blow off hose instead of air lock?

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morganday95

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Hello all!

I am kinda new to wine making and am currently brewing 1-1.5 gal wine kits. I was wondering if you could use a blow off hose (used in brewing beer) instead of an air lock the entire time through primary and secondary fermentation? I realize it is not really necessary, but my set up requires a way for the Co2 to escape out.

My set up:
I have my fermenter in a heat wrap in a mini fridge. the heat wrap and mini fridge is plugged into a dual temperature regulator that is set to 72 degrees ferinheight. Where I live the average temperature in my house throughout summer is between 77-80 degrees). I needed a way to control the temperature throughout fermentation so I have better results with the wine. the temperature regulator uses either the heat source or the cooling source but never at the same time. So if the temperature falls below 72 degrees the temperature regulator turns on the heat wrap until it is warmed back up to 72 degrees. If the temperature rises above 72 degrees the temperature regulator turns on the mini fridge until the wine is cooled back down to 72 degrees. However, because the fermenter is in a mini fridge I need to have another way for the Co2 to escape out. My plan is to drill a hole in the side of the fridge being cognizant of refrigerant lines and wires. I plan on using a hose that is inserted into the rubber stopper (instead of using an air lock) and runs through the hole in the side of the fridge and into a cup of distilled water. I will use silicone to seal around the hole ensuring insulation. So my question is can you use a blow off assembly for wine making throughout the entire fermentation process?
 

BernardSmith

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Hiya morganday95 - and welcome.

Wine making ain't brewing and when wine making you really don't need an airlock in the primary. Many of us on this forum simply use a food grade bucket loosely covered with a cloth as our primary fermenter. When you rack to the secondary then you need to protect the wine from air and that's when we add bungs and airlocks but a blow-off tube is essentially a water sealed valve allowing CO2 to escape and preventing O2 to enter. It's an airlock designed for an overactive fermentation.

That said, drilling a hole in the fridge is one way to ensure that it is not well insulated but if that's not a problem then that's not a problem. Why you cannot simply allow the CO2 to escape into the fridge I am not sure. If the pressure of the gas will build up to excess I would think that it would be enough to pop open the door an event you could monitor if you had a temperature controller installed (an opened door would result in a rise in temperature which could then signal you with an alarm).
 
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I blame the kits instructions for this. The way they are written gives the impression that keeping the wine protected from o2 during the ferment is vital.

rigging up a blowoff tube is cool. And most homebrewers & winemakers do enjoy a good ole DIY. But I’d think opening to stir daily and/or check SG would clear co2 sufficiently whether it’s airlocked or just covered with a towel.
personally I don’t like keeping a ferment sealed allowing the wines surface to stay saturated with all that co2. You ever stick your head in there right after popping the lid? Sucker is potent!
 

morganday95

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Thank you guys so much for the tips and suggestions. I will certainly give the bucket with a cloth a try and I'll avoid drilling a hole in the fridge. What yall are saying makes sense. The CO2 should build up enough pressure to open the fridge door if it is ever too much.
 

VinesnBines

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I brew beer and make wine. Beer has a lower alcohol level and MUST be protected from oxygen while fermenting. A blow off tube is often necessary to prevent explosions of air locks and lids of brew buckets. (Ask how I know). With wine, the must in primary requires oxygen to encourage fermentation and dissipation of carbon dioxide. I don’t see how the buildup of CO2 in a small batch will blow open a mini fridge door. Please let me know if it does. Fermentation of beer and wine is similar but the methods differ. Don’t make wine as complicated as beer.😁
 

morganday95

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VinesnBines

My concern is if the CO2 remains inside the fridge, will it affect the wine? Or will the airlock prevent the CO2 from seeping back down into the wine? I can use either an airlock or a blow off hose, they both work inside the mini fridge. However, with the airlock the CO2 will remain inside the fridge. So my concern is if the CO2 stays inside the fridge will it affect the wine?
 

VinesnBines

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After primary there won’t be much CO2 released and the air lock and a topped up carboy will protect the wine. The CO2 won’t affect taste anyway. Some wineries use it to blanket the wine in a fermenter. It is the gas that make wine fizzy or spritzy.
 

Rice_Guy

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VinesnBines

My concern is if the CO2 remains inside the fridge, will it affect the wine? Or will the airlock prevent the CO2 from seeping back down into the wine? I can use either an airlock or a blow off hose, they both work inside the mini fridge. However, with the airlock the CO2 will remain inside the fridge. So my concern is if the CO2 stays inside the fridge will it affect the wine?
* this sounds like over kill. I would doubt that you ever get above one atmosphere in the fridge. CO2 is a gas and will escape in the smallest cracks on the door gasket or where there is dirt on the door gasket or if you were more gross just run a thermocouple wire on the door gasket to create a channel.
* fermentation is exothermic, I see active fermentation warmer than air temp of the box, The yeast is quite tolerant in temp as able to take 30F range ie you don’t need to run a heater for your set up.
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.* to your original post, yes you could run a blow off tube without any venting outside the box another answer might be look for one of the short stature air locks as in the photo.

My main use of controlled temp is to encourage fruity aroma, i currently have a 6.8 liter watermelon in mine.
 

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