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Thread: Marbles for excess headspace

  1. #1

    Default Marbles for excess headspace

    So I procured some clear glass marbles(for free), perfect size, and decided to use them in one of my batches. I put them in a 3 liter wine jug I had racked into from a one gallon carboy primary fermenter because I ended up with excess head space due to loss from lees and fruit. The jug was only about 75-80% full. I put the marbles into a muslin hop bag(shaped more like a sock/stocking) and it took ALOT of marbles to fill that excess head space! I now have a good 3-4" layer of marbles in the jug. My concern is about racking when I'm ready to bottle, I sure hope I haven't sacrificed that much mead to the marbles. Because I started thinking, how difficult it might be to get the racking auto-siphon I use, or a plain curved racking cane for that matter, down into those marbles so I don't lose so much.
    Please tell me I won't have to waste that much must when it's time to rack again!

  2. #2
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    Dunno, would I be very interested to hear how it works out for you. Marbles is on the list of things to try at some point...
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  3. #3

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    Well I think I need a physics lesson, the more I have thought about it, this shouldn't be a problem....the marbles displace the liquid which is what raises the liquid up so the the majority of the liquid is still accessible and I should not lose any more the next time I rack than I would without the marbles.........correct? I do still wonder how hard it will be to get the marbles back out of the jug...without breaking it.

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    Correct on not losing much, I've found that the next sediment drop tends to settle in the spaces and makes racking pretty easy, I'll rack the last bit once I get into the marbles (they just slide aside) int a seperate bottle to let that settle out.
    And they just pour out when your done.
    That said I have learned to just bump the recipe up in the primary bucket to allow for at least a gallon over the secondary carboy capacity so I have enough to top off, after the next racking I'll still have at least a couple of liter bottles (flip tops from flea markets) of that left and so forth until it's off to the bulk aging closet and I'll "sample" the remainder of the "excess"
    You only go around once in life, but if you do it right, once is enough

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    And if you do gallon batches just get a two gallon pail, they make primary fermentation a lot easier in a lot of ways
    You only go around once in life, but if you do it right, once is enough

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    One issue to think about, is that while the marbles make an "semi" ideal filler, they also provide a surface for yeast to settle on.

    Hence, when trying to wriggle a racking cane down amongst them to rack it off, you're very likely to disturb some sediment. Which I'm thinking is just likely to mean that you'd need to rack a few more times until the amount of sediment is so low, that any that might get picked like this is gonna be negligible.
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  7. #7

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riverat View Post
    Correct on not losing much, I've found that the next sediment drop tends to settle in the spaces and makes racking pretty easy, I'll rack the last bit once I get into the marbles (they just slide aside) int a seperate bottle to let that settle out.
    And they just pour out when your done.
    That said I have learned to just bump the recipe up in the primary bucket to allow for at least a gallon over the secondary carboy capacity so I have enough to top off, after the next racking I'll still have at least a couple of liter bottles (flip tops from flea markets) of that left and so forth until it's off to the bulk aging closet and I'll "sample" the remainder of the "excess"
    Thanks Riverat, I plan on doing pretty much what you describe and, as for making a little extra must, yes, I'll not be using my one gallon carboys again as a primary fermenter because of so much loss to fruit and lees( I'm partial to melomels at this time) and I now have both two gallon and 6.5 gallon fermenting buckets and have made extra the past couple of batches.

    One thing I haven't done yet, after making the must and before pitching the yeast, is to save/set aside some of the must to use for topping off after subsequent rackings. The only issue I see with doing that is you quite likely would kick up fermentation again by adding must say after a second or third racking wouldn't you? But that's not really a problem is it? And, any extra must should be frozen until you're ready for it? Is that correct?

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    I haven't tried that myself, so far I've just fermented more than the secondary size, put the extra into a jug, ( have liter, one gal and five liter bottles) and airlocked everything
    You only go around once in life, but if you do it right, once is enough

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by Riverat View Post
    I haven't tried that myself, so far I've just fermented more than the secondary size, put the extra into a jug, ( have liter, one gal and five liter bottles) and airlocked everything
    That makes sense Riverat, and about the marbles, I just wasn't comfortable/didn't like those marbles in my must at all so I racked back off of them only a couple days after I put them in the carboy , and don't think I'll use them again. It just goes against my better instincts to put anything that (imho) doesn't belong in the carboy.

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    What like as in Chevette parts? :-)
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    Quote Originally Posted by skunkboy View Post
    What like as in Chevette parts? :-)
    I think you're on to something!!
    You only go around once in life, but if you do it right, once is enough

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    I suspect that I am being mocked.


    But tell me it wouldn't be cool to tell someone after they've had a sip of something and complimented you on it, that a piece of the car they hate so much was in there...
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "Good grief! If someone wanted to murder you, all they would have to do is ship you a 55 gallon barrel of honey and watch you document working yourself to death!" - Vance G

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chevette Girl View Post
    [COLOR="Purple"]I suspect that I am being mocked.
    Weirdomels rule!
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