Primary fermentation question..

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Likesspace

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Hi guys,
I'm new to the forum and really appreciate all of the information that is available here. Being relatively new to wine making this has been a great resource for me.
I've got a few kits under my belt as well as a couple of juice wines that I did from scratch and although none of the wines have been what I would call spectacular, a couple of them have been pretty nice.
I stopped making wine a couple of years ago to focus on a cheese making hobby and have just recently gotten the urge to get something going again. Even though i was afraid that I had forgotten everything about making wine, it was amazing how quickly it all came back with just a little bit of reading.
I do have one question though.....
How long do you all usually leave a wine in the primary fermentation vessel?
I have a 5 gallon batch of Pinot Noir that I started from an Alexander's brand concentrate and want to make sure that I don't leave it too long before racking.
The recipe on the can of concentrate said to let the wine sit until it has reached 1.000 or less which usually takes between 20 - 30 days. This seems like an extremely long period of time as compared to my previous batches.
My main concern with leaving the wine too long is that it will pick up a "yeasty taste" which I have noticed in some of my other wines. A couple of them are just now getting past that yeasty flavor after having sat in the bottle for 2 - 3 years.
I honestly can't say that this is due to sitting on the lees too long, but I'm guessing that this is the case.
If anyone can give me some guidance it would be greatly appreciated.

Dave
 

kiljoy

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The obvious thing to look at is your hydrometer reading. I made a 5 gallon batch of pinot from the same Alexander’s concentrate. Mine was in the primary for 10 days. I transferred at 1.02.

Although, I've had them go as fast at 4 days. I'd say 20-30 days is a bit too long.
 

Wade E

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I leave reds in there to finish fermenting but whites and fruits I take out ariund 1.010/ I dont think the Alexanders produces a good product IMO!
 

Likesspace

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Thanks for the fast responses!
I guess I will keep checking the hydrometer and go from there.
If my memory serves me correctly I don't think I've ever had a wine stay in the primary longer than two weeks so the amount of time that was listed in the recipe sounded way off base to me.
I've heard a few people say they were not happy with the Alexander's concentrate and I've heard others that believe it makes a decent and drinkable wine. I used to look at these concentrates and wonder if they could be tweaked and figured why not give it a try.
I did add bentonite as well as acid and tannins to the base recipe in hopes that I could make it into something decent. I also plan on adding oak in the secondary.
Even if it doesn't make a fantastic wine I'm hoping that it can at least turn out as an okay daily drinker. If not, I can always use it as a top up wine or give it to my brother who seems to be able to drink anything. :)
I will have less than $50.00 in a five gallon batch and I'm basically using this one to try to sharpen my skills. Of course I'd like for it to turn out but if not, it's not the end of the world.
I have put a little bug in Santa's ear that I'd like to have a Mezza Luna or Cabernet kit for Christmas so hopefully that will become a reality.
I'm already having a blast getting back into this and I figure it's the perfect compliment to my cheese making.
Thanks again for the information and have a great evening.

Dave
 

upper

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Give us the Go-Go on the cheese deal.Upper
 

arcticsid

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I'm with upper, I've been thinking a bit about the cheese making myself. I was born in Wisconsin, it's already in my blood.
Troy
 

DageonYar

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I'm with upper, I've been thinking a bit about the cheese making myself. I was born in Wisconsin, it's already in my blood.
Troy
If you have cheese in your blood, may want to get that checked ;)
 

