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View Full Version : Need QUICK help! First racking



Wloch248
03-27-2006, 08:39 PM
So it has been 11 days since I started my first batch and everything has been moving along just fine. I think I am ready to do my first racking.

Right now I have about 5 gal in my plastic fermenter that I want to siphon to my 5 gal carboy. It has slowed from inital 18-19 bubbles/min after 24 hrs, 12 bubbles/min 5 days in, 8 bubbles/min yesterday, and 3-4 /min today. I wanted to rack today because I don't think I will have any time until about sunday. I was wondering if I could rack now without any damage? Or would it be safe to let it sit till sunday when it will be even slower maybe 1 bubble/min? I remember reading it was good to get it off the yeast cake so you don't pick up "off" flavors. Am I safe to rack tonight?

Also, when I rack can I take the lid off my plastic pail and siphon right into MY carboy? I know I am supposed to not aerate it as much as possible to reduce the amount of oxidation. Will having the lid off while racking oxidate it to a detrimental level? I know I should also put the siphon tube on the bottom of the carboy and leave it ther while it fills to prevent splashing.

How close can I come to the yeast cake? Can I tilt my primary fermenter to get that last little bit of must siphoned or will the yeast cake slide over too? If I get a little bit of cloudy must into the secondary should I worry about it?

Again, sorry for the amount of ?'s but this should be the only time I will have to ask them again.

Thanks,
Nathan

WRATHWILDE
03-27-2006, 09:01 PM
Wloch,

You want to rack just above your yeast, about a quarter to a half inch. As for racking, you should be fine either way... now or sunday. The short amount of time you will have the lid off shouldn't be too much of a concern. I generally don't tilt as the yeast will slide and stir up. Getting a little bit of cloudy mead syphoned won't hurt, some on the forum do it purposely, I don't... I try to leave all yeast behind.

Wrathwilde

kash
03-28-2006, 12:08 AM
The yeast on the bottom is going to fluff up if you move or jostle the primarly a lot. Try and move it as little as possible. If you need to move it to a place that makes siphoning easier, then move it today and let the yeast settle back down and rack it on Sunday. I doubt there would be a problem as long as the primarly is clean and sealed up properly.

Personally, I wouldn't try and tilt the primarly to extract the final dregs off of the yeast. That's probably sure to stirr up the yeast, but you might be more gentle than I am. It somehow seems a waste to let that bit go down the drain, but hey, it's a sacrifice to the mead gods to keep everything working good. It probably does your septic tank a world of good too!

You're right on about excluding O2, but an open primary shouldn't be too much of an issue. Avoid all the splashy mess and it should be good.

Just remember, turn off the phone and open the front door, that way you won't be distrubed and lose the syphon at a critical moment.

Wloch248
03-28-2006, 12:41 AM
Well my buddy ended up not coming over to help me so it looks like I will be doing it on sunday. Thanks for the tip about moving it before. I've read that you should move it before but forgot about it.

What about blanketing the must in the secondary with CO2? Now that I am not taking that last 1/4 inch off I will not be filling the secondary up to the neck(just won't be enough). I have a co2 container but how would you "blanket" it after you get it in the secondary? Would you just open the valve to displace whatever O2 is in there then slam on the airlock?

Thanks for the advice!

Fwee
03-28-2006, 01:10 AM
What about blanketing the must in the secondary with CO2? Now that I am not taking that last 1/4 inch off I will not be filling the secondary up to the neck(just won't be enough). I have a co2 container but how would you "blanket" it after you get it in the secondary? Would you just open the valve to displace whatever O2 is in there then slam on the airlock?

Thanks for the advice! I'm brand spankin' new to mead making, but I'm going to step out on a limb here and answer this to the best of my current knowledge and hopefully one of the veterans will step in and correct me if I'm wrong.

MY (UNEDUCATED) ANSWER:
Blanketing your secondary with CO2 is unnecessary due to the fact that the remaining activity in your yeast will fill the void with CO2 shortly after you install your bung and airlock.


So, all you pro's out there... Am I right? ???

