Reducing head space

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Old Philosopher

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Okay, chalk this idea up to a new guy who doesn't know any better.
I've read a bit about reducing head space in the carboys by adding some kind of filler (marbles, etc). Here's my idea:

Take a toy mylar balloon. Sanitize it, a rubber band, and some small diameter surgical tubing. Put the tubing in the neck of the balloon and wrap it tightly with the rubber band. Insert it in the carboy, and blow air into the balloon until it takes up the necessary volume. Double over the other end of the tubing (which extends outside the carboy) and wrap it with another rubber band, making an air tight seal. You now have a "bladder" of air to take up the extra space in the carboy.

Pros?
Cons?
 

arcticsid

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Interesting idea OP. You would need some weight to displace the lwine. Wondering if you could do something like that and fill the baloon with water, not even necessarily filling it, while it was inserted in the carboy.(is mylar safe for use with alcohol?), after the wine is removed, you could "pop" the baloon and remove it. I'd like to here some more ideas on this. As far as the marbles go, if you want to use them I heard the best way is to insert a nylon stocking, same as your baloon and add the marbles into that, so you're not dropping individual marbles into the carboy.
 

Old Philosopher

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I've used marbles in flower vases, and I just know how many marbles it takes to fill a small space. :<
Weighing down the balloon is an interesting observation, and might prove to be the fatal flaw in my plan. I was visualizing putting the balloon in the carboy after the wine was in, so you'd know how much to inflate it. But the balloon would float, blocking the neck and preventing gas escaping.
So...my first response would be to add steel birdshot to the balloon to sink it. Upon closer analysis, that tells me that to sink a balloon inflated to only 1 gallon of volume would require a little over 8 pounds of shot! Arrggghhh... I hate it when an idea falls apart! :slp
 
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arcticsid

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You're thinking on the right track bro! This subject of displacing the wine hasn't come up in a while, but I like the idea of the balloon(with water). I wouldn't use birdshot, just incase of a breach in the balloon. So is mylar safe to use? I really like this idea, you may very well be onto something. A balloon is the only thing that comes to mind that would hold water. Even if it wasn't a whole lot in each balloon, I suspect you may need more than one, it wouldn't necessarily need to sink, but even if it floated just under the surface, seems like it would do the trick.

I hope we get some more opinions on this.
Troy
 
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mmdavis4

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I've thought about the balloon idea also, but you really need to have materials that are food safe. Remember what ever goes into the carboy could be there for months. The mylar probably would not effect the wine's flavor, but the rubber band used to seal it probably would.

Perhaps the mylar balloon could be attached to a long plastic tube (like a racking tube) which could be sealed at the top. This could be used to blow air into the balloon, but it could be used to push the balloon down into the carboy and then keep it down.

I have heard that one problem with marbles is the risk that they can break. So I had the idea of finding a source for small silicone balls (silicone can be food safe), but when I priced it out it got REALLY expensive.

And I like the idea of a floating plastic skin. The Flextank plastic tanks use this. But this would not work in a carboy, since interior diameter is not uniform.

So for now I top up and or use a series of smaller and smaller containers (6/5/3 gallon car boy and 1 gallon, 3 liter, and 1.5 liter jugs).
 

Old Philosopher

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Bfo!!

(Blinding Flash of the Obvious)
Air (buoyancy) is the enemy. Fill the bladder with water, distilled if you're paranoid. It's a lot easier to make the bladder water tight, than air tight.
The only time you'd need something like this is in the secondary, when your SG is already near (or below) that of water, so the bladder shouldn't float. The end of the fill hose would be sealed off, and rest just below the air lock in the neck of the carboy.
The filler hose and attachments are already on the market...but I won't go into what it's normally used for. :<
 

rawlus

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it seems like an awful lot of jury-rigging just to top up 750ml or less. puncture the balloon going in or out and you've just watered down your wine.

wait. i know! fill the balloon with wine! then, in case it leaks or pops, it'll be just like topping up with wine! easy peasey!
 

Runningwolf

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it seems like an awful lot of jury-rigging just to top up 750ml or less. puncture the balloon going in or out and you've just watered down your wine.

wait. i know! fill the balloon with wine! then, in case it leaks or pops, it'll be just like topping up with wine! easy peasey!
I always used two balloons in case one failed. :):):):):)
 

arcticsid

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Yeah, for real Dan, noone needs a bunch of unneeded yeasies running around!
 

Old Philosopher

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...So for now I top up and or use a series of smaller and smaller containers (6/5/3 gallon car boy and 1 gallon, 3 liter, and 1.5 liter jugs).
The K.I.S.S. Theory:
More wine + smaller bottles = less head space. Duh... :h
 

mmadmikes1

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Ya and I am ready to make a post then remember this is not an all male site! I stop.
 

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