Bubbling Over

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Sep 23, 2016
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As succinct as I can be:

-added yeast ~36 hours ago
-primary fermenters are all bubbling out through the air locks
-didn't leave enough headspace
-had a very low SG/PA so I chaptalized (perhaps too much?)

What to do now?

This is only my second whirl at anything like this. I'm as ignorant to the processes of fermentation as you can be. I have a huge, old grape arbor in my yard so I've happened upon winemaking because... I wanna put all these grapes to good use.

Get a bigger bucket or split it with 2 that size and take the lid off and just rest it on top or use a tee shirt or towel to cover just to keep the bugs and other nasties out. This way you can stir your must a few times a day, you will be much farther ahead if you do that. Also helps with degassing.
Good Luck
Agree with both above. Obviously the primary was way to full to start with and that fermentation doesn't want to be locked down.
What was your SG before and after adding the sugar? How many gallons are you making in how large a bucket?
SG originally was ~1.035. After adding sugar it was ~1.075. I have three 6 gallons buckets and one 5 gallon bucket. Each container is about an inch from the top. So... I filled too high.
As Julie said take off airlock and unsnap lid put a towel over it or cheese cloth so it can breath but keeps bugs out I use a strainer bag over mine
Hum... I've never gotten foam more than maybe 3/8" or so high but then I've never done grapes... only kits, country and just recently juice bucket wines.
Thanks for the replies. So remove airlocks, unsnap lids, wait til it settles down then replace lids and airlocks and clean up the mess? Then just continue on? Wait til fermentation is complete, rack, et al?

What do I take away from this?
Leave more headspace?
What is the foam? Just the yeast doing its thing?
Is there a risk, because of all that bubble-over, of there not being enough yeast left to finish the job?

Both times I've tried making use of my grapes I've gotten a huge amount of juice. Last year ~20 gallons and this year ~25 gallons. I even had to throw out some grapes because I ran out of space and couldn't find any takers. It's been an overwhelming amount and process, I know I gotta try in the "offseason" a smaller amount, like a kit, to learn the process.

Thanks for the help.
I never snap down a lid or use an airlock on a primary fermentation at the start. Leave it go as it is, when the sg gets down to around 1.01, I then snap the lid down and add the airlock and let it ferment to dry, then rack to a carboy and add k-meta.
Look for a bigger bucket for sure. I like to have 1/3 space to 2/3 juice. After a few volcanoes myself over the years, i got a bit smarter. Enjoy the ride

The gray Brute trash cans are food grade and work well for me. They come in several different sizes. I also just cover with a towel until the sg gets down around 1.000.
Question... So does fermenting grapes generally result in more foam than doing juice buckets, kits, etc.?
I belive a lot depends on temp and the type of yeast that you chose, some yeasts are low foaming. You need to read the manufactures description.

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