As very recent newbies,my wife and Igot started by getting some advice from a friend and a place selling WE kits about 50 mi. from wherewe live. The advice was to buy 6.5 gal. carboys. That is what we did at first. Thenwe ran into the top-off issue and called WE and the lady that I talked with asked why in Sam Hill didwe get 6.5 gal. carboys vs. 6 gal.? I told her that one of her dealers recommended it. Her response was that is not what they recommend, in that they tailor their kits mostly for the 6 gal. carboys.
Well, rats! I was thinking thatwe had just wasted money on the two 6.5's that we paid some $100+ for.
As it turned out, I am very glad we got them. After the primary fermentation in the bucket, we rack into a 6.5 for secondary fermenation, where topping off is not required, sincesome fermentation is going on and we haveCO2 present. Moreover, when it comes time to stir, we have a bit more room so as to avoid the dreaded wine volcano.
We laterrack to 6 gal. carboys for other steps.
In short we are now using the 6.5s for secondary fermentation only and we are glad we have 'em!