How critical is temp during primary? Skins mesh??

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Ajmassa

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I decided try out the kits for the 1st time and I jumped head first. Started an Eclipse 6 ga. Bravado w/ skins and a 1 ga World Vineyard Pinot Noir. I started both at the same time last night. Also have a carboy in same room ready to bottle currently at 61degrees. In basement not heated.
The two primary buckets read 68 degrees and I added yeast anyway. (Directions say between "Important**72-75 degrees** ). I never got crazy with exact temps with juice batches in the past. I imagine temp will eventually drop as time goes.

Question 1
Will this have any more effect other than fermentation taking a little longer to start or is there other potential damage possible?? Should I get a space heater? Moving to different area of house not an option. Currently in the doghouse with my wife, and I am not rocking that boat.

Question 2
When adding skins to the mesh bag directions said to leave room for skins to flow within. I just kinda winged that step. How vital is this, as my skins seem pretty packed inside that mesh in spite of extra space ??
 

Ajmassa

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Question 3
Seems like there is no 1definite answer to this ever but here goes. During primary while in buckets, keep lids on tight with airlock (as per directions) or leave on loosely ( the way I've always done it) maybe even a sliver exposed?? Seems like '6 to one, half a dozen to the other' to me.
This might be a little nitpicky of a question, but that Bravado was damn expensive. And I refuse to let uncertainty without asking be the cause of failure.
Thanks.
AJ
 

AZMDTed

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AJ, here's my advice:

As for the lower temp, it is most likely that the yeast included with the kit will survive and eventually work at that temperature. Check the yeast type and look up its temperature range to be sure. If it is rated for that range you will likely have a slow start to your fermentation and it will take longer. Another thing to keep in mind is that in general reds with grape skin packs will do a better job extracting as much as possible from the skins with a higher temperature fermentation. Once it get's going the fermentation will raise the temperature, but the lower ambient temperature will moderate it and keep it overall lower than you may want in the best case scenario. No doubt many others have fermented at lower temperatures and will say that they had no problem. I just know that according to UC Davis studies reds on skins get the best extraction at higher temps, even if it results in a shorter fermentation time. Also lower temperatures will make it much harder to get the wine degassed. If you want to bottle it early then having a higher temp to facilitate degassing is critical. If you're going to let it age in a carboy for 9 months then you may not have an issue.

As for the lid, I vote for keeping it on loose, but covered to keep dust and bugs out. The yeast need oxygen during primary so no need to lock it down.
 
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Arne

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The lower temps. will usually let you ferment out, but they can stop the ferment from starting and they will probably make the ferment go slower. Also at the end of the ferment they can make the ferment stick and stop before it is quite done. They make something called a abrew belt that you can put around your carboy and it will help the temps stay higher. (It is really just and electric heater) On your other question, you will probably be ok, but I would give the bag a squeeze once in a while to move things around in there.
If you ferment this the way you are saying, make sure you follow the hydrometer and not number of days as it will probably take longer for everything. Good luck with it, Arne.
 

Brickhouse

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I'm new to this, so I can't speak to what works or doesn't. But I can tell you with both kits I'm in the middle of now I did a loose cover on the lid. Both had no issues in fermentation.
 

Scooter68

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The strong smell of an active fermentation is a siren song to bugs of all types.

During Fermentation it's best to keep your bucket covered to prevent invasion by fruit flies and other critters that can bring with them bacteria. A loose lid might work but I normally use a cloth with a string tied around the top to make sure. The cloth allows some air which is a good thing during early fermentation but some folks have success using an airlock from the start. By the way bugs can bring with them the bacteria that can turn wine into vinegar.
 

hounddawg

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scooter i find it shocking that you will not share a tiny bit of wine with a few poor ole bugs, i bet you missed my dumb ***, LOL
DAWG:HB





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The strong smell of an active fermentation is a siren song to bugs of all types.

During Fermentation it's best to keep your bucket covered to prevent invasion by fruit flies and other critters that can bring with them bacteria. A loose lid might work but I normally use a cloth with a string tied around the top to make sure. The cloth allows some air which is a good thing during early fermentation but some folks have success using an airlock from the start. By the way bugs can bring with them the bacteria that can turn wine into vinegar.
 

Ajmassa

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Well I'm not sure how this primary would be if I had allowed the temps to stay in the mid 60's. After 24 hrs I set up a space heater and got them stable between 72-75 degrees. (Which was tough with a 6 gal and 1 gal going together with the 1 gal Pinot noir' smaller volume allowing it to change temp much quicker).
24 hours at mid 60's I could hear and smell ferment just about starting. But A couple hours mid 70's the 6 gal Tuscan really starting to get going. The Pinot not so much.
But by this morning they were both happily bubbling away. All is well. Getting a brew belt today probably. Space heater running all day while nobody is home makes me nervous.
ImageUploadedByWine Making1484307134.530098.jpgImageUploadedByWine Making1484307193.625994.jpg
Wednesday night yeast added

ImageUploadedByWine Making1484307273.319156.jpg
Last night raised temps and kicked it in even more

ImageUploadedByWine Making1484307340.102152.jpg
By this morning they both are going very well.
 

