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Old 09-11-2008, 08:25 PM   #1
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Default Topping Up Questions

First, can someone explain the reason we are suppose to top up 1 inch from the top? What happens if there is a 3 inch space?

I have my 2nd batch about ready to go into a carboy. I have only been able to get a 1 gallon carboy (now in use) and 5 gallon carboys. This batch will probably fill only half of a 5 gallon carboy....do I have to fill the other half with sanitized rocks just to get the liquid 1 inch from the top? (that's a lot of rocks)

I have a couple glass gallon jars with a 4-5 inch opening. They don't make bungs this size, do they? Could I use a ballon or glove with a pinhole in it? Or is there a reason we shouldn't use jars with this wide of an opening?

Are we suppose to cover the filled carboy to protect it from light?

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Old 09-11-2008, 08:32 PM   #2
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3 inches is fine for most carboys, that isn't leaving a lot of headspace.

You may want to look into getting 3 gallon carboys, I know they are available and it sounds like you could use some for this size batch.

DO NOT USE BALLOONS OR GLOVES. Those are reserved for teenagers and prison hooche. If you can get an airtight sealing lid for the large opening jars, then use that with an airlock sealed into a hole you can make in the lid.

Light won't change the taste of the wine like beer, there is no skunking. But it can take away from the color. So at least don't leave it in direct light by a window or something.

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Old 09-11-2008, 08:45 PM   #3
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Balloons are good for when you accidentally step on your last airlock while taking a hydrometer sample and need something to cover the opening while you run to the LHBS. That's about it. And sanitize it first.

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Old 09-11-2008, 08:57 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tusch View Post
3 inches is fine for most carboys, that isn't leaving a lot of headspace.

You may want to look into getting 3 gallon carboys, I know they are available and it sounds like you could use some for this size batch.

DO NOT USE BALLOONS OR GLOVES. Those are reserved for teenagers and prison hooche. If you can get an airtight sealing lid for the large opening jars, then use that with an airlock sealed into a hole you can make in the lid.

Light won't change the taste of the wine like beer, there is no skunking. But it can take away from the color. So at least don't leave it in direct light by a window or something.
Wine DOES get light struck. It's not skunky like beer (no hops) but light does indeed change the flavor and color of some wines. Not so much whites, but reds kind of "bleach" out. It's because light destroys tannins. It also bleaches out the color, and does cause color change as Tusch mentioned. I keep my carboys covered with a towel at all times. Then, they are stored in the cellar until opened.

you want to have the absolute minimize headspace you can. You definitely want to be above the curve of the carboy, and be right at the width of the opening if that make sense. At the base of the opening (about 2 inches below the bung), it's ok there- it's as wide as the opening. But when you get any lower, you'll have more wine exposed. You really want to minimize that to protect the wine.

If you have those big jars, don't you have any lids for them? you can just punch a hole in the lid, and stick an airlock in it. Of course, if the opening is that big, you're back to having too much wine exposed.

Can you find some Carlo Rossi jugs? I drank some of it, and got some jugs at the dumpster. Those are perfect- they hold 4L, but one gallon goes to the neck (about an inch across) and a #6 size bung fits it.
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:11 PM   #5
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I stand corrected by the great brewmistress

Seriously, listen to what she says. She and a few other of the senior members have taught me tons, with or without knowing it!

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Old 09-11-2008, 09:17 PM   #6
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Nah, I'm not correcting you. I think you're right about a 3 gallon carboy, no ballons or gloves, etc. I was just, um, expounding on the headspace thing.

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Old 09-11-2008, 09:40 PM   #7
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No worries, I wasn't offended. Just meant you gave a clearer answer, especially the light skunking.

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Old 09-11-2008, 10:17 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
want to minimize that to protect the wine.
What happens if there is too much space? Why is this bad?

Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
If you have those big jars, don't you have any lids for them? you can just punch a hole in the lid, and stick an airlock in it.
The lids are metal and can rust....I wonder if I can cover them with plastic wrap or something.

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Of course, if the opening is that big, you're back to having too much wine exposed.
So too much suface area is bad??? Kind of like too much headspace? Is it really, really bad? Or just a little bad?

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and got some jugs at the dumpster.
What dumpsters? Dumpsters behind bars or something? I wonder if any bars would be willing to save some of the bigger bottles for me.
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:21 PM   #9
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First, nasty on your bold red font...

Headspace is bad because it allows for air to have contact with your wine. Oxygen is important in initial yeast production, but after initial fermentation, you do not want aeration. This will cause oxygenation, like when you open a bottle of wine and don't finish it. If you leave it open, or don't drink it within a few days, it degrades quickly.

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