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Benny
03-01-2014, 10:55 PM
After siphoning from the primary fermentation bucket to a secondary carboy, should any remaining space be topped to avoid oxidation? I suspect that it would be best to avoid contact with oxygen. Which liquid do you suggest? Thanks!

fatbloke
03-01-2014, 11:16 PM
After siphoning from the primary fermentation bucket to a secondary carboy, should any remaining space be topped to avoid oxidation? I suspect that it would be best to avoid contact with oxygen. Which liquid do you suggest? Thanks!
The answer is.........Yes !

The problem is that all top ups, have problems to a certain extent.

In an ideal world, a similar mead is best. Water will dilute slightly, honey and water will sweeten slightly and you need to stabilise to prevent possible referment. Vodka or other spirit can cause change of taste, increase ABV, dry the batch out a little and reduce body.

Etc etc.

Some like to keep a source of compressed CO2 as you can blanket the batch with that.

or of course if you have some different sized carboys, you can use a combo of different sizes to leave the least possible air space etc.......

If you dont have enough similar mead, you can always just pick up a cheap bottle of a white wine that you don't mind and use that........

Just pick the solution that suits you the best etc......

danr
03-01-2014, 11:26 PM
I think fatbloke covered all the options. It is best to fill up to the neck of your carboy or jug to limit the amount of mead exposed to oxygen. The only thing that I would add is that on your next batch you might consider starting with a slightly larger batch size than your desired final volume. For example, if you want to have a 5 gallon carboy filled for bulk aging, maybe start with 5-1/2 gallons in a primary fermentation bucket. If you have a bit extra the first time you rack, you can store it in a small bottle and use it for a later topping off.

That being said, mead is less susceptible to oxygenation than beer, so over a short period of time it is not a major issue, but you would not want to bulk age with a lot of empty headspace.

Benny
03-02-2014, 12:47 AM
Any experience with Argon? I have a few capsules from my wine preserving system. It would be interesting to use it because it can keep all recipes reproducible.

fatbloke
03-02-2014, 01:04 AM
Any experience with Argon? I have a few capsules from my wine preserving system. It would be interesting to use it because it can keep all recipes reproducible.
Not argon, no, but I've read of others suggesting it - don't recall what the result was though i.e. whether there are any downsides to using it.

I can't suggest as to how practical it might be. Are the capsules keeping the Argon liquid, solid or just "compressed" ?

Only because when I've read of other newer makers suggesting small pieces of dry ice to produce a CO2 blanket, even a tiny piece can produce a lot more gas than is needed, and that's without taking into account the hazards from handling it. CO2 is reasonably easy to remove when necessary - yet I understand it's not completely without a downside - like the carbonic acid a.k.a. dissolved CO2 in a batch can cause issues with how quickly a batch might clear, or even clear at all. Whether that's just anecdotal or back up with hard science or not, I don't recall.

Perhaps it might be better just to use one of the "tried and tested" methods......

S'up to you, it's your batch after all. Maybe you could run the experiment, if you find no apparent downside, then post it so we can all benefit from your testing etc ?

Without considering it too deeply, if it's supplied in a form for use as a wine preserver (presumably to blanket the wine and remove possible oxygen conctact plus subsequent oxidation), it might be worth a try.

I suppose it depends on the "value" you place on the batch and your efforts to produce it........ Equally, I don't think it's an entirely new idea (pretty sure I've read of the idea about using other "noble" gasses for blanketing), but I can't think of whether anyone has actually posted about the practicality of it.......

MourneMead
03-02-2014, 03:31 AM
After siphoning from the primary fermentation bucket to a secondary carboy, should any remaining space be topped to avoid oxidation? I suspect that it would be best to avoid contact with oxygen. Which liquid do you suggest? Thanks!

I have a couple of gallon demi johns bulk aging where I used sanitized marbles to bring the volume up to near the top. I've bottled from one before where I had to punch the siphon down into the group of marbles but really lost very little liquid in total.

danr
03-02-2014, 03:43 AM
If you have easy/inexpensive access to Argon gas, I believe that it is generally a good choice, although most of what I have read relates to using it with kegs.

In kegs, CO2 will carbonate the mead in higher pressures, whereas Nitrogen and Argon are intert and will not. Argon has the advantage over Nitrogen in that it is heavier than oxygen, whereas Nitrogen is not. No matter what gas you use though, it is my understanding that it is difficult to actually fully purge the headspace, and you will likely end up with a mix of oxygen and your other gas.

If you are working with one gallon batches, perhaps your capsules will work. For a five gallon batch, I would expect that you would need a gas tank for it to be practical. Personally, I would try to fill the headspace with an appropriate liquid or split the mead into smaller containers. I think the gas route is better when you are using a keg and need the gas to dispense the mead and fill the displaced volume.

By the way, one additional method that I have heard people use is to add glass marbles to raise the liquid level in their jugs and carboys. This is not my thing, but one more possibility for you.

Whatever you do, don't get overly stressed about it and don't make it too complicated. There is always time for that later if you are so inclined.

edit: MourneMead mentioned the marbles while I was still typing, so there is some personal experience for you. I bought some glass aquarium marbles for this purpose once, but never used them.

MourneMead
03-02-2014, 04:18 AM
Sorry for stealing your thunder :)

fatbloke
03-02-2014, 04:41 AM
If you have easy/inexpensive access to Argon gas, I believe that it is generally a good choice, although most of what I have read relates to using it with kegs.

