I can understand your incredulity. Yes, my full carboys are usually waist high or
higher and I rackusing gravity in a two step operation. primary 6 gallon plastic
pail is set on a counter and raised on blocks to about chest high. One has a tap 2
inches up from the bottom, while the others do not. Filling the pail is done in
small quatities so as not to spill if I had to lift the whole pail up to the
First racking from pail to secondary, carboy (glass or plastic) is set on a table
about a foot below counter level. Racking is done by gravity again. Wine sits here
no more than a month.
Final racking to glass carboy set onto a styrofoam pad (mine is white) laying on
the cement floor. Wine can sit here up to 6 months.
Thus, when I am ready to rack into bottles I usually only have to lift this carboy
once and it is only to the mid level (about two feet up).
I don't find this too hard to do, and it saves my back.
Your advice is good also. I do not use handles and if one washes out the carboy
immediately after use, there is no serious gunk to scrub or treat. Hot water is
definitely a nono with glass.
> > Finally, NEVER CARRY FULL GLASS CARBOYS appart from what happened to you
> > I've seen the bottom fall out of a couple.
> > Paul Jean Jr.
> > Publisher, Getting Started in Winemaking by JE Underhill
> WHAT!? What do you do, use a pump for all your wine transfers so that your
> carboy never has to leave the safety of the floor? Sorry, I don't agree with
> that advice at all. I'm not saying pick up your 5 gallons of wine and do a
> little jig down the street, but let's not be paranoid either. The problem you
> cite is a rare occurence and almost certainly resulted from mistreatment of
> the carboy. My advice is to care for your carboy properly by following a few
> simple rules.
> Never buy a used carboy. You have no idea what the previous owner did to it.
> Never wash with hot water. Thermal shock will weaken the glass and eventually
> it will fail. I have found that filling the carboy with warm water and some
> dishwasher detergent removes even the worst gunk (beer krausen) without any
> scrubbing. Rinse several times with warm water and let dry or store with
> sulfite solution.
> Do not knock it against any hard object, such as another carboy or the
> concrete floor. 1" insulation sheets (that blue stuff) make a great base to
> sit carboys on. Wrap some bubble wrap around the glass as a shock absorber if
> need be.
> Don't use carboy handles. Make sure the glass and your hands are completely
> dry, wrap one hand firmly around the neck and place your other hand under the
> base and lift with your legs (that's more for the health of your back than the
> carboy). Make sure the floor is not slippery or cluttered with objects and
> walk in a purposeful but unhurried manner to your destination. Place it down
> Never pass a full carboy to another person. I can't imagine why you would want
> to do this, but just don't.
> None of this will matter if you are simply unlucky enough to acquire a carboy
> with a manufacturing defect but frankly, you can't go through life worrying
> about lightning strikes or meteor collisions.