PDA

View Full Version : How important is CO2 in secondary and during aging



TNTurkey
04-02-2016, 04:55 PM
I just racked my first mead over to the secondary, ended up with about 5.5 gallons in my 6 gallon carboy. I didn't purge the carboy with CO2 mainly because when I went to the local welding gases supply store, the smallest bottle they had was 5 lbs for $120.00 plus $60 for the regulator, plus the tubing. Not knowing how vital it was, I really didn't want to spring for that much carbon dioxide.
I added one ounce of medium French oak chips to the secondary and will rack again in 14 days.
How important is it to purge the carboy before racking to the secondary? It seems to me that the risk of oxidation increases with time of exposure but I'm not at all sure of the time period. Is there significant risk in 2 weeks? (Brew room temp is 72 F)
I also assume that the CO2 would escape from an air lock and that some sort of seal is needed to prevent air from replacing the CO2. Is a regular rubber carboy bung good enough?
Where can I find a reasonably priced source for CO2 and some way to infuse it into the bottle?

Thanks for the help.

bmwr75
04-02-2016, 05:38 PM
I've never purged a carboy with CO2. But, I also don't leave much head space in a secondary carboy. CO2 is heavier than air, so will preferentially stay inside an undisturbed carboy.

Yenren
04-02-2016, 05:40 PM
I had an idea to use CO2 from an actively fermenting to use to blanket a batch put into secondary. Why buy CO2 for a small job like a quick blanket when you are making your own. I am open to people poking holes Im this idea

Farmboyc
04-02-2016, 06:29 PM
Well if you mix baking soda and vinegar CO2 is produced. It is heavier than air so you could use a juice pitcher and mix the 2 together and tilt it so the CO2 "Pours" into the carboy.
Often in secondary the mead/wine will Degas and release CO2 or the may be some fermentation that will provide the CO2 blanket you are looking for.

Running a tube from an active ferment into a secondary with heads pace should also work.

Stasis
04-02-2016, 08:37 PM
There was a discussion a while back of why head space matters in your carboys
http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php/24805-Why-minimal-head-space-matters

Basically, Kuri thinks that the problem is the amount of headspace and no amount of CO2 will help this problem. If Kuri is right, that extra amount of air will result in the carboy gulping in more air through the airlock as the temp cools every day.
I also have doubts about the effectiveness of blanketing a carboy with CO2. I think Oskaar or Medsen also voiced this doubt. I suggest reading on it.
IMO the best solution would be to find a way to eliminate that head space. I top off with mead I have in reserve especially for this, there are other solutions out there

bmwr75
04-02-2016, 08:41 PM
I also top up with a traditional mead or something similar to what I'm fermenting to eliminate excess head space. Have made a couple of 1 gallon batches specifically for that purpose.

EbonHawk
04-04-2016, 07:58 PM
What do you top up your reserves with? If you're pouring off of a reserve batch...won't the reserve now be deficient and have too much headspace for when you want to add that to another batch that needs topping off? Seems like a neverending cycle...

Squatchy
04-04-2016, 08:54 PM
I challenge anyone to make a traditional and send me some with oxidation problems. It's a myth that started from the paranoia beer makers brought over to the mead side. You can by tannins to put in the primary that are designed to deal with oxy problems in red wines. I bet I have 100 gallons sitting around and I can only find one raspberry batch I made real early one that turned a very small amount tawny in color. Had I sulfited it I'm guessing I would not have any of that! :)

Oskaar spoke once on the ask Oskaar segment that he had the dredges of a 5 gallon batch ( just a few inches) sitting in the bottom of a carboy that had been sitting around for ever. He bottled it up, sent it in to Cali state comp and medaled with it.

In no way am I saying we should not do what we can, but I feel it's almost a non issue.

Can anyone speak to this that has actually had an issue? Please speak up

skunkboy
04-04-2016, 09:13 PM
CO2 is good for the active racking, but not much good after that, as far as I can tell. I use it as fairly cheap insurance.

If you you have 5.5 gallons and too much head space you can move it to a 5 gallon carboy and a growler. I do this alot for the last couple of years.

I have some western buckwheat mead that sat in a carboy with a couple of inches of head space for a couple of years. The two time I have entered it the judges complained about oxidation. Your mileage my vary?

