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1st Batch.... Should I top off Secondary?

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Riledup5

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Just racked my first kit into the secondary. SG was at 1.018. There is some head room in the secondary, but I am still getting CO2 through the airlock. Is the CO2 enough to limit the O2 or should I go ahead and top it off with the same kind of wine? Thanks!
 

jgmillr1

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The question is what percentage of headspace is there? If it's under 5% of the total volume then you're probably fine. After it has settled over the next month then you'll need to be careful with topping off when you rack to eliminate the headspace.
 

Riledup5

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Not enough information. How much head space, what type of fermentation vessel, is it under an airlock?
Thank you for the quick reply. My bad... Still new to this. Not sure what info is needed. Thanks for the clarification.

6 Gallon Carboy under airlock, See pic for how much headspace. 1611024821826.png
 

Riledup5

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The question is what percentage of headspace is there? If it's under 5% of the total volume then you're probably fine. After it has settled over the next month then you'll need to be careful with topping off when you rack to eliminate the headspace.
Thank you JG.... If you would, please take a look at the pic in the reply to Rembee.... According to your reply, I'm thinking that is too much headspace and I need to top 'er off. Thoughts?
 

Rembee

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I would definitely top up with a like wine to within an 1/2 inch below where your carboy handle attaches to the neck.
 

Riledup5

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I would definitely top up with a like wine to within an 1/2 inch below where your carboy handle attaches to the neck.
Thank you Rembee! This is my first batch ever and I find myself wanting to do everything perfect and get stressed about it. Then I read from the pros like you and I've learned I need to relax and be patient. I hope to be helpful like you guys someday. Thanks Again!
 

Rembee

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Your welcome! Although I am hardly a pro lol. Like you I've learned along the way by asking questions. As is often said within this forum....wine is very forgiving and should be fun to make. And remember, patience is a virtue of life!
 

Riledup5

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Your welcome! Although I am hardly a pro lol. Like you I've learned along the way by asking questions. As is often said within this forum....wine is very forgiving and should be fun to make. And remember, patience is a virtue of life!
Thanks! So I topped her off to within a half inch of the handle and it started bubbling over. Used my thief to remove a little. Take a look and let me know if you think this is ok. WIN_20210118_20_17_27_Pro.jpg
 

Rembee

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That looks fine for now until it has finished the fermentation process. It sounds like you added the top off a little to fast causing it to volcano over. Another learning experience!
 

Riledup5

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That looks fine for now until it has finished the fermentation process. It sounds like you added the top off a little to fast causing it to volcano over. Another learning experience!
Lol! I wouldn't call it a volcano, more like a slow lava flow 🌋
 

hounddawg

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Just racked my first kit into the secondary. SG was at 1.018. There is some head room in the secondary, but I am still getting CO2 through the airlock. Is the CO2 enough to limit the O2 or should I go ahead and top it off with the same kind of wine? Thanks!
unless you're doing kits which locks you in sortta on your liquids, but from scratch or concentrates , then i always make extra to go into extra airlocked jugs,, in gallon, half gallon and pint jugs, to keep enough of same wine to top off at every racking,, all smaller jugs are 38-400 threaded jugs so a 6.5 drilled bung, and that small universal bung in your carboy can be turned upside down, and will airlock wine bottles,
Dawg
 

Riledup5

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unless you're doing kits which locks you in sortta on your liquids, but from scratch or concentrates , then i always make extra to go into extra airlocked jugs,, in gallon, half gallon and pint jugs, to keep enough of same wine to top off at every racking,, all smaller jugs are 38-400 threaded jugs so a 6.5 drilled bung, and that small universal bung in your carboy can be turned upside down, and will airlock wine bottles,
Dawg
Good to know! Yes, I am doing kits. I don't feel that I have the knowledge yet to start from scratch
 

Newlyretired

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Just curious why would you rack so early. shouldn’t you wait till the SpG is stabilized below 1, ideally around 0.990
 

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A general comment, there are several gases which are considered to be protective. We have non reactive gas as argon which one can hit with a hammer and it won’t do anything. We have some reactive gases which are low enough in food chain that they mostly sit there as carbon dioxide and nitrogen (low redox potential). As long as yeast is actively producing CO2 it keeps washing oxygen out so it is protected. The critical point is when metabolism slows down AKA bubbles in the air lock slow down.
This wine maker mag write up has several things as oxidation to watch out for as your wine ages: Preventing Off-Flavors - WineMakerMag.com

I'm thinking that is too much headspace and I need to top 'er off. Thoughts?
 

Riledup5

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Just curious why would you rack so early. shouldn’t you wait till the SpG is stabilized below 1, ideally around 0.990
I am new to this, but I have read to rack between 1.01 - 1.02. Then rack again when fermentation is complete (around 0.998). I think the 2nd racking is so you don't get sediment in your bottles. Oh, and the kit instructions said to
 

Rice_Guy

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One of the key decision points is when is racking convenient?
I am new to this, but I have read to rack between 1.01 - 1.02. Then rack again when fermentation is complete (around 0.998). I think the 2nd racking is so you don't get sediment in your bottles. Oh, and the kit instructions said to
early racking has negatives as foam and losing some must and poor separation of lees while actively fermenting
Early racking has advantages as volatile aroma retention and the wine is in a reduced oxygen protected environment so you can ignore it longer.

A general rule is that red grapes contain antioxidants therefore it is safer to run them to 1.000 or below. ..... Wine is forgiving, only by looking at shelf life/ flavor after a year or two will oxygen risk decisions become obvious.
 

bstnh1

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I do not top up secondaries. 1. There's still plenty of CO2 being produced. to protect the wine. 2. With a topped up carboy, it's virtually impossible to degas without making mess. I do WE kits and the instructions do not call for racking until SG is .996 or less and no topping up all the way through to bottling or bulk aging. I usually let mine sit in primary until the SG in down to .992 and then rack and degas.
 
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