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Old 02-11-2009, 12:33 PM   #1
Jan 2009
Posts: 132
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So what happens to wine if you dont top it off with and leave some good 4 or 5 inches from the top of your carboy? Will this cause the wine to lose some of its alcohol? I bottled my wine last night and I had a glass to taste and I thought it was really weak...it has a watery taste to it. This is weird to me because a couple of weeks ago while wine sitting in my carboy all topped off I took a sample and i thought it was good and strong wine..but then I decited to rack the wine one more time before putting to bottle so I did and this time I did not move all the wine since I wanted to leave as much yeast behind as possible and by doing that I had a good 4 to 5 inches of free space from the top of my carboy. I thought i was going to bottle the wine the very next day so I didnt pay much attention but it I got really busy at work and ended it up leaving it for a week. Last night I finally bottled it but it was really weak...did i ruin the wine???

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Old 02-11-2009, 12:54 PM   #2
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Sep 2007
Limerick, Ireland
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Maybe the hot alcohol taste of the young wine has started to age out and that's the taste difference but hopefully one of the wine pros here will enlighten us...
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Old 02-11-2009, 12:56 PM   #3
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Jun 2006
UP of Michigan, Winter Texan
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It won't get weaker (or stronger). The air in the headspace can cause oxidation. The wine can change color and get a "sherry" flavor to it- that's the trademark of oxidized wine.

I usually top off with a similar wine, white wine for light wines, red for dark wines, or with water if that's built into the recipe formulation. I often go from a 6 gallon carboy to a 5 gallon while racking, and keep the remainder in a small wine bottle just for topping up.
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