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topping off with water

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xander

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I just racked my homebrew into a carboy for a secondary. I read somewhere that I should fill it to within and inch or two to the top. I didn't have enough and read that I should top off with water. I am not comfortable doing this as I don't want to water down my brew. How critical is it to have it to the top? I have about 7 inches from the brew to the bottom of the stopper. This is in a 5 gallon carboy. I initially started off with 6 1/2 gallons. This boiled down to just over 5. Not sure where I lost any or even if my carboys hold more than 5 or not. Anyway I think I'll just let it sit as is without the adding of water but woul like to know for future brews if this miminal gap in necessary.
 

AlaskaAl(e)

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You're just about right on level. The five gallons is not measured all the way to the top, once you've hit the spot where it starts to narrow you've hit the 5G mark. You're good to go, roll with it.

Edit: I just read your post a little closer and realized you were talking about topping off the secondary. I would definately not suggest adding water to your secondary. IMO all that will do is weaken your beer and throw off your flavor balance.
 

Driftwood

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I think the idea is you want to be as close to full as possible with secondary because when you rack, you now have air instead of CO2 in the head space above the beer. And because your not producing CO2 like you were in primary, your exposing the beer to possible oxidation.

So I think you have to weigh the risks: risk some oxidation or water it down?

I think if it wasn't too much water to add, I would water it down to fill it up, you probably wouldn't be able to taste the difference. But if you oxidize it a little, you probably will.

Luckily, I have 2 glass carboys of different sizes. The one they call 5 gal is actually something like 6 or 6.5 to fill up to the airlock, and I use this for primary. My secondary is a 4 gal, but actual volume is about 5 or 5.5. So once I rack from primary, I can go right to the top, and still have a just enough beer left to drain with the yeast and bottle for the next time i brew.

Gotta get some more of both sizes, though, having one beer going at a time just isn't enough. But I guess thats everybody's complaint: so many recipes to try, so little fermentor/fridge/storage space...

Hope this helps...
 

vtfan99

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Dont top off the secondary as you will just water down your beer...and if you wanted watered down beer you would go to the store and buy Bud/Miller/Coors. After primary there will be a small amount of CO2 dissolved in the beer. During racking some of this will come out of solution and form a thin CO2 layer over the beer, protecting it from oxidation. If you are extremely concerned about the lack of 5 gallons, be sure to modify the recipe next time to 5.5 gallons to account for the losses during racking, etc.
 

homebrewer_99

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One way I've overcome this is by brewing 5.5 gals.

With all the readings and samplings I do along the way, plus wasted beer remaining in the bottom of the primary with the yeast, I always come close to bottling 5 gals. :D
 
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xander

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I do plan on letting it ride. I was just comfused as to why it wa suggested to top it off. No worries I WILL NOT water down my brew.
Sorry i did not find the previous thread after searching my topic.
 
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