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Old 04-30-2012, 12:07 AM   #1
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Default Topping off secondary?

I have 5 gallons of Mead that is entering fermentation in a 5 gallon plastic bucket shortly. However, the glass carboy I intended to use for racking is 6.5 gallons.

I know that there should be a minimal amount of airspace in the secondary, so I'm wondering if it is acceptable to top off with cool water in the secondary to raise the liquid volume and reduce airspace, or if this would dilute or otherwise affect the mead in a negative way.

Any ideas?

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Old 04-30-2012, 01:12 AM   #2
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You'd be diluting with water 1.5 gallons or more (since you'll have less than five gallons from the primary due to the lees). That's way too much!

When you make your recipe, either make it for your vessel size, or use a smaller carboy. For a 5 gallon batch, you need a 5 gallon carboy.

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Old 05-01-2012, 04:05 AM   #3
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Buy sterilized marbles and then sanitize them before putting them in the bottom of the carboy. This will reduce the amount of airspace at the top without compromising your recipe. Play around with how many marbles it will take to raise it 1.5 gals, measure twice cut once kind of mentality.

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Old 05-01-2012, 01:17 PM   #4
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Seems to me you could add the same honey to water ratio you used in your primary. This is assuming that you havn't maxed out your yeast.

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Old 05-01-2012, 01:34 PM   #5
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The way I've found to get around the topping off without diluting your mead is to make traditonal batches of dry and sweet mead. serves a couple of purposes.

First you can top off without the downside of using water that would dilute or using something that despite sanitizing leaves you opportunity for introducing stuff you don't want in your drink. Obviously just top dry with dry and sweet with sweet.

Second, if I make something too sweet or too dry for my tastes instead of worrying about the process of stabilizing to prevent more fermentation with back sweetening I have a finished mead I can sweeten it up with and alternately I can cut something too sweet with a dry mead without the concerns of diluting with water or ...shudders...using grape wine to do it.

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Old 05-01-2012, 03:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TheBrewingMedic
The way I've found to get around the topping off without diluting your mead is to make traditonal batches of dry and sweet mead. serves a couple of purposes.

First you can top off without the downside of using water that would dilute or using something that despite sanitizing leaves you opportunity for introducing stuff you don't want in your drink. Obviously just top dry with dry and sweet with sweet.

Second, if I make something too sweet or too dry for my tastes instead of worrying about the process of stabilizing to prevent more fermentation with back sweetening I have a finished mead I can sweeten it up with and alternately I can cut something too sweet with a dry mead without the concerns of diluting with water or ...shudders...using grape wine to do it.
I was thinking of doing this. I have a ginger mead that is dry and has too much acid blend in it(LHBS advice). I topped off the first time with a honey water mix, but I am thinking about using JOAM next time. I hope it will bring the acidity down and also begin to get the sweetness where I want it.
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Old 05-01-2012, 04:07 PM   #7
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I'm working on a 3 gallon batch of each, it also serves as good examples for the "what is mead" questions, I am going to bottle in either 12 or 16 oz bottles, then can crack them open for people to sample or use as the sweet/dry adjusters or topping off

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