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Old 11-09-2011, 12:13 PM   #1
tchuklobrau
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Default headspace questions.

I understand when making wine that you want little or no headspace in your carboy as air can be the ruination of your wine. So far this has not been an issue for me as I have a ton of different sized glass vessels. My question is this since I have a kegerator can i purge the carboy with co2 before racking and be safe with a larger headspace? Or will this eventually bite me in the a$$? Since I have a few batches coming up that I can think of no similar wine to top up with I am hoping my co2 idea will solve any potential headspace issues.

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Old 11-09-2011, 12:16 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by tchuklobrau View Post
I understand when making wine that you want little or no headspace in your carboy as air can be the ruination of your wine. So far this has not been an issue for me as I have a ton of different sized glass vessels. My question is this since I have a kegerator can i purge the carboy with co2 before racking and be safe with a larger headspace? Or will this eventually bite me in the a$$? Since I have a few batches coming up that I can think of no similar wine to top up with I am hoping my co2 idea will solve any potential headspace issues.
Yes, that should work. At least in theory.

I don't do that, because the co2 will eventually displace out and you'd have to refill it. I don't know how you'd monitor that.
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Old 11-09-2011, 12:49 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by tchuklobrau
I understand when making wine that you want little or no headspace in your carboy as air can be the ruination of your wine. So far this has not been an issue for me as I have a ton of different sized glass vessels. My question is this since I have a kegerator can i purge the carboy with co2 before racking and be safe with a larger headspace? Or will this eventually bite me in the a$$? Since I have a few batches coming up that I can think of no similar wine to top up with I am hoping my co2 idea will solve any potential headspace issues.
That could work, but this is why people use 6/6.5gal fermentors and then rack to smaller 5gal ones.

Aside from costing you money, CO2 also diffuses in air very quickly, so I'm not sure how effective it would be to purge, and then rack over an entire carboy (which takes a bit of time). It's probably better than nothing, but it might help to also fill the headspace with CO2 afterwards.

If you've got a bit of ingenuity though, you can actually purge vessels for free, by connecting them to the primary vessel during fermentation, and allowing the generated CO2 to fill it.

And if you've got a LOT of ingenuity, you can do even better - setting up a closed system that allows you to move the wine to the 2nd vessel, with the displaced CO2 filling up the 1st! That way, you not only get free CO2, but you avoid exposing it to *ANY* oxygen while transferring, and ensure that the headspace remains pure CO2 (without any diffusing whatsoever.)

Damn, that actually sounds awesome. I think I'm going to start doing that...
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