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Old 10-18-2012, 04:57 PM   #1
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Default Cider head space vs. Beer head space

I've been reading that having little headspace for a cider is important but I am wondering if I have 3 gallons of cider in a 6.5 gallon carboy for a week, then move it over to a 5 gallon better bottle for 2 more weeks, if that headspace is going to be bad?

For beer, this is not a problem, but it seems that people are saying that this wouldn't be okay for cider. Is this correct? Should I fear a total of 3 weeks in a carboy with lots of headspace, or are people referring to long aging?

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Old 10-18-2012, 06:51 PM   #2
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Are you able to vent some CO2 in on top of it? In my experience cider is very susceptible to acetobacter with even a slight introduction of O2.

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Old 10-18-2012, 08:22 PM   #3
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When I made a cider (just used apple juice & Nottingham yeast), I did not get any foam or anything. I made 5 gallons in a 6.5 carboy, but I really would not have needed any headpsace whatsoever.
Also, to me it would make more sense to just use one vessel, because as long as you don't disturb it by racking, you will still have a CO2 blanket over your cider to protect it from oxygen, and the active fermentation should use up the oxygen that is in there.

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Old 10-18-2012, 08:30 PM   #4
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I was going to rack to a secondary to help improve clarity. I guess if I were to do that then I should probably pick up a can of wine preserver to spray CO2 over the top of it. Sounds like it's necessary. Otherwise if I am happy with how it's clearing I could leave it in the primary and not worry about it for a few weeks.

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Old 10-20-2012, 01:26 PM   #5
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Or just top it up with more juice in the secondary! A lot of people do that. You have to wait for the little bit of extra juice to ferment out, but since it's a cider chances are you're waiting months anyway.

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Old 10-20-2012, 09:07 PM   #6
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If you're kegging or serving it uncarbonated, you can sorbate it like you would any other wine, which will negate acetobacter and oxidation. Otherwise, I'd just leave it in primary. The CO2 blanket and hefty amount of Vitamin C added to almost all store-bought apple juice will probably be all the protection you need. The inherent splashing of transferring to secondary would probably be a bigger problem than the headspace anyway.

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Old 10-20-2012, 09:57 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kingwood-kid View Post
If you're kegging or serving it uncarbonated, you can sorbate it like you would any other wine, which will negate acetobacter and oxidation. Otherwise, I'd just leave it in primary. The CO2 blanket and hefty amount of Vitamin C added to almost all store-bought apple juice will probably be all the protection you need. The inherent splashing of transferring to secondary would probably be a bigger problem than the headspace anyway.
Sorbate won't negate aceterobacter, or oxidation.

Campden would help with oxidation, at least somewhat, but aceterobacter seems to do fine with a sorbated beverage.
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Old 10-20-2012, 10:11 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yooper View Post
Sorbate won't negate aceterobacter, or oxidation.

Campden would help with oxidation, at least somewhat, but aceterobacter seems to do fine with a sorbated beverage.
Got my sulfites and sorbates mixed up. Shows what happens when I start talking without actually knowing anything. Thanks for the correction.
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Old 11-29-2012, 08:13 PM   #9
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Hi everyone. My first post here, so thanks in advance for letting me join the discussion. This thread came so close to answering my question, but stopped just barely short of it.

So what if I rack cider to secondary when it's at 1.015, and there is still a fair amount of airlock activity, but there's also a lot of headspace? Will the heavier CO2 produced by final stages of fermentation displace the oxygen quickly enough?

If I could rely on CO2 filling the headspace, it sounds less risky and less messy than introducing a bunch of filler (like marbles or mylar balloons I've seen suggested elsewhere) and I currently don't have the option of splitting this batch up to smaller secondary vessels that would eliminate headspace.

Thanks a ton. This website is a tremendous resource for my cider craft, and a tremendous drain on my productivity at work.

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Old 11-29-2012, 09:36 PM   #10
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There's no reason to rack to secondary, unless there actually is one. Racking generally is an extra chance to risk oxidation and contamination without really improving the beverage. Unless you're going to age it for longer than 2 months, I would just leave it where it is. But to answer your other questions, the extra fermentation will push out most of the oxygen and the resulting pressure should minimize any incoming oxygen if you're using plastic buckets.

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