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Fermentation bag and weights

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I'm going to start using a fermentation bag and I have a few questions. I noticed that they sell them, but as I am tight on money I'm looking for other options. First off there is a thing called a nut milk bag, would that work? What about a hand stitched piece of cheesecloth? A friend suggested that I use a pair of my wife's nylons, would that work(they look to tight of a mesh)? What is the weights about? Can someone provide a link to a primer about using fermentation weights? I imagine it would be better tied to a weight on the bottom of the vessel so the bag is fully surrounded by the must, is it? Any other information is much appreciated, thank you, Bradford
 

beano

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Bradford
I use fermentation bags but have never weighted them down. They work fine that way. They will float during fermentation and I squeeze the juice out of them. Maybe someone can say more on weighing them down.
Cheese cloth will work as well the pantyhose.
Never heard of a nut milk bag...?
 

beano

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I hate to admit it but I once used a white knee high cotton sock (new of course) as a fruit bag. Kinda hard to stuff all the fruit into but it worked well. Ruined the sock. Had a hard time explaining that to my wife.
 

Chuck E

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I'm going to start using a fermentation bag and I have a few questions. I noticed that they sell them, but as I am tight on money I'm looking for other options. First off there is a thing called a nut milk bag, would that work? What about a hand stitched piece of cheesecloth? A friend suggested that I use a pair of my wife's nylons, would that work(they look to tight of a mesh)? What is the weights about? Can someone provide a link to a primer about using fermentation weights? I imagine it would be better tied to a weight on the bottom of the vessel so the bag is fully surrounded by the must, is it? Any other information is much appreciated, thank you, Bradford
Old nylon stockings is the cheapest solution. Your wife will enjoy the new pair.
 

BeeMad

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Paint strainer bags is what I'm currently using with blueberries. I also use them to strain honey when I harvest honeycombs from my hives. They work great and they're reusable.
 

wildhair

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I don't ordinarily weigh down the bag with fruit. But you could use marbles (glass) after washing and sanitizing them. I just made some mint wine and put a bag of mint leaves into the secondary - I weighed it down with some polished stones. I made the "tea bag" from some retired sheer curtains (washed and sanitized, of course.)
 

garymc

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I use 5 gallon paint straining bags from Lowe's or Home Depot. No weights. Just punch it down and rotate it upside down 2 or 3 times a day to keep the floating side from drying out.
 

reeflections

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I'm really, really new to this. I have started some banana wine and used 2 jelly bags in a 1 1/4 Gal bubbler and over the 1st night they filled with CO2 and displaced enough liquid that it was starting to push up through the air lock. I pushed the gas out of the top of the bags and added a glass weight to each. These are they kind of weights I use for fermenting sauerkraut in canning jars. Seems to be working so far.
 

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I'm really, really new to this. I have started some banana wine and used 2 jelly bags in a 1 1/4 Gal bubbler and over the 1st night they filled with CO2 and displaced enough liquid that it was starting to push up through the air lock. I pushed the gas out of the top of the bags and added a glass weight to each. These are they kind of weights I use for fermenting sauerkraut in canning jars. Seems to be working so far.
um you airlock during ferment, during ferment i stir my must every day to get more oxygen to the must, only after your ferment is winding down, then i rack(transfer} to a carboy or jug and airlock, did you get your SG reading using a hydrometer that will give you a more or less ABV, and tells you when your ferment is winding down, from then own oxygen becomes your wines enemy.
Dawg
 
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reeflections

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Yes, this is only my 2nd batch and I use the speed of the bubbles to give me an idea of when the primary has slowed. From what I have read here it isn't a problem to use an air lock on the primary, just a choice, or am I missing something? I am using a wide mouthed bubbler so it is as easy for me open it and stir twice a day as it would be to remove towel. The bags were a problem with the airlock, but now that is solved. Is there something else wrong with using an air lock during the primary? Like I said, I am very new at this so I am listening to any advice.
 

