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Going from first to second stage of fermentation

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Wall_of_Paul

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Hello all! I'm new to wine making and just started my first batch on Christmas Eve but I have a few questions as the instructions in my kit don't specify what to do in this situation.

The kit I am making is a WineXpert Pink Moscato and I'm using a fastferment conical system that the local supplier convinced me to get as a starting point. The process has been smooth so far except my airlock system jammed up for a day leading me to believe that the fermentation had stopped after 3 days. I adjusted the lid after another day and it must have nudged it lose because the bubbler started dancing again and has been doing so steadily since.

The instructions say that after 5-7 days I should transition to the second stage of fermentation by racking which is done by removing the collection ball on a fastferment. I am unsure of whether I should proceed yet, though, as the airlock is still dancing right along which tells me that the yeast is still working and generating co2. With tomorrow being day 7, should I still transition to the secondary stage or wait until the activity in the airlock calms down?

Either way I had planned on testing the SG tomorrow just to see if it matches what the instructions indicate I should see at this point.

Happy New Years to you!
 

ceeaton

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Hello all! I'm new to wine making and just started my first batch on Christmas Eve but I have a few questions as the instructions in my kit don't specify what to do in this situation.

The kit I am making is a WineXpert Pink Moscato and I'm using a fastferment conical system that the local supplier convinced me to get as a starting point. The process has been smooth so far except my airlock system jammed up for a day leading me to believe that the fermentation had stopped after 3 days. I adjusted the lid after another day and it must have nudged it lose because the bubbler started dancing again and has been doing so steadily since.

The instructions say that after 5-7 days I should transition to the second stage of fermentation by racking which is done by removing the collection ball on a fastferment. I am unsure of whether I should proceed yet, though, as the airlock is still dancing right along which tells me that the yeast is still working and generating co2. With tomorrow being day 7, should I still transition to the secondary stage or wait until the activity in the airlock calms down?

Either way I had planned on testing the SG tomorrow just to see if it matches what the instructions indicate I should see at this point.

Happy New Years to you!
Hey Wall o' Paul, welcome to WMT!

First thing to learn, patience is a virtue, especially when making wine. Depending on your room temperature, it could take quite a while to reach a point where you need to "remove your collection ball". I don't have a fast ferment, but doing it the traditional way we tend to take SG readings with a hydrometer, when the SG stays constant for 3 days in a row and is low enough to be considered finished (usually below 1.000), it's time to move off of the gross lees (stuff on the bottom of the primary fermenter) into another container and proceed with clarifying/stabilizing (following the kit instructions).

Remember, those instructions are general enough they are trying to cover every possible situation you could run into. Fermenting in winter, if you are in the Northern Hemisphere and it is colder than normal outside, might take some time, so use the "days" per step as a baseline, not a rule. But as a rule, you can add time to the instructions and not harm (and possibly improve) your wine.

Hope that helps!
 

Wall_of_Paul

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Hey Wall o' Paul, welcome to WMT!

First thing to learn, patience is a virtue, especially when making wine. Depending on your room temperature, it could take quite a while to reach a point where you need to "remove your collection ball". I don't have a fast ferment, but doing it the traditional way we tend to take SG readings with a hydrometer, when the SG stays constant for 3 days in a row and is low enough to be considered finished (usually below 1.000), it's time to move off of the gross lees (stuff on the bottom of the primary fermenter) into another container and proceed with clarifying/stabilizing (following the kit instructions).

Remember, those instructions are general enough they are trying to cover every possible situation you could run into. Fermenting in winter, if you are in the Northern Hemisphere and it is colder than normal outside, might take some time, so use the "days" per step as a baseline, not a rule. But as a rule, you can add time to the instructions and not harm (and possibly improve) your wine.

Hope that helps!

Thank you for the welcome and reply!

Thankfully the fastferment has a sample port and came with a hydrometer so I can take SG readings.i plan to take the first reading in the morning and will do another each day until the SG is constant like you advise.

I'm in the polar wind-swept hell known as South Dakota so yes, cold was a big concern as I began reading the instructions to the kit. I hooked up a little DIY system with a heating pad and the thermal jacket that is made for the fastferment so that I could keep the temp perfectly within 73-74 degree range and I'm thankful that so far temps have not been an issue.

