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Matteo_Lahm

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The only concerns I can foresee about sloshing around is disturbing the carbon dioxide layer and kicking up sediment.


The instructions for the FWKs are excellent. But, I don't recall if the instructions include this suggestion:

If you're going to snap the lid and add an airlock when your SG reaches 1.010 (without regard for how much the grape skins are still rising above the wine), I suggest gently "sloshing" (agitating) the wine twice a day to keep the skins wet. Dry skins are an invitation for bad outcome.
 

jgmann67

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The only concerns I can foresee about sloshing around is disturbing the carbon dioxide layer and kicking up sediment.
Fair. I always figured that at two weeks, you’re unlikely to generate any “off” flavors from the disturbed sediment and, given how much co2 is in the wine, your risk of oxidation in a sealed fermenter is negligible. I may be wrong. But I figure the risk associated with dry grape skins is greater. Just my opinion.
 

Matteo_Lahm

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When we did the bench trails, the skins didn’t dry out. It stays pretty balmy in that bucket. That said, we are about to run some new tests, I’ll keep it in mind. I appreciate your suggestions. You guys know your stuff and I listen.
 

G259

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My merlot kit is going well. Today is Day 6; the SG is at 1.013, and the must temperature is 76 F. Agree that the instructions are great. However, I found one instruction to be a bit confusing. Step 3, Item 3 reads:

“Stir the must (juice) and “Punch down” the bags twice daily with sanitized utensils until SG reaches 1.010 and do not open bucket until Day 15 when transferring to carboy. …”

Obviously, one cannot stir and punch down without removing the fermenter lid. I think Item 3 should read:

Stir the must (juice) and “punch down” the bags twice daily with sanitized utensils until SG reaches 1.010. After SG reaches this point, close the fermenter and do not open until Day 15 when transferring to carboy. …
LOL! I saw that too, and said 'There's an edit in the making!'
 

sour_grapes

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The only concerns I can foresee about sloshing around is disturbing the carbon dioxide layer and kicking up sediment.
Not sure what you have in mind here. The point of NOT opening the bucket is to preserve the CO2 that is in the bucket's headspace.

There is no such thing as a "layer" of CO2. The gases in the headspace will mix freely (on the timescale of minutes), and any gases that are in the headspace have unfettered access to your wine.
 
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There is no such thing as a "layer" of CO2. The gases in the headspace will mix freely (on the timescale of minutes), and any gases that are in the headspace have unfettered access to your wine.
We've had discussions regarding inserting inert gases, and how it may not protect wine like people think, as the inert gas mixes into the air in the container.

With an actively fermenting wine, or one post-fermentation but outgassing heavily, how does that mix? My assumption -- which may be incorrect -- is that the CO2 coming off the wine steadily, will provide an insulating layer that is continuously renewed. While air will mix into the CO2, the continuous degassing pushes the mix away from the wine.

Also, the outgassing pushes whatever gases are in the container out the lock, with whatever mixture is closest to the lock going first. In theory, continuous outgassing will push all air out the lock, leaving only CO2. This may not be 100% true, but the amount of non-CO2 gases in the container should be very low.

Since we know EC works without sloshing, it may well be that sloshing the mix is counterproductive.
 

Matteo_Lahm

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I may have a simplistic but effective solution for maximizing skin submersion and extraction. Get some clear marbles and weight down the bottom of the muslin bag. Make sure they are clear because colored marbles have trace amounts of heavy metals like lead. You shouldn’t need more than a handful in each bag. This will cause the skin bags to float like a balloon in the wine. It doesn’t even necessarily need to be marbles either. It would just have to be something that is food safe and non-reactive.
Matteo
 
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I may have a simplistic but effective solution for maximizing skin submersion and extraction.
Simplicity is good. Folks (including myself) often over complicate things.

This eliminates punchdown from the process, but the wine still needs to be stirred once or twice per day, before the container is sealed.
 

sour_grapes

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I may have a simplistic but effective solution for maximizing skin submersion and extraction. Get some clear marbles and weight down the bottom of the muslin bag. Make sure they are clear because colored marbles have trace amounts of heavy metals like lead. You shouldn’t need more than a handful in each bag. This will cause the skin bags to float like a balloon in the wine. It doesn’t even necessarily need to be marbles either. It would just have to be something that is food safe and non-reactive.
Matteo
IME, it takes a lot of weight to keep a muslin skin bag submerged during fermentation (at least for conventional wine kits). Way more than a handful of marbles.
 