NorCal

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You want it just warm enough so that the must will ferment, but not so cold that things go bad; other things start growing in there. During the summer time it is so blasted hot here, our big fight is to reduce fermentation temps, thus the "ice bombs".


Our 1,000 pounds of Chardonnay this year, fermenting in air conditioned space with rotating ice bombs.
 

Redbird1

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Since I was a brewer first, I've used my old reliable method of putting the bucket into a big plastic tote filled with water and rotate out 20 oz. frozen water bottles, at least for whites. I can maintain the temp of the water around 63-65 degrees or so, which I estimate puts the must in the 67-68 degree range during the height of fermentation. I bought a thermowell that I plan to put into the must along with my Inkbird probe on my next white to get a more accurate reading.
 

Scooter68

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In the winter our 'other house' is kept at 55 degrees. Not good for fermentation but fine for cooling and aging my wine. The basement usually stays about the same as the upstairs except in summer when it's normally no more than 75 degrees while the upstairs thermostat is left at 8O as the house is not occupied. So my wine making has to sort of work around those temps EXCEPT when I bring my bucket up to our other house and use a back bathroom. I have to warm it some but I don't worry about running a space heater like this one. Being oil filled the heat is fairly steady and I consider this a pretty safe unit to let go on it's own. The ones I have just have numerical heat setting not a true temp thermostat but it works pretty well. Right now I have a couple of 2.5 gallon batches just starting fermentation a Zinfandel and Blush Zinfandel (Sun Country wine base concentrates - 1 can each) They smell great right now, Just checked them as I started this post) Temp in the back bathroom is right at 72.5 and I'll probably slide that back a bit in a day or two. Pitched the yeast just about 38 hrs ago and there's a nice modest foam cap on both buckets. Had to leave the room quickly I wanted to just stand there inhaling the aroma.

I'm thinking about just going with the flow in the future:
1) Start my wines in the spring/summer when the fresh fruit is readily available.
2) The house and basement are at good temps for fermentation and gassing off afterwards.
3) Then as fall and winter set in the basement temps drop and the wine should age nicely down there.
4) Then when spring/summer rolls around I can bottle my 1 year old wines at a warmer temp and avoid any temp increases pushing out corks.

I suspect that that was how folks made wine in the olden days before our wonderful A/C and Heating systems were able to keep set temps all year round. The "New Wines" were immature and sharper on the tongue but if the maker could keep back enough to let it age another year their wines were much better and became the "Good Wine" kept for the best guests and special occasions.

Oil Space Heater.jpg
 
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Ajmassa

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Well the temperature in my area has been annoying for my primary. Went from over 60 yesterday to snowing tomorrow. Stabilizing my soon-to-be wine is my current goal. Had heat tape which is used for unfreezing pipes and looks exactly like a brew belt, but discover it has a thermostat only allows it to work under 38°. To bypass this electrically is too much everything. (Soldering/wiring, some other sort of temp control = no thanks)
Currently have my job site electric space heater with a very basic thermostat on it set up. But finding the perfect set up for stable fermenting temperatures is not easy with a 6 gal and 1 gal going same time. No to mention the electric bill and also the fire risk leaving that on all day in an empty house.
Could go Brewbelts or Fermoblankets I guess but their effectiveness to their cost seems like I might end up just wasting money there.
My solution? Submersible aquarium heater with built-in thermostat sold locally for less than 10 bucks. Thank God for the Internet!
Yes, I know it's not food grade. And yes, I also know the different potential risks. The plan is to put my fermenters in my large Tupperware bin (or big cooler) filling with water and allowing the heater to work at the outside water, hopefully stabilizing my temps within the buckets. I think it should work.
 

Johnd

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Just be careful with the aquarium heater. I recall seeing a post here a while back about one that wasn't secured well and it shifted, allowing the hot glass tube to come into contact with the plastic fermenter. It melted the fermenter.
 

Ajmassa

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Well here it is. Not too much of a hassle at all once I had the right size container and the heater, which cost $13.00 at PetSmart. The submersible Heater is only 25 watt and has a basic "high/low" dial with the median setting pre-set at 70°.
Seems legit. Or as we say at my job, "Not just good, good enough!" And no more space heater fire risk or high electric.
ImageUploadedByWine Making1484533809.148815.jpgImageUploadedByWine Making1484533844.337837.jpg
 

jumby

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During the winter months I use a aquarium heater in all fermentation's. Buy the cheapest one you can find, drop in your fermenting bucket and your good to go. Most are preset at the correct temp for fermentation. Tropical fish prefer the same temperature as yeast.
 
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