Author Topic: Secondary headspace  (Read 1131 times)

Offline Leonard

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Secondary headspace
« on: January 17, 2017, 03:57:30 AM »
I know there's been previous posts but....I keep ending up with about a half gallon of headspace in my secondary.  I do primary in a 6 gal & rack to a 5.  But I use raw juice from the orchard and there's a lot of lees at the bottom of primary after fermentation.  I know there's a suggestion to use marbles.  What will happen if I just top up with more raw cider?  I know it will kick up fermentation again but is there any negative impact from that? 
Or should I just goose the headspace with co2 and let it sit.  So far my batches have been really good but of course in my obsessive reading I keep coming across headspace warnings and I'm second guessing my luck so far.

Cheers!

Offline Bob357

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Re: Secondary headspace
« Reply #1 on: January 17, 2017, 04:43:23 AM »
Why mess with success? I see no problem with adding more fermentables of purging the head space, but again, why mess with success?
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Offline Stevie

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Re: Secondary headspace
« Reply #2 on: January 17, 2017, 05:50:53 AM »
At minimum I would purge the headspace with co2.

Offline pete b

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Re: Secondary headspace
« Reply #3 on: January 17, 2017, 12:53:23 PM »
The simplest solution going forward is to primary in a bucket large enough to hold whatever amounts to 5 gallons in a secondary. Also you can get carboys in sizes other than 5 gallons.
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Offline dmtaylor

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Re: Secondary headspace
« Reply #4 on: January 17, 2017, 02:01:11 PM »
Excessive headspace can occasionally lead to acetobacter and vinegar, since acetobacter uses oxygen to live and since ciders can take months to ferment and we sometimes don't monitor as well as we should.  I'll admit, vinegar has happened to me 3 times over the past ~10 batches, so it is a real risk.  If you're concerned, add more juice, or marbles, or purge with CO2 occasionally, as you and others have suggested.  I was fortunate on my current batch... when I racked 3.6 gallons to a 3-gallon carboy, it filled up to the top of the neck perfectly.
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Offline pete b

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Re: Secondary headspace
« Reply #5 on: January 17, 2017, 04:13:40 PM »
This is why in our house where we regularly make mead and cider we have 1,2,3,5,6 and 15 gallon carboys. I've never seen a 4 gallon carboy but I sure would like a few. I even sometimes rack the last of a primary into a 1/2 gallon milk bottle with an airlock. That way I have a little to top off when racking to tertiary.
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Secondary headspace
« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2017, 04:23:12 PM »
I even sometimes rack the last of a primary into a 1/2 gallon milk bottle with an airlock. That way I have a little to top off when racking to tertiary.


Yep, same here. Filling up the secondary to the neck is a good practice for cider.
Jon H.

Offline Leonard

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Re: Secondary headspace
« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2017, 11:51:32 PM »
Excessive headspace can occasionally lead to acetobacter and vinegar, since acetobacter uses oxygen to live and since ciders can take months to ferment and we sometimes don't monitor as well as we should.  I'll admit, vinegar has happened to me 3 times over the past ~10 batches, so it is a real risk.  If you're concerned, add more juice, or marbles, or purge with CO2 occasionally, as you and others have suggested.  I was fortunate on my current batch... when I racked 3.6 gallons to a 3-gallon carboy, it filled up to the top of the neck perfectly.

Thanks Guys!  I guess I might just try to be more efficient when syphoning off the lees. There's just a lot of lees in the raw stuff from the orchard.  It's kind of tough because the slightest move seems to suspend more and I'm pretty careful about keeping secondary clean.  Maybe I'll try to keep the leftover and settle that out as well to possibly top up.  With that said - so far so good and the cider has always come out super clear & tasty even without using any additives.

Thanks again - reading these forums really help.