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First Juice Bucket. What to add?

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jsbeckton

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I have made about 6 WE Eclipse kits and wanted to try a juice bucket for my next wine. I live near Pittsburgh and there are some distributors here that get pure (non-concentrate) California juice starting in a few weeks.

I want to try this but wasn't sure about the oak levels since the kits had already provided this before. Should I get powder/chips for primary or wait until fermentation is complete and get cubes/spirals. Is there a rule of thumb for how much to start with for Cabernet/Merlot?

Any other tips or suggestions when going from kits to juice buckets?
 

jgmann67

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I have made about 6 WE Eclipse kits and wanted to try a juice bucket for my next wine. I live near Pittsburgh and there are some distributors here that get pure (non-concentrate) California juice starting in a few weeks.

I want to try this but wasn't sure about the oak levels since the kits had already provided this before. Should I get powder/chips for primary or wait until fermentation is complete and get cubes/spirals. Is there a rule of thumb for how much to start with for Cabernet/Merlot?

Any other tips or suggestions when going from kits to juice buckets?

Like kits, get the best you can afford. Unlike kits, fresh juice hasn't been engineered to be nearly fool proof. You might think about buying a lug of grapes to drop into the juice - add body, color and flavor. If you go with a lug, you'll need a bigger primary container.

Also, get to know the entire process - what do you need for primary? Doing an MLF? What about your yeast? Nutrients? Tannin? And, of course, Oak? How do you plan on testing your pH and TA?

What I'm asking: Do you have an informed plan of attack? Check the resources on MoreWine.com.

https://morewinemaking.com/content/manuals

I'm pretty sure there's a book you can download that will help fill in some details for you.
 
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wpt-me

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This will be my first, been looking at what is Involved. I was thinking 71b for yeast for a Pino Grigio pail.
Hoping that it will be ph and ta set to start , don't have equipment to check things. We will see!!

Bill
 

Boatboy24

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This will be my first, been looking at what is Involved. I was thinking 71b for yeast for a Pino Grigio pail.
Hoping that it will be ph and ta set to start , don't have equipment to check things. We will see!!

Bill
Bill,

You can get a cheap pH meter and that will help tremendously. Of course, you'll need calibration solution as well.

The one I have is no longer available, but there are many just like it. If I recall correctly, it was only about 15 bucks.

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00NL0BVAY/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
 
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J-Hat

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I'm kind of in the same boat, just haven't pulled the trigger on a juice/must pail yet, still collecting equipment so I don't have too many hiccups.

The equipment I've noticed I will want/need moving from kit to Juice would be;
A larger primary (20 Gallon)

Something to test the TA and PH

MLF equipment for testing completion

Oak Spirals, since I probably won't get a barrel right off I still want a longer released oak

Different sized secondaries, i mainly have 6 gallon carboys (for kits) so i'd want some 3s 1s and .5s, although pales of must may be more accurate than i predict.
 

jsbeckton

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I asked them if I would need to make any adjustments before fermentation and here is what they said:

. pH adjustment in most batches is unnecessary. Brix are fixed at 23 degrees. You may want to tweak your acid levels some, but they usually fall in around 4.5 to 5 grams per liter on reds , slightly higher on the whites.
 

jgmann67

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I asked them if I would need to make any adjustments before fermentation and here is what they said:

. pH adjustment in most batches is unnecessary. Brix are fixed at 23 degrees. You may want to tweak your acid levels some, but they usually fall in around 4.5 to 5 grams per liter on reds , slightly higher on the whites.

Your pH can, and usually will, change during the winemaking process (TA too)
 

Ajmassa

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I asked them if I would need to make any adjustments before fermentation and here is what they said:

. pH adjustment in most batches is unnecessary. Brix are fixed at 23 degrees. You may want to tweak your acid levels some, but they usually fall in around 4.5 to 5 grams per liter on reds , slightly higher on the whites.

My family would do grapes and a couple juice pales every year. They Never adjusted anything- heck they never checked anything. But always ended up some decent wine.
 

jsbeckton

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They said I can add grapes but that it's not necessary.

