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Old 06-25-2010, 01:44 PM   #1
kjung
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Default Head Room In A Secondary

How much head room is too much in a secondary?
I have a recipe that is next up on my agenda, but can't decide between two yeasts. I thought about dividing the 5 gals. into two different fermenters, but for a secondary I only have 5 gal. carboys, and I seem to remember reading something when I first started brewing that you only want a couple of inches of air space in the secondary to avoid oxidation.
Am I correct?

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Old 06-25-2010, 01:47 PM   #2
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I always have a lot of headroom in my secondaries. You could always purge your headspace with CO2 if it worries you. The blanket of CO2 will stay in the secondary and not allow oxygen in.

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Old 06-25-2010, 03:43 PM   #3
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i almost always secondary, unless its a hef, and there is always plenty of headspace.

never been a problem for me. youll be fine.

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Old 06-25-2010, 07:16 PM   #4
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I don't keg, so I don't have co2 handy. My concern is filling a 5 gal. carboy only half-way and risking oxidation.

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Old 06-26-2010, 02:41 PM   #5
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If you go to secondary when bubbling slows down, the CO2 that is produced should theoretically purge out all of the oxygen that was in your vessel initially. But I guess there is a limit to how much head room that you have if you want to avoid oxydation. When I secondary ferment, I'll rack off from a 6.5 gallon carboy to a 5 gallon one. My liquid level is right near the top.

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Old 06-26-2010, 03:12 PM   #6
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Putting 4 gal. in a 5 gal. carboy for secondary is probably ok as CO2 is generated and purges the space (if you put on an airlock). 2.5 gal. in a 5 gal. secondary is tougher to call. Since you will be splitting your primary, I'd just leave it in the two primary vessels (you could use 5 gal. carboys for this since you only have 2.5-3 gal. of wort.

Or just pick a yeast and proceed as normal.

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Old 06-27-2010, 01:26 AM   #7
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Default We here at RuBrew Like efficiency.

I know this may sound particular, and sloppy all at the same time, but when I brew I make up a batch of "Generic topup soulution."

1# pale dry malt extract in a gallon of water. I keep it in the fridge, and top up my secondarys so that I get a full carboy of beer. At the same time I use a smidge more hops when I breew so as not to dilute.

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Old 06-27-2010, 03:29 AM   #8
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There's always plenty of headspace during my fermentation process. I'm brewing 2 gallon batch and I use a 5 gallon carboy for primary and a 3 gallon carboy for secondary. I guess if you follow Murphy's law of brewing, you'll be ok (From John Palmer's book): If you keep messing with it, you will probably screw it up

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Old 06-27-2010, 03:34 AM   #9
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There's CO2 in the beer and this will vent off. Even just a layer off CO2 on the beer is enough to push the O2 away from the surface and protect the beer so it's nothing worry about. Remember CO2 is heavier than O2 and will therefore sink down and cap the beer.

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Old 07-01-2010, 07:24 PM   #10
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I was raked over the coals about this a while back on the Board. I always thought that headspace in either the primary or secondary fermeneter was bad. Was informed that headspace in the primary fermenter was acceptable/common. Can't recall what the consensus was with respect to the secondary. I stopped using a carboy secondary quite a while ago for the most part. When I do secondary it is in a corny which does not help you because you bottle. Montanaandy

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