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Thread: Secondary/aging outside

  1. Default Secondary/aging outside

    I haven't really found an answer to this question by searching through the forum or google. I have a BOMM of two weeks old which has completed fermentation (SG 0.998 and stable) in an opaque bucket with a crappy non-fitting lid. I want to transfer this to a carboy with airlock for clearing and to avoid oxygen. Can I put this carboy outside on the porch, covered in a blanket against sunlight? The temperatures will swing from 35 at night to 60 during the day, it will not get direct sunlight, rain, freezing or >60F temperatures, and bugs/animals are not really a problem over here. I want to let it clear naturally, no sulphite/sorbate/clearing agents. My wife would be very grateful if I can get "that thing" out of the living room.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eurobug View Post
    I haven't really found an answer to this question by searching through the forum or google. I have a BOMM of two weeks old which has completed fermentation (SG 0.998 and stable) in an opaque bucket with a crappy non-fitting lid. I want to transfer this to a carboy with airlock for clearing and to avoid oxygen. Can I put this carboy outside on the porch, covered in a blanket against sunlight? The temperatures will swing from 35 at night to 60 during the day, it will not get direct sunlight, rain, freezing or >60F temperatures, and bugs/animals are not really a problem over here. I want to let it clear naturally, no sulphite/sorbate/clearing agents. My wife would be very grateful if I can get "that thing" out of the living room.
    Well, temperature swing is never desired. Its better to keep to warm or to cold but stable (preferable cold). As you said, no sunlight. One problem with temp swings is that airlocks with water in it will during temp drop drag down the airlock water and some new air into your BOMM since the air in headspace varies in volume with temp. It will of course depend on how much headspace you will have on your carboy. Personally I wouldn't recommended having it on the porch more than a couple of weeks. What's your ABV?

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    Insulate your carboy very well to avoid temp swings.

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    You have two options here. Since the fermentation is over, degass well and transfer to a new carboy with a good lid. Then take it outside to cold crash, or just dont. Even if you dont coldcrash it will clear on its own. Just will take longer. If you take it outside be careful with the freezing of the water on the airlock. The problem of taking it outside is you will need to be taking it inside at some point and some or all of the yeast that drops because of the cold can go back to suspension if you are not careful. Also im not sure the temp changes are good at all for the mead.
    If you take it outside and cover it, im guessing really there should not be big problems with it. But my prefered practice is just put it in a high place from where i can rack without moving the bucket, and wait. If you are not in a hurry, you can do this. If you need the space, just take it out i guess.

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    Thank you all for the very fast responses and good info. The ABV is 14.5%. The headspace will be very minor, maybe 2 inches in the neck of the carboy (these are the lightbulb/waterdrop shaped ones, not the cylindrical ones). Freezing of the water lock should not be a problem, no freezing temps expected (and it is under a porch close to the house, so some degrees warmer anyway). It would be only for clearing, once it is bottled it goes in the basement. I usually do all my manipulations on this same porch, so I have a table there, my vacuumpump, I can bottle there, and so on. But indeed, there will be severe temperature swings, of up to 30 degrees F.
    As I have messed up before with my first mead and wine experiments, I am now more inclined to make some room in the basement for the carboy (we have but a very tiny basement) and not risk putting it outside. The cherry-lime skeeter pee that I also started two weeks ago can go outside though, not much money lost if that one fails.
    Thanks again, all of you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eurobug View Post
    Thank you all for the very fast responses and good info. The ABV is 14.5%. The headspace will be very minor, maybe 2 inches in the neck of the carboy (these are the lightbulb/waterdrop shaped ones, not the cylindrical ones). Freezing of the water lock should not be a problem, no freezing temps expected (and it is under a porch close to the house, so some degrees warmer anyway). It would be only for clearing, once it is bottled it goes in the basement. I usually do all my manipulations on this same porch, so I have a table there, my vacuumpump, I can bottle there, and so on. But indeed, there will be severe temperature swings, of up to 30 degrees F.
    As I have messed up before with my first mead and wine experiments, I am now more inclined to make some room in the basement for the carboy (we have but a very tiny basement) and not risk putting it outside. The cherry-lime skeeter pee that I also started two weeks ago can go outside though, not much money lost if that one fails.
    Thanks again, all of you.
    My suggestion would be to put a not very high table against a wall (so it does not take much roomspace) in the basement. The meads that you are going to bottle/rack early you put in the front of the table, the others in the back. Then just rack when you need and shift the back carboys to the front. You should be able to rack from the table to the floor. Also if you want to be extra efficient get some wood wedges to put under the carboy and waste even less mead. If you dont have many carboys this works great, and its efficient with space. You can use the space under the table for keeping empty buckets, honey, siphons, bottles, etc.

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    In our next house, I will definitely do that, as that one will have a large basement. In my current situation, I have to do with an area of about 1.5 x 0.5 meters, underneath stairs, the only place left. Outside I have more room, and tables to put everything on. Next month I will start construction on our new home, so in a year, the space problems are a thing of the past.

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    Can you stick it in the back of a closet?

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    Quote Originally Posted by darigoni View Post
    Can you stick it in the back of a closet?
    Not really. I live in a major city center in Belgium, in a very old (>150 years) little house in a little street. The width of the house is 10 feet, the basement is about 10x15 feet. Everything has been utterly optimized for space, so we do not have a back of a closet left anywhere, that space would have been claimed ages ago. I do have a tiny backyard with a porch, which fits a small table and two chairs. This space is still unclaimed, so that is what I use so far (and a one-carboy spot in the basement, underneath the stairs).

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    You need to rent some temperature controlled storage space or find a friend with a basement you can use. :-)

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    I've done my cold-crashing outside, since living in a big city in Canada, I haven't got much space either. While I ran into some trouble in serious winter when I had a gallon of mead freeze (it cleared wonderfully right after I brought it in to thaw, though!), for the most part it's worked just fine for me.

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    Nice to know it works for you curgoth, also here everything seems to be alright so far. I racked and put everything outside yesterday (a BOMM and a skeeter pee variation), degassed both with vacuum, and both have dropped at least half an inch of thick sediment since. I do keep them protected from light, and in a thick wool blanket. The fermentation is finished (SG well below 1.000), but the yeast still alive. I guess that the temperature swings might induce additional stress? Or can I expect the yeast cells to "die" or go to sleep gracefully? Freezing will not be a problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eurobug View Post
    Nice to know it works for you curgoth, also here everything seems to be alright so far. I racked and put everything outside yesterday (a BOMM and a skeeter pee variation), degassed both with vacuum, and both have dropped at least half an inch of thick sediment since. I do keep them protected from light, and in a thick wool blanket. The fermentation is finished (SG well below 1.000), but the yeast still alive. I guess that the temperature swings might induce additional stress? Or can I expect the yeast cells to "die" or go to sleep gracefully? Freezing will not be a problem.
    I think the problems with temp changes is because other things non-yeast related (not yeast stress). But cant actually back that up.

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    I personally wouldn't be concerned about temp swings when your doing this. Temp swings when you are fermenting are not a welcome thing. But just doing this for a short period of time to cold crash won't hurt anything. As long as your not sucking water back into your carboy you will be fine.

    You will also rather have a consistent temp , more or less while aging. If you have temp swings while aging it will age your stuff faster.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

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