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1 week in primary fermenter, still bubbling a lot...should I rack it or wait?

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My 5 gallon batch has been for a week today on primary fermenter (a pail), with an airlock. Today it is still bubbling at approx. 30 times per minute. My concern...should I still wait until bubbling is like every 30 seconds, or should I transfer it already to carboy for secondary fermentation. Thank you!
 

PJ805

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Take a specific gravity reading, if it comes out at 1.010 or less you can transfer to secondary
 

meadmaker1

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You can't trust the bubble rate on most buckets.
Once the seal strip is removed they dont seal well.
Sg is the reliable method for determining when to move out of primary bucket and into glass.
Time has very little to do with progress, it could take 2 weeks or even 4 days. Many variables can change the time line.
 

Scooter68

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Two points to take into account BEFORE racking for the final fermentation time:
1) The SG reading as PJ805 stated most times when the SG is at 1.010 or lower it should be safe to rack BUT
2) Observe the amount of foaming and bubbling when you stir the wine.

If the SG is 1.010 BUT there is still a lot of foaming and a large amount of foam when stirred, racking into a carboy could produce a foam fountain. Even if the wine settles down after stirring in the bucket - if you rack it and it foams up in a full carboy, you are going run the risk of losing some wine with a foam fountain. Not unlike opening a bottle of soda that has been shaken a little.

I've been there and watched it happen with a wine that was ready to rack according to the SG reading but was still bubbling away. It did settle down within a minute or two but still once it bubbles out and onto your work area, it's lost. Now I uncover, stir, observe and the take my reading. Even racking slowly doesn't preclude a burst of fermentation activity when the yeast is suddenly throughly mixed in that new container.

Meadmaker is also very correct on seal of a bucket lid, they don't seal reliably. I don't even use the lid and just tie a medium to tight weave cloth over my bucket until it's ready to rack into a carboy. (Unbleached Muslin, tea towel or any smooth and thin cloth, even t-shirt material)
 

Trick

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Frequency sounds high. That is lots of CO2. I would leave it in primary, especially when it is already under airlock and sealed lid. Nothing to worry about.
 

Scooter68

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Keep in mind that the bucket lid is not a really airtight seal. When they are sealed with that tear-off band sure, but anyone who has stored a partial of a 5 gallon bucket of paint - even with 4 + gallons in a 5 gallon bucket has come back in 6-10 months and found a hard film on the surface.
Same thing applies to the bucket and lids we use for fermentation. MANY folks report not seeing ANY bubbles from an airlock on a snapped down bucket lid.

I experimented with this once and found to be pretty consistent. I had a batch that should have been bubbling away, There was foam and clear signs of active fermentation but NO bubbles from the airlock with a snapped down lid. Then I wet the lid seal thoroughly and snapped it back on - BUBBLES in the airlock - for about 12 hours until the water dried up.

The seal may be enough but it's by no means airtight unless you take some special measures. FORTUNATELY an airtight seal isn't really needed or all that helpful for a fermentation during the early stages.
 

Trick

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Given the condition of 30 bubbles a minute from airlock, it sounds very vigorous fermentation is on progress.
 

winemaker81

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I agree that the hydrometer is the final arbiter in judging if fermentation is complete, but if there is obvious signs of vigorous fermentation in progress, there's no reason to check. As Scooter said, if the fermentation is too vigorous, it will overflow the carboy.
 
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