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Q2XL
07-07-2010, 10:04 PM
I made a strawberry/banana mead that am about to secondary. I am about a half gallon short at the most(most likely less then that) to topping off the 5 gallon carboy. I want to minimize the headspace. I don't want to add marbles.

So, is it ok to add a bit of water to get close to the top of the carboy? If so, should I boil it first then let it cool down to about 70F? And how close to the bottom of the rubber stopper is considered close enough to limit oxidation?

Thanks again.

aczdreign
07-07-2010, 10:43 PM
I ALWAYS add water to my secondary fermentation. Just make sure you sanitize it and don't add it while it's too hot.
However, I very seldom use a hydrometer, so I don't know how that will effect your specific gravity calculations, I would be interested to know, as I do plan to get one soon.

In any case, I always taste my wines/meads as I rack them and add water to fill the carboy and honey to taste. I usually fill my carboy up to the base of the upwards curve of the neck. You can technically fill it up as much as your bung and airlock allow, but you just want to leave a little room in case it starts to erupt, you'll have a little time to PREPARE for the volcano. :)


My current plum melomel is a 3 gallon batch, and I had to add a half gallon of water. I added another pound or two of honey, and it's coming out great. A half gallon in 5? You'll be golden.

Keep me posted on how this one comes out, I love the strawberry banana idea.

AToE
07-07-2010, 11:47 PM
I'd avoid adding water for a couple reasons - 1 you're watering down your product. 2 - it makes the whole process very hard to document and recreate (I suppose if you recorded before and after SG carefully it could be done).

This is why most people make slightly more than they will end up with and start in a bucket (plus buckets help in a million other ways). Need 5 gallons? Start with 5.25 gallons, rack when done fermenting (or 5.5 if lots of fruit, etc).

I'd add something like white wine before I'd add water personally.

It's fine if you're just winging things, but I would at least add a honey/water mix rather than water, a 1/2 gal is a very significant % to water it down.

:)

aczdreign
07-08-2010, 12:15 AM
I'd avoid adding water for a couple reasons - 1 you're watering down your product. 2 - it makes the whole process very hard to document and recreate (I suppose if you recorded before and after SG carefully it could be done).

This is why most people make slightly more than they will end up with and start in a bucket (plus buckets help in a million other ways). Need 5 gallons? Start with 5.25 gallons, rack when done fermenting (or 5.5 if lots of fruit, etc).

I'd add something like white wine before I'd add water personally.

It's fine if you're just winging things, but I would at least add a honey/water mix rather than water, a 1/2 gal is a very significant % to water it down.

:)

Nice. Some good points there. I agree, I definitely would not just add water, honey is a necessity. I've found that the honey water that I added to my plum melomel has begun to ferment in the secondary fermentation and I assume that it will continue to do so until it either reaches max alcohol content or all the sugars are consumed.
I've also heard tell of using a similar fruit brandy to fortify your wine, if you're worried about weakening your product or want to stretch it farther.
The bucket method sounds like a great one, I'm going to add a bucket to my wishlist next to the spectrometer. I'd really like to start getting into calculating ABV. Thanks AToE!

AToE
07-08-2010, 01:16 AM
Hydrometers are also extremely valuable for making sure you don't blow your face off with a bottle bomb. ;)

Chevette Girl
07-08-2010, 03:11 AM
...and you can often get used 5-gal buckets for a couple dollars, the ones that used to hold wine concentrate from the local in-house brew places are good, just have to cut a bunghole for the stopper and airlock, I also get cheap smaller ones from Bulk Barn that used to contain honey.

Q2XL
07-08-2010, 02:39 PM
Well, as it turned out, I only had to add 16 ounces. So, I used boiled, then cooled spring water. I am not concerned about it getting diluted for having added only 16 ounces.

Thanks for the quick replies.