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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > How can I fill up space in my charboy?
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Old 10-11-2010, 05:05 AM   #1
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Default How can I fill up space in my charboy?

I just finished fermenting my first batch of wine using one case of grapes and when I transfered it to my charboy, I found that the wine only takes up 2 to 2.5 gallons of my 3 gallon BetterBottle charboy. How can I fill up the rest of the volume so that I don't have to worry about it oxidizing?

I heard that it's possible to blow up a balloon or something inside the charboy to take up space - does anybody have any experience with that? The other solution I heard is to put in those glass pebbles that they make for vases and fish tanks, since glass won't leach. The problem is I'm going to need a lot of these pebbles because while they are heavy, they don't take up a lot of space.

Finally, someone suggested a simple ziplock bag filled with either quarters or water and sealed really well (maybe even double bagged). That seems like a great idea but my concern is whether the plastic will leach into the wine. According to what I can find on the internet, ziplock bags are made out of LDPE plastic (#4), which is a safe plastic. Some brands might even use PETE plastic (#1), which is the same stuff the BetterBottle charboy is made of.

Any recommendations? Thanks.

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Old 10-11-2010, 05:31 AM   #2
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Maybe pick up a couple of gallon jugs and rack into those, drinking/discarding any left overs?

Past that, other than what you've already suggested, I've heard of folks sanitizing glass marbles.

Next time, try to take into account your loss once you get rid of the fruit.

You could always primary in a ~5-6.5 gallon bucket and then rack into your 3-gallon carboy when you're ready to get it off the fruit.

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Old 10-11-2010, 06:00 AM   #3
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When I worked at a winery for a short while we had lower quality wine that was reserved for topping off, but it would not impact the flavor as it would be in such a small ratio in comparison to an entire barrel. What you could do is buy a decent wine and use that to top off.

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Old 10-11-2010, 02:43 PM   #4
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Purge it with co2.

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Old 10-11-2010, 09:47 PM   #5
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foodsafe marbles to displace it. or a CO2 blanket. or just don't worry about it...k-meta is going to help prevent oxidation anyhow.

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Old 10-12-2010, 12:15 PM   #6
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what is oxidation ? will it ruin the wine?
yote

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Old 10-12-2010, 01:11 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 223coyote View Post
what is oxidation ? will it ruin the wine?
yote
Oxidation is when air (oxygen) contacts wine after fermentation has begun. Yes, it will ruin the wine.

Oxidized wine and cider can turn a bit brownish, and have a funny sherry-like flavor. It's also called "madierizing" since madiera has that same flavor.

Winemakers top up the carboy to near the very top as to minimize any headspace to prevent the oxygen interacting with the wine.
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Old 10-14-2010, 04:50 PM   #8
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Is there anything wrong with keeping the wine in multiple smaller containers? Let's say multiple 2 or 3 liter bottles. They are PET #1, same plastic as the BetterBottle bottles, and they seal really well when you close the cap. (Unless the problem is they seal TOO well, and they don't let the CO2 out like an airlock does, which could cause them to explode if left for too long without releasing the CO2?)

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Old 10-18-2010, 02:01 PM   #9
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http://www.eckraus.com/RL125.html

Not necessarily a recommendation, and there are several other types and sizes both at that company as well as many other companies, but it beats not having any alternative method available to you.
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Old 10-19-2010, 07:43 PM   #10
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Thanks Rossnaree. I have been using a couple Poland Spring 3L bottles, which seem to be the perfect size and shape.

I hope to get some more stoppers and airlocks soon but until then I have been opening and closing the cap every day or two to release the pressure and co2. That seems to be what the airlock does anyway.

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