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air gap in secondary fermentation!

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mixmix

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Hi there all you brewers, I have a 20 litre demi john filled about 3/4 of the way up so theres quite an air space, and its been like that for about 3-4 days ! Im planning to siphon into two other smaller ones, but do you think its too late? oxidisation problems? its apple wine by the way. plus theres a floating layer of pulp ( not very think since Ive already got rid of most of it through a racking ) normally your sediments at the bottom! anyway could I top the rest off with 1 part suger and 3 parts water? but that would be adding about 5 litre to 15 litres and make the wine bland?!
thanks for anyopnes opinions and ideas
 

upper

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It is said here by the Veterans not to worry about oxidation in the primary or secondary.Oh and welcome.....Upper
 

Luc

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As long as the must is fermenting it will produce CO2 which forms a protective layer on top of the wine.

Problem can start when fermentation finishes.
Then the CO2 may dissappear and be replaced with oxygen and the wine can oxidise.

As long as the finished wine however is undisturbed in a carboy with an airlock on there is no need to worry. The CO2 will not dissappear overnight as it is heavier as air and the airlock will prevent air coming in. Opening the carboys for measurements and additions of ingredients like sulphite and sorbare will however let air into the carboy. Just make sure you will transfer it to smaller carboys with no air above it as soon as possible.

Luc
 
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As long as the must is fermenting it will produce CO2 which forms a protective layer on top of the wine.

Problem can start when fermentation finishes.
Then the CO2 may dissappear and be replaced with oxygen and the wine can oxidise.

As long as the finished wine however is undisturbed in a carboy with an airlock on there is no need to worry. The CO2 will not dissappear overnight as it is heavier as air and the airlock will prevent air coming in. Opening the carboys for measurements and additions of ingredients like sulphite and sorbare will however let air into the carboy. Just make sure you will transfer it to smaller carboys with no air above it as soon as possible.

Luc
good call. many people are very worried about o2 in wine. it's only after it's really finished that it's sucseptible to oxidation. we don't top off anything with water. only when finished do we rack into smaller carboys IF there is a substantial amount of air in it. basically we use the glass carboys with neck, then widening area (about 3~5") and then parallel sides. if it's beyond 1/2 the widening area, we rack it into smaller containers. it's nice to have many sizes!!! sometimes a 1/2 bottle is sacrificed as the last 1/2 bottle after dinner.
 

Wade E

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If you are a beer brewer an keg it then having that big gap isnt a problem as you can just push some C02 in there as I do some times when Im lacking a correct carboy which isnt very often at all but Im at that point as we speak.
 

mixmix

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great thanks

thanks for all these answers, thats all very reasuring! By the time I got back to the computer to look if anyone had replied, I'd already siphoned into two smaller demi johns, the problems were aquiring them from friends and washing them ( with sand & water ) and since Ive just run out of sterilising powder ( VWP I use ), I used a strong solution of bleach and left them for half a day, they werent even completely submerged, and Im not at all convinced that bleach does the same job, but I took the risk thinking that time was running short before it all oxidised.
Anyways thanks for the answers, does anyone have opinions on the bleach for sterilising?
And by the way, Ive never tried apple wine, if anyone has tried it, could you relate its taste to cider? I'm just so impatient to try! need to wait a year!
 
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apple wine will vary alot on which apples you use. apple wine is more like an slightly dryier apple juice really with a light wine taste. hard to describe really.

some fruit changes when you make wine, apple is not one of them.
 

mixmix

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I love apple juice apart from the often over sweetness ( also depeds on the apple juice, as real apple juice is gorgeous stuff which is just right, nice an acid, I sometimes drink it with water to make it more refreshing )
I added about one kilo of crab apples to 30 kilos of mixed varieties of eating apples ( choosed the more acid types ), I should have added 5 kilos but I was already in chaos coring and blendering the bigger apples.

That leads me to another question: What do you think about leaving the apple core in there, baring in mind I use a blender to chop the apple finely?
 
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That leads me to another question: What do you think about leaving the apple core in there, baring in mind I use a blender to chop the apple finely?
don't leave the core. you don't want the seeds chopped in the wine. seeds and wine are typically a "no, no." can create off flavors. chopping them finely will also make them harder to extract out of the must. we just did this to get them done fast and not change color as the press was too slow. it works, but we had ~25 gallons to start, 20 after putting in the secondary and 17 gallons after the 1st racking. we actually filtered with a screen to save 5 gallons. there was alot of pulp in it and mixed with juice still. we did not want to lose 1/4 on each carboy of juice in the sediment.
 

outdoorsmadness

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If you are a beer brewer an keg it then having that big gap isnt a problem as you can just push some C02 in there as I do some times when Im lacking a correct carboy which isnt very often at all but Im at that point as we speak.
couldnt you push some co2 in a carboy filled with wine with a hose going in the wine and a vent coming out such as a rubber cap with 2 holes in it and acheive same affect? just wondering.
 

Casey

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If you are a beer brewer an keg it then having that big gap isnt a problem as you can just push some C02 in there as I do some times when Im lacking a correct carboy which isnt very often at all but Im at that point as we speak.
ROFL.... I got it, Wade!
 
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