My 1st Go at Wine and RC 212

Discussion in 'Yeast, Additives & Wine Making Science' started by FunkedOut, Apr 29, 2019.

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  1. May 9, 2019 #21

    kevinlfifer

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    I would use a paint strainer bag or cheese cloth. The bags that wine supply stores sell are so fine a mesh that they will probably trap enough CO2 to float. The paint strainer bag should allow enough gas to escape to stay submerged.
     
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  2. May 9, 2019 #22

    sour_grapes

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    May I have the temerity to suggest that you just follow a standard protocol for your first attempt? In my opinion, you are just as likely to screw up and oxidize your wine as you are to noticeably improve it. There are a lot of little things you learn on your first few attempts.
     
  3. May 9, 2019 #23

    FunkedOut

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    That is very fine advice, thank you, but I just can’t take it.
    I’m a tweaker. I help bread machines stir.
    Best I can do, is reduce the EM down to 3 weeks if I can’t get this kettle sealed up right.

    I’m made a gasket that fit along the top lip of the kettle out of a length of tubing.
    With the help of some binder clamps, this should be as good as a bucket, or better.
    https://www.homebrewtalk.com/forum/threads/diy-stainless-steel-fermenters.490055/
    I performed a dry run of the cling wrap idea and was not impressed.

    Not to worry, I will take some pics along the way and will be forthcoming with any screw ups for entertainment purposes.
    :ib
     
  4. May 9, 2019 #24

    Chuck E

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    I do this too. I find it gives a deeper color to my reds.
     
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  5. May 10, 2019 #25

    FunkedOut

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    I just got the kit in mail.
    It came with 2 packs of grape skins; each 1.25kg.
    That is a lot of skins. More than I expected.
    I was thinking it was a few ounces. This is almost 3 quarts.
    I will have to rethink my plans here. Not sure my bar is heavy enough.

    It also came with a muslin bag that is plenty porous.
     
  6. May 10, 2019 #26

    FunkedOut

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    I have in my possession an insulated stainless mash tun that already has a silicone gasket on the lid to form an airtight seal.
    This thing holds 10 gallons and has a port above the 9 gallons mark that I can use for an airlock (tube into some starsan).
    The bottom has a 5 degree slope with a drain hole in the center that is piped to a ball valve.
    Above the real bottom is a false bottom with a fine stainless mesh (~250 micron).

    My thoughts for using this vessels are:
    1) I can seal it off.
    2) I can draw samples off the bottom.
    3) I can just drain the primary rather than siphon the wine out.

    My worry for this vessel is the insulation and heat of fermentation.
    I worry that the fermentation could create enough heat to get the must up above 85*F.
    The insulation on this vessel is fantastic. It can hold 7-8 gallons of mash at 155*F in a 60*F room for over an hour without dropping 1*F.
    Anyone out there tried an insulated fermenter?
     
  7. May 11, 2019 #27

    FunkedOut

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    Another option I have would seem to be most obvious now that I think about it.
    I have a couple of 10 gallon corny kegs that I use as fermenters for beer.
    Plenty of headspace for primary, they seal up real tight, I can slosh them around to my heart’s content, I can get an airlock on them, I can open them up and stir/add stuff and real easy to draw a sample with a bottle of CO2 and a party tap.

    Rather then stir them daily, I can pick them up and shake them vigorously.
    I’ve set them up so that the dip tube leaves behind 1/2 gallon.
    That may work out well for this effort?
    I still have my autosiphon.
     
  8. May 11, 2019 #28

    Johnd

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    Your best bet here is to slow down and make wine by the book, there is a lot to learn about the process, and throwing untested / unproven equipment into the mix, plus using advanced techniques and a fussy yeast prone to H2S, all on your first attempt, seems to me to be quite overzealous.

    I’m not saying you’ll fail, but the odds of making improvements are slim when you can’t execute the basics nearly flawlessly. The odds of that level of execution on your first go-round are slim.

    I can see from past posts that you’ll likely not heed this advice, and that’s your right, please just consider the option.
     
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  9. May 11, 2019 #29

    FunkedOut

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    Actually, I am heavily considering it now.
    I get the impression from my reading that this EM will result in a wine that requires more aging (at least a year or two) to mature and be drinkable.
    I’m sure I’ll be impatient and want to sample some early on.
    After all, this is an initial trial to see if making a kit wine will produce something I’ll enjoy drinking.
    Following the instructions will get this into my glass the quickest, no?

    It seems the deviations from the kit instructions that are advisable are to skip the sorbate and bulk age for another few months rather than bottle at 6-8 weeks.
    I’ll have to add Sulfites to the kit every 3 months, but I think I’ve got that figured out.

    I’m currently on a consumption rate of a kit a year.
    Next year, I may revisit the keg fermenter.
    It really makes life easy for beers.
     
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  10. May 14, 2019 at 5:31 PM #30

    FunkedOut

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    I'm about ready to start this kit. After this weekend, I will be home long enough to see fermentation through.
    I have waived off the extended maceration and cold soak for this kit.
    I have decided to follow the instructions... almost.

    Only a few small changes planned.
    1) Yeast: Instead of sprinkling EC1118 dry on top of the must, I will rehydrate RC212 with GoFerm Protect and use Fermaid K at the end of the lag phase and at 1/3 sugar depletion.
    2) Sorbate: I will not be adding any.
    3) Bulk aging: In glass carboy.

