Batch 1 - Bavarian Helles - Joseph Schwab -- 2014-05-26.jpg

Update: Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler on Brew Day!

If you haven’t read my initial review on the Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler, head over and check it out first. My initial impression out of the box was a well-designed plastic carboy with a gorgeous wide-open mouth and a handy (optional) dual port lid. Let’s see how it did on Brew Day!

Brew Day Details

I was brewing a 5 gallon batch of the Bavarian Helles extract kit from Northern Brewer. I have a temperature-controlled 7 cu ft chest freezer that I use for a mixture of cold fermentation, lagering, and serving kegged beers. I have not turned it into a full-blown “keezer” yet, so there is no additional collar on it to raise the height.

Cleaning & Sanitizing

In my initial review I talked about how the Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler fit on Mark’s Keg & Carboy Washer. On brew day, the Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler was already clean, so all I needed to do was sanitize it. I typically will have a 5-gallon batch of Star San solution sitting around that gets used until the pH goes above 3.5 or so. For this particular brew day I needed to make a fresh batch of Star San, so I whipped up some in my 6 gallon bottling bucket. I put the bucket on top of the freezer and the Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler down below.

Apart from the carboy, I also needed to sanitize the ring, lid, autosiphon, gas hose & diffusion stone (for oxygenating), blow-off tube with stopper, and thermowell with stopper. I put the lid, ring, and autosiphon in the bottling bucket and put everything else in the Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler. I then used the auto siphon to rack the sanitizer to the carboy.

Here’s where the Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler really shines. I was easily able to reach in through the wide mouth to get at all of the items being sanitized. I was also impressed with the sturdiness of the carboy when it was filled. There was only some very mild flexing of the plastic when full with 5 gallons of sanitizing solution.

Once the carboy was filled, I moved the carboy onto the freezer and placed the bucket down below. I moved the autosiphon into the Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler and placed it, quite easily, onto the punted bottom. I then transferred all of the sanitizing solution back into the bottling bucket. I didn’t measure it specifically, but this left around 2 quarts of sanitizing solution in the carboy. I moved all of the equipment being sanitized back into the bottling bucket, put the lid & ring on the carboy, and let it sit with the few quarts left on the bottom.

When time came to fill the Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler with the cooled wort, I swirled the remaining sanitizing solution around the inside of the bottle, taking care to get it in the upper region by the neck and mouth, and then inverted the Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler over the bottling bucket to empty the sanitizing solution completely. This helped do a final sanitizing of the mouth, neck, and ring/lid combination.

Transferring the Wort

Once the Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler was sanitized, I hooked up the diffusion stone tubing to the oxygen through one port. I placed the sanitized autosiphon into the wort and dropped the tubing for transfer into the other port and started the siphon. Piece of cake. After transferring I could look at the volume markings on the side and determine that I had about 5½ gallons in the fermenter… Perfect!

Moving & Storing

View of the ports from above
View of the ports from above
The dual port lid on the Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler fits two silicone stoppers snugly
Stoppers in place and well-seated

Once the wort was transferred I dropped a thermowell stopper into one port, and covered the other one with a stopper for the blowoff tube. I lifted the Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler by the harness straps and was easily able to carry it over and place it into my fermentation keezer. I couldn’t believe how light it felt compared to the glass carboy full of Oktoberfest I had lifted earlier in the day.

The fermenter gets tucked away into the fermentation chamber
The fermenter gets tucked away into the fermentation chamber

During the moving process I didn’t feel too much flex in the plastic, and the whole system felt sturdier then I had expected. It fit easily into the keezer next to two corny kegs and a small blowoff bucket. It didn’t dent the floor of my keezer like the glass carboys had done. Even with a blowoff tube in place I was just able to close the lid (with a little pressure on the tube), but all of the seals in the ports were so tight that nothing had come loose when I checked it the next day.

Final Thoughts: Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler

Happily my Bavarian Helles was visibly fermenting away less than 24 hours after pitching the yeast (see the videos below). I was able to see the fermentation process in the Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler, and I could get a good estimate of my total volume. Accessing the ports was easy and the silicone stoppers fit perfectly snug for a tight seal. Sanitizing was a snap, and transport was a piece of cake. The Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler seems like it is an excellent fermenter for the price. You won’t regret adding this to your collection of brewing equipment!

If you have thoughts on the Plastic Big Mouth Bubbler, leave me a comment!

Now my only problem is finding something to do with my old glass carboys…

Check out these videos: