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Muscadine's been sitting for 8 days now; so .... how to proceed?

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wine newbee

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I added the yeast to my crushed muscadines 8 days ago. First batch in my life. Lots of fermentation for several days, and I stirred 1X/day since.

OK: so at this point, do I siphon the liquid into another bucket (or clear container?) and let the sedimentation continue? For about how long? Do I use a container with a small neck at top to keep O2 exposure to the liquid at a minimum? Does that matter at this point, or should I use a plastic container (like my 1st one) and keep an air lock on it (if there's any chance of more gas production) and not care about space within the container? Not sure how that goes.

Since my original plastic bucket isn't clear, I can't see how thick the sediment is at the bottom, so how do I siphon out the liquid w/o getting the muck into the siphon tube?

Thx much for any insights into this. My new "wine mentor" is away for a week, and this batch is 1 I concocted before I met him, so I didn't really have any guidance/direction from an Old Hand re: what to do for my 1st wine rodeo.
 

CDrew

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I don't know muscadines, but if fermentation is done or almost done, it's time to press and then place in a carboy. After 2-3 days rack again to another carboy and off the gross lees. Bottom line: You need to separate the wine from the spent grapes, and keep the O2 away from the wine. How you actually do that depends on how much wine you have and what equipment you have to process and age it.
 

salcoco

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first confirm that the fermentation is complete with a hydrometer reading should be about 1.000
sanitize a carboy or more than one depending on amount of grapes crushed. 12lbs of grapes should equal 1 gallon.
siphon liquid to carboys. press the remaining skins. if no press put in a muslin bag and squeeze juice out by hand.
add a airlock bubble to carboys filled with sanitizing solution or cheap vodka.
sediment will settle in carboy rack again in three days, add K-meta at this time. rack again in three weeks. bulk age
 

wine newbee

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Much appreciated, guys. Maybe 1 mistake I made from the get-go: when I crushed the grapes (by hand; my thumbs'll never be the same), I squished 'em through a mesh to extract the juice, so there aren't any seeds or hulls in the must -- mostly just juice, although I know there're some solids there (and yeast remains?). I'm certain a lot of good color/flavor was lost since I didn't let the hulls marinate for days in the juice.

I have a total of 3 gallons of wine. My available buckets're all 5-gal ones. Are there any places around where I could find a cheap 3-gal bucket or 2? I've asked at groc stores but they claim to have nothing. Maybe a Lowe's? For that matter -- are there any clear 3-gal carboys around anywhere for purchase? All the ones I've seen for sale were 5 gallons or more. Much more.
 

salcoco

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visit you local wine supply store. or if possible use three one gallon water jugs.
 

beano

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I have had good luck getting free food grade buckets from local bakeries.
2 gal., 4 gal. & 5 gal. Ones with lids. You may have to dumpster dive to get them though. But the price is right.
:db
 

wine newbee

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visit you local wine supply store. or if possible use three one gallon water jugs.
OK, Sal -- I'm wondering, though: would plastic jugs (like those for milk and juice) be OK, since storage would be temporary? I'm a tad skittish about the idea of plasticizers leaching into the wine (esp. since muscadines are so acidic, from what I've heard).

Mitch
 

Intheswamp

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Lowes and Home Depot both carry assortments of buckets...just be sure and check the recycle symbols for their food safety. Walmart has a *few* in the paint section (Lowes or HD have a much better assortment). This is a pretty fair wiki regarding food safe plastic containers: https://www.wikihow.com/Identify-Food-Grade-Buckets

3-gallon carboys found here... That Amazoning place!!! But, definitely check your local homebrew store first...there's just something about touching and seeing something before you buy it...no questions about chips, bubbles, cracks(!), etc.,. And the LHBS needs the support!!! We're finally going to have a LHBS a drive-able distance from the house...about 60 miles one-way :slp . But, I'm hoping I can dodge freight/shipping on wine bottles!!! We go into town all along anyhow, so there won't be any trips strictly for the LHBS (unless there's an emergency, of course!:D). By the time I get another batch of "something" ready for bottling they should be open.
 

Intheswamp

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I have had good luck getting free food grade buckets from local bakeries.
2 gal., 4 gal. & 5 gal. Ones with lids. You may have to dumpster dive to get them though. But the price is right.
Those are my priced buckets!!! Only problem for us is that there are no bakeries around here and the time I asked the bakery department in Walmart they looked at me like I was speaking a foreign language or something...I did get a single bucket, about thirty to forty minutes later (I think they had to contact the board of directors in Bentonville before letting me have it).
 

Intheswamp

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OK, Sal -- I'm wondering, though: would plastic jugs (like those for milk and juice) be OK, since storage would be temporary? I'm a tad skittish about the idea of plasticizers leaching into the wine (esp. since muscadines are so acidic, from what I've heard).
Mitch
Juice is pretty acidic itself. It seems that the more rigid and clear plastic containers suck as soft drink bottles, some juice jugs, etc. (PET?) are better than the softer more opaque milk jugs, etc., (HDPE2?). For long term aging I would want glass, but for short-term stages such as 30-day settling/clearing stages of a wine I wouldn't be too worried with either. Seems like I've see some juice in gallon-sized PET bottles, but that's about it. I do prefer glass for stages after the primary bucket fermentation, though. Check craigslist for gallon glass jugs. Recycle centers for Carlo Rossi 4L glass jugs, etc.,.
 

beano

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I do also get wine bottles and the 3 and 4 liter bottles from restaurants. Thier house wines are generally Carlo Rossi and they just toss the containers. There again, you have to check their recycle bins. More diving, of course. I have found most places do not have the time to help you out but they don't mind you perusing their recyclables.
I'm cheap and I don't mind the effort involved. Sides, never know what you might find.
 

wine newbee

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Outstanding advice, y'all. I was thinking of recycle-box exploring today anyway. Earlier, I went by all sorts of stores (groc's, bird supply, ice cream shops, etc), w/o luck, but finally visited a bakery that gave me a couple of plastic jugs. Now .... for the glass. Thx a heap.
I don't know muscadines, but if fermentation is done or almost done, it's time to press and then place in a carboy. After 2-3 days rack again to another carboy and off the gross lees. Bottom line: You need to separate the wine from the spent grapes, and keep the O2 away from the wine. How you actually do that depends on how much wine you have and what equipment you have to process and age it.

Sorry, C, but .... what is "off the gross lee"?
 

Intheswamp

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Gross lees are what I figure is the fermented pulp, seeds, and mass amounts of dead yeast...this can result in a fairly large amount of stuff layering the bottom of the fermenting vessel. Fine lees are just that..."finer", a dusting of dead yeast hulls and tiny particles of fruits but can build up over time to have some depth, too, but usually a much thinner layer.
 

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