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Half full demijohn, will it cause issues in secondary fermentation?

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ringmany

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Hi everyone,

I've been making some Plum wine. I've reached the secondary fermentation stage, so I've moved my wines into two, 1 gallon demijohns. There's less liquid than I thought there would be, so I wasn't able to fill the demijohn all the way.

Here's a photo showing them both:



So both are around 3/5 full. I've been reading up online about whether the demijohn not being full is going to cause issues, such as oxidisation etc.

It's a plum wine with Nottingham Danstar yeast, currently brewing at 18 degrees. If I move all of the liquid into one demijohn, then the remaining one only has 1/4 full, so I felt it was best to try and make them as equally filled as possible. I can hear one of them still bubbling ever so slightly.

I don't want to simply fill 1 one of them, because then I'll waste quite a bit, and I can't fill it with much else because it will dilute it.

Do you believe this is going to cause issues for me? It needs to remain like this for at least 2 weeks, then 3 weeks in another demijohn once racked. Any suggestions how to improve this setup, as I'm getting mixed signals as to whether this is going to cause oxidation.

Thanks.
 

Arne

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Leave them like they are. When they get done fermenting, transfer them to one jug with airlock. What is leftover stick in another bottle and either airlock it or stick in a refrigerator. Get a hydrometer and use it instead of useing a timeline to know what is going on with your ferment. It should work out fine for you. And welcome to the forum. Arne.
 

Scooter68

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Need to find yourself some smaller carboys. 1/2 gallon, 1.5 liter, etc. Look for ones that your airlock can be used on. That way you can minimize headspace. Typically if I end up with 1 3/4 gallons I put it into a 1 gallon, 1/2 gallon and a couple of 16 oz glass screw-top bottles I found. That way I have full containers and a way to top off when the time comes to do so. I can put a partial into the fridge like Arne mentions, without an airlock after fermentation is completed.

Once I'm into secondary fermentation I prefer to have as little headspace as possible since the foaming and heavy gas production is pretty much over. It's not that oxidation is a threat when fermentation is going on but just as a practice to always eliminate headspace when possible.
 

mainshipfred

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Donatelo

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Sour Grapes, that is a good tip. I'll bet a lot of people didn't know that.!

Ringmany, leaving a carboy with headspace is less than desirable, but as the guy said "it will still be okay. Like Scooter68 said.
If those are plastic jugs, be certain to handle them as little as possible. The plastic jugs contract when you handle/squeeze them and if not careful you can suck the liquid in the airlock down into your wine. Its best to set them in a dark place and not touch.
 

ringmany

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Thanks for the replies everyone,

I decided to buy a smaller demijohn and transfer the wine contents across to be safe. There's a lot less headspace now:



I wanted it to be a little closer to the top, but sadly there wasn't enough. I didn't want to dilute with water or add plum juice from the store in case something was contaminated.

It's been in my room at 18 degrees for another 24 hours, sadly I haven't seen / heard any bubbling from either of them. Hopefully it isn't stuck in the secondary fermentation. I took a gravity reading at the start and after I transferred:

Starting: 1.074
Transfer to demijohn: 1.020

I'm using the Nottingham Danstar ale yeast to speed up the process, so it won't be as high ABV as regular wine, but it will brew faster.

I'll give it some more time and hopefully the secondary fermentation kicks in. Do you think that head space is enough, or does it need to be filled in more? Cheers.
 

Johnd

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Thanks for the replies everyone,

I decided to buy a smaller demijohn and transfer the wine contents across to be safe. There's a lot less headspace now:



I wanted it to be a little closer to the top, but sadly there wasn't enough. I didn't want to dilute with water or add plum juice from the store in case something was contaminated.

It's been in my room at 18 degrees for another 24 hours, sadly I haven't seen / heard any bubbling from either of them. Hopefully it isn't stuck in the secondary fermentation. I took a gravity reading at the start and after I transferred:

Starting: 1.074
Transfer to demijohn: 1.020

I'm using the Nottingham Danstar ale yeast to speed up the process, so it won't be as high ABV as regular wine, but it will brew faster.

I'll give it some more time and hopefully the secondary fermentation kicks in. Do you think that head space is enough, or does it need to be filled in more? Cheers.
When fermentation has ceased and CO2 is no longer protecting your wine, the proper head space for the glass jug on the left, would have the level of the liquid 1/2' - 3/4' from the underside of your cork bung, well up into the neck of the container. Vessels like the one on the right are more difficult to manage, as they don't have a narrow neck, resulting in more airspace, even when it's close to the underside of the airlock.
 
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