Quantcast

Alternatives for carboys

Wine Making Talk

Help Support Wine Making Talk:

Gael

Junior
Joined
Nov 6, 2015
Messages
19
Reaction score
2
I recently bought two 13 gallon oak barrels which puts me in a bit of a tough situation. I typically buy 6gl juice buckets, put 13 gallon in the barrel and leave the rest in a carboy for top-ups. After some time in the barrel I transfer everything into 6gl glass carboys which gives me 2 full barrel-aged carboys and one kinda not barrel-aged. I would rather transfer everything in a larger 17-18 gallon storage unit. At this point I either buy 6 more carboys or invest in something that can hold variable volume. Any advice?
Thanks a million!
 

NorCal

Super Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Apr 17, 2014
Messages
3,214
Reaction score
3,409
Location
Sierra Foothills, Nor Cal
How long would you be storing out of the barrel? I’m thinking 15 gallon flextanks hits that more than carboy, less than barrel volumes.
 

JohnT

Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Messages
9,975
Reaction score
5,656
OK, so you are "de-barreling" a 13 gallon barrel.

I would suggest that you try investing in a 54 liter demijohn.
54 liters works out to just over 14.25 gallons.

I would rack the barrel into the demijohn, top it off with 1.25 gallons of the "un-barreled", then bottle the remainder (since you no longer need any wine to top off)

This leaves you with a single 54 liter container instead of 3 carboys. You will also have a couple of bottles of wine to enjoy too!. Also consider that a single demijohn is cheaper and way easier to clean than 3 carboys.


When I started winemaking, I had 4 five gal carboys. Within a few years, I had carboys all over the place and simply ran out of room. This is when I went to demijohns. Within a few years, I had demijohns all over the place and simply ran out of room. This is when I went to SSVC tanks. Now it has been a few years and I have simply ran out of room.....
 

jgmillr1

owner, winemaker
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
598
Reaction score
364
The smaller variable capacity SS tanks have gotten quite a bit more expensive recently. But these would be the best option. Stpats has a 300L (80gal) for $950 now. I got one of these years back for topping off barrels and keep it on a rolling dolly. These at least come with a 1.5" valve, gasket and clamp.

The next best option is using a flex tank as mentioned by NorCal. The tanks themselves are pretty cheap ($149 for 15gal, $194 for 30gal, $315 for 50gal) but you may need to buy a $170 valve kit too. The 15gal flex tank includes a valve but it is a ball valve which are notoriously difficult to clean. Better to get a larger triclamp butterfly valve. I've even seen someone hook up a pneumatic fitting to these tanks and keep them slightly pressurized with inert gas to keep out the air.
 

JohnT

Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Messages
9,975
Reaction score
5,656
The smaller variable capacity SS tanks have gotten quite a bit more expensive recently. But these would be the best option. Stpats has a 300L (80gal) for $950 now. I got one of these years back for topping off barrels and keep it on a rolling dolly. These at least come with a 1.5" valve, gasket and clamp.

The next best option is using a flex tank as mentioned by NorCal. The tanks themselves are pretty cheap ($149 for 15gal, $194 for 30gal, $315 for 50gal) but you may need to buy a $170 valve kit too. The 15gal flex tank includes a valve but it is a ball valve which are notoriously difficult to clean. Better to get a larger triclamp butterfly valve. I've even seen someone hook up a pneumatic fitting to these tanks and keep them slightly pressurized with inert gas to keep out the air.

I would NOT consider a SSVC tank a viable option for a 15 gallon batch.

Demijohns cost between $35 and $50, a much cheaper option although not a variable capacity option.

It would also be best to not play around with using noble gasses (e.g. argon). They can lure you into a false sense of security.
 

JohnT

Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Messages
9,975
Reaction score
5,656
Sounds like time to buy more tanks!
.. but I ran out of room...

There were some tanks I saw at my supplier's just a few months ago. they came complete with entry doors that allow you to crawl into the tank when cleaning.

I stopped thinking about them when I realized that I would need a chainsaw to fit it into my winery....
 

jgmillr1

owner, winemaker
Joined
Jun 13, 2017
Messages
598
Reaction score
364
I would NOT consider a SSVC tank a viable option for a 15 gallon batch.
True, but it is good to know all the options. Gael may find need for that volume for other batches.

There were some tanks I saw at my supplier's just a few months ago. they came complete with entry doors that allow you to crawl into the tank when cleaning.
That's how people die at wineries. No one should ever enter a tank without a buddy outside, a tether and a fitted respirator.
 

Johny99

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2010
Messages
969
Reaction score
639
I use old stainless steel beer kegs. My local salvage yard saves them for me when they come in. Have to be careful what’s been in them, but a lot I find have just been used as boueys. If you can find them, they are a cheap alternative. One note, they are all not the same size, even if marked 15.5 gallons. Ask me how I know:?
 

AkTom

Supporting Members
WMT Supporter
Joined
Feb 3, 2015
Messages
389
Reaction score
369
How do you know, Johnny???
 

Johny99

Junior Member
Joined
Sep 9, 2010
Messages
969
Reaction score
639
How do you know, Johnny???
A lovely day in the winery, calmly racking from one keg to another, dog snoozing on the floor, then all he’ll broke loose! Dog running out covered in wine, Cab Sauv tracks out into the family room.....I wish someone had filmed it:rn
 

JohnT

Moderator
Super Moderator
Joined
Feb 9, 2010
Messages
9,975
Reaction score
5,656
What is it about winemaking and dogs? Seems to apply to a lot of us.

One year, after racking out 2 500 liter tanks, I was left with 2 gallons of "sludge" in one tank, and 3 gallons in the other. Wanting to make the most of it, I combined them into a single carboy. I ended up with 18 bottles of what I named "Duke's Dregs" (Duke is my English Cocker).

The funny thing is that it won bronze in competition. I like to think that I have one of the few award winning winemaking dogs!
 

Gael

Junior
Joined
Nov 6, 2015
Messages
19
Reaction score
2
OK, so you are "de-barreling" a 13 gallon barrel.

I would suggest that you try investing in a 54 liter demijohn.
54 liters works out to just over 14.25 gallons.

I would rack the barrel into the demijohn, top it off with 1.25 gallons of the "un-barreled", then bottle the remainder (since you no longer need any wine to top off)

This leaves you with a single 54 liter container instead of 3 carboys. You will also have a couple of bottles of wine to enjoy too!. Also consider that a single demijohn is cheaper and way easier to clean than 3 carboys.


When I started winemaking, I had 4 five gal carboys. Within a few years, I had carboys all over the place and simply ran out of room. This is when I went to demijohns. Within a few years, I had demijohns all over the place and simply ran out of room. This is when I went to SSVC tanks. Now it has been a few years and I have simply ran out of room.....
Thanks Everyone. I have ordered and received two 14 gl demijohns. Flextanks and SSVV tanks are for the future...when I have demijohns sitting around everywhere...
 

Latest posts

Top