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Old 03-03-2013, 02:03 AM   #1
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Default Oxidation question

If I primary for a few weeks and then transfer my 5 gallons of beer to a 6 gallon carboy for 6 months of aging, there will be 1 gallon of head space.

Other than buying a smaller carboy what can I do?

What do you think of adding a tablespoon or two of sugar so that the yeast generate more CO2 to fill the headspace?

Is there a mini CO tank/cartridge that one can buy to top off the head space? (what is it called and where does one get it)

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Old 03-03-2013, 03:03 AM   #2
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You can buy cans of "wine saver" and spray those on top, but if your serious enough to age for 6 mos., I'd watch homebrewfinds.com for 5G carboy deals.

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Old 03-03-2013, 07:17 PM   #3
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What I'm interested in knowing is if I add a tablespoon+ of sugar, would that force out the trapped Oxygen in the head space?

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Old 03-03-2013, 07:25 PM   #4
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It's doubtful that that small amount of sugar would generate enough co2 during it's fermentation to produce enough co2 to fill the headspace. If you have no access to co2 to flood the headspace with it, I would use an old wine maker's trick- get a couple pounds of glass marbles or glass stones from a chain art supply store like hobby lobby, or even a well stocked dollar store (which would be cheaper,) boil them for 20 minutes or so, to make sure you killed everything, and dunk them in sanitizer, and add them to the carboy, that will raise the higher into the headspace, with enough you can get it into the neck.

According to this link from Morewine, 3 pounds of marbles will displace 1 liter. But don't order them, you can find them much cheaper anywhere, arts supply, dollar stores, aquarium supply or even home decorating stores. But make sure you boil them AND santize them, you want to make sure they are free of anything, including oils from skin.

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Old 03-04-2013, 12:03 AM   #5
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Revvy,
Thats an interesting idea with the marbles, I guess I would need a bunch. Since they re glass, do they chip if they bang into each other? Leaving tiny shards of glass?

I would think 2 table spoons of sugar would displace more than 1 gallon, because thats 20% of the priming sugar needed, and 10 12 ounce bottles is almost a gallon, and it pressures them to 2.4 atmospheres. But I don't know for sure, I'm just speculating.

I wonder if the Wine Saver idea would work. Maybe in conjunction with the added priming sugar, or after it.

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Old 03-04-2013, 01:44 AM   #6
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Revvy,
Thats an interesting idea with the marbles, I guess I would need a bunch. Since they re glass, do they chip if they bang into each other? Leaving tiny shards of glass?

I would think 2 table spoons of sugar would displace more than 1 gallon, because thats 20% of the priming sugar needed, and 10 12 ounce bottles is almost a gallon, and it pressures them to 2.4 atmospheres. But I don't know for sure, I'm just speculating.

I wonder if the Wine Saver idea would work. Maybe in conjunction with the added priming sugar, or after it.
A few ounces of sugar won't make a big difference in the amount of yeast in solution. I'd say boil up a little sugar water and put it in the primary. When it starts bubbling is the time to transfer. Beer ages in the bottles too ya know?
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:00 AM   #7
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Quote:
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Revvy,
Thats an interesting idea with the marbles, I guess I would need a bunch. Since they re glass, do they chip if they bang into each other? Leaving tiny shards of glass?

I would think 2 table spoons of sugar would displace more than 1 gallon, because thats 20% of the priming sugar needed, and 10 12 ounce bottles is almost a gallon, and it pressures them to 2.4 atmospheres. But I don't know for sure, I'm just speculating.

I wonder if the Wine Saver idea would work. Maybe in conjunction with the added priming sugar, or after it.
Remember that even if you do produce some co2, it's never going to be 100% co2 in the headspace- and that the "blanket" of co2 is a fallacy. Most of the co2 produced will work its way out of the airlock. That's why winemakers, who age long term in carboys, always match the carboy to the batch size and always top up the wine.

If you want to age this beer without oxidizing it, bottle it. It can age in the bottle instead of oxidizing in the carboy.
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Old 03-04-2013, 02:04 AM   #8
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Revvy,
Thats an interesting idea with the marbles, I guess I would need a bunch. Since they re glass, do they chip if they bang into each other? Leaving tiny shards of glass?
.
If this were such an issue do you think it would be a common practice? That LHBSs and winemaking websites would actually sell them? You going to bang them around in there? Folks have been doing it for years, and no one's started any "I choked on micro particles of glass from marbles threads."

Have you ever played marbles as a kid? They really don't shatter and chip unless they're really old. They're meant to be bashed against each other without shattering. And you're not even going to be playing marbles with them, you're just going to be adding them to your liquid.
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Old 03-04-2013, 01:24 PM   #9
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Thats an interesting idea with the marbles, I guess I would need a bunch. Since they re glass, do they chip if they bang into each other? Leaving tiny shards of glass?
It's definitely a possibility that they'd leave shards behind if you cooled them off rapidly. As long as you don't do that, you should be fine.
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Old 03-05-2013, 04:11 AM   #10
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Ok, you have me convinced, I need some 5 gallon carboys. Thank you all for your responses (and saving me oxidized beer)

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