How full should the carboy be?

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Jan 31, 2010
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I'm fermenting 6 gallons of apple wine, it's in secondary, but i was concerned that the carboy wasn't full enough. There was actually only about 5 3/4 gallons of cider. The volume in the carboy is only right up to where it starts to taper. or what i guess i'd call the "shoulders".

Is it ok to top this off with something? like more cider, some similar white wine, water, etc. or should i just leave it?
What was the SG of the wine when you racked over to the carboy? If not fermented completely dry let it ferment down to dry( under 1.000) then top up with a similar wine.If it was dry then I'd top up with a neutral tasting chardonnay if you don't have another apple wine on hand to top up with.
If its done fermenting then it really should be tpped up more limke to the neck around 2" below the bung like where a wine bottle would be below a cork. If you are going to sweeten this batch now would be a good time so as to reduce this space by using apple juice and simple syrup, this will reduce that amount of headspace. If its not done fermenting then thos headspace is fine as its producing C02 which will protect your wine from oxidation. Make sure you add both sulfite and sorbate before sweetening your wine first!
In the first days of a secondary fermentation this can also be very vigorous. So in that case if a lot of foam is forming I would leave it.

Later on when fermentation slows down I would fill it up to the brim with apple juice.
Apple juice will ferment nicely along and will bring no strange flavors to the wine. It also makes sure that you will have less headspace when racking later on.

When finished you can add sulphite and sorbate and sweeten, if you want that anyhow.


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