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Mar 14, 2010
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"Long time listener, first time caller...."....wait wrong show....

I got this silly 'bug', as the wife says, to start this hobby awhile ago. Finally went out and bit the bug and jumped in with two feet...too late to look back now!

First fermentation started today...RJ Spagnolis, Johannesburg Riesling....Pitched at 1pm and by 7pm had active, slow but active, bubbling in the air lock.

14 more days to go, until I transfer.

One quick question, the gentleman at the store talked me out of using a hydrometer....he said with kits it is not really necessary. That he has been doing this for years, and with all the kit wines...if it says after 10 days the SG will be 'whatever', he said it is always that number. Basically that the kits are dummy proof. So I took his word. Question is: was it good advice, or before day 10 shall I go get a hydrometer?

Hopefully this bug has bitten me...thinking strawberry and banana.....
Arrrgh! Always use a hydrometer!
Oh, appease the wife too!
That is the stupidest thing Ive ever heard in my life! If you have a problem with this or any wine(especially this one as its guaranteed by the manufacturer) they will want the starting gravity and the gravity that your at and you wont have the answers! there have been a few times that these kits were not manufactured right and you would never know do to starting this without a hydro. Screw that idiot and get one as youll really need it when starting to make scratch wines from fresh fruit.
A hydrometer is a must. Every kit set of directions I've seen asks for you to record the starting SG and to perform certain actions at SG levels.
Merch, That guy is a cowboy flying by the seat of his pants. My basement is 68 degrees and if I went by the days listed instead of SG readings my wine would be way off. I wonder if that guy bottles according to the days posted or does he visually look to see if the wine is actually clear first.
A HYDROMETER should have been in the "equipment kit". This guy must be "hired" help.
Get a hydrometer.
That is one poor shop owner.

Damn, he could have rang up a 9.99 hydrometer but he talked you out of it. :slp
Also talked me out of an Auto Siphon. I decided to go with a better bottle...and now I am not sure it was the best idea.

Oh well. Live and learn. Guess I will stop by the other HBS and get a hydro.

These new guys will fall for anything...someone have a bridge to sell or maybe some ocean front property in Nevada????
At least he didn't try to talk you out of a fermenting vessel(bucket).

Yeah thats a good one! What an idiot. Don't take any more of his advice. Great group of makers in here who are happy to share their tried and true experiences with you. Just ask.

We won't even charge you a dime!
seem to be alot of threads lately about LHBS staffers taking out of their ***.
it is really too bad. they spoil it for the few who actually do have something to offer.

an auto-siphon is a great tool to have, as is a hydrometer... almost any problem you have, after you explain it, the question back to you will be, what/s the SG? def nice to have a hydrometer.
The auto siphon is a great tool that will make your life easier. I like a retailor tyat talks you out of bug stuff you dont need but the stuff yiu do need is just dumb, what in the world was this person thinking? Did this person tell you to put the corks in by hand also without anykind of corker?
this thread cracks me up. not only does he talk you out of buying things, which normally might not be a bad thing, but in this case is the opposite. the more information you can get while making wine, the better. you will learn what's good/bad for each individual wine. i've never made a "kit," but the tools will still help. i don't know how many kit threads i've read about people following them to a "T." i think it's not a bad idea for consistency, but knowing the "why's" and "how to" is part of the fun. gotta have a few tools to get results. then you can pretty much ferment anything. lol. believe me, i've tried. :p

the tools really are not expensive when you think how much a descent commercial wine costs and how much you spend annually. you can do without a pH tester, but it's best if you ever do wine from raw fruit

the main tools:
large bucket (lid optional but i always use one when fermenting)
carboys (the more the better! different sizes are good too)
bottler filler
pH tester (papers, titration/color mixing method, or eletrode/electronic style <best)

here's a list of terms, just FYI

oh and WELCOME! strawberry is a good wine, but not easy for a beginner. would this be a kit?

don't worry about the wife. she'll have a grin when you open a bottle!
Yeah - you would definitely benefit from those tools - i would not recommend listening to anymore of their advice. If you have questions feel free to post here. As you can see - you will get a lot of responses.
Wow... that's crazy. A hydrometer (or refractometer if you want to get spendy) is one of the most useful tools in wine making/homebrewing. I couldn't imagine making something without getting decent gravity/brix readings throughout the process.

The shop owner is correct in that you can likely make your kit wine by simply following the instructions by day, assuming nothing goes wrong... but you won't know why and how it is happening without readings to work off of. Then when you want to make something from scratch, and you will, you will have gained no knowledge or experience from the batches of kit wine you have made.

What I found especially funny is that the shop owner told you that you just had to follow the instructions... yet the instructions on many kits will tell you to transfer at certain gravity levels. Yet... you can only determine these levels with a hydrometer or refractometer. LOL
Guess if you were an electrician you wouldn't necessarily need a circut tester. You can take your chances and hope you don't get zapped.
Thanks for the answers. It would appear that I have more shopping to do, which is what I expected.

Already figuring out the next batch...when I should really be concentrating on finding all these darn bottles I have been giving the recycling guy.......


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