I am needing a larger fermenting primary for wine and for when I start making beer and for the most part my equipment consists of a 2 gallon bucket, a 5 gallon bucket, 1 gallon glass jugs for 1 gallon recipes. I have thought about 1 gallon beer recipes but it takes the same amount of work to make 1 gallon as it does 2.5 gallons.

I have done some homework and found my answer which I will call the poor man’s primary. Here is how you could do it if you are just starting out and I will post a 2.5 gallon recipe I am going to do as soon as I get bottles and caps.


  • (1) – 5 Gallon Bucket
  • (1) – Locking lid for the 5 Gallon Bucket
  • (1) – 1/2″ male Nylon Barb
  • (1) – 1/2″ Female adapter for nylon Barb
  • (1) – 2 foot piece of nylon hose to fit the nylon barb

I went to my local home depot and purchased a 5 gallon, white bucket with gallon markings on it. I know that many people will say not to use these buckets however, if you look on the bottom of the bucket it will show it is a #2 HDPE bucket, which is the same grade that you get from the online or local retailer in the wine and beer making kits. The locking lid is a #2 HDPE as well so there is nothing to worry about with the bucket.

I then bored a 5/8″ hole in the top of the lid for the nylon barb.

Next I threaded the barb in to the newly made hole and then screwed the female adapter to the barb inside the bucket.

My wife had a couple canning jars with nicks in the rim so I nabbed one. I put a used lid on it and nabbed a ring for it. I drilled a 3/4″ hole in the lid for the nylon hose to fit in. Then I took a small drill bit and drilled along the outer lip for breathing holes.

I only used about 1′ of nylon hose because my intention is to set the jar on the lid of the bucket.

I purchased a second bucket to use as a bottling bucket so my total cost so far is only $15.00.

Here you see that the bucket and lid are a #2 HDPE grade which is fine.

#2 HDPE Bucket #2 HDPE Lid

Here is a photo of the nylon barb and the female adapter used for the lid.

Female Adapter Nylon Barb

Here is a photo of the canning jar lid and how to use it as an airlock.

Altered Canning Lid Custom Made Air Lock

Now the final product. A fully functional primary for making beer or wine.

Poor Man's Primary Finished Product




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