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-   -   Topping off Wine makes Watery Wine? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f25/topping-off-wine-makes-watery-wine-133471/)

kinkothecarp 08-23-2009 10:42 PM

Topping off Wine makes Watery Wine?
I have 7.5 gallon bucket that I've been using for making 5 gallon batches of beer (it came in a homebrew kit). I just bought a 6 gallon wine kit and made it. I mixed six gallons with the wine as par directions, and it tasted nice and thick (like a wine!). When I topped it off in my bucket like the directions said to do (3 inches from the top) the wine got diluted with an extra gallon. Do I need to top of this wine? Or will not topping it off really oxdize it?

dontman 08-23-2009 10:58 PM

During the initial fermentation some headspace is okay since you have yeast and to a lesser degree escaping co2 to scrub the oxygen out of the wine. It is when aging that you really want to eliminate any possible contact with oxygen because the wine no longer has that same protection.

What you should do is purchase a carboy, in your case 6 gallon, to rack into once your initial fermentation is complete.

Also, when topping up it is usually best to use the same grape juice that the wine is made from, or second best, some of last year's vintage of the same wine, or third best, any other of your wines that are very close in composition and quality, or fourth best, a reasonable close relation in wine, and only as a last resort would you use water to top up.

kinkothecarp 08-23-2009 11:33 PM

So could I use a low-quality wine? Or let's say I have a lot of left over shiraz. Would/could I just throw that in a Merlot and hope for the best? If not, would two cheap jug wines suffice?

Yooper 08-23-2009 11:47 PM

You don't want to top up until after fermentation is finished. I'm not sure from what you said if the wine is finished or not.

If it's finished, you don't want to leave it in a bucket, topped up or not. The reason is that the bucket is very wide, and even topped up, the headspace is far too much. You want to rack the beer to a carboy, so that you have only about an inch (right where the mouth is) of headspace.

kinkothecarp 08-24-2009 03:11 AM

okay, so the wine was finished and i bottled it a week after i moved it into the bucket and topped it off (it still tastes amazing so I got lucky). Can I degass it after fermentation and just bottle it immediatly?

summersolstice 08-24-2009 11:40 AM

Like Yooper said, you top off the wine in the carboy. This topping process usually requires about a quart of liquid and most wine kits are made a little "thick" to allow the addition of a quart of extra water during the topping process. An extra gallon of water is far too diluted and I don't know that there's really any way to fix it now.

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