Possible contamination?

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Stickymatch

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So I'm making an Eclipse Stag Merlot kit and proceeded to the stabilizing and clearing stage a couple of days ago. Based on some advice on another thread, I wasn't fully degassed and went to degas again this evening.

So here's my issue. I have the carboy in a 50 gal stock tank filled with water and heated to 74F to keep the wine at 74F as indicated in the instructions. Due to poor light visibility into the stock tank, I decided to lift the carboy out to degas using a brew hauler previously attached on the carboy. When lifting, somehow the brew hauler slipped off the carboy causing the carboy to fall against the stock tank wall. Water is everywhere, some wine spilled in the stock tank, the airlock was floating in the tank. I have no idea if water from the stock tank got into the wine but can only assume. The water is filtered with an aquarium filter but is otherwise open to the air.

Should I dump the wine and start over? If I proceed to let it run it's course, what's the likelihood of contamination and how long does it take to manifest itself?

Can someone talk me off the ledge.
 

Pumpkinman

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You should be fine, it would be possible that water could have gotten inside the carboy, but it would have to be one heck of a precision shot to land in the small opening.
I would leave the carboy at room temp.
 

Stickymatch

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You should be fine, it would be possible that water could have gotten inside the carboy, but it would have to be one heck of a precision shot to land in the small opening.
I would leave the carboy at room temp.
Thanks Tom. Kit says to keep between 72-75F, basement is at 66F which is why I did the water bath. Any harm in keep it at that temp? Will I have problems driving off CO2 if at 66F?
 

Pumpkinman

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Yeah, 66 might be a bit too cold for degassing. Do you have a seedling heat mat that you can tie to the carboy, or a brew belt?
 

Stickymatch

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Yeah, 66 might be a bit too cold for degassing. Do you have a seedling heat mat that you can tie to the carboy, or a brew belt?
Nope but will invest in one now. Went this route because I've read about temp control issues with the brew belt, etc. and didn't want to introduce a thermostopper into my wine.

On the contamination topic....what can I expect and in what amount of time should there be contamination? Is this something I can test/smell in a couple of days or months down the road? Just want to know what to look for just in case.

Thanks again for your help
 

JohnT

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Sticky,

You worry too much. This is wine you are making and not rocket fuel. Wine is very forgiving (up to a point).

I would give the wine a small dose of k-meta just to be safe and continue as if nothing happened. I am pretty sure that even if some water got in there, you are still ok.
 

salcoco

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the wine will degass at the lower temp it will just take longer. as you should be aging this wine at least six months in the carboy it will naturally degass after this period of time. I would rack the wine now and in three months add the required K-meta and go forth to bottling. If contaminated it will smell like vinegar real soon or develop a white film , proper so2 addition will prevent this. since this was a kit didn't you add water to required level for fermentation? water in beginning or the end no difference.
 

Stickymatch

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Sticky,

You worry too much. This is wine you are making and not rocket fuel. Wine is very forgiving (up to a point).

I would give the wine a small dose of k-meta just to be safe and continue as if nothing happened. I am pretty sure that even if some water got in there, you are still ok.
Forgive me, as I'm new to all of this but what's a "small dose"? 1/4 teaspoon?

the wine will degass at the lower temp it will just take longer. as you should be aging this wine at least six months in the carboy it will naturally degass after this period of time. I would rack the wine now and in three months add the required K-meta and go forth to bottling. If contaminated it will smell like vinegar real soon or develop a white film , proper so2 addition will prevent this. since this was a kit didn't you add water to required level for fermentation? water in beginning or the end no difference.
You're right, I did add water but it was purified water. The water in my stock tank was normal tap water (which I'm not concerned about) but it's open to any dust in the air and certainly isn't sterilized...I've had my hands in it, non-sterilized equipment in it, etc. Again, probably over thinking and stressing but when sterilization is hammered time and time again and this is the first wine I've ever made, I can't help but think about this until I get a few runs under my belt and gain the knowledge.
 

loumik

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Stickymatch,
Do you boil all of your equipment in a large pot of water for several minutes?
I would guess that you don't. We do not sterilize our equipment when making wine, we sanitize it. We use k-meta to protect the wine from bacteria until the alcohol level gets to 10% or higher, then the k-meta protects it from oxidation. We use k-meta or some other agent to sanitize our equipment. I'm sure none of us make wine in a sterile setting, so while you need to keep your equipment and work area as sanitary as possible don't be paranoid about it. Relax and enjoy what your doing and make good wine.

LOUMIK :b
 

Stickymatch

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Oops by sterilization I meant sanitation. Intent was there, fingers typed the wrong word :)
 

JohnT

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Sticky,

Yes, 1/4 tsp would be good but I would personally dose it with 1/2 teaspoon.
 

salcoco

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the use of purified water is also unnecessary. if your water is drinkable it is best for the kit, because the minerals in the water are beneficial to the yeast as a nutrient. if your water is heavily chlorinated, let it stand for an hour or so and then use it.
 

Stickymatch

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Sticky,

Yes, 1/4 tsp would be good but I would personally dose it with 1/2 teaspoon.
I added k-meta on Monday as provided in the kit and instructed. I added an additional 1/4 tsp last night due to my debacle. Would adding another 1/4 tsp be too much?

the use of purified water is also unnecessary. if your water is drinkable it is best for the kit, because the minerals in the water are beneficial to the yeast as a nutrient. if your water is heavily chlorinated, let it stand for an hour or so and then use it.
I used Primo water, due to the chlorine taste in my water and after reading that it has a decent mineral content.

Also, for what it's worth chlorine will evaporate over time but most cities are using a chlorine / chloramine combo or chloramine exclusively. Chloramine is harder to remove via evaporation and when used with chlorine, it binds with the chlorine and makes it harder to evaporate as well.....which is why you shouldn't use water left overnight to fill your fish tank banking that it evaporated.
 
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