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wbhutchins

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Hello to all from Louisville, KY. I was introduced to mead by my late brother and with the generous donation of honey from a friend who happens to be a beekeeper, I started my first batch. I bought the book, "The Compleat Meadmaker" by Ken Schramm and dove in. Shortly after starting the first mead, I started the second which appears to be on its way to a superior batch. Very clear after 2nd racking and I just followed the instructions better this time.

Next I was talking to a colleague who told me her husband was making wines and offered to give me blackberries for another batch. So that went into the fermenter and is currently in 2 - 1 gallon carboys, which really is what brought me here. I started in a 2 gallon fermenting bucket and the recipe was assuming I would wind up with 1 gallon. But it really turned into 1.5 gallons. (Guess I added too much berries to the must). Since I didn't want to leave too much "head room" in the carboys, I filled both to about 3/4 full. The blackberry wine has only been in the carboys for about a week, so I assume no foul yet. I just ordered a two quart glass jar with airlock and when I rack the next time, I plan to fill the 1 gallon properly and then fit the rest into the two quart container. If I go off the schedule from the recipe, the blackberry wine will sit in the carboy with that extra head room for about a month. Would it be better to rack early into the better fitting jars or is one month not really a big deal?

Thanks in advance!

If I really should save my questions for another forum topic, please let me know.
 
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If I go off the schedule from the recipe, the blackberry wine will sit in the carboy with that extra head room for about a month. Would it be better to rack early into the better fitting jars or is one month not really a big deal?
Kit wines allow up to 6 weeks with a fair amount of head space, and it works out fine. However, I'm not comfortable with it. IMO you need to locate smaller bottles and eliminate headspace.

Consider that by the time you realize you have oxidation, it's too late to fix. It's like a car accident -- the best way to survive it, is to not be present.

#3 drilled stoppers fit most wine bottles, so if you can collect a few 375 ml, 750 ml (which you'll need for bottling), and 1.5 l bottles, you'll be fine.
 
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wbhutchins

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Kit wines allow up to 6 weeks with a fair amount of head space, and it works out fine. However, I'm not comfortable with it. IMO you need to locate smaller bottles and eliminate headspace.

Consider that by the time you realize you have oxidation, it's too lake to fix. It's like a car accident -- the best way to survive it, is to not be present.

#3 drilled stoppers fit most wine bottles, so if you can collect a few 375 ml, 750 ml (which you'll need for bottling), and 1.5 l bottles, you'll be fine.
I agree. The lees has started to collect on the bottom of the carboys. When I first racked it, it looked like blood. Within a day or two, it had settled to about an inch and is now about 1/4 inch, so I am likely to retain much of the wine and reduce the chance for oxidation. Thanks for the advice!
 

BigDaveK

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Many of us oversize batches a little to have enough extra to top up after the 1st or 2nd racking.

Headspace in secondary isn't a major issue since fermentation isn't done and it will be filled with CO2. After secondary it's a different matter.

I've used Mason jars with airlocks for excess but was never comfortable with the surface area. I still sometimes use them as a small secondary but after that I've gone to #3 drilled stoppers like @winemaker81 suggested.

And welcome to WMT!
 

Jovimaple

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Welcome to WMT!

Definitely fine to rack ASAP to eliminate headspace.

One thing I love about making wine is aside from a few steps in the beginning, there is very little need for a schedule. It's a procrastinator's dream hobby! 😁

And even the beginning of the process is more reliant on the progress of the wine itself, not a schedule, although kit wines use a schedule simply because they are geared toward making sure beginner wine makers get great results every time.

Generally speaking, I ferment my wines in a towel-covered bucket for a week or two, based upon the specific gravity, and once I rack it, I always make sure to manage the headspace.

My preference is to rack to right-sized containers rather than topping off with a different wine, but I have done that, too. On my first batch, I topped off the carboy with water and far too much of it. Now I have a selection of carboy and bottle sizes. In addition to Bryan's suggestion of #3 drilled stoppers for bottles, a universal bung turned upside down fits bottles, too.
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If I really should save my questions for another forum topic, please let me know.
We are a laid-back group, and don't get fussed about questions in the "wrong" forum. However, I suggest you post questions in what you believe is the appropriate forum as you'll get better feedback. You're making a fruit wine? Post in the Country Fruit Winemaking forum as the fruit winemakers tend to congregate there. Also, start a new thread for your questions, as you'll get better attention -- if you add on to a 12 page thread, it's more likely to be missed as opposed to a brand new thread.

In my sig is the link to the MoreWine! manuals. Download and skim the white wine manual, and anything else that catches your interest. The more you understand about the process, the better your questions will be. It's also worth while to look at the first few pages of the Country Fruit Winemaking and Meads forums, skimming topics that sound interesting. You'll pick up a lot of information, and will discover you have questions you didn't previously know to ask.
 
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