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  1. #1

    Default How do you keep the stopper from jumping out of the jug???

    Ok, I know there's a trick here somehow. I see all these pictures of nice jugs and carboys sitting there with some sparkling mead inside with a nice stopper and air lock crowning the crystalline scene.

    Hmm, my first adventure was with a batch of JAOM in a gallon jug...I sanitized the stopper and it was push it in, watch it jump out, push it end, watch it...well, you get the point. I ended up rubber-banding the stopper down by hooking the rubber band under the finger hole...not elegant, but it worked.

    My next adventure was with my 3-gallon batch of traditional. I started out using a regular drilled stopper...then one of the hollow-looking deals with a hole in it...I felt like I was watching a re-run of putting the stopper on the gallon of JAOM but in three times the size!!! I finally dug out one of those orange cover deals with the two holes in it...I'm not sure how tight it fit but it didn't jump off the mouth of the carboy! I ended up wrapping it with food wrapper. <sigh>

    So...what's the trick? If you sanitize the stoppers they turn into a stump of a slippery eel and do the "watch me jump out and thoroughly hack you off" routine. So, what do you do? Do you sanitize it and let it dry off?...but, doesn't that give some wild yeast or bacteria a chance to infect the stopper? Do you put the stopper in and set a couple of cement blocks on top of it to hold it in? Or...does no one but me have this problem?

    I've been meaning to post this for a while but kept procrastinating (something I'm good at). But, I'm getting ready to do a gallon of Joe's Quick Grape Mead and would like to have an idea of how to keep the stopper in the jug...without rubber bands.

    Anybody got a tip on how to keep the stopper in?

    Ed
    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Bundoora, Melbourne, Australia
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    Default

    What you don't do, is in frustration push so hard that your stopper goes inside the jug.
    That's REALLY hard to get out.

    I've never had this issue with 1 gal jugs, but carboys are a nightmare.
    I find silicon bungs are a bastard, whilst rubber bungs hold tighter.
    Mind you, I've used the cage from a champagne bottle (you need to replace the bottom wire with a longer one (wire tie from the kitchen) to make it fit a carboy) just to keep it from escaping.

    Tips to reduce this risk.

    Ensure your stopper has dried.
    Ensure your carboy neck is dry.
    Use a good funnel to avoid wetting the carboy glass.
    In primary it can be without a stopper for a while, so let both stopper and carboy air dry for a period.
    Mae'r teithiau golau ceffyl eto

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Wisconsin BEER Capitol USA
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    294

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    Just make sure you have a good fitting stopper before you start. Sanitize it let it dry put it in. I for one would not worry to much about the stopper picking up bacteria or wild yeast. But again I do like mass bio pitches!

    To put it in perspective I start almost all of my meads open air buckets with simply mesh over the top to keep out an occasional gnat!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2005
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    Between Jackson and Detroit
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    2,003

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    Yeah, try matching them up when they are both dry and empty to see how well they work together. 1/2 size too big and it will refuse to stay in....
    Bees stole my signature file!

  5. #5

    Default

    I've got some #4 copper ground wire I might try, or maybe that piece of logging chain I've been saving...they might be too weak, though.

    Thanks for the replies, ya'll. I'll keep working on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by skunkboy View Post
    Yeah, try matching them up when they are both dry and empty to see how well they work together. 1/2 size too big and it will refuse to stay in....
    skunkboy, regardless of the possible heighty aroma lingering around your user name you are a gentleman, a scholar, and a GENIUS!!! I'll try tinkering with them dry...I've got some extras of both. Thanks, that's a good idea!!

    Oh a side note... That double holed "carboy cap" that I ended using was one of two that I had ordered. The first one I grabbed I happen to notice a slight "poke" mark on the outside...kinda like a nail or something had poked it and left an impression. When I flipped it over there was a hole on the inside. The best I can tell it was an air-bubble in the rubber(?) and the "poke" mark was simply where the rubber is really thin. I need to look back at it and see if it goes all the way through as I simply reached for the other one and put it on. I just thought I'd mention this in case some of you are using them...look out for pin holes.

    Ed
    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

  6. #6

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kudapucat View Post
    What you don't do, is in frustration push so hard that your stopper goes inside the jug.
    That's REALLY hard to get out.

    I've never had this issue with 1 gal jugs, but carboys are a nightmare.
    I find silicon bungs are a bastard, whilst rubber bungs hold tighter.
    Mind you, I've used the cage from a champagne bottle (you need to replace the bottom wire with a longer one (wire tie from the kitchen) to make it fit a carboy) just to keep it from escaping.
    <snip>
    Yelp, I've been *real* careful to not push too hard. The way these rubber stoppers smell I don't want them floating around in my mead! I'm thinking of going ahead and rigging up some wiring harnesses as I foresee issues in the future.

