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Old 09-25-2009, 05:23 AM   #1
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Default can i use a 5 gallon carboy for a 3 gallon batch?

Ok, this may be a dumb question, but I've never tried to make mead before, but am interested in doing a small 3 gallon batch. I will need to get a new carboy since it ferments for so long (don't want to be out of beer while i'm waiting). Looking at prices a 5 gallon carboy is not much more expensive than a 3 gallon carboy, and i would have much more use for the 5 gallon later for beer. Is there any need as far as pressures or anything to use a 3 gallon carboy for a 3 gallon batch or am i ok with the 5 gallon?
thanks,
brandon

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Old 09-25-2009, 01:02 PM   #2
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It would be ok for primary, however you'd really want to use something that minimizes the headspace for the long term aging.

Curious - why not make a 5 gallon batch? The cost in honey shouldn't be that much more expensive?

Mead doesn't have a big blowoff generally, so you can fill up pretty full, then when you rack it to a secondary, you can top up with a little water to keep the headspace minimal.

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Old 09-27-2009, 06:21 PM   #3
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Do they sell smaller carboys, or comparable vessels? I am looking to make a 3 gallon batch also, and will ultimately end up in the same boat. I'm making a smaller batch because it will eventually be blended with a beer my friend is making.

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Old 09-27-2009, 06:44 PM   #4
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Yes, they sell 3 gallon carboys. I have several and they come in very handy for smaller batches.

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Old 09-27-2009, 09:17 PM   #5
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If you keg you can always fill the 5 gal carboy with O2 before filling to protect it.

Also, if you rack a couple of points higher than the projected FG there will still be offgassing which should push out any air.

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Old 09-27-2009, 09:31 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by homebrewer_99 View Post
If you keg you can always fill the 5 gal carboy with O2 before filling to protect it.

Also, if you rack a couple of points higher than the projected FG there will still be offgassing which should push out any air.
Unfortunately, I am a one keg guy at the moment. But that is a great idea, since I am looking to buy another one soon.

As for the early racking, won't that potentially oxidize my mead. And if so, would that be one way of imparting a sherry-type flavor to it? I made an earlier post looking for tips on how to actually do that, but I haven't had any responses yet.
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Old 09-27-2009, 09:37 PM   #7
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Not sure how to make it more sherry-like, but I think I remember seeing a thread asking about it.

OK, simple solution...BUY MORE GEAR!!!

Oxidation comes from aeration/splashing during racking. By racking too early you can get diacetyl (beer), but not for mead that I am aware of, but we're only talking a few points (like 0.002 from FG)...and I've made a dozen or more meads.

I actually have a couple batches going and about 40 more pounds of honey to use...

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