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Old 08-21-2008, 06:44 PM   #1
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Default head space?

I transfered my wine into the secondary last night and am concerned that I have too much head space. If so what would I do at this point?

Thanks for the help.
John

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Old 08-21-2008, 07:43 PM   #2
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You should be fine. Should be some CO2 protecting the headspace.

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Old 08-21-2008, 07:57 PM   #3
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Thanks I feel better now. I just checked on it and it still seems to have some airlock activity. I tasted it last night when I transfered it and it was bad. I guess thats why I still have a few more things to add to it before its done.

John

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Old 08-21-2008, 08:51 PM   #4
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I disagree that it's ok. You have way, way, too much headspace. If it's a kit, make sure you top up according to the instructions. If you are following a recipe that is done, you can either top up with water, or a similar wine. If you're following a 5 gallon recipe, it should be topped up to 5 gallons. If it's a 3 gallon recipe, it should go into a 3 gallon carboy.

If you're making a kit, and going to degas in the next few days then it will be ok until then. If not, and you're planning on leaving it in that carboy for more than a couple of days, you should do something right away.

What are you making, and what size batch is it?

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Old 08-21-2008, 08:57 PM   #5
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I am confused Yooper. I admit that I don't know a lot about wine making but he said he transferred to secondary. I assumed that the major fermentation at that point was completed. Again, I don't know much about wine, but in beer I have read people saying don't add water to your fermented beer. Only add before fermenting.

If I gave bad advice Jspence I apologize.

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Old 08-21-2008, 09:06 PM   #6
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No, it's not bad advice! I didn't mean to sound critical.

Just that with wine, you put it in secondary usually around 1.010- 1.020 when fermentation slows down. Sometimes you miss that stage, though, and it's lower, and fermentation is either finished or very slow. Depending on the recipe (kits ARE a bit different), that wine might now stay in secondary for 3 months or so, until the lees are thick and it needs to be racked. Headspace is now a huge concern- and then, when you go to rack, you have even more issues with oxygen and aeration. Many wine recipes have the top up amounts "built in" to the recipe, so that you top up with water after the primary. Some do not, and you top up with a similar wine as to not dilute the wine.

I always make a little extra must, for the "top up" wine, and keep that in a wine wine bottle with an airlock next to the carboy. You can plan on losing wine with each racking, because you rack off the lees whenever you have them at regular intervals. For instance, I will rack every 45 days as long as I have lees dropping. Eventually, that will slow, and you can bulk age.

Now, for kits, they tell you not to top up until after you degas. That's because the degassing causes huge amounts of foam (think volcano) and you need the headspace for it. But right after you degas, you top up and the recipe does have that top up water "built in" to it.

Maybe that's why it doesn't taste very good yet? That it's not finished and topped up? Just a thought.

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Old 08-21-2008, 09:17 PM   #7
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Then I was out of my depths and I am glad you chimed in.
Until I read more on wine making I will have to be a little more discerning with what I say in regards to it.
Thanks for clarifying.

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Old 08-21-2008, 09:43 PM   #8
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If you don't want to add water to top off, try one of these plans:

(1) Add similar commercioal wine to bring the level up.
(2) Rack to a smaller carboy, and put the extra in another approprate sized air-lockable container.
(3) Add sanitized glass marbles to bring the level up.

From the looks of the level in your carboy, there is too much space for adding commercial wine or marbles.
I would rack to a 3 gal carboy and put the rest in another air-locked container.
This is why it is very important to have an assorment of various sized air-lockable glass.

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Old 08-21-2008, 10:15 PM   #9
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Ok here where I'm at with this. it is a 23L (6G) wine kit. I've done the primary fermentation the instructions said the sg would be 1.010 i measured 1.000. It appears to be less than 23L (23L carboy) now I did lose about 1L moving from the primary bucket. The instructions say not to top off with water that being said it looks a lot darker than I was expecting can I top it up with water?. I still have a 1L flavor pack to add in 10 days.

I have a 19L carboy empty that I could use for the wine if that would be better. I'm a complete noob here so any advice would be great.

Its almost funny that I searched like mad for a 6G carboy and now its too big lmao.

John

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Old 08-21-2008, 10:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jspence1 View Post
Ok here where I'm at with this. it is a 23L (6G) wine kit. I've done the primary fermentation the instructions said the sg would be 1.010 i measured 1.000. It appears to be less than 23L (23L carboy) now I did lose about 1L moving from the primary bucket. The instructions say not to top off with water that being said it looks a lot darker than I was expecting can I top it up with water?. I still have a 1L flavor pack to add in 10 days.

I have a 19L carboy empty that I could use for the wine if that would be better. I'm a complete noob here so any advice would be great.

Its almost funny that I searched like mad for a 6G carboy and now its too big lmao.

John
Oh, you're fine if you follow the kit directions. I assume you'll degass next? Then add the rest of the ingredients and top up with water. I would just follow the kit directions in this case. They have some sulfite in the kit that you added at the beginning, so it will help. Kits have instructions specific to their kit, so it's always good to follow the instructions exactly until the bottling/aging stage.
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