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  1. phermenter

    Wine kits not degassing

    You've just stumbled across one of the dirty little secrets of the kit-wine industry. Kits almost always take more degassing than the instructions say, usually way more. Did you use a drill attachment of some kind or just the stirring method? It's possible to do it with a spoon, but a...
  2. phermenter

    RJ Spagnols RJ Spagnols Grand Cru Washington Merlot

    I would really recommend leaving it in your original fermenter until you can get a 6-gallon carboy. If you rack it to a 7-gallon vessel after primary fermentation is basically done, you won't have much protection from air. You need to either keep the gas blanket you have (by locking down the...
  3. phermenter

    what would you do...

    I would take a different approach than most of the responses I see. I would leave a case or so untouched and plan to drink it within a year. Then take the other half and dump the wine back into the carboy with 1/8 tsp of K-meta, mix and re-bottle that portion. This should be a good kit and I...
  4. phermenter

    changes in taste with aging...?

    Paul: That's actually a pretty good question, one I could as easily ask as answer after 2 1/2 years of doing wine kits (and my experience is just in kits, so take it for what it's worth). I have found that cheaper kits come out of the gates tasting decent, and don't get that much better. But...
  5. phermenter

    Low S.G. After Primary

    You don't top up a bucket, because it's only used for primary. And the secondary carboy isn't topped during fermentation, either. You don't top until after you stabilize.
  6. phermenter

    Early Drinkable Wine

    I am surprised by how good the Winexpert World Vineyards Trinity Red is at only 4 months, though I don't plan to open a full bottle until at least 6 months. It's not Italian, but it would go nicely with pizza or spaghetti or whatever. Jim
  7. phermenter

    What's your favorite grape wine?

    Chardonnay (or pinot gris or viognier) and Cab.
  8. phermenter

    Is this wine OK?

    I don't understand why you're expecting bubbles if it's done fermenting. If it's fermented and degassed I would not expect to see bubbles in the airlock. Jim
  9. phermenter

    Final SG never as low as the kit instructions say

    I have two hydrometers. One says everything has too low a starting gravity; the other says everything has too high a final gravity. As another guy said, think of hydrometers as sundials, not Swiss watches. They're kind of ball-parky. Just make sure your wine is finished fermenting by seeing that...
  10. phermenter

    Sterilize corks with B-Brite?

    Do not bother sanitizing corks with anything (and quit thinking about "sterilizing." That doesn't happen outside hospitals.) Corks out of the package are just fine. Don't sweat over little things, and winemaking will be much more fun. Jim
  11. phermenter

    WineXpert Barolo Oak Question

    I made the WE Limited Edition Petit Verdot, and it came with four 30g packets. Even at 6 months, it's not that oaky. I'd say dump em in. Jim
  12. phermenter

    RJ Spagnols RJS Cru Select Brunello arrived today

    I've never made that kit. But as a general rule, oak chips and smaller pieces are used during fermentation and larger pieces of oak, like cubes, staves and spirals, are used during aging. People who really like oak insist that most kits don't give them enough. If I were you, I'd add the chips...
  13. phermenter

    RJ Spagnols S.G. dropping too fast??

    I think Steve has it exactly right here. There is no benefit in rushing it. The fact that it's in the acceptable range doesn't mean it's finished fermenting. Like Steve, I would not even check the SG until day 28. Part of the reason is that the protection you want comes from the layer of gas...
  14. phermenter

    What happens if I don't sanitize an instrument?

    Unless I've miss something here, we're still missing a key piece of information: Was this unsanitized contact before or after fermentation? If it was on day one with must that had not yet begun to produce alcohol, the danger seems much greater than if it was on day 15 or 20, just checking how...
  15. phermenter

    Primary fermentation air lock or not?

    In short, it's your hydrometer, not your calendar, that tells you when you are ready to rack from primary to secondary, and when you are ready to declare fermentation complete. (I brewed a few beers before accepting that I needed a hydrometer; if you don't have one, you really should get one (a...
  16. phermenter

    Primary fermentation air lock or not?

    There are times you'll want an airlock. Some kits, particularly some RJ Spagnols, have you ferment to completion in the bucket, That means for the last week to 10 days, it's not producing much gas to protect it. Other times, you're only fermenting in the bucket for a week, but you can tell it...
  17. phermenter

    Tips for degassing tool

    Different kits have different instructions on degassing, but the main thing is make sure your wine is fully degassed before bottling it. I frequently have to degas a couple times more than the directions indicate. It helps to warm it to 75 with a heat belt, too. Warmer wine gives up the gas...
  18. phermenter

    Does sorbate affect the taste of the wine?

    I'm not sure sweetness is the right word, but something related to it. I think it's what a lot of people refer to as "kit taste," but it usually goes away in a year or two. Jim
  19. phermenter

    Wrong Time to Degass, oops

    I think you're going to want to get another carboy. It's likely you'll want more as time goes on anyhow. The other option is to leave the other kit in primary a little longer, but it's probably going to take at least another week to clear. Main thing is the kit makers say don't bottle cloudy...
  20. phermenter

    Does sorbate affect the taste of the wine?

    I am absolutely NOT an expert, but I believe potassium sorbate does affect taste. People say that some of us taste it and some of us don't. The wines I've made with sorbate additions have an off taste early on. The ones without do not. Jim