Author Topic: Too much head space in carboy?  (Read 6307 times)

Offline ellen

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Too much head space in carboy?
« on: August 18, 2011, 10:41:23 AM »
I am wondering if I have too much head space going on.  My very first mead was in the primary on 6/22 racked off into a secondary carboy on 7/22 and it must be about 5 inches below (not the brim) the widest part where the neck begins.  Does that part have a name?  :D

I don't know how long I want to leave it before bottling.  I have 2 more to deal with soon--a cyser and a bochet in primary so
I need to figure out what I am doing.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Too much head space in carboy?
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2011, 01:39:09 PM »
I am wondering if I have too much head space going on.  My very first mead was in the primary on 6/22 racked off into a secondary carboy on 7/22 and it must be about 5 inches below (not the brim) the widest part where the neck begins.  Does that part have a name?  :D

I don't know how long I want to leave it before bottling.  I have 2 more to deal with soon--a cyser and a bochet in primary so
I need to figure out what I am doing.

I believe it is called the shoulder. and yes that could be a problem. The concern is that all that headspace is filled with oxygen which is cause cardboardy flavours over time. Some options include

1) topping off with boiled cooled water (or another mead if you have it. I have heard of brewing an extra gallon in a separate container for this purpose)
2) purging the headspace with CO2 or another inert heavier than air gas
3) boiling a big ol mess of marbles and adding them (carefully so as not to break the carboy) until the level of liquid reaches all the way up to the top of the shoulder or even a little way up the neck.

there may be others
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Offline psuskp

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Re: Too much head space in carboy?
« Reply #2 on: August 18, 2011, 02:38:41 PM »
I am wondering if I have too much head space going on.  My very first mead was in the primary on 6/22 racked off into a secondary carboy on 7/22 and it must be about 5 inches below (not the brim) the widest part where the neck begins.  Does that part have a name?  :D

I don't know how long I want to leave it before bottling.  I have 2 more to deal with soon--a cyser and a bochet in primary so
I need to figure out what I am doing.

I believe it is called the shoulder. and yes that could be a problem. The concern is that all that headspace is filled with oxygen which is cause cardboardy flavours over time. Some options include

1) topping off with boiled cooled water (or another mead if you have it. I have heard of brewing an extra gallon in a separate container for this purpose)
2) purging the headspace with CO2 or another inert heavier than air gas
3) boiling a big ol mess of marbles and adding them (carefully so as not to break the carboy) until the level of liquid reaches all the way up to the top of the shoulder or even a little way up the neck.

there may be others

If the airlock is bubbling, will the CO2 push the O2 out? I would guess that the O2 is lighter and would be the first to go out the airlock, but I don't know.



Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Too much head space in carboy?
« Reply #3 on: August 18, 2011, 03:41:34 PM »
yes, but if it's still fermenting you should not rack it to secondary yet. secondary is for the long term bulk aging of the mead. it should be completly done fermenting by then, there might be a bit of off gassing still but that is not going to displace all the o2 and the gasses will just mix. I am not saying it will ruin the mead, but it might make it have a considerably shorter shelf like.
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Offline ellen

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Re: Too much head space in carboy?
« Reply #4 on: August 18, 2011, 06:14:01 PM »
Thanks for the advice.  So I guess I'm heading to Toys R Us for marbles!  Although--could I just rack to several 1 gallon carboys or maybe a 3 gallon? 

I know I could just bottle but I'm trying to understand about the process. 

I have my carboys in the bilge of my liveaboard boat and it has a very steady temp of about 70 degrees.

Ellen
Listing to Port

Offline hubie

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Re: Too much head space in carboy?
« Reply #5 on: August 18, 2011, 09:13:48 PM »
You can certainly rack into multiple smaller containers.  What is nice about that is you can mess around with them individually if you want, such as adding spices or other flavorings.  When I make wine or mead, I typically make a little bit more than I need and keep the extra in beer bottles under airlock (#2, I think).  When I rack, I use the beer bottles to top up.  I don't rack very often, so I don't need that much on hand.  I've also topped up with boiled water.  If you're topping up a 5-gallon batch, the amount you're adding doesn't make much difference in your gravity.  Some people don't want to dilute, so that is why they use marbles or top up with a similar wine or mead.

Offline euge

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Re: Too much head space in carboy?
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2011, 10:05:16 PM »
I would be careful of using just any marble. They may contain toxic substances used as flux and or color. I think racking to gallon glass jugs would be safer.
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