Two batches of wine + one secondary fermenter = I don't know what to do

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Azeraeis

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Hello Everyone,

Over the weekend I started two batches of plum wine, the first in a 5 gallon pail with 3 gallon of water and 20 lb plums, the other in a 3 gallon crock with 1 gallon of water and 7 lb plums. Both batches began at SG of 1.090 but the smaller batch took to fermenting faster and is already to SG 1.032 while the larger batch is still hovering a SG 1.084 but, just today, began bubbling like a madman.

My problem is that I have only one 5 gallon carboy that I had planned to move both batches into at the same time, but it looks like the smaller batch is going to be a few days ahead of the larger in terms of readiness for secondary fermentation.

It looks like my choices are:
  1. Place the small batch into the 5 gallon carboy on its own and hope it puts out enough CO2 to keep it from oxidizing until the larger batch is ready to be added to the carboy.
  2. Keep the small batch in the crock and hope it keeps until the larger batch is ready for secondary fermentation.
  3. Run out tomorrow and see if I can find a small carboy for just the smaller batch and give each batch their own secondary fermenter.
Any thoughts, suggestions, or random word associations would be appreciated.

Regards,

Eric
 

KCCam

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I’m thinking the carboy probably doesn’t have much more surface area than the crock (but I haven’t seen the crock), plus it has an air lock.
On the other hand, you can never have too many carboys!
 
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koolmoto

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I don't know if this is what other people on this site recommend (I am a newb), but I picked up a tank of Argon with a regulator from AirGas. If you had it too and you were worried about oxidation, you could simply apply a blanket of Argon on it and rest easy. (I am also not experienced to know if it would be worth worrying about in your case)
 

Rice_Guy

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option 1) should be to mix them NOW in a brute garbage can or a eight gallon fermentation pail, ,,,, after all it is your intention to put them together
option 2) should be filter and put it in the five gallon carboy, ,,,, some fruit wine folks will run the whole fermentation in a carboy in an effort to retain aroma, ,,,, the purpose of having aerobic in a bucket is to multiply yeast cells and you have already accomplished this with enough volume to carry forward, ,,,, your main risk will be creating a volcano so go slow at the last three inches or put some in that gallon jug that you have been wanting, ,,, actually if it is only a week you could use any convenient PET juice bottle then bring it all together.
option 3) should be mix some of the larger bucket into the smaller bucket to consume sugar with the already populated yeast, ,,,,, you actually could go back and forth several times for uniformity

and is already to SG 1.032 while the larger batch is still hovering a SG 1.084 but, just today, . . . . It looks like my choices are:
  1. Place the small batch into the 5 gallon carboy on its own and hope it puts out enough CO2 to keep it from oxidizing until the larger batch is ready to be added to the carboy.
  2. Keep the small batch in the crock and hope it keeps until the larger batch is ready for secondary fermentation.
  3. Run out tomorrow and see if I can find a small carboy for just the smaller batch and give each batch their own secondary fermenter. . . Any thoughts, suggestions, or random word associations
As you see it; 1) you will generate enough CO2 to protect it for at least a week of outgassing in the large carboy 2) well, a week at 0.995 in a primary has been done but is probably the most at risk, your goal is to keep a reductive environment. 3) it is a good excuse to get more hardware, ,,, if you are limited today several as a 4liter, a gallon and a 3 liter would be useful to give you more choices,
 

KCCam

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option 1) should be to mix them NOW in a brute garbage can or a eight gallon fermentation pail,
Yes, you should have a decent-sized primary fermenter. Lots of people here use the Brute, as they’re food-grade, cheaper, and bigger than a “real” primary. That would get my vote. It would be much more useful (and cheaper) to have a large primary and one carboy than to have 2 carboys and a small primary.
 

sour_grapes

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I don't know if this is what other people on this site recommend (I am a newb), but I picked up a tank of Argon with a regulator from AirGas. If you had it too and you were worried about oxidation, you could simply apply a blanket of Argon on it and rest easy. (I am also not experienced to know if it would be worth worrying about in your case)
Although argon is useful for displacing oxygen from a headspace, I wanted to let you know that there is no such thing as an argon "blanket." Gases diffuse and mix readily after just a few minutes. In other words, if there is any oxygen in the headspace, it will have free access to your wine.
 

salcoco

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Once one has reached sg=1.000 put both into the carboy without the fruit and let it finish in the glass.
 

Azeraeis

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KCCam,

The crock and the carboy are the same diameter. Agreed on the carboy count. Thank you.
 