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ratflinger

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I may have a simplistic but effective solution for maximizing skin submersion and extraction. Get some clear marbles and weight down the bottom of the muslin bag. Make sure they are clear because colored marbles have trace amounts of heavy metals like lead. You shouldn’t need more than a handful in each bag. This will cause the skin bags to float like a balloon in the wine. It doesn’t even necessarily need to be marbles either. It would just have to be something that is food safe and non-reactive.
Matteo
Yes, I use marbles to keep my secondary carboys full. This way I'm not back-filling with other wine. If you look carefully you can find clear marbles still made in the US. I'd never trust Chinese marbles outside of a Chinese Checkers game.
 

dmguptill

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Fair. I always figured that at two weeks, you’re unlikely to generate any “off” flavors from the disturbed sediment and, given how much co2 is in the wine, your risk of oxidation in a sealed fermenter is negligible. I may be wrong. But I figure the risk associated with dry grape skins is greater. Just my opinion.
I don't think sloshing is going to upset settled sediment at the bottom. The majority of the liquid movement when sloshing is at the top of the liquid column. The bottom isn't really affected unless you REALLY slosh hard.

As for the CO2 "layer" I think the comments other folks have made is right: gases will mix fairly readily to make a homogeneous headspace. The exception to this would be if the gases have significantly different densities (like with something like argon), then that will slow down mixing. If the wine is still letting out CO2 and bubbling through the airlock when it is sealed, it will mix with the rest of the headspace and eventually push out all (or effectively all) the oxygen, so as long as it's not opened, it should be all CO2.
 

Bmd2k1

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Simplicity is good. Folks (including myself) often over complicate things.

This eliminates punchdown from the process, but the wine still needs to be stirred once or twice per day, before the container is sealed.
I toss my grape skins in stainless hops cylinders....the kind used for dry hopping beers. Works like a charm :)

Cheers!
 

sour_grapes

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As for the CO2 "layer" I think the comments other folks have made is right: gases will mix fairly readily to make a homogeneous headspace. The exception to this would be if the gases have significantly different densities (like with something like argon), then that will slow down mixing.
Thanks for the agreement. Note that CO2 is actually denser than Ar, so Ar poses no exception. The kinetic energy completely, completely dominates the potential energy (resulting in a uniform distribution of the gases at equilibrium). The diffusion constants of the gases in question suggest that equilibrium is reached in ~minutes.
 

dmguptill

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Thanks for the agreement. Note that CO2 is actually denser than Ar, so Ar poses no exception. The kinetic energy completely, completely dominates the potential energy (resulting in a uniform distribution of the gases at equilibrium). The diffusion constants of the gases in question suggest that equilibrium is reached in ~minutes.
Interesting, I didn't know CO2 was so dense. I had to actually look it up. Argon is more dense than AIR, but I assumed all components of air were also less than argon. Learn something new everyday!
 

Sailor323

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I just tasted my FW Super Tuscan that I bottled at the end of July--Fantastic! Still a bit tannic but already quite drinkable. I also started my second batch of FW Pinot Noir a couple of days ago. The juice in the bag was quite syrupy but about half of the juice in the bag was very pulpy; I had to squeeze it out of the bag.
 

Matteo_Lahm

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argon and CO2 have one thing in common in that they are both heavier than O2. Where they are different is that argon can be used for long-term protection. It’s even heavier than CO2 and it is completely non-reactive because it’s one of the noble gases. CO2 can sit on your wine for some time without causing any problems but if it sits too long, it is my understanding that it can be reabsorbed which is something you don’t want. CO2 is OK earlier in the fermentation process because the wine continues to produce it pushing the gas up and out. How they separate has to do with molecular weight.

Interesting, I didn't know CO2 was so dense. I had to actually look it up. Argon is more dense than AIR, but I assumed all components of air were also less than argon. Learn something new everyday!
 
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