Newbie-primary & secondary fermentors

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Cowboy77

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Hello everyone. New to the forum and new to wine making as well. Been reading books and watching YouTube videos on wine making for a while now and about ready to order equipment and supplies and get started. I'm going to be a small batch guy and having trouble deciding on primary and secondary fermentors and would like some guidance. Here are my questions: Leaning towards using a 3 gallon Better Bottle PET plastic as my primary. What are your thoughts on them (better to use glass carboy, bucket w/lid, something else)? For secondary, would I be better to go with a glass 3 gallon carboy or 2 one gallon jugs, (trying to minimize air space in secondary)? I know there will be some loss of volume due to rackings. My thoughts are to mix up a 2 1/2 gallon batch in primary, then after it's finished, rack that into 2 one gallon jugs with air locks to minimize air space in the jugs. Does this sound logical ?
Thanks everyone in advance for any guidance you can give me. Looking forward to getting started.
 

hounddawg

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hi and welcome,
ok no matter what size batch you plan to start with you might consider you might grow as you get into the art further, i like as a starter fermenter going to like home depot and getting a food grade trash can with lid 10 gallon would be fine, i use a brute grey 44 gal, with screw on round dolly and lid, the dolly allows moving it around, the lid fits loose enough to ferment yet tight enough to keep flies and other pests out, as for secondary carboys and so on i like glass, you can use thumb hole gallon an half gallon jugs and carboys from 3 to 6 an 1/2 gallons, I'd have to look where i buy at i use only Italian glass carboys, much thicker almost all other carboys are made in china, a small bump and a full carboy will shoot glass all over and can be super dangerous , if interested I'll look up that site, i use 3 piece air locks the are super easy to clean, i use universal bungs, you'll need a wine hydrometer right off and a spare is great just in case, i have learned much on here, because they are some really smart people on here that freely help you learn,,, i don't do proper wine, i only do country wines, from fruits an berries and starting to dabble in meads as well, you might wish to check out homewinery.com. there concentrates make much fuller flavors in my mind, but i grow 80% of my own fruits and berries, on bottles i like dark colored bottles for protection from light and i use bottles with short thick necks they will last many, many refills, as for corks i have been using FLOR CORKS the finest in the world but high dollar, here lately i have switched to synthetic Norma corc's 22mm x 44mm or #9 x 1&3/4 inch so far they are proved to lsast 18 years and can stand up or lay down, unlike real corks that must lay down,, a Italian floor corker will be your best bet will cork anything with ease and last you a life time, all fresh fruits, berries or grapes need frozen, then thawed when ready to use freezing breaks them down and releases more juices and flavors, i read for 3 years before starting and during that three years buying my equipment, but i am on a limited income, so i hope you can progress faster, but slow or fast theirs only 2 thins that matter , that you enjoy what you are doing, and you only need to please your own taste unless of-course your married,, lol,, now one last thing, either now or later depending on your money check out vacuumpumpman on here, his web site is allinonewinepump.com. no more lifting heavy carboys, racks and bottles under vacuum which realty reduces you wine to oxygen exposure, and racking under vacuum greatly helps degassing your wines, as well i use the filter housing on his site, then i get my filters on e-bay 1 micron for whites and 5 microns for reds, and if you wish to sterilize your yeast during bulk ageing and back sweetening use a .45 micron filter. oh i use only spun polypropylene filters, they are fairly cheap and work great, welp I'd better quit rambling, best of luck to you, the others are much better telling you about the chemicals, when and why and what for. but be warned wine making is extremely addictive to say the least, and never for get during fermenting oxygen is your friend, after fermenting from that day on oxygen is your enemy, and the very most important thing in my book is patience time turns good wine into great wine, so never ever rush anything, although there are quick wines that are drinkable until your fine wines have been allow to mature, skeeter peer, hard lemonade and dragon blood comes to mind, these fine venter's can and will guide to all things wines, mead ,,, between them all,,, i believe all the knowledge in the world resides here between them all.... , i really do,,
Dawg








Hello everyone. New to the forum and new to wine making as well. Been reading books and watching YouTube videos on wine making for a while now and about ready to order equipment and supplies and get started. I'm going to be a small batch guy and having trouble deciding on primary and secondary fermentors and would like some guidance. Here are my questions: Leaning towards using a 3 gallon Better Bottle PET plastic as my primary. What are your thoughts on them (better to use glass carboy, bucket w/lid, something else)? For secondary, would I be better to go with a glass 3 gallon carboy or 2 one gallon jugs, (trying to minimize air space in secondary)? I know there will be some loss of volume due to rackings. My thoughts are to mix up a 2 1/2 gallon batch in primary, then after it's finished, rack that into 2 one gallon jugs with air locks to minimize air space in the jugs. Does this sound logical ?
Thanks everyone in advance for any guidance you can give me. Looking forward to getting started.
 

