Making wine without yeast from juice pail?

Discussion in 'Beginners Wine Making Forum' started by crabjoe, Sep 15, 2019.

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  1. Sep 15, 2019 #1

    crabjoe

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    I just stopped and picked up a 6 gal pail of pinot gris juice.

    When i asked the seller if I could use the pail it came in to ferment, he says.. all you need to do is open the pail, stir the Lee's, put lid back on , place in room temp and leave it sit to ferment.. around 28 days.

    When I said, shouldn't I sulfate it, wait 24 hrs then add yeast, he said there was no reason to do such.. that the natural yeasts would take care of it. I asked about an airlock and he said I didn't need one because the lid on the pail had a one way rubber valve to release CO2.

    Has anyone heard such a thing?

    Should I follow his instructions, or should I use some yeast?

    Thanks!
     
  2. Sep 15, 2019 #2

    stickman

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    One way or another the pail of juice will ferment, the only issue is what will it taste like. Many of the old guys let it ferment on its own, sometimes it turns out good and sometimes not so good, but they'll drink it no matter what it tastes like. Adding yeast and nutrients increases the odds for a complete fermentation.
     
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  3. Sep 15, 2019 #3

    Scooter68

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    1) First issue - "28 days" There is no hard fast rule to the fermentation time for a wine. It could be done much faster than that and what is "Room Temperature?"
    2) "Leave it sit" - Most wines need a little stirring at least for few days.
    3) How full is the bucket. An active fermentation with an unknown yeast could produce a big messy overflow of foam on your floor.
    4) What sort of seal are they talking about. Most lids only have that factory seal and they aren't design to do an ongoing release of pressure. Fit with a cloth cover OR put an airlock on the lid if you really want to use that lid.

    Bottom line when you hear such simplistic solutions to real and valid questions - go elsewhere. OR do as you mentioned - go with the safe and sure practices. Most reputable suppliers will give more specific and clear guidance. Just letting it sit is not specific and clear enough.
     
  4. Sep 15, 2019 #4

    crabjoe

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    Do you think I can ferment it in the pail it came in?
     
  5. Sep 15, 2019 #5

    Scooter68

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    Depends on how much space is left in the orginal pail and which yeast you use. If it's really full you ought to consider taking out a gallon and fermenting that in a separate container (Smaller 2 gallon fermentor)
     
  6. Sep 15, 2019 #6

    crabjoe

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    How much head space will I need? Is an inch of space enough?

    I haven't made it home to check.. I stopped at Guinness brewery in Baltimore.. so I've been hanging out.
     
  7. Sep 15, 2019 #7

    Scooter68

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    Yeah - I'd put some in another bucket. That's cutting things way too close on space.
     
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  8. Sep 16, 2019 #8

    crabjoe

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    I've got an 8 gallon bucket, but I have SP in it. The next largest thing I have is a 6.5gal big mouth carboy. Do you think that'll be large enough? If not, I guess I could more the SP to the 6.5 gal bucket then move the pinot grigio juice the 8 gal bucket.

    BTW, how long can I keep it in it's bucket, since I haven't opened it yet, before I have to use it? I ordered a carboy cleaner and I haven't received it it.. That's partly why I'm wondering if I can use the bucket it came in... since I don't have a safe way (prevent scratching) to clean my plastic 6.5 carboy.
     
  9. Sep 16, 2019 #9

    crabjoe

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    I finally opened the pail. There's 1.5 inches of head space, which I have a feeling is not enough.. and I'm thinking the pail it comes holds 6.5 gallons, when filled to the rim. I guess my 6.5 gal big mouth carboy isn't going to work.

    I'm guessing I have 24 hours to do whatever I need to do since I added a 1/4 tsp of K-meta to the juice. If I need to add more, someone please let me know.

    I've also got a 1 gal carboy. What I'm thinking is... to remove a gallon from the pail to the carboy, refrigerate this... then after the primary fermentation is finished, when I go to rack it, I added the gallon to top off my 6 gallon carboy.

    Does that sound like a plan?

    Another question.. After I add the yeast, should I stir it daily or is it better to just leave it alone until the hydrometer reads below 1.0?
     
  10. Sep 16, 2019 #10

    Scooter68

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    If it was frozen yhen you bought it it's going to start fermenting as soon as it thaws. BUT it may go slowly with 'wild yeast only' in the bucket. So you can probably overpower any wild yeast with a good starter mix of your chosen yeast variety. If you have some experience with your yeast of choice, that should give you some idea of how much foam to expect. Your SP is how far along in fermentation? Most times the end of a ferment produces far less foam so you may successfully move it without having it foam fountain you.