Stasis
04-04-2016, 09:15 PM
I had a metheglin that oxidized slightly. I'm pretty sure it's possible if you really tried hard enough ;)
My reserve traditional no longer is in bulk againg. If the level gets too low I can put the rest in bottles. It's basically a traditional I'm not too keen on drinking on its own. Still pretty tasty. I also have a wide range of vessel sizes so so most of the time after a racking I could pour the rest into a slightly smaller carboy or into two smaller carboys which almost make up the volume of the large carboy. Complex stuff... when I get racking it's like I'm solving a puzzle

Squatchy
04-04-2016, 09:17 PM
I had a metheglin that oxidized slightly. I'm pretty sure it's possible if you really tried hard enough ;)
My reserve traditional no longer is in bulk againg. If the level gets too low I can put the rest in bottles. It's basically a traditional I'm not too keen on drinking on its own. Still pretty tasty. I also have a wide range of vessel sizes so so most of the time after a racking I could pour the rest into a slightly smaller carboy or into two smaller carboys which almost make up the volume of the large carboy. Complex stuff... when I get racking it's like I'm solving a puzzle

I hear ya. A glass rubix cube

Stasis
04-04-2016, 09:25 PM
If you you have 5.5 gallons and too much head space you can move it to a 5 gallon carboy and a growler. I do this alot for the last couple of years

Yes, basically this is what I do.
Sometimes people are biased towards their own mead. I know for sure it happens to people who make wine in Malta. They would honestly tell me this is the best wine ever and it would have a very obvious flaw. Or it just ended dessert sweet, or they are plain biased. I bet many people get oxidized mead but are "biased" without even knowing it, in the sense that they aren't actively looking for a flaw. In skunkboy's case the judges were actively looking for flaws and could taste oxidation. Slight oxidation does not even taste bad, which I bet means some mazers taste it and not even realize.
Just to make myself perfectly clear: while I am saying this I have nobody in particular in mind

Stasis
04-04-2016, 09:29 PM
I hear ya. A glass rubix cube

It is! I also came to realize that the silly Italians used to not be too accurate when making carboys. It looks like these were hand blown. Some are a bit lop-sided, some have flaws in the glass, and some are supposed to hold 54 liters when in fact they hold around 53.9. Sometimes I rack a carboy, remove the lees and a 54 liter carboy fits perfectly into a 54 liter carboy again :/ LOL!

skunkboy
04-04-2016, 09:30 PM
Oh, I sort of sherried a mead, left 4.5 gallons in a 5 gallon carboy for 4 years, airlock was never allowed to dry out. When it was bottled it had huge sherry nose on top the flowers and fruit in the original mead. Interesting, but not something I'm likely to do again on purpose.

skunkboy
04-04-2016, 09:31 PM
Sometimes I rack a carboy, remove the lees and a 54 liter carboy fits perfectly into a 54 liter carboy again :/ LOL!

Sure you're not some sort of Alchemist? :)

Squatchy
04-04-2016, 09:53 PM
Thanks for you guys setting me straight. I haven't been doing this as long as you guys so that's probably the reason I'm still a newbie :)

I do need to ask though. Are you using sulfites and still having these results? Have you used tannins like FT blanc soft (I think that's it) and similar?

skunkboy
04-04-2016, 10:21 PM
I haven't been using sulfites, and that might be part of their issues. Not sulfur compounds to reduce oxidation. I've looked at the some of the tannins, but most of my fruit meads have enough tannins in them to start with...

TNTurkey
04-05-2016, 03:52 PM
I bought a 5 gallon carboy yesterday. I was in need of one yesterday, and this should solve my head space problem. The mead is in the secondary now over 1 oz. of medium toast French oak chips. I only plan to leave it there for a couple of weeks, then bulk age it in the 5 gallon carboy. I should end up with no head space and a little to bottle and try....sooner.
Another newb question; what's a growler?

Robert Blees
04-05-2016, 04:11 PM
A growler is an angry wife when your tending to the mead and not her !!!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

skunkboy
04-05-2016, 11:27 PM
1/2 gallon glass jug you can get at a homebrew shop, for a microbrewery, sometimes you can buy cheap wine in them....

Mazer828
04-06-2016, 05:18 PM
I thought a growler was a reluctant BM. 😒

EbonHawk
04-07-2016, 03:59 PM
I thought a growler was a reluctant BM. ��Bingo! I thought the same thing too.