Making my first-ever batch, need help.

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justinm1789

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So.. I jumped directly from a 2-gallon beer kit as my first brewing experiment to an ambitious 7 gallons of red wine, and I fear that I may have bit off more than I can chew. Looking for input in managing this, and potentially creating something drinkable. This is a fairly humble homebrew operation, so I don't have access to anything elaborate at the moment. If anything, I can purchase a siphon filter and additives if necessary.

7 gallon fermenter, 6-ish gallons of 100% grape juice, 1-ish gallon of water/sugar/energizer/nutrient mixture. Aiming for a high ABV, used a mixture of turbo yeast and ale yeast. As I'd hoped for, the fermentation was observably violent.

How long to ferment? Should I filter? Should I add anything in secondary? I'm flying blind, here. Any tips would be helpful. I'm not looking to win over refined palettes, here, just want to create something drinkable for my old college buddies.

Thanks.

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Putterrr

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at the very least you need to purchase a hydrometer to see how the fermentation is progressing. It will tell you when to rack to the secondary. I usually rack when the specific gravity gets to 1.000. Here is a thread with a video on how to use a hydrometer. Happy brewing

http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/showthread.php?t=10346

cheers
 

Johnd

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I can purchase a siphon filter and additives if necessary.

7 gallon fermenter, 6-ish gallons of 100% grape juice, 1-ish gallon of water/sugar/energizer/nutrient mixture. Aiming for a high ABV, used a mixture of turbo yeast and ale yeast. As I'd hoped for, the fermentation was observably violent.

How long to ferment? Should I filter? Should I add anything in secondary? I'm flying blind, here. Any tips would be helpful. I'm not looking to win over refined palettes, here, just want to create something drinkable for my old college buddies.
Yes, you should get hold of some type of siphon / hose / racking cane to allow you to rack your wine properly.

Safe to assume that you understand and practice sanitizing with your beer background??

You should ferment until all of the sugar has been depleted by the yeast. Some folks move their wine from the initial fermentation vessel (normally an open top type vessel) into a less open vessel (normally a carboy type vessel) to manage oxygen exposure / reduce headspace. Some move wine as it nears completion (SG <1.010 - get a hydrometer), some will put a lid / airlock on at that time to control the oxygen exposure, and rack to a carboy after AF is complete. You're fermenting in an airlocked Fermonster type vessel, and could choose either method.

Once fermentation has completed (when the SG is below 1.000, AND doesn't change for three days straight), I recommend the following:

1. Rack to a properly sized vessel to eliminate headspace, leave lees behind
2. Add 1/4 tsp sulfite to protect wine from bacteria and oxidation, exert 3 months until bottled
3. Time and gravity will clear your wine, and they all clear differently time wise. Wait for nature if you like. Filter if you like. Use clearing agents if you like (bentonite/chitosan is a combo I use and am pleased with).
4. If you desire sweeter wine, make sure that before you add your sugar, you use a proper dose of potassium sorbate to prevent renewed fermentation.

As far as the ABV, that ship has sailed. We determine ABV by knowing and adjusting the sugar content (measured as SG or BRIX) prior to fermentation, and comparing it to the final SG or BRIX after fermentation. The difference in the two determines how much sugar has been converted to alcohol and hence, the ABV. If you don't know where you started, it's difficult to pinpoint the final ABV.
 
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