Saturday, August 31, 2013

DIY Fermenter

Have you wanted to brew your own alcohol but had no idea where to start? Look no further, as here are some plans to construct a fermenter for about $10. There are many ways to construct a fermenter with an airlock, but here is what I used to make mine.

Funnel and tubing not pictured.


(1) 5 gallon Food Grade Bucket  --- $3.97  (I recommend buying at least 2 of these for conveniece and utility while brewing)
(1) 5 gallon Bucket Lid -- $1.97 (I also recommend having at least 2 lids)
(1) 3 Piece Funnel set -- $1.00 (You can find this at a dollar store. The medium and small sized funnels are both acceptable for making the airlock, the large one is helpful for bottling)
5/8" x 1/2"x 10' Clear Vinyl tubing -- ~$4.38 (You'll need about 2.5 ft of tube for each airlock, while the rest can be used for siphoning purposes if you do not have an auto-siphon)
Empty Jar -- $0 (I use empty pasta sauce jars.)

Total Cost: $11 - $18


Drill with drill bit
Super Glue/Epoxy
Duct Tape

STEP 1: Set aside your buckets. You don't need to do too much assembly with them.

STEP 2: Take your lid and drill a hole through the middle of it.

Before and after
STEP 3: Place funnel on top of the lid, covering the hole. Seal it with your glue or epoxy. Use duct tape to complete the seal once dried.

Completed funnel seal
Alternative: Use a nylon barb and hole saw instead of a funnel. This requires an exact hole cut to thread the barb in though. Make sure you choose the correct size tubing.
Alternative method (the second model of our fermenters)
STEP 4: Attach lid to bucket. Place jar near the base of the fermenter. Attach the tubing to the top of the funnel and cut a section to it reaches to the bottom of the jar.

Almost ready to start brewing!
Congratulations you have assembled your first 5 gallon fermentation device. You are almost ready to begin making your own brew. A few quick reminders:

-Sanitize everything. If you are starting out, a dilute bleach solution can be used as long as it is rinsed with plenty of water. When you're ready to invest more money into homebrewing, buy some Star San.
-Use either boiled water or cheap vodka for your airlock fluid. This goes in the jar.
-Make sure the tube is submerged inside the jar.
-When filling the bucket with your wort, leave a small amount of head space in the bucket before attaching the lid (about 1/2" -1"). This will help prevent blowoff.
-The jar lid can be cut to hold the tubing in place. Prevent pressure from building up in the jar by punching several small holes into it.

Best of luck to beginners!


  1. Glass Carboy or plastic bucket? pros/cons...

  2. Plastic bucket: Pros: Cheap, light, easy to clean. Cons: Plastic not good for long term aging, prone to scratches that can harbor bacteria

    Glass Carboy: Pros: Fits bung and airlock easily, Glass prevents diffusion of oxygen into beer, transparency allows you to see the beer during fermentation. Cons: Heavy, Cannot clean without a brush, Sensitive to temperature changes, Major damage can occur to not only your house, but you if it breaks.


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