Using 6 g carboy for 5 g kit...

Discussion in 'Kit Winemaking' started by Patricia Thoma, Jun 12, 2019.

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  1. Jun 12, 2019 #1

    Patricia Thoma

    Patricia Thoma

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    Is it possible to use a 6 gallon glass carboy for a 5 gallon kit to bulk age? There would be quite a bit of head space...what if I added a like wine to eliminate the head space? The reason I ask is, I have read reviews on some 6 g kits where people recommend to make as 5 g to improve the taste. I'd like to try it but do not have any 5 g carboys. Any advice is welcome. Thank you!
     
  2. Jun 12, 2019 #2

    NorCal

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    The important thing is that you cannot have a large surface area of wine exposed to a large volume of oxygen. Leaving 1 gallon of open space in a 6 gallon carboy would lead to a spoiled wine when bulk aged. Your suggestion of making up the difference with a like wine is the one I would choose. That or figuring out how displace the extra gallon of space with a food friendly material, like glass marbles. However, it may also be a good excuse to look in Craigslist and see if anyone is getting rid of a 5 gallon carboy for $20 or $25.
     
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  3. Jun 12, 2019 #3

    monty

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    Is it really a common recommendation to only make 5 gal of wine out of a 6 gal kit?
     
  4. Jun 13, 2019 #4

    sour_grapes

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    Nobody asserted it was common, but I would say it is not uncommon. Never tried it myself, but plenty of people have reported good results from cheap (i.e., thin) kits.
     
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  5. Jun 13, 2019 #5

    Elizajean

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    First decide if you really should make a 5 gallon from a 6 gallon kit. This is not needed for a good quality kit. It is not an across the board recommendation and only those who are experienced and know how to tweak cheap kits do this. Think about it this way....you reduce a kit meant for 6g to 5g, to improve the quality, yet you are willing to add 1g commercial wine to top it off? That does not make sense. If you really want to do this, then invest in a 5g carboy.
     
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  6. Jun 13, 2019 #6

    sour_grapes

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    Why not? It is not like she is losing the 1 gallon of commercial wine. I am sure she will drink it eventually. What is wrong with using a gallon of commercial wine as an ingredient?
     
  7. Jun 13, 2019 #7

    Rice_Guy

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    Rule number one as nor cal says is no head space!
    Question for you, , , Do you play with your food?, , some folks can’t leave a good thing alone (ie a kit that you know will work as is or a cake mix) and add things to it. If you look at F-packs on this forum you will see examples that have been tried to change/ improve/ personalize their wine.
    Rule number two if you have already started the kit you risk refermentation and other problems. This is something you decide going into the process and figures into sugar/ bentonite/ sorbate levels.
    . . . . Be aware of the choice but don’t try it on your first ferment
     
  8. Jun 13, 2019 #8

    LouisCKpasteur

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    I'm a bit confused about what's going on here. The OP never said she maid a 5 gallon batch out of six gallon kit intentionally. For bulk aging I've lost enough from a blow off fermentation and heavy sediment that my 6 gallon kit went to a 5 gallon carboy and one lone bottle for bulk aging. The easiest fix is springing for the 5 gallon, marbles, or bottle and age.
     
  9. Jun 13, 2019 #9

    LouisCKpasteur

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    Scratch my post. I need to pay more attention.
     
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  10. Jun 13, 2019 #10

    tjgaul

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    You would think so if you read extensively in the "Tweaking Cheap Kits" thread.

    I've modified my starting procedure over time. At this point I do the bentonite thing and add the juice and then add water to about the 5 gal mark, stir vigorously and take an S.G. reading. From there I slowly add water and stir (a lot) until I hit my target SG for that batch. If things seem off, I wait a while and take another reading. Especially for kits with skins.

    Sometimes I make a regular 6 gal batch, but it generally falls in the 5.5 to 6.25 gal range. I'd rather get the S.G. (and ABV) that I want without having to chaptalize if possible. I have had several kits that ended up being closer to 5 than 6 gal, even LE kits. I also had one kit that was still above 1.090 at 6.3 gallons.

    Once primary is complete then you can work with the wine as desired, but as noted above, keep the headspace under control.
     
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  11. Jun 13, 2019 #11

    stickman

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    I would think the TA is something to consider when reducing the finished volume from 6gal to 5gal. That reduction in water might push the TA up by nearly 1g/L, possibly making the wine a bit tart.
     
  12. Jun 13, 2019 #12

    mainshipfred

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    I would invest in a five gallon carboy. As others have stated a 6 gallon kit is not always 6 gallons post fermentation but like wine works as well.
     
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  13. Jun 15, 2019 #13

    Elizajean

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    I may have misstated, or been misunderstood. There is nothing wrong with topping off with commercial wine, I do it all the time when after racking I end up low (every time, in fact). I guess I was just wondering about the overall benefit of reducing a six gallon kit to five upfront, and then topping off to fill the six gallon carboy. If she actually does this, then, after racking she will need even more than a gallon, if she uses the six gallon carboy. I read the entire tweaking thread and I'm thinking when they reduce initial volume, they go to a smaller carboy rather than keeping it at six. But again, nothing wrong with topping off with a similar wine.
     

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