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Old 11-13-2011, 11:32 PM   #1
selfdestructed
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Default Over complicating it all.

I seem to have missed something.

Am I supposed to be topping off my carboy with juice to leave no air?

I have never, ever done this. I ferment until it stops, then rack to carboy, then let it sit. Once it's still, I backsweeten and bottle carb, pasterise.

Perfect 100% of the time.

It seems to me that if you add more juice to top it off, it would start fermenting again.

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Old 11-14-2011, 12:31 AM   #2
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Am I supposed to be topping off my carboy with juice to leave no air?

It seems to me that if you add more juice to top it off, it would start fermenting again.
I just racked from a 2 gal bucket to 2 one gal carboys. I topped off with more cider. Fermentation has restarted. Going to let it finish, rerack, and let sit for a couple weeks to clear.
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Old 11-14-2011, 02:22 AM   #3
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Rerack, lose more fluid, have to retop the jug off with more juice, restarting fermentation, which needs to finish, to rack off the new lees, losing more fluid, requiring you to top off the jug again, etc....

Why? I only recently heard about the need to top off the jug.... What's the point?

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Old 11-14-2011, 03:04 AM   #4
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My understanding is that if you leave to much space in the head of your carboy after racking off your primary fermenter then the oxygen that is in that space can cause oxidation and subsequently off flavors in your cider. Because of the fact that you want to avoid oxygen I think is the reason that people add juice to up their total volume

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Old 11-14-2011, 03:14 AM   #5
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I have only heard about this recently, and like I said early, it seems pointless and counterproductive. If you do this, how does it clear if you keep adding cloudy juice? How does the yeast finally stop if you keep adding fresh sugar?

It just seems like people making things very hard for nothing. I have never, ever topped off. Never had a batch fail.

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Old 11-14-2011, 03:20 AM   #6
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Rerack, lose more fluid, have to retop the jug off with more juice, restarting fermentation, which needs to finish, to rack off the new lees, losing more fluid, requiring you to top off the jug again, etc....

Why? I only recently heard about the need to top off the jug.... What's the point?
Oh, I completely agree with you. I just thought I'd try it to see what happens. Apparently what happens is a week or two wasted while waiting.
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Old 11-14-2011, 03:24 AM   #7
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If you only plan on keeping it in secondary for a few weeks, a little bit of headspace won't matter. If you plan on going for months then it can be an issue.

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Old 11-14-2011, 04:33 AM   #8
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As a guy with much more experience making wine (still not a ton) than cider, I think Hopsy has the best explanation. In wine, where aging equals months/years, you want to top off all your containers. I think that probably influences cider making. I could be wrong. I have been before.

The difference in wine making is that all my reading suggests using non fermentables to top off. I've used similar wines and even just a little bit of water. I've also over made what I had in primary, then filled an appropriately sized wine bottle with the "extra" and placed that under airlock so I could use it to top off later. I've heard of people sanitizing marbles and using them to fill the carboy's empty space. As far as how much effect the shorter time frame used in cider will have, I don't have the experience to say.

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Old 11-14-2011, 05:26 AM   #9
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I don't top off, but I usually make 5 gallon batches + some honey,sugar,concentrate, etc.
The secondary only has a little space that gets filled with Co2 from degassing as it clears.
If longer term ageing is needed, I rack to a keg and seal with Co2.
But you do not want a lot of head space to avoid oxygen contact.

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Old 11-14-2011, 05:39 AM   #10
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all my reading suggests using non fermentables to top off. I've used similar wines and even just a little bit of water.
This is good advice, using non-fermentables to top off gets you the volume you need to minimize oxygen contact as much as possible, gives you an opportunity to blend in some other flavors if you're feeling adventurous, and allows you to avoid restarting your fermentation.
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