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kevinlfifer

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This may be sacrilege to some. But I'll put it out there anyway.

I will also disclose that I have done a side by side comparison for over a year now with no measurable differences and no taste differences.

What sin did I commit?

I used PET 4 gallon water bottles from Sam's Club as carboys for secondary and bulk aging. I used 3 carboys (=12 gal) for 2 juice bucket batches (=12 gal). Not to be confused with those blue 5 gal water bottles that are 02 permeable. The neck opening is the same as a better bottle. They are thinner and thus extremely light. They seem to be very smooth surfaced on the inside and so rinse cleanly with a spray of water.

Sometimes I made a uniform batch, such as all Malbec. Other times I made blended batch, i.e. 4 gal Syrah, 4 gal Grenache, 4 gal Syrah/Grenache blend.

All batches done in the 4 gal carboys are really good.

Cost per carboy $3.97, plus you can use the water for a kit.

So, if you are willing to work with the odd volume, the carboys are an inexpensive alternative for us cheapskates.
 

wineinmd

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Interesting. I wonder if Costco has the same. I'm planning on heading out tomorrow for our monthly trip and will take a look.
 

Johny99

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I confess I use them as well, Safeway, but only for transfer and short term storage. I haven't tasted a difference, but I worry. Of course, if I only had $ to make wine in a galvanized bucket, I would:(. Luckily I can afford better and safer equipment. :db
 

Stevelaz

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Are those bottles you got at sams club "Members Mark"? How about the ones in the pic?
 
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kevinlfifer

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Just bottled one of the Cab Sav (top row of pix) so bulk aging a year in the free carboys. It's very good.

In my opinion (I will remind you I worked 14 years as a research chemist in extractive metallurgy) The first full layer of molecules in the PET carboy keeps out the oxygen, The balance is structural strength. I have capped these with one of their original caps when I was out of air locks. It was still fermenting, I thought it was done but it was not. It built up a tremendous amount of pressure but did not explode. It now holds 4.25 gallon.
 

winemaker81

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Kevin -- Do you have any knowledge of the gallon drinking water jugs? I have never considered them for wine storage -- a prejudice against plastic that predates modern storage technology.

However, I was looking for gallon jugs of wine recently -- I need more gallon jugs and the jug wine is perfectly acceptable as cooking wine. But I can't find anything in glass gallon jugs -- it's all box wines now. The largest bottle I could find was 1.5 liters.
 

SethF

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This may be sacrilege to some. But I'll put it out there anyway.

I will also disclose that I have done a side by side comparison for over a year now with no measurable differences and no taste differences.

What sin did I commit?

I used PET 4 gallon water bottles from Sam's Club as carboys for secondary and bulk aging. I used 3 carboys (=12 gal) for 2 juice bucket batches (=12 gal). Not to be confused with those blue 5 gal water bottles that are 02 permeable. The neck opening is the same as a better bottle. They are thinner and thus extremely light. They seem to be very smooth surfaced on the inside and so rinse cleanly with a spray of water.

Sometimes I made a uniform batch, such as all Malbec. Other times I made blended batch, i.e. 4 gal Syrah, 4 gal Grenache, 4 gal Syrah/Grenache blend.

All batches done in the 4 gal carboys are really good.

Cost per carboy $3.97, plus you can use the water for a kit.

So, if you are willing to work with the odd volume, the carboys are an inexpensive alternative for us cheapskates.
I know this is an old post, but hoping you reply. 2 questions:
1) You mention O2 permeability. Which ones are O2 permeable, and how permeable are they? Wouldn't this permeability be good to duplicate barrel micro-ox transfer? Would you lose some to evaporation?
2) I have gotten spoiled with the Fermonsters that I use, as they are ported and have a convex bottom. Have you tried drilling a port on these? I really don't know if the Fermonsters are O2 permeable.

I do my primaries in large 50 gal fermentors and then transport from my wine club in 3 gal water bottles (to save my back) and place in 7.5 gal Fermonsters that are ported. I rack between, use oak staves, and have aged my last batch from 2017 for 12 months without issue.

Thanks
Seth
 

loopline

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I use similar bottles, 3 gallon. Im not worries about anything, did a lot of research. Im bulk aging.


My big question ive been wondering and havent got around to asking is this - is using the lid slightly backed off any different ultimately then a air lock.

I ask because if you slightly back off the lid, then that still allows for pressure change etc same as an air lock. And really thenair lock is only for bugs. Whem pressure changes it will still allow air to flow backwards into the bottle or out whichever need be.

Air flowing thru the water in an air lock does not change its oxegyn content, if its flowing into the bottle. So i figure qhy bother with the air lock, use the lid, slightly back it off. Keeps bugs out and lets pressure exchange. Ive got 2 bottle, 3 gallon each of blueberry with only caps on them for the past month. Lack of air locks atm.

Im really just interested to know if anyone has done it and bulk aged a year and had adverse tastes.

