View Full Version : To much headspace after racking...

02-01-2015, 10:21 AM
Hello All,

This is my very first post, and first batch of mead, so I hope I give all necessary info etc. The recipe I used is as follows for a 3 gallon batch of peach melomel:

-7#'s peaches sliced heated to 100 F and treated with approx. 1 tsp pectic enzyme, strained to approx. 3qts.
- 1 gallon H2O boiled 10 mins + 8#s raw honey
-Peach liquid added @ 160F and maintained above 140 F for approx. 25 minutes
-Added yeast nutrient approx 3 tsp.
-Added enough cold water to bring up to approx. 2 3/4 gallon
-Pitched about 1qt starter fluid of D-47 yeast

OG- 1.112 approx.

After a vigorous primary fermentation that lasted around two weeks I racked the liquid into a second carboy with a racking gravity of 1.02.

Here is the problem…

Because of the large layer of sediment at the bottom of the carboy I wasn't able to recover all the liquid. I know too much headspace can be a problem and I think there may be some signs of a yeast film developing….the must has been racked in the new carboy for approx. 11 days. I am below the shoulder of the carboy and seems I would need almost another gallon of fluid...

I have read a bunch of other posts with recommendations for reducing the headspace and it seems the best route is to create more must in the recipe which I'll do next time. For now, however, I'm wondering this….

Can I simply boil some more honey water and rack again (there is again a fairly decent layer of lees at the bottom of the secondary carboy and it seems i might need to rack again to clear it out) adding this new liquid?

There doesn't seem to be a lot of fermentation happening so I'm wondering if this is risky of creating too much sweetness or if it will go the other way and restart fermentation causing the mead to go too dry?

Any advice would be great

02-01-2015, 11:53 AM
There are plenty of discussions on headspace in this forum. Use the search engine.

The easiest is to rack to smaller carboys, e.g. such as a pair of 1 gallon plus a half gallon or 3 liter. I got mine filled with wine at the booze store and kept the jugs afterwards. Aquarium marbles also work well to take up space.

02-01-2015, 01:39 PM
...Aquarium marbles also work well to take up space.

But be forewarned, it takes a surprisingly large amount of them.

Medsen Fey
02-01-2015, 03:10 PM
But be forewarned, it takes a surprisingly large amount of them.

And makes for a heavy carboy.

You can add more honey/water must and if you use the same initial gravity in it, the yeast will ferment all again, but this will create more sediment and you'll wind up with the same problem. The threads on "topping up" will give you some ideas. Using some smaller containers may be the best bet.

02-01-2015, 04:02 PM
But be forewarned, it takes a surprisingly large amount of them.

You are right. Buying them at PETCO can be pretty expensive for the small amount in each package. The only one that I know who sells them in bulk is MoreWine at 3 lbs. for $14.95, about one liter displacement. That amount coupled with a variety of different sized jugs and bottles (with No.2 drilled stoppers) gives a lot of options.

I always make extra to compensate for racking losses.

02-01-2015, 09:58 PM
I'm not sure I would throw any old glass bead in my mead.