Too Much Head Space?

Discussion in 'Beginners Wine Making Forum' started by crabjoe, Sep 24, 2019.

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  1. Sep 24, 2019 #1

    crabjoe

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    I just did my 1st ever rack.. Move the Pinot Grigio from the pail to a 6 gal carboy and now need to know if the head space might be too much...

    Can someone recommend what, if anything, I should do? I was thinking about making some sugar water at that matches the original SG to fill the carboy up to the neck, so is it ok as it sits?

    BTW, I racked at 0.996

    [​IMG]
     
  2. Sep 24, 2019 #2

    sour_grapes

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    Yes, you will (eventually) need to top that carboy up. At this early stage in the fermentation, you have some time to do so. The best/easiest thing to do buy some cheapish Pinot Grigio to top up with.
     
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  3. Sep 24, 2019 #3

    crabjoe

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    Thanks!
     
  4. Sep 24, 2019 #4

    CDrew

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    Headspace definitely too much.

    Head space is definitely too much. How about a 5 gallon carboy? Go buy it right now. You'll need one anyway. Do not add sugar and ferment again. It likely won't work and you'll be left with a stuck mess.

    Go to your local home brew store and buy a 5 gallon, a 3 gallon and three 1 gallon containers.

    Realize that when you rack, you always loose some. That's normal. But in the end, you need to get down to minimal headspace. So depending on how much you start with, plan accordingly.
     
  5. Sep 24, 2019 #5

    cmason1957

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    I agree with the top up advice. Don't jump into buying the smaller carboys, quite yet. You will buy them eventually. I always top up, commercial or my own wine.
     
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  6. Sep 24, 2019 #6

    crabjoe

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    Thanks guys.. I've got 5 and 1 gallon carboys here, but they need to be cleaned, especially the 5s since they're used.

    As for adding a 1/2 gallon of sugar water to top off and to ultimately keep the ABV the same, why won't it work or cause a big mess? Based on everything I've read, adding anything with sugar, unless the wine's had sorbate added, keeps to kick off fermentation. And adding less than a 1/2 gallon to a 6 gal carboy seems like it it would ferment the added sugar fairly slow.

    Originally, I thought about adding distilled water because I read many do that, but it being the 1st rack, at .998 SG, is there really a problem with adding sugar water, other than a slight dilution is final flavor?

    I guess I need to go pick up some Barefoot or Yellowtail tomorrow.. That's probably the cheapest wine out there..

    BTW, with the left over slurry, I started another batch of SP..
     
  7. Sep 24, 2019 #7

    stickman

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    Maybe some of that slurry would have helped your stalling SP.
     
  8. Sep 24, 2019 #8

    crabjoe

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    Dang it! I didn't even thing about that.... Thanks for the suggestion... I'll know better next time!

    Update:

    I went downstairs to start my Miracle Wine and what did I see? The SP that I started tonight with the slurry had taken off and was bubbling out of the 6.5 gal bucket. This I didn't expect. And since it was going gang busters, I took 4 cups out and moved it to my original SP that's acting like it stalled...
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
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  9. Sep 25, 2019 #9

    VictorV

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    In the future you could also consider using sterilized marbles to fill up the space.

    Victor
     
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  10. Sep 25, 2019 #10

    MarkMacQ

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  11. Sep 25, 2019 #11

    Intheswamp

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    Hmmm, those would probably work pretty good, but 3/4" balls costing 55-cents apiece could end up running into a little money depending on how many a person wanted to have on hand...but, they would last forever (well, as long as a meteor didn't hit close by).

    ETA: The description does say they will sink. It also says "Water absorption 24 in hours: .6%"...whatever that means.
     
  12. Sep 25, 2019 #12

    crabjoe

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    Sounds like they'll soak up a bit of water over time. I'm tempted to pick some up, but it's got me wondering if I could use CPVC. Maybe cut the CPVC into 18" , fill with something for weight then cap the ends?
     
  13. Sep 25, 2019 #13

    Intheswamp

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    That sounds like a possibility but I'd let the glue (if you use it) cure out for several days and then wash, wash, wash, sanitize. Those glues can have a strong smell to them! I had a guy come in and bury a water line out to my garden for me. We used sections of pvc pipe joined together. I'm picky when I'm gluing pipe as I don't want big globs on the inside of the pipe. Well, he wanted to do it himself as he buried the pipe...I guess so he could make sure it was done "right". As he glued the pipe he put LOTS of glue on the ends. The end result...I could taste glue in the pipes all summer. Eventually the taste subsided (only tasted occasionally to check it...and spit it out). Thankfully we had a wet summer that year and I didn't have to run the drip-irrigation system on the garden. So, be careful. I'd almost consider foregoing the glue and simply shove the caps on tight. Then you could break it down after fermentation and clean it good. But, a sealed container is going to trap air even when using marbles, rocks, etc., so you need something heavy and enough of it to sink the pipe. Maybe use marbles that others recommend, just use them in a controlled chamber? Measure the carboy opening and use the pipe that will allow the largest cap to enter the carboy. Only problem might be removing them...if you use several they might crowd together at the mouth of the jug when trying to pour them out...and shaking a 5 or 6 gallon carboy trying to get them to come out might be a chore. Interesting idea.
     
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  14. Sep 26, 2019 #14

    MarkMacQ

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    I only bought 50 balls as a backup for minor headspace adjustments. Any significant amount would be transferred to a different container (mason jars, 1 or 3g carboys, etc.). They are very dense and there would be extremely low absorption so I'm not worried about that. Marbles sometimes contain lead so I wanted to avoid that possibility.
     
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  15. Oct 3, 2019 #15

    J. Wesley

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    What about filling the head space with inert gas...CO2 or Nitrogen?
     

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