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Old 07-28-2010, 10:59 PM   #1
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Default Carboy Headspace

Im thinking about making a wine that in the end will be a total of 3 gallons. Should I purchase a 3 gallon carboy just for this wine or will it be ok to use the 6 gallon carboys that I already have? I wasn't sure if the extra headspace will potentially cause oxidation. This is my first shot at wine so any advice would be appreciated. Thanks.

Jason


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Old 07-29-2010, 12:27 AM   #2
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You really need to match the batch size with the carboy size. Headspace will cause oxidation, and ruin the wine.


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Old 07-29-2010, 07:25 AM   #3
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I am an beginner wine maker too, and have read a few differing opinions on the subject. I thought that if you put a three gallon batch in a three gallon carboy in the primary fermenting stage, then you could run the risk of explosions from the blow off, or prevent the must from receiving oxygen which aids in the fermentation process.

I have seen most people use a bucket as the primary fermenter as it prevents blow off more so than a carboy, and allows more oxygen to enter the must. They also had 2-3 inches headspace from the bottom of the lid to the top of the must. So I assume your primary fermenter should hold a gallon to a gallon and half more than what your batch is; e.g. your batch is 5 gallons and your primary fermenter holds 6 gallons to 6.5 gallons.

When they siphoned the wine from the primary fermenter to the secondary after a period of about a week, they siphoned the wine into a more airtight container which is generally a carboy that holds exactly the same quantity of wine that you're making; e.g. three gallons of wine into a three gallon carboy. The reasons for this was to now prevent oxygen from entering the wine as the fermentation process has almost completely halted after the primary fermentation stage (little chance of blow off), thus there is no CO2 to protect the wine, and bacteria and other microorganisms could infect the wine.

Even though I thought yeast was anaerobic, and wine may be different than beer, so maybe there is less risk of blow off with wine.

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Old 07-29-2010, 12:23 PM   #4
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Very low risks of blow offs with wine. Still, I wasn't talking about primary. I only primary my wines for about 5 days, then rack to secondary and airlock. My primary doesn't even use a lid, but I stick a clean towel over it. I would say that is the way that most winemakers do it. Since primary only lasts 5-7 days or so, the vessel isn't important. A bucket is much easier to remove fruit from than a carboy, so most people use a bucket when they are using muslin bags of fruit. After primary, the wine is racked, topped up, and kept topped up until bottled. Sometimes you have to do several rackings, depending on how much lees you get.

Some wines do have some foaming, but not nearly as much as beer.
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