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Old 01-17-2012, 07:23 PM   #1
Nov 2010
Posts: 156
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I have two 3-gallon carboys currently full that I plan to rack soon. One is a lager and needs to be racked after the d-rest I'm doing this week. The other is an ale that needs to be racked so I can add items to the secondary.

My problem is that I only have the two carboys (and many other 5-gallon carboys and buckets). Should I rack to a sanitized bucket to empty one, rack from one carboy to the other, and then rack from the bucket back to the now empty carboy? Or should I run the risk of divorce and buy yet another fermenting vessel (currently overtaking my basement with 3 5-gallon buckets, 2 5-gallon carboys, 2 3-gallon carboys)?

What would you do? Just wondering if I'm risking too much contamination/oxidation by racking twice. Not sure I want to buy and store another glass carboy.
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Old 01-17-2012, 08:09 PM   #2
Dec 2011
Chicago, IL
Posts: 53
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I've run into the same problem before in winemaking. In that instance I just risked the possibility of oxidation and very gently racked into clean buckets, cleaned out my carboys, then again very carefully racked back into the carboys. It differs from your case in the fact that in winemaking sulfites are available to add to the wine to help prevent major oxidation from occurring. Sulfites also halt fermentation, so I wouldnt suggest adding them to your beer, but on the flip side risking the wrath of the wife might be better off avoided entirely:/

I think you'll be fine if you take care not to splash or slosh your beer during rackings, and prevent them from being exposed to the air as best you can while cleaning/sanitizing. There may be enough co2 evaporating from fermentation to protect from oxidation anyway.

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