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OGB

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I will be getting a kit to mak 6 gallons of Shiraz for Christmas (from me, to me). I have been brewing beer for a while and have most of what I need, equipment wise, but I do have a few questions. Will I need to get a 7.5 gal fermenter for a 6 gal batch? And, when racking, do I go sequentially smaller to account for any loss/leavings? I read somewhere that you should rack 6-7 times? Is that correct and if so, what headspace should be over the must?

Thanks
 

smurfe

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With a kit you only rack a 2-3 times. You rack from the primary to the secondary after 5-7 days and do not top up.

You rack off of the gross lees after about 10 days if your SG is 0.996 or less, stabilize, degass and add clearing agents and top up with water or like wines. If it is a Wine Expert kit you can use water if you wish and this is figured for in the concentration. I usually use water for this top off.

After 8 days or so the wine will be clear. You rack it again to polish the wine. This time if you need to top off you should use a like wine but if you racked off of the gross lees good in the last rack, you won't loose much at all. You then leave the wine for about a month to clear crystal clear and then can bottle or leave it as is to bulk age.

The moral of this story is if you do a good job racking you only have to top up once with a kit. If you have to a second time it is normally a minimal amount. Also, when I top with a "like" wine I usually use any red that is close for a red and any white that is close for a white. My WE Sicilian Grillo I topped with some Pinot Grigio. My Nebbiola 'dAlba I topped with a Cab

If you haven't started this kit already, I don't think you are going to be drinking it for Christmas unless it is like a WE Vintners Reserve kit that is a 28 day or so kit. Or you like a really rough wine. The higher end kits take a couple months to make properly. Also, in regards to your primary, year, a 7.5 or so is fine. Mine is a 7.9 and plenty big enough. I wouldn't try a 6.5 as it will push the limits and many kits foam quite a bit during the initial fermentation.

Smurfe :)
 
C

Caplan

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If you haven't started this kit already, I don't think you are going to be drinking it for Christmas unless it is like a WE Vintners Reserve kit that is a 28 day or so kit.
I think he's going to buy this one for his Christmas present rather than try and make it for Christmas:)

OGB - Yes, you'll need at least a 7.5 gallon primary fermenter. That will be just about fine if you follow the loose lid/cheesecloth technique. When you rack you'll lose a small quantity of your wine every time but to rack 6-7 times seems excessive. I rack most of my (non kit) wines on average 3 to maybe 4 times from primary bucket to carboy to bottling bucket and the head space drops maybe 2 inches - I never need to top up or worry about oxidation.
If you follow the kit instructions with it's finings and de-gas well (Smurfe has posted an excellent 'wine kit for newbies' instructional guide on here) you won't need to keep racking and racking (will the loss that incurs) until you get a clear enough wine to bottle.
 

OGB

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Thanks guys, I appreciate the info. Yes, I am getting the kit for Christmas and will start it in January, which brings up a good question (of course)...What additives should I be looking at to help improve the life/aging of the wine? I love wine, but I can't see myself drinking & giving away this wine very quickly. I was hoping to let it bottle condition (if that's the correct term for wine making) until next fall and use some as Christmas presents next year. Anything special I need to do to ensure that the wine survives should a bottle last until well into 2008 or should I plan on becoming an alcoholic?:rolleyes:
 

OGB

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...

If you follow the kit instructions with it's finings and de-gas well (Smurfe has posted an excellent 'wine kit for newbies' instructional guide on here)...
Smurfe - Awesome write up. That's exactly what I needed, and in fact, I'll be getting one of the same brand kits. I'll be anxiously waiting for the South African Shiraz in January. Does the mini-jet do anything other than filter? Is it strictly necessary?

Thanks again.

BTW, love the jammies:p
 

smurfe

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The only extra additive you might want to get is a small packet of K-Meta (Potassium Metabisufate). You add an extra 1/8th tsp. at the last racking to add sulfite's which will protect the wine if you are going to age it over 2 years. In regards to the Mini-Jet, it is not required at all. Many do not filter their wines at all. Unless you enter competitions or are really anal about the appearance, it is not required.

Smurfe
 

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