View Full Version : Should I fill the carboy to the top?

06-22-2007, 07:36 PM

Please do not use all caps in your subject line, it is against forum etiquette, and many here consider it rude (including me ;) ) Oskaar

I feel pretty confident that I can make good mead now from doing alot of research. I just bought another 6 gallon carboy to rack from my other 6 gallon carboy. here is my question. My recipe is for a 5 gallon batch. When I rack into my other 6 gallon carboy should I fill the empty space with more water?. I was told I should have as little space as possible in the carboy during the second stage. I was planning on making just a straight mead for my first time just to go through the motions. I don't want to dilute my mead at all but if I need to fill it to the top maybe I should add fruit? Any advice would be great!

06-23-2007, 05:42 PM
I'm no expert, so keep that in mind. This is just how I would approach this.

Where is your fermentation at? This would be the critical question for me. If you are still getting a few blips per minute then the batch is still putting off enough CO2 that having that extra headspace wouldn't concern me too much as far as oxygenation is concerned. If fermentation is pretty much done, then I'd rack to a five gallon for bulk aging and drink the leftovers. If you do leave it in the 6 gal, be cautious in regards to contamination. Be especially diligent about sterilization when you take samples. Wipe down the bunghole and bung with vodka/your favorite sterilizing agent every time (you do this anyway right?). That extra uncovered space could be a foothold for nasties.

Another method I've heard of (if you don't want to add fruit) is using sterilized marbles dropped in to fill up the remaining space.

06-23-2007, 06:30 PM
First I would like to appologize to oskaar for the caps. It won't happen again ;D. Thanks for the advice zionpsyfer. I am starting fermentation this sunday. I went ahead and just ordered 2 5 gallon carboys that should be here in time to rack. I figured I would just do it the right way. But that marble trick was really a great idea. So now that I have 2 sets of 5 and 6 gallon carboys I can just make more mead ;D! Thanks again for the help and this web site is wonderful!

06-24-2007, 12:37 AM
I'd advise against the marbles as they're really not needed for active fermentation headspace issues, as noted above... the better bet is racking into a smaller carboy to minimize headspace, you can also drop by your favorite liquor/wine store and buy a bottle of "Wine Preserver", usually a Nitrogen, CO2 & Argon gas mix... that will help protect your Mead while bulk aging if you have excessive headspace, even if you have little headspace it is added protection and recommended. Once you expand your hobby you'll probably want to pick up a 5 lb CO2 tank and use CO2 to blanket your aging meads, much cheaper in the long run than the wine saver canisters.

Marbles can chip each other and your Carboys if you're not careful, mmm... glass shards mead.