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First Batch observations from AZ

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JamesGrape

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I just transferred my first 6-gallon batch from primary fermenter to carboy. It is a WE shiraz kit. As expected, it started at 1.097 sg. After 5 days in my DIY temperature-controlled fermentation chamber (72-75 degrees) the sg read 1.002 which was lower than I expected according to my instructions - but it’s my first batch so I don’t have any real basis for comparison. I rack siphoned into a carboy. I tried to get as much of the liquid into the carboy as possible. I was talking to the wife as I did so (not paying attention) and the carboy overflowed. I know know it was foam that caused the overflow. The carboy has just been both sanitized and rinsed.

During the primary fermentation the area where I where I worked with the wine smelled strongly of bread (yeast) and grape even in nearby rooms. So I was glad I was not working in the house, but in an out building.

My instructions said there would be about a gallon of head space that would be needed for later stir-degassing. I thought I only had a neck full of foam so I poured a bit of liquid back into the primary fermenter and later discarded it since I clean up as I go. I put a sanitized bung with airlock into the carboy. The bung would not stay seated until I dried both it and the inside neck of the carboy with a paper towel (a tip from another forum). I put the carboy back into the DIY chamber. When I checked an hour later the liquid level had receded and now I had more headspace than intended. I wished then I had not discarded the earlier excess. Before discarding that material I gave it a quick taste - it tasted grapey and thin.

Now nothing to do with the batch for ten days according to my instructions.

So for other first-timers I would offer:

Doing fermentation inside the home might go easier by warning the family unit about what to expect from smell for about a week. It’s not a bad smell (fresh baking bread and grapes) but it is strong.

Be sure to distinguish foam from liquid. For me both the liquid and foam were so dark and rich in color I could not tell where one ended and the other began.

Don’t be quick to discard any excess.

A wet bung apparently won’t seat in a wet carboy neck, and both must be dried to seat.

I’ll follow up with more observations as I go.
 

Scooter68

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Tip for first use of the bungs. Soak in HOT water for a few minutes. Then seat them - wet or dry - that will make them more pliable and they should stay better. After your first use you'll notice the bung has now conformed better to the shape of the carboy opening.
 
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