The only thing i could think would be that having a little bit of water in an airlock May provide a slight very slight resistance us keeping some are transfer from happening. I would think this would be nominal at most but could make a difference but that's the only thing I could think of that would matter.

Ive used and have 6 gallon glass but i need to go up and down stairs and i abandonded using them in favor of my back and 3 gallon plastic blue jufs for $6 from walmart.

Thoughts?
 

SethF

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You need the airlock and should never go without it, to prevent oxidation AND to prevent contamination by aything else that may be airborne, in addition to bugs.
 

mainshipfred

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I personally think a 4 gallon carboy is a great size. I have 3, 5, 6 and 7s. But if I have 8 gallons of wine it's a 7 and a 1. Would much prefer 2 fours to bulk age. All other quantities I have covered.
 

kevinlfifer

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81, The one gallon jugs I've used for batch overage are stamped PET1 and I use them primarily for secondary fermentation, I've not aged in them.

I've been aging in 4 gallon PET bottles a few years now. I always use an air lock with K-Meta.

Seth, One of the main reasons I use the 4 gallon bottles is the weight, free helps too. As for transferring from the garage where I ferment in 60 gallon drums, I siphon. Thru my office, the foyer, down the basement steps, thru the tasting area to the wine "making space"

I suppose you could do away with the air lock if:
1. Fermentation is absolutely done,
2. You used one of the original unpunctured caps that still has the sealing gasket intact.

I also find them to be the perfect size, I get 2 kits or buckets and use 3 carboys. You can decide to make 12 gallons of one varietal or 4 gal each of 2 varietals with 4 gal of a blend.


https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipOXBJ7tg7utw39ksDkNTJOtdpq-QGhQZFdn8Fbcwxz9Ld7ktJNRGQoEqRKfGwtDMw?key=Ty1oQjV1NWhBSXllOGxFMVRCWFdwbzlLdFJrdWN3
 
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loopline

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You need the airlock and should never go without it, to prevent oxidation AND to prevent contamination by aything else that may be airborne, in addition to bugs.
If you really stop and think this thru your answer isnt logical. As air pressure and environmwnt changes air flows in and out of an air lock.

For example go read all the posts of people who ask if their wine is ok when they seal their car boy with a solid bung and it gets pushed out as pressure changes.

Air flowing into a carboy due to pressure and environment and temperature change will pass thru the water as an air bubble. Force it to happen by squeezing a bottle and watch.

The water will not filter out oxygen nor any other contaminants in the air bubble. The water is not a filter and doesnt stop contaminants or oxygen from flowing in. It pretty much stops bugs and larger particles from getting in. Backing off a cap does the same thing.

One could argue on a miniscule level that water could filter a small percentage of potential contaminants but the lions share of any such potential contaminants would remain inside the air bubble and pass into the car boy.

Im not asking a theory question here, im asking a science question. Or a taste question as if anyone has actually split tested it.


Thanks for the opinion however.

81, The one gallon jugs I've used for batch overage are stamped PET1 and I use them primarily for secondary fermentation, I've not aged in them.

I've been aging in 4 gallon PET bottles a few years now. I always use an air lock with K-Meta.

Seth, One of the main reasons I use the 4 gallon bottles is the weight, free helps too. As for transferring from the garage where I ferment in 60 gallon drums, I siphon. Thru my office, the foyer, down the basement steps, thru the tasting area to the wine "making space"

I suppose you could do away with the air lock if:
1. Fermentation is absolutely done,
2. You used one of the original unpunctured caps that still has the sealing gasket intact.

I also find them to be the perfect size, I get 2 kits or buckets and use 3 carboys. You can decide to make 12 gallons of one varietal or 4 gal each of 2 varietals with 4 gal of a blend.


https://photos.google.com/share/AF1QipOXBJ7tg7utw39ksDkNTJOtdpq-QGhQZFdn8Fbcwxz9Ld7ktJNRGQoEqRKfGwtDMw?key=Ty1oQjV1NWhBSXllOGxFMVRCWFdwbzlLdFJrdWN3
Makes sense. My caps are brand new. I didnt realize sams even had such water bottles. At my sams ive only seen the primo brand ones that you have to purchase and turn back in or you dont get your big deposit back.

Ill keep an eye out for the non return ones.

Due to space constraints and my setup im also condisering getting stackable water jugs. If the lid backed off proves to work then i could stack 3 gallon jugs in a closet. Just the stackable ones dont allow for an air lock.
 

cmason1957

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I think most folks use some type of sanitizer solution in the airlocks, so that using a backed-off screw cap isn't exactly the same as using an airlock. Airlock just seems like pretty simple insurance that nothing much gets into the wine. but heck, store your wine in an old dirty shoe, if you feel that's for the best. I prefer to follow the industry standard kinda thing, that's just me.
 