    Now, for my last trick, is oak. The kit comes with a couple ounces (60g) of medium toast oak chips for use in primary. I often read that these kits are under-oaked.
    I have in my possession a ~2oz bag of EnoCubes. They are a blend of American and French oak cubes that are dark kilned. They are labeled as red aging.
    I have a couple questions regarding the possible addition of these cubes.
    Do you think this will make the wine better? Couldn't possibly ruin it?
    Where should I used them? Primary? Secondary? In the first 3 month bulk age?

    These cubes are left over from an experiment with an oaked beer.
    That experiment was a total success. I proved to myself that I do not like any oaked beer!

    Thanks with your patience with me this far.
     
  11. May 14, 2019 at 6:44 PM #31

    Johnd

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    The oak chips in the primary are mostly for sacrificial tannins, which will help the color to bind and keep your red wine red, little, if any, oak flavor is derived from the oak chips in primary.

    In my opinion, the best option for oaking, since you intend to bulk age, is to wait until you have finished the racking after the clearing stage before adding any oak. At that time, you'll have most of the sediment out of the picture, and your wine will be developing its taste profile. The better of the carboy products are the oak spirals and Wine Stix. My personal preference are French Oak Wine Stix, medium plus toast, YMMV.
     
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  12. May 15, 2019 at 1:50 AM #32

    cmason1957

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    More oak or not is truly a personal choice. Do you like wine that have more oak characteristics or not? I am a fan and 2 Oz would not be nearly enough for me. For you, it might be just fine, might be too much. And I'm with John, I like larger types of oak over smaller.
     
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  13. May 15, 2019 at 4:06 AM #33

    FunkedOut

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    Yes, oak is good. The more the better. I’ve never had a wine I thought was too oakey, if that’s a word.
    I just didn’t want this to be the first.
    I think I’ll add them after the clearing, as Johnd wrote.
    I have them already and they’ll give me a data point to build on.

    Is 3 months too long to leave them in?
    I’m guessing it’s a soak to taste game, but not sure if something bad happen if left too long.
     
  14. May 15, 2019 at 12:20 PM #34

    Johnd

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    You can over-oak wine, it can be made to taste like plywood. A little too much tends to lay back during bottle aging, but you can overdo it, especially with the dark roast stuff.
     
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  15. May 18, 2019 at 12:55 AM #35

    FunkedOut

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    I couldn't resist the urge to start monkeying around and decided to perform a pre-process that I am hesitant to call a cold soak.
    I chilled the crushed grape skin packs and some spring water in the fridge overnight.
    I sanitized a couple of 1/2 gallon mason jars and emptied each grape pack into its own jar.
    I then used a quart of chilled spring water to rinse the bags and put the rinse water into the jars.
    I sealed up the jars real good and gave them a shake. Back in the fridge they went.
    They are both full to brim with the mixture.

    I had read some post indicating that the sugar from the grape packs took a while to dissolve in the juice so the starting gravity readings were low.
    Waiting a few hours, stirring, squeezing would raise the gravity readings before adding the yeast.
    None of that sounded like a good time. All of it sounded like a better chance of infection than what I just did.

    The consensus seems to be to estimate a 0.020 boost in gravity from the crushed skins and goo.
    Some quick math shows that diluting each grape pack with 1/2 gallon of water would result in a mixture with a gravity of 1.110, the high end of the wine kit's expected gravity.
    Diluting with the 1/4 gallon that I did, results in a mixture with a gravity of ~1.160.
    I needed to save my remaining 3/4 gallon of water planned for this kit to rinse the juice bag and dissolve the bentonite.

    I figure this process helps extract some of the sugars from the crushed skins, yielding a higher gravity reading.
    It may have a small effect towards the goals of a cold soak? Maybe...
    And two jars in the fridge is easier to swing than an 8 gallon fermenter.



    As an aside, I'm really surprised the instructions direct the wine maker to rinse the juice bag, but not the grape skins bags.
    There was a lot of skins and seeds and good left in the bags before rinsing. I rinsed each several times.
     
  16. May 20, 2019 at 5:20 PM #36

    FunkedOut

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    Well, I got to perform all the monkeying around I could come up with last night.
    I chilled the bag of juice, and when mixed with bentonite slurry and the grape skins, must was right at 64*F.
    I ended up pouring the skins and the oak chips into the sock and tied it off.

    Following the instructions of the kit (as far as water additions are concerned), I ended up with 6.5 gallons in the fermenter. They asked for topping up to 6 gallons before adding the grape skins.
    At any rate, I had 6.5 gallons of 1.108 must at 64*F and pitched 8g of rehydrated RC212.
    The yeast was rehydrated with GoFerm, tempered and then pitched.

    12 hours later, the gravity and temperature have climbed a bit to 1.110 and 67*F.
    The skin/chip sock has finally risen to the surface, barely.
    I just stirred it and some small islands of must-colored stuff released a bunch of bubbles as I stirred them in.

    Seems things are going well.
    How active do I want the fermentation to be before I add the first half dose of Fermaid K?
    I plan to add the second half dose at 1.070 SG.
     

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