The sixth tip in our list of Ten Tips for Beginning Homebrewers recommends investing in a carboy handle. A good handle prevents your hand from slipping on a slippery carboy neck and offers your aching back a reprieve from awkward lifting.
Here are a few more things to know about these handy devices.
- Don’t think handle: think handhold. Handle is a bit of a misnomer because you should never pick up a full carboy by the handle alone: the neck just isn’t designed for that kind of stress. Think of the handle as a more secure handhold. You still need to support the bottom of your full carboy with the other hand, but the handle makes this task less awkward.
- One handle does not rule them all. Five-gallon and 6.5-gallon glass carboys require slightly different handles because the former has a narrower neck than the latter. Be sure you buy the right handle for the job.
- That goes for plastic, too. A special handle is available for plastic Better Bottles, but be aware that the design makes them vulnerable to slipping. Such handles snap on and off, but they don’t fully enclose the Better Bottle’s neck.
- Consider the alternatives. There are a couple of alternatives to standard handles that some brewers might prefer.
The Brew Hauler wraps a carboy in nylon webbing, similar to that used by rock climbers and slackliners. Twin handles help you lift the load.
Carboy in milk crateSome brewers simply place their carboys in plastic milk crates. Just make sure it’s a real milk crate and can handle the weight. Faux milk crates are merely aesthetic and may break.
Homebrewers may never fully settle the glass-vs-plastic debate, but we all agree that keeping a handle on your carboy helps you keep a handle on your hobby.