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Mumazilla

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Hi! Another noob question. If my primary ingredients are measured for 5 gallons, but each batch I make I only get 4 gallons liquid into my carboy, can i add a gallon (either boiled or sterilized) water into the primary (my ingredients are in a mesh bag) and let is soak a day or two more and then add into my carboy? I'm just starting, so I only have 5 and 1 gallon carboys. I should at this point use a 3 and 1, but I don't have that option. I don't want to top off with water (I did that once and don't like what it did to the pear flavor, then I topped it off with white wine).
 

wineforfun

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Yes, make extra so when you rack, you will have extra to top up with. If you have enough juice to make the extra gallon I would, if not, make enough to fill a 1/2 gal. carboy(you may need to buy one) or enough to fill a couple 750ml bottles (I know you have those or can get them). Fit them with bungs and airlocks and you are good to go.
 

Mumazilla

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I understand making extra, but I'm not even making enough. So, yes, top with more water and then add it in a couple days?
 

cintipam

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If you are following a recipe for 5 gallons and only get 4 there is a problem somewhere. Perhaps you are using a recipe with american gallons and your standard is imperial? Vice Versa? You should have 5 gallons. Unless you figure out that you originally shorted the recipe of water, I would NOT top off with water. Water is never the best choice unless it is to fix a mistake you made earlier by not adding enough water to begin with.

Adding water will not only dilute the flavor, but also change your SG which will in turn lower your alcohol content.

Pam in cinti
 
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wineforfun

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I understand making extra, but I'm not even making enough. So, yes, top with more water and then add it in a couple days?
I agree with cintipam, something is not right if you are not getting 5 gal. out of a 5 gal. recipe. You may come up a little short when racking from primary, but only a half bottle or so, if you have a lot of sediment in primary.

I would recheck that recipe or better yet, post it so we can look at it.
 

BernardSmith

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I am confused. Sorry. How are you measuring each gallon to know that you are not getting "5 gallons"? And what do you mean when you say that the ingredients are "measured for 5 gallons" but you are getting only 4? Does that mean that 1 gallon of liquid has evaporated or that there was a leak and you lost a gallon? My experience has been that 1 gallon carboys in fact hold significantly more than 1 US gallon* and the plastic milk containers used here do in fact hold 128 fluid ounces - or 1 US gallon (which is a little smaller than the imperial or British gallon). - You might check the volume you think is less than a gallon by weighing a gallon of water. That should weigh 8.36 lbs (or 3.785 kg)

* a gallon will just go past the shoulder of such containers and so to fill them to the neck means that you need to add at least another pint or more
 
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Mumazilla

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Ok, sorry for not being clear enough. I take a 5 gallon recipe - like this last one - for pumpkin. 18 pounds of shredded flesh plus 4 pounds of raisins - added to a mesh bag takes up a gallon volume space in my 5 gallon primary bucket. So, yes, I do not add all the water to this bucket as I leave enough headspace for fermentation and stirring. Yes, I use US measurements.
 

Vinobeau

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Ok, sorry for not being clear enough. I take a 5 gallon recipe - like this last one - for pumpkin. 18 pounds of shredded flesh plus 4 pounds of raisins - added to a mesh bag takes up a gallon volume space in my 5 gallon primary bucket. So, yes, I do not add all the water to this bucket as I leave enough headspace for fermentation and stirring. Yes, I use US measurements.
If your primary only holds 5 gallons, you can't make 5 gallons of wine in one batch. You have 22 pounds of stuff taking up a lot of space and it won't produce very much liquid. All other fruits produce different amounts! You should buy a 7 or 8 gallon primary.
You are experiencing a common problem. You never can be sure how much liquid your fruit will produce. You'll be able to press juice out of grapes and raspberries, but cranberries won't give you any juice until a week of fermentation. Experimenting and keeping good notes will help you guess better in the future.

Five gallons is a great volume to make, that will give you two cases of wine and the 5 gal carboys are relatively easy to move around and lift.
 

Stressbaby

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+1 on getting larger primary.
Generally what I do in this situation is add water to the desired level while holding the bag out of the bucket. You won't really get any contribution from the raisins to your final volume. Whatever you get from the pumpkin will push you over 5gallons and can put that into a half gallon or wine bottle for topping up later.
 

wineforfun

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Ok, sorry for not being clear enough. I take a 5 gallon recipe - like this last one - for pumpkin. 18 pounds of shredded flesh plus 4 pounds of raisins - added to a mesh bag takes up a gallon volume space in my 5 gallon primary bucket. So, yes, I do not add all the water to this bucket as I leave enough headspace for fermentation and stirring. Yes, I use US measurements.
As the others mentioned, get a bigger bucket. Now I see the problems. A) You are losing close to a gallon with the addition of the mesh bag and B) You don't even start with 5 gal. of must.

No way you can expect to have 5 gal. when you are only starting with 4 gal. at best.
 

Arne

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Instead of using a bigger bucket you can split it into two buckets. If you get your buckets full and the ferment takes off you might find that the bucket wasn't big enough anyway. (Gives you a big mess to clean up, you don't have to ask me how I know.:h) Arne.
 

Whitehrs

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Yep, sounds like you are about a gallon or more of liquid short due to primary space. you will nee to get a bigger primary. as far as this batch I'd use my taste buds to check for current strength of the flavor. You might try to get more of the same flavor into a solution of what you are brewing, making sure you have the same gravity as you started with. Your wine. you can come up with the fix. that maybe just using a smaller secondary this time.
 

Mumazilla

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Ok! I know I needed to hear that, but I already own 2 of the 5 gallon size and just like any other hobby, I'm running low on storage space! Thank you all for your advice!
 

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