Johnd

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I think most folks use some type of sanitizer solution in the airlocks, so that using a backed-off screw cap isn't exactly the same as using an airlock. Airlock just seems like pretty simple insurance that nothing much gets into the wine. but heck, store your wine in an old dirty shoe, if you feel that's for the best. I prefer to follow the industry standard kinda thing, that's just me.
Agreed!!! Not to mention that a properly topped storage vessel with a properly filled airlock isn't frequently allowing air bubble to go into the vessel, if it ever does. In my experience with hundreds of six gallon carboys and large pressure changes, the only thing that ever happens is that the fluid in the airlock migrates from one side of the "S" in the airlock to the other. Me? I'm sticking with airlocks til AF / MLF is complete and switching over to vented silicone bungs after that.
 

ThunderFred

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I use a combination of airlocks, head space eliminators and vented silicon bungs at different stages of the process. I might have to throw in an old dirty shoe for good measure. Always nice to have a variety of tools to choose from.
 

loopline

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I fill my airlocks with a sanatizer solution.
Thats irrelevant. An air bubble will touch the outside of the liquid as it passed thru and thats it, 98% of the air won't touch the sanitizer. You would have to have some sort of device that would dissolve the air into the liquid to make it effective, which isn't practical.

Not to mention any sanitizer from k meta to any chemical will gas off or break down, its what they are made to do. So in a matter of hours/days/weeks its sterile anyway and no longer sanitizer.

I think most folks use some type of sanitizer solution in the airlocks, so that using a backed-off screw cap isn't exactly the same as using an airlock. Airlock just seems like pretty simple insurance that nothing much gets into the wine. but heck, store your wine in an old dirty shoe, if you feel that's for the best. I prefer to follow the industry standard kinda thing, that's just me.
Again sanitizer is virtually useless from a science perspective. Think it thru, try it, put an air lock on a 2 liter bottle or anything and squeeze it and play with it, some simple observation goes a long way in this case.

Agreed!!! Not to mention that a properly topped storage vessel with a properly filled airlock isn't frequently allowing air bubble to go into the vessel, if it ever does. In my experience with hundreds of six gallon carboys and large pressure changes, the only thing that ever happens is that the fluid in the airlock migrates from one side of the "S" in the airlock to the other. Me? I'm sticking with airlocks til AF / MLF is complete and switching over to vented silicone bungs after that.
I mean did you really sit and watch it 24 hours a day 7 days week for months at a time? Im not trying to be a jerk here, but Im a VERY technical person and from a science point of view that just isn't realisitic.


~~~~~

I appreciate everyones opinion, I do. None of it really gives me any science or split text experience though. Im looking for someone to give me scientific proof, verifiable with a tool that shows that its not as good. That or someone that split tested it and tasted the difference and can say X is better then Y or they are the same.

Im sure there is a difference, but I just don't know what. And to be honest, whats industry "standard" today wasn't 100 years ago and won't be 100 years from now. I break all sorts of rules in wine making and it turns out fine. In fact I made multiple batches last year and followed them to the text book perfect, dotting each I and crossing each T and guess what? I had some flops. This year is my 2nd year making it and I slid it more of what I would call reality.

Im a limits person. I like to know how stuff works, inside and out. Once you understand the science and limits of each and every element, you can begin to combine them and twist them in ways you might not otherwise have thought of. Thats where Im at, I always push the limits in everythign I do. Clearly dirty shoes are outside the limits, but inside of "industry standards" there is a lot of room to play and room to play outside them too. If it tastes good when its done and its not toxic, then thats all that really matters.

For that matter Ive followed winery tips and wine makers ideas this year that has proved better then what you find as industry standards here. For example most people say put 1 camptden table per gallon of liquid with fruit let set for 24 hours and then add yeast (of course you put other things in respectively but Im specifically speaking of kmeta/potasium metabisulfite here) Thats 30 ppm according to my bottle. A winery suggested to use 150ppm or 1g per gallon. I lost a batch last year following the 1 campden tablet method, this year I tried 2 campden or 60 ppm and almost lost it. Decided to forget "industry standard" and go for the 1g 150ppm and let set for 48 hours. Saved the batch.

I never accept industry standard because its industry standard. I disect it and see where its required and where it can be changed to benefit. This holds true to my business and my life in all areas.

Anyway, keep the opinons coming, but I like to label opinion and standard as opinion and standard and label science as science and realize they are 2 very different areas.
 

Johnd

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I mean did you really sit and watch it 24 hours a day 7 days week for months at a time? Im not trying to be a jerk here, but Im a VERY technical person and from a science point of view that just isn't realisitic.
No, I didn’t, but I didn’t need to, the shift in volume of liquid from one side to the other isn’t close to sucking a bubble through when the airlock is properly filled and the carboy is topped up. In fact, it rarely ever empties the bulb. With an airlock on my carboys, there is normally a slight pressure in the vessel resulting in the water column pushing up higher on the outside air side, further exacerbating the practicality of your theory.
 

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