Azeraeis

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Moto,
I was thinking about that too. My wife worked in a lab where they used Argon for similar purposes but they switched to Nitrogen because it was less expensive and still worked for what they needed.
Many thanks.
 

Azeraeis

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Rice,

Thank you. You've helped clarify it quite a bit. I am liking the trading back and forth to let the yeast that is set up have a go at some of the still unfed upon sugars.

Many thannks.
 

Azeraeis

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Thank you everyone,

That gives me a lot of information to work with.

Regards & thanks,

~ Eric
 

koolmoto

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Moto,
I was thinking about that too. My wife worked in a lab where they used Argon for similar purposes but they switched to Nitrogen because it was less expensive and still worked for what they needed.
Many thanks.
I learned that the difference in price for Argon and Nitrogen when talking about low quantities is not that substantial for a home vintner and Argon is much heavier than Nitrogen, so it should theoretically lessen the mixing effect that sour_grapes mentioned and not blow off as easily. That's the blanket effect I was referring to.
Weight of Nitrogen: 14.0067 g/mol
Weight of Argon: 39.948 g/mol
Weight of Oxygen: 15.999 g/mol
Weight of CO2: 44.01 g/mol
 

Azeraeis

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Moto,

That makes sense and is something I may eventually need to figure out. For now, I don't think I'll need anything quite that meticulous. My fermenters are in my tub, (spare bathrooms are good for something), and my racking bench is an old desktop laid across the tub's edge. Very low key.

Many thanks,

~ Eric
 

koolmoto

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Moto,

That makes sense and is something I may eventually need to figure out. For now, I don't think I'll need anything quite that meticulous. My fermenters are in my tub, (spare bathrooms are good for something), and my racking bench is an old desktop laid across the tub's edge. Very low key.

Many thanks,

~ Eric
Wish I had a spare bathroom to use! My carboys are in a bathtub sized plastic container in the hallway. My wife is probably not thrilled LOL
 

sour_grapes

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Argon is much heavier than Nitrogen, so it should theoretically lessen the mixing effect that sour_grapes mentioned and not blow off as easily. That's the blanket effect I was referring to.
Weight of Nitrogen: 14.0067 g/mol
Weight of Argon: 39.948 g/mol
Weight of Oxygen: 15.999 g/mol
Weight of CO2: 44.01 g/mol
But it is just not true as a practical matter. The settling effect due to the greater weight of Ar compared to N2 or O2 is completely, completely dominated by the thermal agitation at room temperature. It is like having a cardboard box full of tennis balls and racquetballs, and shaking the hell out of the box, and expecting to find only tennis balls at the bottom because the tennis balls are slightly heavier.

Previously, I had posted the calculation of the expected enrichment of Ar at the surface of the wine in a carboy at equilibrium, compared to just the ratio of the constituents. In other words, if you mixed 50% Ar and 50% O2 in a carboy, what would you expect to find (according to the laws of physics) at the surface of the wine? I cannot find the post right now, and I am too lazy to re-do the calculation, but it was something like 50.00005% Ar and 49.99995% O2. That is the extent of the "theoretical lessening of the mixing effect" that you allude to above. So, yes, it is less, but it is negligibly so.

And by the way, regarding your chart above, you don't have nitrogen or oxygen in your headspace, you have N2 or O2, so they are 28 and 32 g/mol, respectively.
 
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KCCam

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But it is just not true as a practical matter. The settling effect due to the greater weight of Ar compared to N2 or O2 is completely, completely dominated by the thermal agitation at room temperature. It is like having a cardboard box full of tennis balls and racquetballs, and shaking the hell out of the box, and expecting to find only tennis balls at the bottom because the tennis balls are slightly heavier.

Previously, I had posted the calculation of the expected enrichment of Ar at the surface of the wine in a carboy at equilibrium, compared to just the ratio of the constituents. In other words, if you mixed 50% Ar and 50% O2 in a carboy, what would you expect to find (according to the laws of physics) at the surface of the wine? I cannot find the post right now, but it was something like 50.00005% Ar and 49.99995% O2. That is the extent of the "theoretical lessening of the mixing effect" that you allude to above. So, yes, it is less, but it is negligibly so.

And by the way, regarding your chart above, you don't have nitrogen or oxygen in your headspace, you have N2 or O2, so they are 28 and 32 g/mol, respectively.
I’m impressed. I could not have explained it that clearly. You can’t put a layer of inert gas down, you have to replace the entire volume.
 

sour_grapes

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I’m impressed. I could not have explained it that clearly. You can’t put a layer of inert gas down, you have to replace the entire volume.
Well, the old-timers are tired of hearing me sing this song.
 

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