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Cloudy liquid in airlock?

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mhopkins

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I started a South African Sauvignon Blanc on Friday (my 9th batch). This was the first time instructions called for rehydrating the yeast. Saturday at midday the airlock was bubbling vigorously. By Saturday afternoon the liquid in the airlock was cloudy (still bubbling vigorously). My guess is that it is foaming like crazy inside the fermentation bucket. Two questions: First, do I need to clean the airlock to avoid contaminating the must? Second, I need to be away ... how long can the wine sit in the primary fermenter without harming the batch? Thanks for any counsel that might come my way? Mark
 

Scooter68

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First - Ditch the airlock - what you are experiencing is a good reason NOT to use an airlock or even a plastic cover during the initial stages of fermentation. Just cover the top of the fermentation bucket with towel and for good measure you can use a cord or string to tie the towel around the edges. Is this a kit wine? Stirring the wine during primary fermentation is done on a daily basis thus not having to snap a lid on an off makes stirring a lot easier.

The second question is that if there are grape skins in the bucket those sklns contribute to the color and taste of the wine up to a point. After that time they become a potential source of off flavors and bitterness. How long do you have to be away and when do the instructions tell you to rack to a secondary container.
 

mhopkins

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Yup, this is a RJ Spagnols En Primeur Winery Series South African Sauvignon Blanc Winemaking Kit. No skins. Wonder why the kits always call for an airlock during primary? I'm unsure how long I'll be away - family emergency. Kit instructions call for 6-8 days for primary fermentation. Thanks for the dialogue.
 

Scooter68

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If you are leaving immediately I'd clean the airlock and replace the liquid and go. Not much else you can do and if it's not foaming out the airlock it should be fine. Unless you have someone who can do a clean and replenish of the airlock if it becomes fouled again - just clean, refresh and go. One option would be to file the airlock with vodka or everclear, neither of which will adversely affect the wine if it gets sucked into the fermenter.
 

Doug’s wines

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Agree with Sccoter on the process from here. Just want to add that I almost always leave my En Primeur kits in primary for extended periods with no adverse effects (sometimes up to 21 days). I travel for work and sometimes cannot control my schedule for return home and just have to accept it. Not sure what your emergency is, but your wine will be fine, Hope everything else works out ok.
 

balatonwine

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Ditch the airlock
Some white wine making styles like to use an airlock during the primary. But those are usually very low temperature ferments, by design, and thus not very active. At higher temperatures, yes, the airlock is maybe not ideal, or if one uses an airlock, one should have more head space in the primary container just to avoid issues with very active fermentations.
 
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