Airlock on Primary or Not

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Arctic Contributor
Oct 26, 2008
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I have read just about evry thread on this forumn and have came across some excellent advice and suggestions. Looking forward to learning with all of you. However, can't seem to get a definitive answer on this. Do I need an airlock on the primary fermentor. Some say so, some say not. One thread mention pushing the "cap" into the liquid a couple times a day. Obviously this involves removing the airlock. Anyone have an answer to my, "Huh?".
Arctic Sid
Also, to stir or not to stir, pushing the cap down resembles stirring to me. Any ideas?

There are many things in wine making that are "your choice". IE some people do it one way, some another. This is one of those.

I prefer to use a large primary (12 US gallon primary to start a 6 US gallon batch) with a lid that isn't air tight and doesn't need an air lock. Others choose to use a smaller primary with a tight fitting lid and an air lock.

Some wines will foam up more than others. It won't be a problem in my primaries. But in a smaler primary it will probably come out thet air lock and make a real nice mess.

Musts should be stirred vigourously in the primary. Kinda hard to do when there is little head room. I can really stir 'em in my primaries.

Thanks for your help! Your the first "friend" I met here, your advice is appreciated. I don't want to be a pest. Tell me if I am. I have a nice batch going, don't want to **** it up. I removed the airlock but left the cap on without the tube. "Stir Vigourously", when? Seems to be working pretty good now(bubbling).Execpt for the "cap",can't get to it to press it under.Will this mess me up? Your points taken.No more carboys for primary. Thanks brother.
Please stay in touch, would like to share some knowledge myself. Troy Sauve
Primary Fermentation

I've done a number of batches of wine, tho no expert. The first kits I purchased said to use a plastic bucket and let the primary ferment in the bucket and leave the lid loose on top. Since then I've gotten a cheesecloth cap to put over the bucket instead of the lid. I've had recipes that suggest using a carboy, but from other sources I understand the primary needs air and the gas will have a larger opening to escape. Using the plastic bucket for primary fermentation until it reaches a specific gravity of around 1020 seems to work, then rack to a carboy. As to the stirring, I don't and haven't seemed to have a problem without doing any stirring. Now, mind you, I've only worked with concentrates, someone else may have a different experience with actual fruit. My two cents
Thanks for your reply rm, quess like the man said some things are trial and error, but from what little I've learned in a short time, I'm going with yours and Steves suggestions, it's "cooking" along right now. Gonna try to get a SG here in a bit by boiling off some of the must and then reconstitute it. Will keep you posted. Thanks
If your doing kits, then an airlock works well. The yeast doesnt generally need much oxygen once they get to work.

I like to use one because it keeps the fruit flies out, and if you do forget it in the primary for a few extra days or a week, your wine is protected.
One of the reasons why you should do a
fermentation in an open vessel (covered with a cheesecloth)
you can see in this picture:

Another point is that yeast need a lot of oxygen
during the first stages of fermentation.
Pushing down the cap and stirring the must
will introduce that oxygen to the must.
That can only be done when the primary
fermentation vessel is easily accessible.