When to Top off?

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Elmer

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I am currently make a MM chiani.
I just racked for the 1st time @ SG 1.3

I noticed my carboy is not full, it only reaches to the last ridge before the taper.

my concentrate kit came with 10L (2 gallon)
I was supposed to fill up to 23 Gallon (6 gallon)

I used 2 gallons of water, followed with a container of less then a gallon.

So I am short about a gallon.

Should I add another gallon, while the wine is in its final stages of fermentation.

Or wait until it is done?

Do I dare top with wine while I am at it?
 

g8keeper

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you don't want to top off until fermentation is complete and you have stabilized your wine with k-meta and k-sorbate(some consider the sorbate optional if not backsweetening)...but considering how low 6your level is, i am thinking that WHEN it is time to stabilize, you might want to consider racking into a 5 gallon carboy INSTEAD of actually topping off....that sounds like a lot of space to be adding store bought wine to, and i definitely would not consider topping off with that much water....doing so would most definitely dilute your abv....but once again, don't worry about topping off unless your wine is completely dry and not producing any more co2 to provide a blanket of protection...i still would take a gravity reading and see where you are sitting right now and then decide if it is done and ready to be stabilized...
 

Elmer

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The kit of wine I am making is a 23L or 6 gallon kit,
Yet I only have 5 gallons, so I am short.
I have done this before and never compensated for the missing 1 gallon, which might explain some of the bitter tasting wine.

I May top off with 1/2 gallon of water, 1/2 wine!
 

TonyP

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It sounds to me like you didn't add sufficient water to begin with. In other words, it's not that you racked and had 1 gallon left in primary. I wouldn't call that topping, it's more like correcting a mistake. That being the case, I'd add water now so that the wine is blended properly. Make certain to stir.
 

djrockinsteve

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Once the wine is fully fermented you will want to keep it topped off from that point on. CO2 coming off of your must protects your wine. Once fermentation is finished air begins to oxidize the wine.

Sulfiting and topping off helps to prevent this. Start collecting a few different size carboys and a couple magnum bottles (they take a #2 bung). This way you can be versatile if the amount of wine is less than 5 gallons.

You can top off with a similar wine but I always hated doing that.
 

1tonmama

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I would leave it without topping it up until the must ferments dry, degassed, then the addition of k-meta/sorbate/clearing agent. Once the must is in stabilizing/clearing period then you can top up with water (or wine).
 

Elmer

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actually too late.
I took a good look at my carboy and did some math.
When using a 6gallon kit (23L)
I had added only 21 gallons. 2 gallon concentrate, 2 gallon bottled water, and 1 3L bottle of water (which is less than a gallon)

So I only had 5 gallons of wine in my carboy.
I had not even got to the last ridge of the carboy. The glass carboy has 4 or 5 ridges, the last being right before the carboy tapers to the top!

In retrospect I have shorted most my batches of wine by atleast a gallon of water of the last few years!

Now I know!
 

Elmer

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This is my wine once I added the missing gallon!

Wine.jpg
 

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