Crush day at Crushday's...

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crushday

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Today was both a battle and a walk in the park. First, the saunter…

After getting everything set up and sanitized, I started filling the bladder press. I‘ve found it’s easiest to just take 35 trips to the fermentor with a gallon sized pitcher. Most of the wine “free runs” through a strainer into the 5 gallon stainless stock pot and then pumped into the secondary fermentors (120L Speidel). It's typical to replace the strainer about every 5 gallons. I have two and alternate. I use a hose and spray the clogged strainer and put it back into rotation. My new pump worked like a champ. It never clogged and I was able to work through five fermentors within a few hours. You can see the setup in the pictures below. I was able to get approximately 62 gallons of Cab Franc (gravity is .996) and 45 gallons of Petite Sirah (gravity .995). I kept the press at one bar hoping for a gentle press.

Now, the battle…. Halfway through the first fermentor (Petite Sirah), I heard a crash behind me in the garage. During set up I noticed that one of the fermentors was listing. I literally got down on my hands and knees to see why. One of the five wheels was turned inward and wasn’t providing any support on that side. Keep in mind the food grade plastic cans are wide mouthed and tapered to the bottom. So in my case, top heavy and listing on a slopped concrete floor (All the clues were there, I should have known!). To my horror, it actually tipped completely over and I lost all 40 gallons of must. That was the crash I heard filling the bladder press. I made my way in to the garage.

I was stunned, dumbfounded and simply went back to the press knowing there was nothing that could be done except clean it all upon the completion of the press.

Gone. It’s gone. Down the drain in the floor. My unintended and inadvertent contribution to the fruit fly circle of life.

Now, some pictures - in order - to represent the day….

785B9196-E540-400F-9CDD-4A2D1715AAD9.jpegB83EF41E-9782-4DD6-96A7-BAF01B312571.jpegDB123970-DDFF-455D-BA48-136A1B33141B.jpeg277CF410-0D51-4B5F-A19B-06848BF58192.jpegCF08FD27-9D78-4C2F-89DA-5B2759ED12C8.jpeg68357255-D749-427F-A64F-680D955939A7.jpegB5D822FF-A4EB-4CE1-A3C0-1C4A7468456A.jpegE1FF1D84-C808-42E0-9C10-89031C7D45C6.jpeg57EB0385-5C0F-45A7-8CA1-FCAE68CDAC1A.jpeg
 
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crushday

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Crushday, I am so very sorry. That sucks.

RT
That’s extremely kind. Yes, it does suck. I’m still in shock! I don’t know how that even happened. Of course, my garage floor is graded toward the drain which played a role in the debacle. I’ve learned many lessons in life. Unfortunately, like this one, I’ve learned them the hard way. I should have tried to reposition it to make it more level. But, didn’t…
 

Rocktop

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Well I predicted this thread would be epic, and you would be a humble story teller.....
2 years from now, that first sip will taste a little finer, and your guests will be awe as you tell the story and adventure, or what was the 2021 vintage!
 

David Violante

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Oh my… holy moly I don’t know what I would have done… So sorry…

… and thank you for letting us in on your journeys, they are just inspiring…
 

Kraffty

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You have my sympathy and I'm so impressed at your positive and realistic attitude. I really wanted to say thanks for the reminder of the care we need to take with every step we take in this fairly expensive and time intensive hobby. I've toyed with the idea of resting my brutes on dollys but my winery floor is a kind of cobblestone and your story has convinced my to keep stuff as low and flat as possible. I Agree with Rocktop, it'll be an epic and fun story to tell.....years from now....many years....
 

crushday

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I've toyed with the idea of resting my brutes on dollys but my winery floor is a kind of cobblestone and your story has convinced my to keep stuff as low and flat as possible.
Mike, I believe you're making the right decision. When those Brutes are full they're heavy and awkward and unstable, really. The shape doesn't help. In fact, after yesterday, I'm going to retire all my Brutes. I've already been replacing them with stainless which is easier to clean, doesn't gouge and has less opportunity for critters.

I Agree with Rocktop, it'll be an epic and fun story to tell.....years from now....many years....
I woke up today at 3am thinking about it. I'm so puzzled as to how that wheel got turned as I'm the only one with access to that space. Near I can tell, it was that way the whole time and I didn't notice. In a million years that would probably never happen again (meaning that whole thing dumping over). As you've inferred, it's not very fun right now. And, I didn't get it completely cleaned up. Eggplant colored concrete is officially in vogue! But, I have plenty of wine left (less for blending, however) and it will be part of the story every time I open or give away that wine. But it will be "many years"...

I'm good.
 
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SLM

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That is sad. And kind of scary. Even on a level floor it would seem that if the wheels aren't positioned right a full brute may be too heavy for the dolly.
 

CDrew

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Dang George, that hurts! But you'll have plenty more wine to drown your sorrows. I knew there was a reason to keep the brutes 1/2 full. I always ferment on furniture dollies just to make it easier to move around and will watch the wheels carefully.

Your mess reminds me of the time I spilled a 5 gallon pail of gear oil on my garage floor. I think I used up the northern california supply of kitty litter cleaning it up and had to endure the stench for a year. Your floor at least should smell pretty good.
 

Snafflebit

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Is that dolly under the Brute a special made dolly for trash cans? Ugh, heartbreak! Well, you have taught many of us a valuable lesson.
 

crushday

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Is that dolly under the Brute a special made dolly for trash cans? Ugh, heartbreak! Well, you have taught many of us a valuable lesson.
Yes, the dolly is specifically made by Brute for Brutes. Of course I believe this to be anomalous but still stings a bit. Yes, a valuable lesson!
 

Ajmassa

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It’s all about the spin technique!
Plus those gray Home Depot brutes I used to use- they seem slightly thinner than other cans. My 44gal non-brute Brute is noticeably thicker, more rigid—- and the smooth white winemaking brutes appear more rigid as well.

So much weight & resistance pulling handles. But when spinning the can around it helps to move much easier. The dolly and brute spin but the wine kinda stays in place.

another factor is the dollys are universal for any sized brute. Smaller brutes the dolly gives a nice wide base. Thel arger brutes hang over the sides —-So
not only top heavy & less rigid sidewalls but also weeble wobbles from the pinpoint center of gravity when pulling. The spin technique bypasses all that and let’s the wheels to fall in line very easily.

I built a large square dolly for the fermentor but went back to the brute-specific dollies. It’s all about that spin technique!
 

Ajmassa

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@Ajmassa - profound advice. Thanks. Have a wonderful weekend!
I keep mine on a throw rug in the basement. So I was never able to pull a full can easily. Especially the 44’s. I started spinning to shift around out of necessity.

Ive never looked for it but I bet there’s dollies better suited for the larger brutes rather than the universal one which works down to even 10gal size. I blame the narrow base for this. It’s a balancing nightmare and not surprisedthis happened on a 44gal brute (or55?) with the one size fits all dolly

and u have yourself a nice wknd as well— despite that rainy forecast!
 

4score

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So sorry George. I can hardly imagine the horror of hearing that happen then seeing the floor! Sounds like your recovery is proceeding along well. We'll have to trade wine so I can experience this EPIC wine one day!
 

wood1954

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In the grand scheme of things in this life that was one horrible event. I feel like you I hate learning things the hard way but it seems to be a very effective way to learn.
 

JBP

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Such a tough loss. Experience is not a kind teacher. Effective, perhaps. But not kind.

This thread, however, is rich for all of us. Thanks.
 
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