Making your own CO2 to add to carboy...

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Hillbilly Bill

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When I taught 7th grade science my students always got a kick out of making CO2 out of baking soda and vinegar and pouring it into a jar with a lit birthday candle in it... of course the flame was immediately extinguished, because CO2 is so much heavier than out atmoshpere and could be poured into the jar and fill the jar, forcing all other gases out the top of the jar.
Would it be a bad idea to whip up a batch of CO2 and pour it into a secondary fermenter... or even into a primary in late stages of fermentation?
This might not be an ideal solution, but I am guessing in those instances where we don't have enough product to completely fill the carboy (when racking) this might be a better option than adding water to fill the carboy.
HB
 

rawlus

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while certainly do-able, i don't find gas topping to be recommended very often as an alternative to topping off. if you want to avoid adding water (a good idea), then add wine or sanitized marbles to bring the fluid line within and inch or two of the bottom of the bung for long term storage. in primary or secondary fermentation, i think the addition of gas is unnecessary and the benefits of doing so would be hard to discern... certainly during primary fermentation, CO2 production by the yeast is substantial and in secondary, under airlock and with minimal headspace, CO2 production by yeast will be sufficient until first racking. by then, you will have minimized headspace in preparation for clarification in preparation for bottling or long term bulk aging.

ive never been a big fan of gas blanketing and i think it is inexact and difficult to determine an effective blanket in typical home winery conditions.
 

DageonYar

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When I taught 7th grade science my students always got a kick out of making CO2 out of baking soda and vinegar and pouring it into a jar with a lit birthday candle in it... of course the flame was immediately extinguished, because CO2 is so much heavier than out atmoshpere and could be poured into the jar and fill the jar, forcing all other gases out the top of the jar.
Would it be a bad idea to whip up a batch of CO2 and pour it into a secondary fermenter... or even into a primary in late stages of fermentation?
This might not be an ideal solution, but I am guessing in those instances where we don't have enough product to completely fill the carboy (when racking) this might be a better option than adding water to fill the carboy.
HB
I may be off my rocker... but I think I would want to keep vinegar as far away as possible from my wine lol
 

wyntheef

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probably a stupid question, but isn't co2 the gas or one of them, that we are trying to get out (by degassing)of our wine?
 

TheTooth

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probably a stupid question, but isn't co2 the gas or one of them, that we are trying to get out (by degassing)of our wine?
CO2 is what you are trying to remove when you degass. The CO2 in solution is a by-product of the yeast and you are trying to get the liquid to release it. Once it is out of solution, however, it would take pressure to force it back into solution.

You can do this on purpose with a kegging setup where you can pressurize the keg with CO2 but it won't happen on it's own from a blanket of CO2 floating above your wine.
 

non-grapenut

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Sounds like a fun expirament, Hillbilly Bill. Try it with some wine you wouldn't be heartbroken about ruining...If you could add a slight color to the gas, it would be a good visual indicator that your airspace has been completely displaced. Rawlus made a good point..this would be the only way to be exact on the gas measurment.
 

wyntheef

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does that mean co2 can be either desirable or undesirable, depending on the stage your wine is in? like, good in the primary, but bad after fermentation?
 

Hillbilly Bill

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does that mean co2 can be either desirable or undesirable, depending on the stage your wine is in? like, good in the primary, but bad after fermentation?
Very good point WT, and a valid point at that. I may not have been explicit enough in my post, but I was referring to the last stages of primary fermentation and the first stages of secondary fermentation.
I would not dare add CO2 after degassing... and as far as keeping vinegar (dilute acetic acid) away from my wine... of course...
Adding a small amount of vinegar to a mason jar containing 1 or 2 tablespoons of vinegar will produce a good bit of carbon dioxide. It is this CO2 that I am speaking of pouring, not the vinegar-baking soda mixture.
CO2 is a very good friend of wine and also is a demon to wine... depending on the stage of the winemaking process... much like water is wonderful to drink, but you can also drown it it.
HB
 

non-grapenut

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does that mean co2 can be either desirable or undesirable, depending on the stage your wine is in? like, good in the primary, but bad after fermentation?
air (O2) is bad in the secondary...CO2, not bad.
 

iowawine

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I recall from watching an episode of "Good Eats" with Alton Brown (my favorite food network star) that when the yeast eats the sugar it "burps" the CO2 out. Of course he was talking about bread yeast and used a bunch of sock puppets to demonstrate his point of course. During primary there is enough CO2 to push out any oxygen, thus it's okay to have more head space, however during secondary, there isn't always enough CO2 thus the reason for topping up.


Link to Good Eats Video


I'm still very raw to winemaking, so if I'm missing something here, I apologize and please correct me.
 

vvolf34

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Not sure if this is the same but I read about someone using dry ice to create a CO2 barrier?
 

Hillbilly Bill

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air (O2) is bad in the secondary...CO2, not bad.
Good point grapenut... I was referring to CO2 as being a villian only from the standpoint that we need to rid of it by degassing before we bottle.
By the way, I just racked my apple juice wine and back-sweetened it for the XYL... I'll probably have a headache in the morning... we have about 4.5 gallons... wonder how much we'll have in the morning?
HB
 

Hillbilly Bill

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Thanks for the comments guys... I'm not real sure I made my reasoning as clear as I needed to, but there is some good info in the replies... some new info and some old, but all good info.
HB
 

Wade E

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Glad your feling better Luc and glad to see you back.
 

Hillbilly Bill

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Look at the article I wrote about making your own soda:

http://wijnmaker.blogspot.com/2007/06/zelf-frisdrank-maken.html

So summarising: replace the vinegar with citric or tartaric acid and you will be fine. No risk of contamination.

Luc
Luc,
I just read your article about making soda and it is very enlightening. Being an ex-science teacher, I should have thought of the possibility that baking soda would react with the acids we use to make wine. I guess the old brain is getting a little mushy. Thanks much for pointing me in that direction.
I did not realize you had been under the weather, but I knew I had not seen you post anything lately. I do hope you are feeling better... I enjoy reading anything you post.
By the way, how do I subscribe to your blog?
 
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