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Old 07-14-2013, 05:46 PM   #1
Hedley
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Default Topping up with syrup

Hi brewers,

If, at first racking (about a month in), I were to top up using a water/sugar solution made up to the initial SG, would this mean that the final product will be closer to the original intended strength (As the sugar added will get converted to alcohol)?

Wouldn't this always be preferable rather than simply topping up with water (at least in this relatively early stage)?

Kind regards,

Ross

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Old 07-14-2013, 08:09 PM   #2
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Very good, but dont forget about the acid levels in they syrup you are adding also. We do this all the time, mostly with honey making meads. Just something seems unnatural about topping off a wine with water! WVMJ

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Old 07-15-2013, 11:45 AM   #3
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Thanks WVMJ,

Always encouraging to hear someone else has done it. What would I need to look out for regarding acid levels?

kind regards,

Ross

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Old 07-15-2013, 11:23 PM   #4
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Thinking about this, would you top up with sugar/water made to the initial SG, or the current SG?

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Old 07-15-2013, 11:44 PM   #5
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initial SG or you can add a sugar/water mixture that is higher then the initial to achieve a higher ABV. I wouldn't do this with wines though(unless you are backsweetening), only meads. I don't top off my wine at all because I go from a 8 gallon bucket to a 6 gallon carboy, and then finally too a 5 gallon. After that I usually bottle.

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Old 07-16-2013, 01:11 AM   #6
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If your current gravity is 1.00 then you are just adding water if you match it! If you cant downsize like Honda topping off with a like wine is good, if you match the original SG you will not be raising the alcohol level since you are diluting the whole batch back to where it started, if you add 2:1 syrup or dry sugar you can boost the alcohol higher. It all depends on what your goal is and what the wine needs.

I have also gone the other way, diluting grain alcohol down to where it matches the wine, adding acid to match the wine so it doesnt dilute the acid level and topped off, that way you dont keep the fermentation going longer by adding more sugar. Most people dont think about balancing the acid in their toppers but everything has to be balanced in the end.


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Thinking about this, would you top up with sugar/water made to the initial SG, or the current SG?
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Old 07-16-2013, 11:31 AM   #7
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My aim is to be able to decide a final strength and keep the wine at that. So if I start of with an SG of 1.090 I should end up with a wine that is 12 per cent.

My main concern is that when I make a gallon of wine (6 bottles), I lose about a bottle on first rack, and almost another on second rack, so I need to top up to prevent oxidation. Of course topping up with water will leave me with a much reduced alcohol volume, so I am thinking that I might do this:

Make the initail SG 1095 (to give a finished wine of 12.7, higher than wanted). After first rack top up with sugar/water mix SG 1095. This mix will, I hope ensure that the wine is still on target to end up at 12.7.

Then top up with water on second rack. I need to stop adding sugar at some point (the higher initail SG will hopefully mean that I end up with about 12 per cent wine).

Does that sound sensible?

Ross

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Old 07-17-2013, 03:56 AM   #8
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I do not practice this while making my own wine but you can do it if you like. If topping up is your only option then yea I guess you can use the sugar/water mixture, water, or a similar wine....the only problem with topping up with a similar wine is that once you do this, it is technically no longer a homemade wine. It basically becomes a homemade/commercial mixture. People will tell you that topping up with a similar wine doesn't matter that much but it does change the color and taste of the homemade wine.

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Old 07-18-2013, 12:40 AM   #9
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Yeah, but you have to have a stock of your own wines to top up with. We have been making some 100% elderberry wine for the purpose of topping off, works really well. WVMJ

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Old 07-18-2013, 05:59 AM   #10
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but technically if you are using a different wine to top up with(homemade or commercial) its still going to change the flavor profile of the wine(slightly) now if you are topping up with the same wine(just an older batch) then you aren't altering the recipe at all.......just my 2 cents, everybody does things a little bit different.

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