The question of headspace\u2014how much room to leave between your beer and the airlock\/opening of your bottle\u2014comes up a lot in homebrewing conversations. \n\n\n\nThere\u2019s a lot of talk out there about headspace during fermentation, but what I really want to discuss in this article is the appropriate amount of headspace when bottling homebrewed beer. \n\n\n\nToo much or too little headspace in our bottles can leave us with less than stellar results, to say the least! \n\n\n\nWhen bottling beer, leaving 1 to 1 \u00bd inches of headspace is the standard practice. Headspace aids in preventing oxidation and exploding bottles due to unreleased C02 pressure, though too much headspace may result in off-flavors. Bottling wands can be used to ensure equal headspace among bottles. \n\n\n\nNow, before you rush off and spend the rest of your day bottling your latest creation, there is more to say.\n\n\n\nWhat I want to do is to go over all the reasons for leaving the perfect amount of headspace in your bottled beer. That way you'll produce perfectly bottle conditioned beer instead of nasty tasting potential bottle bombs!\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nWhy do you need headspace at all?\n\n\n\nBecause of C02\n\n\n\nCarbon dioxide is going to be produced in bottled beer because the yeasts will be feeding on the priming sugars in the brew. Having adequate headspace allows the gas somewhere to go. \n\n\n\nIf you don't have this space for the CO2 to expand into, it will start testing the strength of your bottle, which can lead to a couple of hours cleaning up shattered glass and beer\n\n\n\nTo create a barrier\n\n\n\nThe second reason for headspace is that you\u2019re going to want a barrier between the air and your beer to prevent oxidation and the resulting funky off-flavors. Think of the headspace as a kind of \u201cblanket\u201d or barrier layer.\n\n\n\nInterestingly, I\u2019ve been hearing some naysayers on the \u201cblanket\u201d explanation for headspace, but for me and the majority of homebrewers, it\u2019s a no-brainer: headspace helps prevent oxidation.\n\n\n\n\nhttps:\/\/youtu.be\/-Gglt_dPeMY\n\n\n\n\nNew to homebrewing? Please feel free to read my ultimate guide to brewing beer at home and where to start.\n\n\n\nWhat happens if you leave too much headspace in a beer bottle?\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\nAlthough we definitely need headspace in our bottled beer, there is such a thing as too much. \n\n\n\nBad flavor\n\n\n\nThe main problem of too much headspace is a foul flavor, and I do mean foul\u2014think cardboard! \n\n\n\nWhy does this happen? Yeast use the oxygen in the bottle (meaning carbonation speeds up with bigger headspace), and any leftover oxygen results in too much air and makes your beer taste terrible. \n\n\n\nYou may meet some homebrewers who purposely leave more headspace occasionally to take advantage of that faster carbonation effect. In that case, they\u2019re careful to open the beer earlier than normal, before any of that leftover oxygen has time to cause oxidization.\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n\n Plan your next Beer Creation?