Large-ish plastic maceration tank?

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JustinTG

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Does anyone know of a good source for large (1000L/265G minimum capacity) plastic tanks for crushing and maceration?

It seems like the ones made specifically for wine are only marginally cheaper than stainless, and I was hoping to save a few bucks by going with plastic.

All suggestions welcome and sorry if this topic been covered, I couldn't find a related thread.
 

JustinTG

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Thank you. I think you are referring to the square totes like this, right?


Food grade and probably not the refurbished one.

I was thinking about those but was wondering about the top. I assume that the only top is the smallish screw on lid which would not be sufficient for cap management, so the path would be to cut a larger hole in the top. Does that track?

I'm also wondering if a hole too large can jeopardize the sturdiness of the tank.
 

hawkwing

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You can get used ones really cheap. I’ve seen them for less than $50. Lots of guys here get them to put used oil in. Just have to make sure you know what was in them. I imaging you could cut a larger hole without having the tank collapse. If you cut the whole top off you might have to support the sides.
 

BarrelMonkey

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Thank you. I think you are referring to the square totes like this, right?


Food grade and probably not the refurbished one.

I was thinking about those but was wondering about the top. I assume that the only top is the smallish screw on lid which would not be sufficient for cap management, so the path would be to cut a larger hole in the top. Does that track?

I'm also wondering if a hole too large can jeopardize the sturdiness of the tank.

The tanks that I'm familiar with have a much larger port in the top:

 

JustinTG

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Yes, that looks about the right size hole. Any experience macerating in such a tank? I imagine cap management can get a little tricky due to having to punch down the sides that might be a bit out of reach. Also, there is more surface area for oxidation that has me a bit concerned.
 

BarrelMonkey

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Yes, that looks about the right size hole. Any experience macerating in such a tank? I imagine cap management can get a little tricky due to having to punch down the sides that might be a bit out of reach. Also, there is more surface area for oxidation that has me a bit concerned.

I've never used that sort of tank for maceration, only storage. I'd probably prefer an open top bin wth a lid for maceration and deal with oxidation another way, eg by maintaining a blanket of CO2 on top using dry ice.
 

Fox Squirrel Vin

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The tanks that I'm familiar with have a much larger port in the top:

Good stuff. Thew lids are 19 inches, you can crawl in them. They also have large, open top macerating tanks with lids that are the full diameter.
 

JustinTG

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Good stuff. Thew lids are 19 inches, you can crawl in them. They also have large, open top macerating tanks with lids that are the full diameter.

I'm sure they are quality, but are also one of the ones I saw that were only a bit - if at all- cheaper than stainless. Maybe that means they're actually better.
 

BarrelMonkey

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Does the fermentation itself not produce enough CO2?

If it's for maceration, that will typically be before or after fermentation. It depends on your environment - when the must is not producing CO2 there's a danger that flies, etc might take an interest in it.
 
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JustinTG

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If it's for maceration, that will typically be before or after fermentation. It depends on your environment - when the must is not producing CO2 there's a danger that flies, etc might take an interest in it.
Ah OK. I don't think we'll leave them on the skins too long after fermentation. I guess my original concern was that if the large surface area would mean that the co2 during fermentation wouldn't be enough to protect the wine.
 

JustinTG

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Would it be possible to just hold the grapes under the juice with a mesh bag and/or weights and then airlock the tank?

Hmmm two questions come to mind there. First, is it OK to simply keep the skins submerged vs punching down? I'm not familiar with the relative pros and cons.

More logistically, it might be tough to get the proper mesh and weighting with such a small hole. On the other hand, if I saw a bigger hole, could I find an airlock big enough? U was thinking about cutting a hole about the size of a barrel head.
 

Jim Welch

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I'm also wondering if a hole too large can jeopardize the sturdiness of the tank.
I can only speak to this part of your post. I’ve seen these in an industrial setting with the entire top of the plastic bin cut off and filled with water. They do not collapse but do bulge a bit.
 

BarrelMonkey

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@JustinTG Have you considered using a macro bin? Post #15 leaves me with the question of what you're really trying to accomplish. Is it your intention to submerse the skins of 200+ gallons of must? Trying to put all this together.

That's what I'd do (or indeed what I have done... :)). Though in my case I wasn't doing extended maceration so much as just protecting the wine for a couple of days until I had a chance to press it off.
 

JustinTG

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@crushday @BarrelMonkey Sorry for the late response, I didn't get a notification of a response.

Basically what I want to do is ferment as close to dry as possible on the skins, but I would be happy with pulling it off of the skins after, say, 2 weeks. So I am not sure how much of that is technically considered fermentation vs maceration, but that is my plans.
 

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