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Old 09-12-2012, 11:43 PM   #1
nman13
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Aug 2012
college park, MD
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I am about to transfer my wine from the primary to the secondary fermentation and had 2 questions.

1. If my wine does not fill up the 6 gallon carboy and say there is 1-2 gallons of free space, what is the issue? I remember hearing that the less oxygen inside the better but why?

2. does the glass carboy need to be in a dark place when the wine is in it given the fact that it is clear?

 
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Old 09-13-2012, 01:59 AM   #2
jagec
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Nov 2010
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1) Yes, it's about oxygenation. Remember, when you transfer it to secondary, you're getting rid of that protective blanket of CO2, and there may not be enough sugar left in your wine to remake it. This will worsen the flavor of your wine. Either top it off with a similar type of wine, use a smaller container, or add sanitized glass marbles to take up the space.

2) Keep it out of the sun for sure. Electric lights aren't as big of a deal (less UV), but keeping it in a closet or basement is preferable.

 
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Old 09-13-2012, 02:06 AM   #3
Yooper
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jagec View Post
1) Yes, it's about oxygenation. Remember, when you transfer it to secondary, you're getting rid of that protective blanket of CO2, and there may not be enough sugar left in your wine to remake it. This will worsen the flavor of your wine. Either top it off with a similar type of wine, use a smaller container, or add sanitized glass marbles to take up the space.

2) Keep it out of the sun for sure. Electric lights aren't as big of a deal (less UV), but keeping it in a closet or basement is preferable.
Yep, I agree.

If you have 1 gallon of headspace, a 5 gallon carboy will do. It's not really an option- the headspace must be eliminated. Oxygen not only ruins the taste of the wine, it can allow mold and other unwanted microbes to take hold since things like mold need oxygen. If you have no headspace, and top up to within an inch of the bung (above the wide opening of the carboy), that can't happen.

If you can't keep it in a dark place, you can throw a blanket over the carboy. I have several "decorating" my house, with nice looking beach towels over them.
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Old 09-16-2012, 05:57 PM   #4
nman13
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Aug 2012
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attached is the picture of the carboy (ie the big round one on the left) tell me if that is too much space. I don't have more wine to put in and i do not have a 5 gallon carboy. was wondering if i should buy one.
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Old 09-16-2012, 06:13 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by nman13 View Post
attached is the picture of the carboy (ie the big round one on the left) tell me if that is too much space. I don't have more wine to put in and i do not have a 5 gallon carboy. was wondering if i should buy one.
Yes, both have far too much headspace for when fermentation slows/stops.

Here's a photo of some of my wines, to get an idea of where you should top up to (this is an photo from a busy racking day!):



You want to top up to the narrowest part of the vessel, near the top, not where it's wide. In a couple of mine, even they are a little lower than they should be but I knew I was racking soon and didn't top up as fully as I should.
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