PET plastic fermenter lifetime?

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Kev888
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PET plastic fermenter lifetime?

Post by Kev888 » Mon Apr 01, 2019 12:15 pm

For those who use plastic PET fermenters (demijohns, carboys etc): roughly how long they have lasted for, and/or what has happened to them which has meant the end of their life?

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Re: PET plastic fermenter lifetime?

Post by Jocky » Tue Apr 02, 2019 9:42 pm

I have a speidel fermenter made out of HDPE that has lasted 3.5 years so far with no issues.
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Re: PET plastic fermenter lifetime?

Post by Kev888 » Tue Apr 02, 2019 10:26 pm

Thanks, yeah I've had HDPE last for many years too, it is pretty indestructible if treated nicely. But with respect to PET I've mostly just used semi-disposable vessels, so am not sure if it deteriorates more rapidly in some way or other (I know its more fragile with hot cleaners, for instance).

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PET plastic fermenter lifetime?

Post by LeeH » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:04 am

I would say they last longer than HDPE as they are less prone to scratching if cared for correctly.


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Re: PET plastic fermenter lifetime?

Post by Kev888 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 10:45 am

Thanks, that largely supports what I've been able to find too; at least, there seems to be no reason why PET shouldn't be similarly long lived, which is all i really needed to know. So thats good news.

The key thing seems to be caring for it properly, as it is surprisingly sensitive to hot water and cleaning chemicals. If anyone is interested, the BetterBottle website has some useful info here (see the yellow Wash/Sanitise menu link towards top left). I'd guess failure to account for this kind of thing is what has led to various negative comments I've seen over the years.

Scratching seems to be another error people make (perhaps brought on by the limitations on cleaning chemicals). Some methods (such as brushes in drills) might be okay on glass but gradually wear/scratch at the PET. Though again I don't think this need be a problem with proper care. I've not had any issues even with HDPE in the past with gentle treatment.

So pros and cons (as always). I like the clarity and impermeability of PET, but the restrictions on cleaning are a little undesirable. I'd not want to use carboys for the primary FV in any case, so they'd be limited to secondary FVs - whilst PE (and PP) is available in a much bigger range of shapes.
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Re: PET plastic fermenter lifetime?

Post by McMullan » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:20 am

I've been using the same PET Better Bottles for several years. They still look new when cleaned. The first batch I got were ruined by 'chemical fractures', when I failed to dissolve PBW before pouring it in. Very tough considering they're very light weight, as long as the cleaning protocols are followed to the letter. Mine are usually used as secondaries so pretty easy to clean. I've been using the Speidel HDPE FVs for several years as well and I find them 'bomb proof' and very adaptable.

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Re: PET plastic fermenter lifetime?

Post by Kev888 » Sun Apr 07, 2019 11:40 am

Great, thank you for this! Excellent - I was hoping someone would have first hand experience of them. That sounds really good, especially if you've been using PBW (albeit dissolved first).

So it is a goer as far as I'm concerned then. Just need to work out what is needed. In some cases the beer could stay in a Speidel style of FV until clear enough to keg, but in other batch sizes a lack of kegs means time before kegging might be prolonged so I should really rack to a secondary FV.
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Re: PET plastic fermenter lifetime?

Post by Collingwood » Tue Aug 13, 2019 4:51 am

Kev,
FYI there is a company here in Australia that is releasing a new range of PET fermenters later this month. They can be used to ferment under pressure and dispense the naturally carbonated beer directly from the fermenter.

See https://www.kegland.com.au/fermzilla-55 ... enter.html

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Re: PET plastic fermenter lifetime?

Post by Kev888 » Tue Aug 13, 2019 10:06 am

Hi Steve,
thanks for the link, they look very nice. Though I already went for some other types by this point, so no going back now.

Probably just as well, as they'd have been tempting. But my process uses other means of yeast collection & propagation, conditioning, dispensing and so on, and I actually prefer to avoid fermenting under pressure, so the Fermzilla (and similar Fermentasaurus2) would be OTT for my requirements (and budget). I just need something simple and bucket-like that seals reliably after fermentation dies down.

I can see that they'd be great in different situations though, so thanks again.
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Kev
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