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Racking and degassing

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Wisconsin

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Hello:

I've read that its important to maintain your fermenting chamber close to full so that there is little room for air while it ferments. After fermentation slows way down and the wine clears to rack into a second fermenting carboy (leaving all the sediment behind).

This means I will have less volume going into the second carboy, thus there will be more airspace at the top of the carboy. Do I need to be concerned with this air? If so, what do you do to get rid of it? (I am using 5 gallon glass carboys).

Glenn.
 

wineforfun

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I've read that its important to maintain your fermenting chamber close to full so that there is little room for air while it ferments. After fermentation slows way down and the wine clears to rack into a second fermenting carboy (leaving all the sediment behind).
No, you want air while fermenting. Most of us ferment in a primary bucket with a towel or loose lid on top. If your primary is too full, you risk it overflowing once fermentation begins.

This means I will have less volume going into the second carboy, thus there will be more airspace at the top of the carboy. Do I need to be concerned with this air? If so, what do you do to get rid of it? (I am using 5 gallon glass carboys).
Yes it does so you either top up with a similar wine, rack down to smaller vessels or make a little more in the beginning so there is enough to fill your 5 gal. carboy when racking. Once you are done fermenting or close to done, then you don't want the air around like when ferementing.
 

BernardSmith

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Hi Glen, You do want to reduce the headroom to the least possible and some of the ways of doing that include:
1. Starting with a larger volume in your primary than will fill the secondary - So if your aim is to make 5 gallons of wine you might start with say, 5.25 or 5.5 gallons.
2. You might use a similar wine (commercial or home made) to reduce the headroom in the secondary.
3. You might use marbles or other dense (but chemically stable material) to displace the liquid
4. You might use smaller secondaries (say, one 3 gallon carboy and a single gallon carboy and put the extra in 1.5 liter or a 3 liter bottle (You can buy drilled bungs that fit bottles).
5. Vacuumpumpman ,on this forum, has designed and made a device that removes the headroom by filling the space with an inflatable bladder.
There may be other options but off hand I cannot think of what they might be
 

Wisconsin

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The fermentation I am on is the secondary. I had already let my must ferment in a tub for four days (got tah love those fruit flies!). Thanks to both of you for the ideas. This being my first batch I would have to buy some foreign wine to add or My wife might think me a bit off when I come back from the store with a whole bunch of marbles! :h
 

bkisel

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I don't worry about head space during secondary fermentation if done under airlock. You're still giving off CO2 which will displace the air.
 
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