How much should I add and won't this change the OG?
 

heatherd

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They said I can add grapes but that it's not necessary.

How much should I add and won't this change the OG?
@jsbeckton You are correct that a pinot grigio doesn't need grapes added, that's something I do to red juice buckets.

Without a pH meter, I would ferment the bucket to dry and then add tartaric acid to your taste. That will make a duller wine have brighter taste.

Also, it may be worth tasting a pinot grigio that you like, and then aim to make yours similar.
 

jsbeckton

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I'm likely going do a merlot and a Cabernet so looks like I need grapes. What kind of grapes and how much should I add?

Should I just smash them? I don't have any equipment because I have only made kits so far.
 

jsbeckton

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Would I be better off doing another Eclipse kit and then reusing the skins? Could I reuse merlot skins for a Cabernet?
 

cmason1957

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Would I be better off doing another Eclipse kit and then reusing the skins? Could I reuse merlot skins for a Cabernet?

You certainly can use merlot skins in a Cabernet. For what it is worth, I'm not certain that Merlot kits come with Merlot skins. And one further thing, those skins have given up pretty much everything they have to give, so I'm not sure you will get much from them using them a second time.
 

Ajmassa

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Would I be better off doing another Eclipse kit and then reusing the skins? Could I reuse merlot skins for a Cabernet?

As Cmason said- just skins won't do what your looking for it to do. Plus a grape lug to go along wouldn't need equipment- just a 2x4 and a bucket!
And it's fun to change the varietal to make a cool blend. For a cab or a merlot pail (some sell a cab/merlot mixed pail) you could get a ton of diff grapes and have it work well. Syrah, Sangiovese, or merlot or Cab for a Tuscan/chianti style. Or "Bordeaux-ish" go Cab Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot, or carmenere. And even tempernillo maybe ------- I digress.
just keep in mind you end up with a funky sized 8 gal batch

I did a cab from grapes a week before a juice pail with the skins added to the juice pail primary. Plus about 10 lbs of actual grapes added. The juice pail is coming along very good. And I'm very happy with it. But the grape batch is still noticeably better. All that to say if Choosing skins or grapes--go grapes if you can.
Or just do a straight juice pail. I know they get mixed reviews on here but the best wine i've made to date was from juice (my grape wines aren't bottled yet) . And with nothing added at all. Just yeast. At 1 yr it was pretty good and was gone by 1.5 yrs. But then I found a straggler bottle aged over three years at that point and it was freaking incredible. I couldn't believe how well it aged. Better than any other juice batch or kit I've done. (Cab Sav Regina Juice bucket)
I've seen people whove just done kits be hesitant to "move up" to juice pails, but I think it should be the opposite. Juice pails are easy peasy compared to kits. No degassing or agents or confusing instructions. And can be as simple as yeast, k-meta and Father Time. And can make some damn good wine.

As far as your original question I have been using this additive pack and I love it. And only $5. It's all prepackaged for a 6 gal batch. And then I'd just add an oak spiral during bulk as needed.
https://morewinemaking.com/products/additive-pack-brehm-frozen-fruit-reds.html
 
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jsbeckton

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Wow, I didn't know that they made those additive packs. Sounds like a straight juice bucket and additive packet is worth a shot so that's what I'll do this time. I'm not sure what I would do with an odd size line 8 gal anyways. Thanks!
 

jsbeckton

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Looks like I am set with the additive packet but had a few additional questions:

Should I add Kmeta before yeast? How much and how long before yeast?

How important is MLF and should it be done during or after fermentation?
 

Ajmassa

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Thats an "it depends" across the board for those questions.
Kmeta before fermentation is a personal choice. Many do. Many don't. I never have. Make note that too much so2 can keep MLF from starting.


MLF -not important. You can definitely make good wine without it. But certainly will help make better wine. (At least they say. "THEY" have more experience and more refined palates) I think mostly all commercial red wine goes thru MLF.

MLF is suggested to be done after fermentation , but can also be added during- with pros and cons from each method.
I did during. And will add during again solely because it worked for me the 1st time. (added right after the yeast shows strong activity).
 

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