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Old 02-03-2010, 08:19 PM   #1
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Feb 2010
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i've just started my first kit of merlot and after primary fermentation racked into a plastic bucket fermenter with lid and airlock. there is about 3 inches of space between lid and juice, should i have topped off with more wine or water? it was still fermenting for the first 2 days and now has stopped for 2 days. the kit say to leave it for a total of 10 days before checking s.g. should i leave it alone? thanks

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Old 02-03-2010, 08:58 PM   #2
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Oct 2009
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generally, secondary fermentation is recommended in a carboy or something with similar low-volume headspace. as fermentation slows down, the danger of air exposure increases.

3 inches of topping off into a bucket is an awful lot of topping off... but i am a little confused from your description..

did you begin primary fermentation in a bucket and then rack into another bucket according to the SG given in the kit instructions?

have you been fermenting for a total of 4 days or just 4 days since racking into the secondary bucket? how long was the primary ferment and what was the SG when you racked into secondary?

bottomline, i think it would be wise to get into a carboy or betterbottle as soon as you can and then follow the instructions based on SG readings, not the arbitrary time/calendar the instructions estimate as rarely does a complete ferment follow the calendar timeline exactly. so many factors can affect the time.

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Old 02-03-2010, 09:07 PM   #3
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watch the 3 inch head space during the secondary if you still have to put in any will run up into your can get a fair amount of foaming when the oak is first inserted

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Old 02-03-2010, 10:01 PM   #4
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You should have this in a carboy with much less headspace and this headspace is due to the fact that you are most likely fermenting in a 7.9 gallon bucket which most buckets are so topping up will dilute this batch very much/ You need to get a carboy.
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Old 02-04-2010, 12:34 AM   #5
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Forgive me if I am wrong, but I do not see any difference between a carboy with a bung and airlock and a bucket with an airtight lid and an airlock.

So I have fermented a lot of wines that started in a open primary and ended in a fermentation bucket with a lid and airlock.

As long as fermentation is going on no air will be able to get into the bucket as pressure in the bucket is larger as the outside.

When fermentation has finished the only way air could get at the wine is when you remove the lid, and that is also so when you remove a bung from an airlock.

Oxidation will not take place overnight so you are in no immediate danger.

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Old 02-04-2010, 11:13 AM   #6
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Feb 2010
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thanks for the responses, i just checked the sg and it's at exactly .996 . i had put it in a fermentation bucket for the second fermentation because i only have a long mixing spoon to do the degassing and it would be easier to do it in the bucket. now that the sg is were the kit says it should be i'm going to degass and add the other packets then put it in the carboy. is there a way to tell when i've degassed enough to rack into the carboy? thanks again

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