    I think my experiences are mostly in line with yours...the gallon jugs were "too" bad but the carboy was a Laurel and Hardy comedy...kinda.

    Ed
    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

  7. #7

    Default

    As someone who has had to fish the wrong-sized stopper out of the carboy more than once now, I can say with authority: don't do that ��

    I had nothing but trouble with my stoppers until I started drying them, as well as the inside neck of the carboy. No problems since, spoilage or otherwise.
    "I've never forgotten anything that I can remember."

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    San Francisco, CA
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    I find that #6 rubber stoppers fit perfectly for one gallon carboys, and #6.5 do the trick for most of the other sizes. YCMV
    Find what you like, and hone it to perfection.

    And don't serve dodgy mead!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
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    Ithaca, NY
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    4,958

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    I'll echo the consensus: make sure it's dry. Sometimes I'll set it in there if I can't get the stopper to be quite dry enough to seal, and come back in a few hours. By then it usually will go in.
    Want to see something added to the GotMead Glossary? PM me! Didn't know we had a glossary? Check the top row of links.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2007
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    The Fusel Shack, in the swamp west of Ft. Lauderdale, Florida
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    NEVER NEVER NEVER wire a stopper on - not even one with an airlock. If it gets clogged you could have a carboy bomb instead of just a ceiling-staining MEA
    Lanne pase toujou pi bon
    (Past years are always better)

  11. #11

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by Medsen Fey View Post
    NEVER NEVER NEVER wire a stopper on - not even one with an airlock. If it gets clogged you could have a carboy bomb instead of just a ceiling-staining MEA
    CHANNEL 8 BREAKING NEWS!!!!!
    In south Alabama today an apparent terrorist bomb making lab blew to smithereens. Not much was left from the explosion...a little glass, what looked like soggy oranges, and a strange liquid sprayed everywhere. A man was found with a slightly glazed look in his eyes and is believed to be a local wino...he keeps repeating over and over "Medsen told me not to...Medsen told me not to...". Hazmat teams were on site after the report of a peculiar orange aroma permeating the surrounding area. Citizens were evacuated for a two mile radius but authorities urge people not to panic. President Obama is to make some remarks on national television as soon as he is through with his Saturday Night Live appearance and the United Nations has called a special session. Stay tuned for more developments. <END>
    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

  12. #12

    Default

    Ok, so wiring down the stoppers has it's pros and cons. I'm wondering if rubber bands would work ok. That's what I've been using on my 1-gallon batch.

    It sounds like I need to sanitize and then let them dry in a sanitary way. Maybe wrap them in paper towels wet with sanitizer, set them somewhere clean to dry. Once dry you could unwrap and use then or place them in something like a sanitized plastic food container for later use. Ok, I've got some ideas...the big one being to use them DRY!!!!

    Thanks for the help!
    Ed
    "We can't expect the American People to jump from Capitalism to Communism, but we can assist their elected leaders in giving them small doses of Socialism, until they awaken one day to find that they have Communism."..."The press is our chief ideological weapon." - Nikita Khrushchev

  13. #13
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Location
    Corrales, NM
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    355

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    I simply take a strip of aluminum foil about 4 inches wide and the width of the roll, double it over for a bit of extra thickness (so now it it is something like 2" x 11") and wrap it around the cork and top of the bottle. It does a good job of holding in the air lock, yet is loose enough that if they got clogged they can still pop out.

    Jay

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Apr 2010
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    Ottawa, ON
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    I second that a #6 stopper shouldn't give you a problem for the 1-gal carboys... I always have the airlock attached when I fit them in so I've never managed to push one all the way in.

    I think the elastic bands would be safer than wiring it. You'd think the elastic would stretch or snap if there were enough pressure... and I usually dunk my stoppers in sanitizing solution rihgt before putting 'em in, so they're always nice and wet

    I've had some pop off of my bigger carboys from time to time because I was out of the right size and tried to make something bigger work... And as much as my husband insists that "Push harder!" is the solution to most problems... correct sizing is an even better option.

    Or plastic wrap, it's my old standby when I've run out of stoppers and airlocks...
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
    "Sure it can be done. I've never heard of it, but I do things I've never heard if all the time. That is the beauty of being a brewer!" - Loveofrose, 2014
    "I tend to....um, er, experiment, and go outside the box. Sometimes outside the whole department store." - Ebonhawk, 2014

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