The CO2 "blanket" is used for bottling purposes only, correct? ::)

kash
03-28-2006, 01:22 AM
Well my buddy ended up not coming over to help me so it looks like I will be doing it on sunday. Thanks for the tip about moving it before. I've read that you should move it before but forgot about it.

What about blanketing the must in the secondary with CO2? Now that I am not taking that last 1/4 inch off I will not be filling the secondary up to the neck(just won't be enough). I have a co2 container but how would you "blanket" it after you get it in the secondary? Would you just open the valve to displace whatever O2 is in there then slam on the airlock?

Thanks for the advice!


I'm just going to bet that the must after a few days in the primary, it isn't clear yet? If it's not clear, then you've still got a yeast crop that's turing out CO2. It's still bubbling? If it's active, then I personally don't worry about the headspace. It'll gas the headspace itself. Course, it couldn't hurt to give it a blast of CO2, but I'm lazy. Also when you rack it off, a bunch of suspended CO2 will degas out of solution just from the movement. So there's another reason to be lazy. But then, it's your batch to nurse along as you see fit.

If I'm worried about headspace, and I usually am, I often top it off. See, racking is a good excuse to test SG and anything else you want to meter... like taste! So a little headspace is good too, it offers you the opportunity to add a little water, or honey water, or flavorant or... whatever floats your boat. Sure, adding stuff makes the calculations get crazy, but are you really going to enjoy your mead more if you know it's precise ABV? Is knowing this going to make you appreciate it more than takeing the opportunity to correct or embellish it's flavor?

Science > Art? Facts < Witchcraft? Take your pick.

kace069
03-28-2006, 01:57 AM
Honestly Wloch, I would give your mead another week. I used to rack at 2 weeks but I have backed off now on that rule. I will let my mead go in a bucket for up to four weeks. If you don't open it and let all the co2 out, it will keep itself from becoming over oxidized.
I would defentily move the mead to where its going to be racked at least 4 or 5 hours before racking.
I use a stainless steel cane for my rackings and it has a spring on it that keeps it off the lees. Its a great investment. But if it sucks a little of the lees up no big deal. I usually rack at least 3 times before I bottle some times 4.I like to bulk age for as long as I can stand.
I have also started the habit of making my must up to 5 1/4 to 5 1/2 gallons to limit headspace after rackings. I have read in the past here at the forum of some who make an inital batch at 6 gallons and then saving the extra in a one gallon to top up your carboy, if you have a growler you can then save the rest of the first gallon.
If you are going to rack this early I wouldn't worry about headspace at all. What do you have for a co2 source are you a brewer with a kegging system. If so let me know what you have set up with your co2 tank to purge carboys.
Or anyone for that matter. Purging my carboys has interested me, especially when I rack after fermentation is over.

Fwee, purging with co2 is good at any point of the meads life except when you make your must. I really couldn't imagine purging every bottle with co2 before bottling. Bottling is chore enough. The way I see it, is that unless your container is permeable to air the only oxygen a mead can take in is from its surface area with the oxygen. Even in a brewing bucket, It takes weeks for the Oxygen to permeate the bucket and if the mead is fermenting the co2 will keep it out. co2 is heavier than air.
Ok i have babbled enough and mead is starting to kick in, hope this helps!

Pewter_of_Deodar
03-28-2006, 11:28 AM
You do not need to do anything if the batch is still fermenting and you have it trapped. In fact, don't do anything because unless you have a sterile line filter (0.5 micron or less) in your CO2 system, you risk injecting infection when you gas the headspace. As others have stated, if the batch is fermenting, it is blanketing itself with CO2 and forcing the air in the headspace out of the trap.

Good luck,
Pewter

Wloch248
03-28-2006, 05:57 PM
Thanks to everyone for the advice. I am going to wait till the 7th of next month to rack it. From everything I had read I thought you were supposed to rack when you were getting 2 bubble/min which was supposed to be at around 10-16 days of fermentation. Now I realize that that is the soonest you can rack not necessarily when you have to. I think I will let it sit in the bucket for a while and rack to my carboy, let it sit for a month, then probably bottle.

As for the CO2 my brst friend brews beer and has a bunch of cornelious? bullet kegs and has co2 for them.