hounddawg

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i forgot you can keep a few clear wine bottles to keep extar wine in, then as you rack you can top off with the very same wine, keeping you wines as true and pure as humanly possibly,i don't like adding anything that's not the exack thing, if i make a 6 gallon batch i start with 7 gallons or so, if i go for a 2 gallon batch then i start with 3 gallon, keeping the exter in clear wine bitles airlocked, when your down to you final wine it is still 100% yours and yours alone,
Dawg
 

Stressbaby

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Definitely use a bucket for your primary.
If you can get both a 3 gal and a couple of 1 gal carboys that would be best. With some practice you will get your volumes right but early on you will find that occasionally the 3 gal batch yields only 2.5 or 2.75 gal of wine and you need somewhere to put it.
There's not much difference between 2 and 3 gallons in terms of raw materials. But 2 x 1 gallon carboys is double the work of 1 3 gallon carboys. Save yourself the trouble and go with three gallons if you can make batches that big.
 

Throwdown

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My advise from starting this hobby back in July/August.

Unless you are getting a kit, which isn't a bad idea when starting off, get a 7.9g brew bucket. I bought a kit that came with a 6.5g big mouth bubbler, then 2 more fermonsters when I had a bit of an issue with the fermentation wanting to push the BMB lid off. The brew bucket IMO is most versatile. I didn't realize when I did my WE Super Tuscan that the grape pack would have an issue fitting in there and gave me some problems (and mess). With a bucket anything you are fermenting in there in addition with any kits including potential future batches will have you covered easily. I even used it to brine a turkey for smoking on thanksgiving.

For secondary - glass carboys. Buy several and you'll keep buying them as you want. I am already up to 9 or 10 - 6 gallons and one 5 gallon (and still looking to buy more).

Small batch kits I'm sure are fun but for the effort of cleaning everything and overall cost, theres a lot more bang for the buck at the 5-6 gallon mark IMO. Only thing I would change is a lot of the pros recommend the higher end kits, which are definitely great, but when getting started and learning the process I'd recommend tweaking some cheap wine kits (theres a thread with the same name in the kit making section) or doing a batch of Dragon's Blood, Skeeter Pee, etc. They are quicker drink options to get you going with something to enjoy earlier than testing your patience as a new winemaker for a year. Good luck!
 

bkisel

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Welcome to the forum!

I believe the typical home wine maker will have a 7+ gallon primary bucket and a lass carboy for secondary. Many will do both primary and secondary in a primary bucket - locking down the lid and adding an air lock when SG reaches 1.020-1.000.

I'll now normally start in a 10 gallon Brute pail for primary and then do secondary in a locked down primary bucket. Less wrestling with 6 gallon carboy until I move to stabilization, degassing and clearing.
 

Scooter68

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As an ultra-small batch maker (mostly 1 gallon at a time) I found that the bucket is the only way to start the primary. Without a lid - just use a towel or piece of muslin cloth from Hobby Lobby (Unbleached and NOT permanent press material) Then for secondary and aging I use recycled 4 liter glass carboys (Used Carlo Rossi Jugs) The extra 6 ozs (From 1 gallon to 4 liters) is hardly worth recalculating a recipe for either. When I am ready to bottle the left over wine becomes a celabratory taste of what went in the the rack for further aging. ( I normally bottle my fruit wines somewhere between 4-8 months after fermentation ends)
Lately I've expanded to 3 or 4 gallon batches and use a Lowe's food grade bucket for Primary then move to the 4 liter carboys for secondary and aging. I bought 4 1 gallon carboys at first but now they just sit there collecting dust or for my StarSan solution mixing - I have about 1 dozen 4 liter Carlo Rossi carboys. Those of us into recycling find a bottles at the recycling center as well. Removing labels is a pain sometimes but after a while you learn which wine brands have 'easy lables' and which require a scraper, goo-gone or other tedious work. Depending on the batch size if I start looking for bottles as I start a batch, I have no problem collecting matching bottle for the entire batch of any size.

I have limited space and I am CHEAP when it comes to spending money on this hobby. $15.00 for 36 pounds of peaches (Slightly over-ripe) is what I call a good deal for my supplies. With that I now have 3 1/2 gallons of wine aging and clearing. Oh yeah don't forget to collect those odd size carboys as well. 1/2 gallons and 1.5 liters just might be the right size for that odd size batch some day.

That's my take from a really small batch perspective after 18 months of this hobby.
 

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