    As to cleaning - which cleaner do you use? Shouldn't be using anything that will scratch a plastic bucket. Wash well rinse rinse rinse rinse, sanitize and go.
     
  11. Sep 16, 2019 #11

    crabjoe

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    The pail of juice was only refrigerated ...

    This is all new to me. I've never made wine before so I have no idea as to what yeasts do what. But the yeast I'm planning on using is Red Star Premier blanc. That's what I used with the SP.

    SP was only started this morning. I added the yeast around 10 am, and I'm seeing light bubbles, nothing crazy.

    As for scratching the plastic carboy, I was afraid because I felt like I need the scrub it, even though it's new. When I asked about just rinsing it out with just some sanitizer, I was told to wash it.. I went a head and washed it just a bit ago. 1st I used dish washing liquid, then PBW.. then I used Star San to sanitize it. It's sitting upside down on a drying rack right now.

    My plan is to move the 5.5 gallons of SP to the Big mouth carboy either tonight or in the morning. Then I'll move the Pinot juice to my 8 gal bucket for fermentation.

    I hope that makes sense..

    As for making the actual Pinot Grigo, my plan is to add some bentonite then the yeast. Cover it with a towel then stir daily.. After a week, I was going to check the hydrometer to see how it was coming along. I did check the gravity a bit ago and it's at 1.088. I thought it would have been higher, I was thinking a minimum of 1.090, but maybe fermentation had already started since the juice wasn't frozen?? Then again, maybe I just misread it because the dang bubbles keep getting in the way.. and I suck at doing this. LOL

    BTW, I do also have on hand Red Star Premier Cuvee, Premier Classique, and Lalvin EC-1118. Not sure which is best, and no knowing what to use.. I order a couple packs of each and I just found them in the mail box.

    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2019
  12. Sep 16, 2019 #12

    Scooter68

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    Here's the description of the yeast Red Star Premier Blanc - "All-purpose and vigorous, a moderately foaming and sulfite-tolerant strain useful in producing white and red wines. Extremely good fermenter. Very high alcohol tolerance. Recommended for treating stuck fermentations."

    Think the move would be a good idea.
     
  13. Sep 20, 2019 #13

    M38A1

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    Following...

    I ordered two juice pails from my local HBS. Never done them before and they said pretty much the same thing - "open the lid and let her rip..." which seems contra to what we're trying to do here.
     
  14. Sep 20, 2019 #14

    Scooter68

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    Some producers of wine juice pails inoculate the wine as they produce them.

    Sometimes it takes a call to the company that produces it to find out that information as well as the details like SG, TA/pH etck

    Sadly some HBS stores don't do that much research or simply forget those details about what they sell.

    So the HBS person may be correct but it would be nice if the bucket came with a data sheet that explained precisely what you are buying.
     
  15. Sep 20, 2019 #15

    crabjoe

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    I'm guessing if you don't add yeast, you can get away with using the pail it came in. If you use commercial wine yeast, I say move it to a 7.9 gal bucket, which is what I ended up using. When I get a chance, I'll post a picture as to the reason why. When you see it, you'll understand.
     
  16. Sep 20, 2019 #16

    pete1325

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    I always use a commercial yeast. I pitch the yeast and do the primary fermentation all in the same bucket, with no overflow. If you're worried drape a towel over the top, just in case it wants to spill over the edge. When the S,G get to 1.01 or lower, transfer the wine to a carboy.
     
  17. Sep 20, 2019 #17

    crabjoe

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    Here's some pics

    This is the juice in the pail it came in.. I had just added some K-Meta to it.
    [​IMG]

    This is about 12 hours after I pitched the yeast. It's in a 7.9 Gal bucket.
    [​IMG]

    This is a few days later. The 1st is when I removed the towel to stir. The next is after a quick stir.
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    See why I said you should move it to something larger?
     
  18. Sep 20, 2019 #18

    DoctorCAD

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    Some juice buckets are pre-innoculated with yeast.
    And, some juice buckets do indeed have a one-way valve built into the lid.

    I know this because I have one that was pre-innoculated and has a valve.
     
  19. Sep 21, 2019 #19

    pete1325

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    I have also drilled a hole in the lid, put a grommet in it to fit an airlock. This worked well too.
     

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