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Ghost99
10-26-2015, 04:20 PM
Hi Folks!

Extreme newbie question here:

Does the size of the primary or secondary fermentation vessel matter when making smaller batches? For example, if we wanted to make a smaller 1 gallon test batch, is it ok to use a larger, say, 5 gallon primary vessel, and a 3 gallon secondary?

Just wondering it that traps a lot more air in the vessel after sealing with the airlock and if this could be a problem.

Any advise much appreciated!

Thanks

bmwr75
10-26-2015, 05:13 PM
The larger primary should not be a problem, but a 3 gallon secondary for a 1 gallon batch is probably not a good idea. The must would have to generate enough CO2 to fill up the 2 gallons of empty space. Doing this the first time might not be a problem, but if you removed the airlock to test the S.G. multiple times you could get into oxidation problems possibly.

PitBull
10-27-2015, 07:22 AM
The "best" way to get a proper sized secondary vessels is to simply buy wine at your local liquor store and empty it one-glass-at-a-time. There are plenty of 4 liter (slightly larger than a gallon) jugs of drinkable wine. There are also wine-mouth 1.5 liter bottles of wine that a No. 6 1/2 drilled stopper fits. A 12 ounce beer or conventional wine bottles will work with a No. 2 drilled stopper. I have bottles as small as 187 ml (6.3 oz.) from ice wine.

Make a little extra must and you can top-off you gallon/4 liter batch after racking with the mead in the smaller bottles.

stephanie.palmatier
10-27-2015, 02:08 PM
I'm pretty new, but I have learned some things from making my first batch that may be useful. I used a 5 gallon primary bucket for my first couple of batches. It was okay, but I ran into a couple of problems.

1) There was no airlock activity in primary. I've read that many people ferment in primary without a lid or airlock ( covering the bucket with a towel, so this isn't much of an issue by itself, but was extremely annoying in conjunction to not being able to get a hydrometer reading. However, I've read it is hard to get an accurate reading while using a lot of fruit, so this point may be moot in the future.

2) The hydrometer wouldn't touch the bottom, so I had trouble getting an accurate reading ( I don't have a turkey baster or test tube yet). This also happened in my 1 gallon carboy, so this may be a moot point, but it is a good thing to be aware of before starting.

However, the secondary vessel would matter a lot more than primary because you don't want oxidation once fermentation slows down/stops. I got a second 1 gallon carboy by buying apple cider at the health food store, so that is another option in addition to the suggestion of buying 4L of cheap wine. Or if you have growlers sitting around, they could work as secondary. I used a howler with a stopper for the remainder of my first batch. I read somewhere that would could try asking for a 2 gallon food grade bucket at a bakery. I haven't tried this, but I did just order a bunch of honey from amazon and it comes in a 2 gal bucket.

Sent from my Nexus 7 using Tapatalk

Ghost99
10-27-2015, 03:09 PM
Thanks very much everyone for these great answers! You've definitely saved me some headaches. Cheers

mannye
10-27-2015, 10:25 PM
The "best" way to get a proper sized secondary vessels is to simply buy wine at your local liquor store and empty it one-glass-at-a-time. There are plenty of 4 liter (slightly larger than a gallon) jugs of drinkable wine. There are also wine-mouth 1.5 liter bottles of wine that a No. 6 1/2 drilled stopper fits. A 12 ounce beer or conventional wine bottles will work with a No. 2 drilled stopper. I have bottles as small as 187 ml (6.3 oz.) from ice wine.

Make a little extra must and you can top-off you gallon/4 liter batch after racking with the mead in the smaller bottles.

This! HAve your friends over for a wine drinking party and you'll empty a few of those "free" carboys out quick. Even quicker if you get a few sangria recipes. Sangria makes cheap jug wine disappear like hotcakes at a funeral. (I'm trying to get that phrase into the lexicon.)