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Old 01-18-2012, 01:13 PM   #1
carrie_mt
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Default Larger volume in primary to prevent racking loss?

I've got a few wine batches under my belt but I'm still trying to figure a few things out. This is quite the learning process!

I'm trying to prevent loss when racking from my primary to my secondary. I'm not to worried about other rackings since I don't experience much loss with them and am comfortable topping up with wine or doing the marble trick.

My issue is the first racking from the bucket to the 5 gallon carbouy - I always seem to have a substantial loss there. I was wondering if I'm not making my initial batch large enough - it hits the 5 gallon mark on the bucket perfectly but perhaps it should be higher then the 5 gallon mark to allow for loss on that first racking... Any suggestions to help is appreciated.

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Old 01-18-2012, 01:49 PM   #2
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Most will make 5.5 or 6 gallons to accommodate the lost from removing lees. I have 1/2 gallon carboys and some times use quart/pint Mason jars to keep everything full to the required level.

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Old 01-18-2012, 01:58 PM   #3
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Personally, I scale most recipes (beer or wine) to a convenient 6-6.5 gallon size and rack into a 6.5-gallon carboy or bucket primary fermentation vessel (PFV). I generally rack to a 5-gallon secondary fermentation vessel (SFV). This allows an assumed 1-1.5 gallon "loss" in the PFV and ensures that the SFV can be filled with cleared liquid without needing dilution or other "topping up".

Of course, what is true loss to trub, etc. is (or should be) far less than the 1-1.5 gallons remaining in the PFV. After examining the quality and separation of the remaining "waste", I will select a growler or gallon jug and filter the remaining "good" liquid from the PFV. (On occasion, all that was left was enough for a 12oz bottle or 22oz bomber - like a growler, the ambitious homebrewer can always find a way to get an airlock into a cap or sealed down to an FV.) This smaller remainder can be fun to use for experimentation - adding a fruit, spice, or dry hop - a different yeast to finish - additional sugars to restart fermentation - fermenting in a warmer or colder area - or (my favorite) experimenting with open-air fermentation for wild yeasts and mysterious souring (for beers, anyway)...

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Old 01-18-2012, 03:38 PM   #4
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making a little extra is a good option, the only problem people have is if they make a little to much don't want to waste it either. It will take a little practice to figure out how much extra you need, but you should be able to figure it out. I am just curious why top up with marbles??? I understand the concept, not wanting to dilute with water and the marbles will displace enough fluid, but to me it would seam like a contamination risk, also there could be a lot wine around the marbles that ends up getting wasted. I like to top up with a fresh bottle of pasteurized apple juice. usually the personal size will more than do the trick. the advantage is it is sterol, fills up the head space, doesn't dilute like water AND is unobtrusive. most fruit juice blends use apple as a base and unless you read the label you will never know they are there.

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Old 01-18-2012, 05:54 PM   #5
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Thanks DarkBrood! I'm assuming if you are taking a 5 gallon recipe and converting to a larger recipe you'd multiply everything but yeast by 1.2 for a 6 gallon batch or 1.3 for a 6.5 gallon batch. I'm assuming that once I had the 5 gallons in the SFV anything added at that point would be for the true 5 gallon recipe and not upsized.

What about the yeast though? Would I just use one packet still?

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Old 01-18-2012, 05:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daze View Post
I am just curious why top up with marbles??? I understand the concept, not wanting to dilute with water and the marbles will displace enough fluid, but to me it would seam like a contamination risk, also there could be a lot wine around the marbles that ends up getting wasted. I like to top up with a fresh bottle of pasteurized apple juice. usually the personal size will more than do the trick. the advantage is it is sterol, fills up the head space, doesn't dilute like water AND is unobtrusive. most fruit juice blends use apple as a base and unless you read the label you will never know they are there.
To be honest I've never used marbles but it came up in my searches this morning when I was trying to figure out how others prevented the issue of not getting a full 5 gallons into the SFV.

Do you use the apple juice to top up a secondary or tertiary racking? Is it o.k. to add more sugars that late in the game?
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Old 01-18-2012, 07:13 PM   #7
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I use apple juice to top up any time I am low due to racking AS LONG as the ferment is still active.

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Old 01-18-2012, 10:12 PM   #8
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Glass marbles can be sterilized and placed into the carboy to top it up, or you can start a bigger batch and then go to a smaller secondary. Personally I don't know anyone besides toy shops that sell glass marbles, and few of them do anymore.

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Old 01-19-2012, 01:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carrie_mt View Post
Thanks DarkBrood! I'm assuming if you are taking a 5 gallon recipe and converting to a larger recipe you'd multiply everything but yeast by 1.2 for a 6 gallon batch or 1.3 for a 6.5 gallon batch. I'm assuming that once I had the 5 gallons in the SFV anything added at that point would be for the true 5 gallon recipe and not upsized.

What about the yeast though? Would I just use one packet still?
Yup, you got it. You should be doing a yeast starter anyway....you can scale that up easily enough, too. There are plenty of online calculators for yeast starters for beer, wine, and mead.
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SERVING: Gryffon's Talon, Tavernacle
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Old 01-19-2012, 08:52 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DarkBrood View Post
Yup, you got it. You should be doing a yeast starter anyway....you can scale that up easily enough, too. There are plenty of online calculators for yeast starters for beer, wine, and mead.
Uhh... yeast starter? I just use a packet of dry yeast and sprinkle it on top of my liquid when it calls for it. Is there a reason I should be using liquid yeast/yeast starters instead of the dry yeast packets?
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