The more I research into it, the more I find that people do not think very highly of the fastferment but I'm mostly satisfied thus far as it has made the hobby a little easier to get into for my first few batches and as I learn more I can upgrade into parts that give me more control of the process.

Being my first batch, it's hard to not overthink the process. What's really funny is that I'm not even making it for me but for the wife as it was part of the deal that allowed me to buy a kit and get started.:h my next kit for me will be a cab!
 

ceeaton

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I started out, and still make lots of wine for my wife too. If she's happy I get to order more kits/raw ingredients!

Cold like you have will slow it down, nice that there is a heating component to the fast ferment. Don't worry about what others think, if it works for you by all means use it.
 

Spartan160

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Stabalizing and Clearing

i am using the FastFermenter and I'm a little confused. I saw in a couple of forums that you only empty the collection ball one time. Yet my Wine Expert says I have to stir the sediment back into suspension during step #3. Anyone have some advice on what I should do?
 

Johnd

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i am using the FastFermenter and I'm a little confused. I saw in a couple of forums that you only empty the collection ball one time. Yet my Wine Expert says I have to stir the sediment back into suspension during step #3. Anyone have some advice on what I should do?
You should follow the instructions, stir the sediment back into suspension as you add your chems and fining agents.

Having said that, and I know many others will agree having done it, many times I've left the sediment behind and the clearing agents have worked just fine.
 

Ajmassa

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i am using the FastFermenter and I'm a little confused. I saw in a couple of forums that you only empty the collection ball one time. Yet my Wine Expert says I have to stir the sediment back into suspension during step #3. Anyone have some advice on what I should do?

It's not going to 'make or break' the wine if you do not mix sediment back in for clearing. The only possible negative will be it may just take slightly longer to clear. I just asked about this exact thing on my most recent kit as I was also unable to stir lees back up into wine.
I'm assuming this is a question because all your sediment is in that little ball already separated from the wine? If you use the fast fermenter in a future kit, check to see if it calls for the sediment to be mixed in for clearing before you start. Then you could just lock up that "sediment ball" thing until after this step (assuming that's possible).
If u still wanted to dump that ball back into the wine for the clearing as instructed, I don't think that would do any harm.
 
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cgallamo

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i am using the FastFermenter and I'm a little confused. I saw in a couple of forums that you only empty the collection ball one time. Yet my Wine Expert says I have to stir the sediment back into suspension during step #3. Anyone have some advice on what I should do?
I use the fast fermenter for whites. I do not attach the ball until I am ready to remove sediment specifically so I can stir it into the wine. Once I am ready to go to secondary I add the ball, drop the sediment, stir a couple more times over 12-24 hours until all the sediment drops in the ball and then remove the ball and transfer to glass.
 

Wall_of_Paul

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As others have stated here and since the time of my original post; I use a fastferment for all of my kits which I have come to appreciate for the simplicity of moving from primary to secondary. After the primary ends and I close the valve, I do not reattach the collection ball at all so all the secondary sediment collects just above the ball which follow the instructions of most winexpert kits. Once my SG hits the mark after secondary, I follow the instructions to stir up the sediment, mix my F-pack (depending on kit) and other clarifiers and use a drill attached whip to start degassing. Then I attach the hose to the collection ball and drain directly into a glass carbon and degas using the AIO vacuum pump until I feel satisfied that there is no gas left.

The other comments here have summed up things perfectly for any newbie. If you aren't sure, just wait until you are. Things tend to work out better with more time versus what you get when not enough time is used. Having made incredibly dumb and unique mistakes on nearly every kits I've made now, it's safe to say that nothing is perment and time can be your band-aid.

The irony here is that I started this thread and I've made about 7 more kits and a dragons blood recipe since the original posting so if nothing else my own leanings may be useful to others out there even if the time frame is short. My wife thinks that I may have OCD and starting to make wine has only confirmed her fears. Somehow, she seems to be enjoying the fruits of my labor so make of it what you will :h
 
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