Beginning a new batch

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Sunshine Wine

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All ingredients added except for pectic enzyme. Will have it on Monday. Also ordered some PH strips. Now to wait for fermentation to start. Excited for this new batch! The one on the right is still slightly warm, so it is already getting started.
 

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cmason1957

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I like to stir my wines while they are fermenting a couple or three times a day. I think it helps keep the yeast in suspension and the yeast like the oxygen. Given that, I don't put an airlock or a lid on while it is starting fermentation. I ferment in white or great Brute trash cans, they are food grade, same as those buckets you have. I just put my trash can lid on loosely or covered with a cloth. Either way works. Just giving you something to think about.
 

Scooter68

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Yes, save time and energy. Just get a couple of old towells or bedsheet material tie that down around the top with a cord. Too many people try to watch airlocks on buckets and worry when the don't bubble - More often than not they won't bubble or not for long as they don't seal well anyway. Go with cmason1957 suggestion.

By the way pH strips are not a lot of good with dark/red wines. Save up and go for a digital pH meter. They take a little time and attention to calibrate but you get much better info from them.
 

Sunshine Wine

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Yes, save time and energy. Just get a couple of old towells or bedsheet material tie that down around the top with a cord. Too many people try to watch airlocks on buckets and worry when the don't bubble - More often than not they won't bubble or not for long as they don't seal well anyway. Go with cmason1957 suggestion.

By the way pH strips are not a lot of good with dark/red wines. Save up and go for a digital pH meter. They take a little time and attention to calibrate but you get much better info from them.
Ok, so I just have the lids sitting on top of the buckets. How long do I leave them that way and stir each day? Then do I seal them back up and leave for a week or so till the fermentation stops?
 

Chuck E

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Ok, so I just have the lids sitting on top of the buckets. How long do I leave them that way and stir each day? Then do I seal them back up and leave for a week or so till the fermentation stops?
At least a week. At the end of 7 days, check the SG with your hydrometer. When the SG does not change for 3 days in a row, the batch is complete. Then you should transfer to the carboy.
 

Sunshine Wine

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I am just worried about contamination... The buckets are 5 gallons and I put 4 gallons of must in each, thinking a gallons worth of space would be sufficient...
 

Chuck E

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I am just worried about contamination... The buckets are 5 gallons and I put 4 gallons of must in each, thinking a gallons worth of space would be sufficient...
Throw away whatever spills out. Keep the lids really clean. Stirring will break down the foam. I would not worry about contamination too much. It's going to slow down on its own.
 

Sunshine Wine

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Throw away whatever spills out. Keep the lids really clean. Stirring will break down the foam. I would not worry about contamination too much. It's going to slow down on its own.
Ok, thanks! I am not afraid of fermentation. I make my own yogurt, kombucha, and sour kraut, but did not want to ruin 8 gallons of must!!
 

Scooter68

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Well - At least you KNOW that fermentation is happening! :f2


:)

Yes, If your fermentation is that foamy, stir often, It should slow within a day or two. The other good news is if it's going that strongly it should finish quickly too.
 

Sunshine Wine

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At least a week. At the end of 7 days, check the SG with your hydrometer. When the SG does not change for 3 days in a row, the batch is complete. Then you should transfer to the carboy.
Ok, once it is finished, and my SG is constant, and I transfer to the carboy, then should I put the airlock on it, add k-meta and leave for about 3 months? Rack again, add k-meta, and leave for 3 months again, etc....
 

Sunshine Wine

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Yes, save time and energy. Just get a couple of old towells or bedsheet material tie that down around the top with a cord. Too many people try to watch airlocks on buckets and worry when the don't bubble - More often than not they won't bubble or not for long as they don't seal well anyway. Go with cmason1957 suggestion.

By the way pH strips are not a lot of good with dark/red wines. Save up and go for a digital pH meter. They take a little time and attention to calibrate but you get much better info from them.
Just checked PH and it is right on the 3.6. I am assuming that is pretty good...?
 

Scooter68

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Put it in a carboy once fermentation is done & Add K-meta.
Personally I would not wait 3 months for the first racking. Wait 2-4 weeks for the sediment to collect and compact at the bottom. Then rack it once more. At that point wait the remainder of that 3 month period and rack. First couple of rackings (From bucket to carboy and then carboy-to-carboy to eliminate sediment.)are driven by conditions rather than time. After the majority of the sediment is gone time will do the rest of the job for you.

That pH is at the upper end of what you want BUT within 'normal' bounds.

By the way when you do that first rack to the carboy, you can take any excess that doesn't fit in the carboy and put it in a smaller galss container and chill it down in the fridge. ( That bottom portion is where you will pick up some sediment and chilling it in the fridge helps settle the sediment down quicker.) THEN you can pour the clear off and airlock it. Use it for topping off in the next racking. I keep several smaller glass containers (12, 16, & 20 oz) for just that purpose. Even having a 1/2 gallon or 1.5 liter container comes in handy. As long as they are glass and you can fit an airlock on them... it all works. Just keep that airspace to a minimum in each container (less than 1" if possible)
 

Sunshine Wine

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Checked SG last night...1.000 in one bucket and 1.002 in the other. The higher one is still bubbling slightly. Will continue to check it over the next few days and wait for it to stop bubbling. It has been 8 days today since I began this batch. I want a sweeter wine, so I assume back sweetening is the best way to do that closer to bottling time, correct?
 
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