AskDefine | Define carboy

Dictionary Definition

carboy n : a large bottle for holding corrosive liquids; usually cushioned in a special container

User Contributed Dictionary



From (qarrâbeh, qarrâbah).


  1. A large, globular glass bottle, especially one of green glass, encased in basket work or in a box and used to hold corrosive liquids.

Extensive Definition

A carboy is a container for fluids.


In brewing, a carboy is also known as a demijohn. It is a glass or plastic vessel that is often used in fermenting beverages such as wine, mead, and beer. Usually it is fitted with a rubber stopper and a fermentation lock to prevent bacteria and spoiled yeast from entering during the fermentation process.
During the homebrewing process, a primary carboy is used for fermentation. Once primary fermentation is complete, the beer is either transferred to a secondary carboy for conditioning or it can be transferred directly to bottles for conditioning. (This process of transferring is usually called racking.)
Polypropylene carboys are also commonly used in laboratories to transfer purified water. They are typically filled at the top and have a spigot at the bottom for dispensing.
The word carboy is from the Persian qarabah, from Arabic qarraba, "big jug".
Carboys come in various volumes ranging from 1 gallon to 6.5 gallons (4 to 25 litres). The term carboy used on its own will generally refer to a 5 gallon carboy, unless otherwise noted. A one gallon carboy is usually called a jug. A 15 gallon carboy is often called a demijohn (in the Philippines, "dama juana"). "Demijohn" is an old word that formerly referred to any glass vessel with a large body and small neck, enclosed in wickerwork. The word is said to derive from the name of a Persian town, Damaghan, but this is not supported by any historical evidence. According to The Oxford English Dictionary the word comes from the French dame-jeanne, literally "Lady Jane", as a popular appellation. This is in accordance with the historical evidence at present known, since the word occurred initially in French in the 17th century, and no earlier trace of it has been found elsewhere.
In Britain, demijohn refers to a one-gallon glass brewing vessel.
In Southeast U.S. slang, a demijohn jug, of any size, is referered to as a jimmyjohn.
The name is sometimes misspelled as "carboil" or "carble."


In laboratories, carboys are usually made of plastic. They are used to store large quantities of liquids, such as solvents or deionized water. In these applications, a tap may be included for dispensing. Carboys are also used to collect and store waste solvents. Collecting waste solvents in carboys is preferable to reusing glass Winchesters due to the lesser chance of breakage.


carboy in German: Glasballon
carboy in French: Dame-jeanne
carboy in Italian: Damigiana
carboy in Dutch: Mandfles
carboy in Polish: Gąsior (naczynie)
carboy in Sicilian: Ciasca
carboy in Swedish: Damejeanne
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