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Yes, this is only my 2nd batch and I use the speed of the bubbles to give me an idea of when the primary has slowed. From what I have read here it isn't a problem to use an air lock on the primary, just a choice, or am I missing something? I am using a wide mouthed bubbler so it is as easy for me open it and stir twice a day as it would be to remove towel. The bags were a problem with the airlock, but now that is solved. Is there something else wrong with using an air lock during the primary? Like I said, I am very new at this so I am listening to any advice.
Using the bubbles does not tell very much about fermentation. You should invest in a hydrometer ($10) to be able to know when the ferment is over.
 

reeflections

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Using the bubbles does not tell very much about fermentation. You should invest in a hydrometer ($10) to be able to know when the ferment is over.
Thanks for the input. Actually, I do have a hydrometer and the starting SG was 1.112. The sample glass broke and I have ordered another so I can check it during the secondary but I cannot get a direct reading from the primary because of the thick must. I was assuming I could tell when the initial fermenting has slowed just from the change in bubbles. It was quite obvious with my 1st batch.
 

Chuck E

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Thanks for the input. Actually, I do have a hydrometer and the starting SG was 1.112. The sample glass broke and I have ordered another so I can check it during the secondary but I cannot get a direct reading from the primary because of the thick must. I was assuming I could tell when the initial fermenting has slowed just from the change in bubbles. It was quite obvious with my 1st batch.
I have used a sanitized glass bud vase in a pinch for taking a reading. I always strain the must through a sanitized mesh sieve before the reading.
 

barryjo

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Thanks for the input. Actually, I do have a hydrometer and the starting SG was 1.112. The sample glass broke and I have ordered another so I can check it during the secondary but I cannot get a direct reading from the primary because of the thick must. I was assuming I could tell when the initial fermenting has slowed just from the change in bubbles. It was quite obvious with my 1st batch.
You might want to buy a plastic test tube. As for the bubbles, I take a sample with a thief. By leaning the tube at an angle of about 45 degrees, bubbles will be seen slowly climbing up the side. As the bubbles decrease, I will rack to the secondary. This will allow CO2 to fill the headspace and protect the wine. Now would be the time to insert the airlock.
 

BABRU

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Actually, I find the air lock bubbles to be a fairly useful way to track the progress of fermentation. When you watch for several minutes and see no bubble activity you can assume fermentation is nearing completion. Then use your hydrometer to check SG to verify your “assumptions”. I also use time to aid my “assumption” as generally I find primary fermentation of grape juice must to take at least 10 days before transfer to secondary. I’m a little unconventional in that I like to ferment to dry in the primary and I transfer as little of the lees (sediment) to the secondary as possible. For reds, the wine remains in secondary for about a year, being racked to a different carboy at about 3 month intervals, again leaving behind as much sediment as possible. After a year the wine is clear, very little or no sediment in the final carboy and wine has been naturally degassed. About a year ago I began using a vacuum system to transfer the wine from primary to carboy and from carboy to carboy at 3 month intervals and I find that this process clears and degasses the wine faster but still I go through the full year process. I feel reds are generally better if aged for at least a year so one year in a carboy is not a problem. White wine is another issue. I haven’t figured out why, but my whites from juice, using this same process, often end up with cloudy or crystal tartrates in the bottle after a year or so in the bottle. I’m not a real fan of whites anyway so I have stopped making them from juice and gone back to kits. Following kit instructions I can bottle a kit white as soon as it clears (5-8 weeks) and enjoy a white wine that stays clear in the bottle. Go figure???
 

barryjo

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I would be careful fermenting to dry in the primary. The lees consist of dead yeast cells and solids from the fruit. Off-flavors will result if they start to decompose. I pull my fruit after a week at most. By then, the pectic enzyme has done its thing and the process can continue.
 

BABRU

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I agree, that’s what the experts say, but in 12 years of doing it this way I have had nothing but superb results. Never even had an off smell. If left for longer time maybe that would occur but I’m guessing the acidic ph and alcohol prevents it. Or maybe Ne and my friends just don’t know what GOOD wine is like. :)
 

DizzyIzzy

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I don't ordinarily weigh down the bag with fruit. But you could use marbles (glass) after washing and sanitizing them. I just made some mint wine and put a bag of mint leaves into the secondary - I weighed it down with some polished stones. I made the "tea bag" from some retired sheer curtains (washed and sanitized, of course.)
Another great idea this morning. The stones, or glass marbles, would weigh the mint teabag down enough to keep it submerged. That technique could also be used for spices or cinnamon stick, ginger piece, etc.. Just another great tip for my binder. Thankyou guys!
 
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