Milk Crates For Homebrewing
Almost everyone has a few random milk crates that they’ve acquired over the years. Milk crates were of course designed to hold several gallons of milk but provide great storage for almost anything. They can be especially useful in the homebrewing world with their sturdy design and stackability. Bottle storage is the first thing that comes to mind but they also serve as the ultimate carboy protection and handling tool.
Milk crates will hold quite a few bottles with a snug fit. A standard crate will hold 25 long necks and their modular stacking design helps you save valuable brewery space. Their plastic shell also won’t fall apart like your cardboard cases when they get wet. I’ve also found them really useful for bulk chilling my bottles for filling from kegs. Besides bottles, you’ll find plenty of ways to use them for condensing your homebrew stuff.
Straps and handles help with moving a carboy but aren’t your best option. A milk crate fits a 5 gallon carboy with a bit of space left while a 6.5 gallon carboy fits like a glove. Lifting a full carboy is much easier with handles and the thick plastic provides plenty of cushion from bumps. They’re especially useful for lifting a carboy in and out of a chest freezer for cold crashing. Buying several colors gives you a great way to identify each without having to label everything as well. Plastic fermenters won’t shatter like glass but you can certainly benefit from having a couple of good handles when moving a full batch.
There are several options for sourcing your milk crates. I’ve had luck buying them at both Menards and local craft stores. Online they can be found at Amazon and various supply sites. The standard 4 gallon milk crates are fairly easy to find but you can also find a larger 6 gallon version. Finally, you might notice them in the back of a grocery store but don’t assume they are free. Milk crate theft is a serious issue affecting the dairy industry.
Now ditch those cardboard 12 packs and bring your carboy out of retirement with the humble milk crate.