MLF Vessels - Suggestions

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VinesnBines

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I pressed my red hybrid blend on Saturday and underestimated the amount of juice for my carboy. I'm having mobility issues and am doing well to see that I have juice in two buckets. Anyway, I filled a 5 gallon carboy, added my MLF bacteria and had two gallons left over. I didn't have any empty gallon jugs - can't bottle right now - and didn't want to divide into half gallons. I filled a 2 gallon plastic fermentation bucket, inoculated with my MLF bacteria, taped the lid on good and added an air lock. The wine is within 1/4 of the top.

I know I should have had my husband get a larger carboy from the attic but I was completely exhausted and didn't want to clean up more after racking again. I figured we were safe for a few days, my SG was 1.000 so primary is finishing and MLF should be starting.

My question is; should I (next week):
1. rack the 2 gallons to two one gallon jugs, (I'll round up some gallon jugs),
2. add the two gallons to another red hybrid after primary (hopefully fermenting next week but that means MLF for the next batch will be at least two weeks off),
3. rack the 2 gallons and the 5 gallon to a 7 gallon carboy or
4. leave everything alone and let the MLF continue in the 5 gallon carboy and 2 gallon bucket?
 

CDrew

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It's going to be safer to keep the carboy full as is, and to put the remaining 2 gallons into glass jugs since they will exclude Oxygen far better. The 2 gallon bucket doesn't sound satisfactory for more than a few days. Likely not what you wanted to hear, but it's what I would do.
 

VinesnBines

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Actually your suggestion is the second easiest and what I originally thought I would do. Thanks. I think I'll be okay for the rest of this week.

I'll be so happy to be fully mobile again.
 
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What was the SG at pressing? If it was above 1.000 and you still have activity, the bucket with the small (but wide) headspace should be good for a week or two. Not ideal, but it works in the short term.

From a longer term management POV, I'd rack everything to a 7 gallon carboy, as it's less containers to fuss with. I did the multiple containers for years, but in recent years I top kits to 6 gallon with other wine as it's just easier to have a single carboy and not mess with multiple smaller bottles. [I have mostly 5 gallon carboys so some batches are divided, but it's easier to manage a 5 gallon carboy + 1 gallon jug.]

Keep in mind you will lose volume as the lees settle, so it's likely you'll get a 6 gallon + smaller container full. If the timing works out and you have the extra, fill the newly formed headspace with another wine.
 

VinesnBines

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My pressing SG was 1.002 (ish) standing on one foot gets old really fast. I was trying to get it off the skins early to avoid any off flavors. I was shocked at the volume of juice at pressing and equally shocked when I started filling the carboy. Getting down on the floor to read the level in the bucket is another challenge.

Here's a tidbit of wisdom; don't try to make wine when you can't walk on two legs, stand on two feet or carry anything or get a really great cellar rat. My cellar rat is good but still learning.

Anyway, I did order four more gallon jugs from Amazon. The stores around me don't sell Carlo Rossi anymore and I'm not up to bottling yet to free up a gallon jug. I would prefer to get it all in one carboy. It will depend on how things work out and my healing progress.

Thanks for the suggestions!
 

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