed in order to begin brewing. The main components that are needed: boiling pot, fermenting bucket, stirring spoons etc. don’t change, however things can be substituted.
When I said things can be substituted I was referring to carboys. Essentially a carboy is a, typically glass, bottle that can be used in place of the fermenting bucket. Once you have made your wort and are ready to ferment your brew, you have to put it into a separate container; a fermenting bucket or a carboy.
As I mentioned earlier, carboys are usually glass containers, but they can be found in plastic as well. Both the glass and plastic containers function in the same way, and are generally shaped the same; the only difference between the two being the material that they are made out of.
Carboys vs Fermenting Buckets
Carboys and fermenting buckets are two differently shaped containers that serve the same purpose: fermenting. They are the containers that you mix your yeast, wort, and water in to let set for the few weeks it takes to fully ferment.
When creating your beer, whether you use a carboy or fermenting bucket is completely up to you. There really isn’t much difference in brewing using one or the other. A lot of people prefer to use buckets because they are easy to use and clean because of the wide opening at the top; however, if you’re someone who likes to see the fermenting process happen, you’ll want a carboy. Whether you’re using a plastic or glass carboy, the see-through material will make it so you have front row seats to the brewing process.
Whether you’re using a fermenting bucket or a carboy, you have to think about getting the fermented beer out of the container for bottling, carbonating, and serving. If you are going to use a bucket, be sure to get one with a nozzle on the outside of it for easy dispensing.
If you decide to go the route of the carboy, be sure to also pick up either a lid with a pourer on it or a siphon. The smaller opening doesn’t make it very easy to transfer the beer from the carboy and you definitely don’t want to drop it so be careful.
If you want a carboy, you can either purchase one separately, or you can find a kit that has one included. Most kits don’t, but they do exist. If you’re interested in a kit with a carboy the Brewers Best Beer Kit and the Gold Complete Beer Kit both come with carboys. Click on the names of the kits for my full reviews of the kits.
There you have it. Whether you’re going to use a carboy or a fermenting bucket, I’m confident you’re going to create a fantastic batch of beer.
As always I wish you all the best with all of your brewing. Feel free to leave a comment if you’ve got any questions for me or anyone else here, or if you just want to brag to us!