In kegs, CO2 will carbonate the mead in higher pressures, whereas Nitrogen and Argon are intert and will not. Argon has the advantage over Nitrogen in that it is heavier than oxygen, whereas Nitrogen is not. No matter what gas you use though, it is my understanding that it is difficult to actually fully purge the headspace, and you will likely end up with a mix of oxygen and your other gas.

If you are working with one gallon batches, perhaps your capsules will work. For a five gallon batch, I would expect that you would need a gas tank for it to be practical. Personally, I would try to fill the headspace with an appropriate liquid or split the mead into smaller containers. I think the gas route is better when you are using a keg and need the gas to dispense the mead and fill the displaced volume.

By the way, one additional method that I have heard people use is to add glass marbles to raise the liquid level in their jugs and carboys. This is not my thing, but one more possibility for you.

Whatever you do, don't get overly stressed about it and don't make it too complicated. There is always time for that later if you are so inclined.

edit: MourneMead mentioned the marbles while I was still typing, so there is some personal experience for you. I bought some glass aquarium marbles for this purpose once, but never used them.
I knew there might be a reason not to do that Dan, but for the life of me I couldn't think of it at the time.

Muchos TVM's chap......

MM is indeed correct re the marbles or other displacement ideas. I've always stayed away from it though, as I've had a couple of the one gallon glass jugs/jars/carboys/DJ's or whatever you want to call them, break on me while washing/rinsing.

None of them had any visible fault, but it's likely that there may have been some structural weakness, and the idea of dropping glass marbles or anything similar into mine has kept me from wanting to try it - though even gas blanketing is a form of displacement isn't it, just that it's displacing the air/O2, rather than the liquid (I seem to recall reading about someone using sanitised, inflated plastic bags - though how effective that is, and what the plastic make up of the bag actually is, prompts more questions).

I suppose if there's some way of keeping marbles sanitised and getting them into the jug/jar/etc without any possible percussive effect and the possible knock on of the glass failing, then it'd likely work fine........

For the moment, I'd rather not - especially if they're filled with meads etc.......

GntlKnigt1
03-02-2014, 04:45 AM
Well, it should be done... and I have used the marbles before, but lately, I have been lazy about topping off, esp since moving to Europe and not having the right sized carboys.... I have way more head space than I should, and eventually it will 'bite" me, but so far, I've NOT had any issues with oxidation (except MAYBE one small batch)

MJ7
03-02-2014, 11:07 AM
Marbles are an easy inexpensive solution. I have had no issues with oxidation as well (coming from wine making) when I have a bit of head space, just make sure you have a solid stopper on and water in the airlock.

ostensibly
03-03-2014, 07:24 AM
I read that people try to look for marbles that don't come from China and are lead-free. Every time I'm at a store I only see ones made in China - is there a brand that people favor? Or does it really even matter?

Honeyhog
03-03-2014, 10:04 AM
I can't see how it would matter as most good wine glasses are make from lead crystal.

PitBull
03-03-2014, 10:05 AM
I read that people try to look for marbles that don't come from China and are lead-free. Every time I'm at a store I only see ones made in China - is there a brand that people favor? Or does it really even matter?
You can get aquarium marbles in a pet store. They are safe to use, but the packages are small and the price adds up pretty quickly if you want to displace even a moderate volume.

The only place that I know of where you can purchase a larger quantity is here (http://morewinemaking.com/products/glass-marbles-topping-3-lbs.html). And there's free shipping with a $59 order.

Benny
03-03-2014, 12:00 PM
I have two batches going, I will try one with argon and the other with marbles and let you know. Thank you all for your suggestions.

mannye
03-03-2014, 12:50 PM
http://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Sphere-Mirror-Like-Diameter-Sphericity/dp/B005GFTZ7S/ref=pd_sim_indust_5?ie=UTF8&refRID=0CEX5QXHNA3RWRFEJ5W6

Perhaps this is something that would work better? One reviewer is using them to weigh down his must bag in primary and the other review is, well, eye opening to say the least. :eek:

A little pricey, but at one inch diameter, you may only need three or four to get the job done.

GntlKnigt1
03-03-2014, 02:32 PM
How about some used/repurposed ball bearings? Must be somewhere to get them....

mannye
03-03-2014, 04:28 PM
How about some used/repurposed ball bearings? Must be somewhere to get them....

I'm sure that will work! Stainless is pretty much impervious to anything. To the GOOGLE!

MJ7
03-03-2014, 06:42 PM
http://www.amazon.com/Stainless-Sphere-Mirror-Like-Diameter-Sphericity/dp/B005GFTZ7S/ref=pd_sim_indust_5?ie=UTF8&refRID=0CEX5QXHNA3RWRFEJ5W6

Perhaps this is something that would work better? One reviewer is using them to weigh down his must bag in primary and the other review is, well, eye opening to say the least. :eek:

A little pricey, but at one inch diameter, you may only need three or four to get the job done.

http://www.unitednuclear.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=25_35

Ceramic 1/2 inch balls, normally for powdering rock in a mill, 12 bucks for 100.

mannye
03-03-2014, 07:18 PM
http://www.unitednuclear.com/index.php?main_page=index&cPath=25_35

Ceramic 1/2 inch balls, normally for powdering rock in a mill, 12 bucks for 100.

Bingo! :D:D:D

smertz001
03-04-2014, 08:07 AM
Marble King, Incorporated also sells marbles for beer and wine (mead) usage.

You can contact Beri for more information, it's been a year since I last contacted them about it, not sure on pricing though. berifox AT marbleking DOT com Or 1–800-672-5564.

Cheers!