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Demijohn vs Carboy

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drainsurgeon

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To not hijack another thread, I'll start a new one. I just learned that a demijohn and carboy are NOT the same. For some reason I thought that a demijohn was just a European term for carboy. Evidently it is not. I guess they are thinner. So, I have a few questions:

1) They are thinner and I have been warned about putting a vacuum on them. Can I use my allinone pump to splash rack safely?

2) Just how thin are they and should I avoid them? Are they a common product in the USA?

3) I've started picking up extra carboys from Craigslist. How do I identify a demijohn from a carboy? (they must be lighter?)
 

Julie

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they are shaped differently. Google demi john and carboy and you will see the difference
 

Rocky

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I believe that our friends in the UK refer to just about any wine vessel as a demijohn, from a 1 gallon jug to a 6 gallon carboy. Here in the colonies, we term as a demijohn the 15 (or so) gallon, pear shaped vessel usually enclosed in either wicker or a plastic basket. The glass is thinner and vacuum racking into a demijohn is discouraged. You could, however, use a transfer pump safely. The All-in-One pump is a vacuum pump. I like them for larger batches but I have to be careful how I use them. I have two 15 or so gallon vessels, one is definitely a demijohn and the other is some kind of large lab vessel. I can use my vacuum pump to pump OUT of the demijohn but not INTO it. What is do is keep them on furniture dollies and use gravity (auto siphon) to rack into them and my pump to pump out of them.

Here are some pictures showing my large vessels, an assortment of carboys and carboys in a drying rack:

100_1105.jpg

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drainsurgeon

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Well, after some reading both on Google and here, I have decided to avoid a demijohn purchase for a couple of reasons. Although I could find no hard evidence of the thin glass of a demijohn, there is enough reading right here to convince me that they ARE much thinner. People HAVE imploded them. And the most common size, it sounds like, is 15 gallons!. I have a 20 gallon Brute if I want to ferment a big batch. As far as identifying them, they are pear shaped and someone on a thread here said the 15 gallon demijohn weighs the same as a 3 gallon carboy. That should be easy to spot by just lifting. The demijohn did originate in Europe in the late 1700s. Nothing more than a cheap, metric, carboy! :)


Nice wine cellar Rocky!
 
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mennyg19

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I use demijohns as I cant get carboys here in Israel. I also rack with a siphon tube and sucking (pretty cool the way it works). I do think there is a pro thought to demijohns:
If you don't have enough to top off all the way to the neck, there still wont be as much oxidizing as a carboy, as the shape of a demijohn gets narrower throughout the the height. So there is less wine touching air.
As opposed to a carboy where if you dont top up to the neck, the entire width of the carboy will be touching air...
 

drainsurgeon

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I use demijohns as I cant get carboys here in Israel. I also rack with a siphon tube and sucking (pretty cool the way it works). I do think there is a pro thought to demijohns:
If you don't have enough to top off all the way to the neck, there still wont be as much oxidizing as a carboy, as the shape of a demijohn gets narrower throughout the the height. So there is less wine touching air.
As opposed to a carboy where if you dont top up to the neck, the entire width of the carboy will be touching air...
Good point Menny.....but.....I just don't like the idea of having deal with or move a 15 gallon vessel (of thin glass) full of wine. I'll stick with my 5-6-6 1/2 gallon carboy's. I've got plenty of wine in the cellar to keep em topped off.
 

JohnT

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I have dozens of them. They come with protective basket and cover so the chance of breaking one is not as big as you think. I have not broken one in 10 years.

the great thing about 54 liter johns is that they are a better use of space and cleaning one john is easier than cleaning 3 carboys.

I vacuum pump in and out of them all the time. Not a problem.
 

drainsurgeon

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I have dozens of them. They come with protective basket and cover so the chance of breaking one is not as big as you think. I have not broken one in 10 years.

the great thing about 54 liter johns is that they are a better use of space and cleaning one john is easier than cleaning 3 carboys.

I vacuum pump in and out of them all the time. Not a problem.
Man, I would like to see your winery. It must be something!

Do you use the allinone to pump into? Do you do anything special?
 

Stevelaz

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JohnT or anyone else who uses the 54 liter demijons:

Im using one for the first time. Can i do cold stabilization in it or is it too thin for the Chicago cold. I was thinking of trying the cold stabilization this winter on my Chilean Merlot i started in April. Will be putting it in garage... Thanks
 

Troll

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I had some 7.5's and full you don't want to move them. Consider weight when buying. If you have a transfer pump to relocate it might be worth while and probably saves space but multiple 5's are movable and good for smaller batches.
 

vacuumpumpman

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Man, I would like to see your winery. It must be something!

Do you use the allinone to pump into? Do you do anything special?
I can not endorse vacuum transferring into a demijohn - but others have bought my splash racking cane with a 1/2'' transfer ID - so it will move more volume of wine rather than increasing the vacuum inside the carboy.

I hope this helps ?
 

Brub58

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An enolmatic comes with fitting specifically for racking into demijohns. I wouldn't pull a vacuum on a sealed demijohn, but vacuum racking should be fine. I've got about 8 demijohns and use the enolmatic for all my racking.
 

drainsurgeon

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An enolmatic comes with fitting specifically for racking into demijohns. I wouldn't pull a vacuum on a sealed demijohn, but vacuum racking should be fine. I've got about 8 demijohns and use the enolmatic for all my racking.
OK, ya stumped me. What is an enolmatic? Even Google went..HuH??
 

drainsurgeon

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mennyg19

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Good point Menny.....but.....I just don't like the idea of having deal with or move a 15 gallon vessel (of thin glass) full of wine. I'll stick with my 5-6-6 1/2 gallon carboy's. I've got plenty of wine in the cellar to keep em topped off.
I dont know why you keep mentioning 15 gallons, i have demijohns that are 5 liters, 10L, 15L, 20L and 25L.
I had one break when a worker in my apt dropped a hammer from 10 feet up onto it...

Some pics as proof:
5 Liter date Mead
ImageUploadedByWine Making1474352401.103482.jpg

Racking my Petit Syrah out of a 15 into an unseen 10L (too much headspace and initial sediment/lees):
ImageUploadedByWine Making1474352482.443159.jpg

Dragon Blood in a 25L:
ImageUploadedByWine Making1474352681.031573.jpg

That was too much headspace so I racked into a 20L demijohn which I topped off:
ImageUploadedByWine Making1474352774.772022.jpg
 
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JohnT

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I had purchased enolmatic bottle fillers about 15 years ago. This was WAY before I know about the all-in-one. This filler has a vacuum pump much like the all-in-one and I use it every time a rack a demijohn.

I do not, though, recommend that you use anything like a "headspace-eliminator" on it.

They really are much more durable than you would think. With a little care, a demijohn is just as reliable as a carboy, only cheaper, more compact, and much less work to maintain.

As far as cold stabilization, you should be just fine as long as the wine does not freeze solid and you have very limited head space.


Menny: Most of the supply stores sell either 5 gallon carboys or 54 liter demijohns. Other sizes (at least around where I live) are an oddity.
 
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