Fermentation Bucket Size

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joshjacobsen

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Hi all,

I've been making wine from kits and am getting ready to do my first batch from grapes but am having trouble determining what size of fermentation bucket to use after crushing/destemming. More specifically, I know that initially and after punching-down that the skins will repeatedly rise to form a cake but I'm not sure how much headspace to leave in order to avoid spilling over.

Does anyone have some sort of rough guide/chart, ie 75 pounds of grapes = 5 gallons of juice = recommended 10 gallon fermenter?

I know I can guestimate similar to the above but would rather avoid rookie mistakes if possible.

Thanks in advance!
 

Johnd

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Hi all,

I've been making wine from kits and am getting ready to do my first batch from grapes but am having trouble determining what size of fermentation bucket to use after crushing/destemming. More specifically, I know that initially and after punching-down that the skins will repeatedly rise to form a cake but I'm not sure how much headspace to leave in order to avoid spilling over.

Does anyone have some sort of rough guide/chart, ie 75 pounds of grapes = 5 gallons of juice = recommended 10 gallon fermenter?

I know I can guestimate similar to the above but would rather avoid rookie mistakes if possible.

Thanks in advance!
Generally speaking, 3 lugs (36# each) will fill two 5 gallon buckets and yield 6-7 gallons of finished wine.

Your 75# should fit nicely in a 10 gallon fermenter with room for the cap.
 

Johnd

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Thanks John!

So if I go w/ 2 lugs for 5-6gl of wine, will a 7.9gl fermenter suffice or do I absolutely need the 10gl?

Choosing between https://morewinemaking.com/products/plastic-wine-bucket-fermenter-79-gallon.html and https://morewinemaking.com/products/wine-fermenter-10-gallon-fda-plastic.html and just want to be extra certain (not knowing how much the cake will protrude from the must).
I'd say, be safe and get the 10 gallon fermenter.

Edit: you won't get 6 gallons from 75#, it takes more like 100#. When I'm figuring how many lugs I want to fill certain size barrels, I always figure 3 lugs for 6 gallons of wine after all rackings and the wine is finished. That's a little on the conservative side, but it gives me wine for topping up the barrels during aging. My equipment is in 6 gallon increments, 6 gallon carboys, 6 and 12 gallon barrels, and I'm getting a 30 gallon barrel for this fall's harvest.
 
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joshjacobsen

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Ah got it, think I was using a formula of '1 lug = 2.5gl-3gl of juice' that I'd heard previously but now that I think about it, it didn't clarify if it was 'finished' juice (wine).

Given that I'm accustomed to 6gl kits, I assume it makes sense to do 3 lugs using a 10gl fermenter? Apologies for the repeat questions, just looking to be extra sure.

Thanks again!
 

Johnd

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Ah got it, think I was using a formula of '1 lug = 2.5gl-3gl of juice' that I'd heard previously but now that I think about it, it didn't clarify if it was 'finished' juice (wine).

Given that I'm accustomed to 6gl kits, I assume it makes sense to do 3 lugs using a 10gl fermenter? Apologies for the repeat questions, just looking to be extra sure.

Thanks again!
All grapes are different, and the yield varies, but I think you may end up shy in the end. If 6 gallons is your goal, I'd suggest 3 lugs. That will get you roughly 10 gallons of must, so a fermenter larger than 10 gallons will be needed to accommodate the cap, 15 or 20 gallon Brute will work nicely and is not too costly. Once you press and move to glass, you should have 6-7 gallons of wine. When you rack off of the gross lees a few days later, that will reduce further. In addition to your 6 gallon carboy, have a couple of 1 gallon and 1/2 gallon jugs on hand to help manage the volume. In the end, you should have at least one full 6 gallon carboy of finished wine, and a little leftover.

From the numbers above, I have quite a few 1/2 and 1 gallon jugs of wine left over from different batches, for a future blend, or to bottle.
 

Boatboy24

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Agree with John. I usually plan on 2 gallons per lug of finished wine. I will often get more, but after topping up and all transfers, etc; I get 6-ish finished gallons from 3 lugs.

Buying a 'fermenter' may not be the most economical option. A 20gal Brute container with a lid will do just fine and may accommodate a 4th lug, should you ever decide to up the ante.
 
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Floandgary

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Hi all,

I've been making wine from kits and am getting ready to do my first batch from grapes but am having trouble determining what size of fermentation bucket to use after crushing/destemming. More specifically, I know that initially and after punching-down that the skins will repeatedly rise to form a cake but I'm not sure how much headspace to leave in order to avoid spilling over.

Does anyone have some sort of rough guide/chart, ie 75 pounds of grapes = 5 gallons of juice = recommended 10 gallon fermenter?

I know I can guestimate similar to the above but would rather avoid rookie mistakes if possible.

Thanks in advance!
Seriously doubt that there'd ever be any consequence of "going big(ger);)"
 

Ajmassa

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Im using rough guide for vessel size with grapes that overcompensates to be safe. Based on my Chilean:

However many gallons of wine you want to yield overall, assume the skins will equal that volume. Then add some space for the cap floating.

3 lugs= >6gal must +6 gal skins = 12 gal volume. Plus cap room. So 15 gal minimum vessel.

To yield 3 gallons I Did 54 lbs grapes in 7.9 gal pale.
3 gal grape + 3 gal skins + cap. I was about 2 inches from the top of the bucket.
 

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