Likesspace

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Hey guys.....
I can't imagine anyone, that enjoys wine making, NOT enjoying cheese making just as much, if not more.
When I first started making wine my major problem with the hobby was that there was not enough to do.
I mean I would ferment.....transfer.....rack and wait, but it wasn't like I had something to do with this hobby at all times.
I was so infatuated with the tasks involved that I literally ruined a batch of Burgundy by doing something with it constantly. I've since learned that less is more when it comes to making wine.
Now with making cheese, things are entirely different....
For instance when I make a batch of Cheddar I can count on devoting nearly a full day to the task.
Also, after making a cheese there is then the care of the cheese to take into consideration which means turning on a regular basis and constantly keeping an eye out for undesirable molds, monitoring temp. humidity, etc.
During the winter months I make cheese nearly every weekend and also anytime during the week that I can find a free minute. Some varieties of cheese can be made in as little as a half an hour (quick Mozzarella) while others will take 12 hours (Cheddar and Gouda) before you can leave them on their own.
The process of making cheese is fairly straightforward....
Warm the milk, add the culture, allow the milk to ripen, add rennet, cut and cook the curd, drain and press.
Now even though that sounds simple I can tell you that I've wasted quite a lot of milk simply because I did not understand the process or the science behind the recipe.
One thing that I have become convinced of is that a Ph meter is a piece of equipment that is as necessary as a cheese vat. Without a Ph meter you simply have no way of knowing what your cheese is doing.
There are certain benchmark points that have to be met perfectly or you will produce an entirely different cheese than the one that you set out to make.
For instance with a Cheddar cheese (one of the more difficult to make correctly), there are two ph benchmark points. One is at whey drain (ph 6.15) and the other at salting (ph 5.35). If you miss these marks by a little you will still make a decent cheese. If you miss these marks by over .2 to .3 you could end up with a cheese that is pretty much inedible.
One thing to keep in mind when making cheese is that everything single movement will ultimately affect the type of cheese you produce.
If you stir too aggressively or too often your cheese might be quite dry and crumbly.
If you stir too little your cheese might hold excessive whey and have a sour or spoiled flavor.
As I said earlier, the process is quite simple buy managing the subtleties is the key to making good cheese.
After nearly 4 years of making cheese and two years of devoting every winter season to the process, I finally feel that I am making the type of cheese that I can be somewhat proud of. I'm not where I want to be just yet, but with each make I seem to improve.
The types of cheese that I've made are: Cheddar, Colby, Gouda, Cottage, Cream, Provolone, Mozzarella, Stilton, Camembert, Romano, Parmesan, Colby/Jack, Pepper Jack and my old nemesis Swiss.
Most of the cheeses have evolved from pretty much nasty to pretty much nice. The only exception being Stilton which turned out fantastic from the first time I gave it a try.
The reason that I referred to Swiss as my nemesis is because although the taste and texture are wonderful I am yet to produce the large eyes (holes) that the cheese is supposed to have. I've read everything that I know to read on this variety but the key to making this type still eludes me.
Okay, I'm rambling a bit now. It's just that cheese making has become sort of a passion and like any passion you want to share that which makes you happy with others.
I would recommend this hobby to anyone that enjoys making wine. It's a very fun and challenging hobby and I'm sure you would all really enjoy the process.
Many of the items you use in wine making could be also used in cheese making. Most other items can be found in most kitchens (with the exception of the cultures, rennet and other misc. items).
Also, if anyone would like to give this a try just let me know. There is a quick and simple Mozzarella recipe that is finished and ready to eat within about an hour from start to finish.
It's nowhere nearly as tasty as the Mozzarella that you spend all day making but I still remember the first one I made and I'm not sure that I've ever tasted a cheese that I thought was any better than that one.
The process is fairly simple and the rewards are fantastic. Also, it's just downright fun and fascinating.
Okay, I'm going to shut up now.
If you are interested and have any questions, let me know. As I'm sure you've noticed I do like to talk cheese.
Okay, whew! That went on longer than I had planned.

Dave
 

Hillbilly Bill

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Hey guys.....
I can't imagine anyone, that enjoys wine making, NOT enjoying cheese making just as much, if not more.
If you are interested and have any questions, let me know.

Dave

Dave... I think it would me great if you posted this quick Mozzarella recipe in the General Chit-Chat section of the forum. Pizza bread goes great with some wines and my wife would sure like to have that recipe.
Thanks for the heads-up on the cheesemaking... might be just the ticket for some of us with too much time on our hands.
HB
 

xanxer82

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Yeah I work 3 days a week in health care so it's a full time job but when school is out of the semester I'm bored bored bored. Maybe cheese making would be fun to research and give a try.
 

kiljoy

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Back to Alexander the Pinot. It was not really my favorite wine. I figured it was just cheap concentrate or a little too thin. I recently went to an Xmas party and they had a bottle of Pinot Noir sitting there. I tried it and dam if it didn’t taste like what I had made. Actually, mine was a bit better. Apparently, I just don’t care for Pinot Noir.
 

Likesspace

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HB...
Sorry it took so long to reply but life has been beyond hectic the last week or so.
I will be sure to post he Mozza recipe just as soon as I find an extra couple of minutes.
Keep an eye out for it in the chit chat section.
The things you will need to make this recipe are:
s.s. cooking pan
s.s. spoon
s.s. knife (for cutting curd)
s.s. thermometer, digital or analog
measuring spoons (plastic or s.s.)
rennet (I prefer liquid veal rennet but nearly any type will work)
powder citric acid (can be purchased online or at some local pharmacies)
microwave oven and microwave bowl
heavy rubber gloves (not exactly required but VERY handy)
strainer (either plastic or s.s.)
cheese cloth
Most of these items you will probably have in your kitchen and as for some of the speciality items (rennet, citric acid, cheese cloth) these can be purchased online. I usually buy from dairy connection which is an online retalier that I can't say enough good things about. Just do a google search and you will find the website.
Most of these items are used in all kinds of cheesemaking so it will not be a waste to make the purchase, if you are serious about exploring this hobby. The only things that are exclusive to Mozz making are the citric acid and the rubber gloves.
As I said, I'll get this posted in the chit chat section as quickly as I can. Possibly even this evening.

Dave
 

Hillbilly Bill

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No problem whatsoever, Dave... I know you are busy and it's not like the house is on fire... any time within the next 15 minutes will do... :)
Thanks much...
HB
 

Likesspace

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LOL...
Well, I guess you and I were on the same page. The recipe is now posted in the chit chat forum.
If you have any questions, ask away and I will answer them as quickly as possible.
Hope your week has started off well.

Dave
 

Hillbilly Bill

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LOL...
Well, I guess you and I were on the same page. The recipe is now posted in the chit chat forum.
If you have any questions, ask away and I will answer them as quickly as possible.
Hope your week has started off well.

Dave
Thanks Dave... I checked out the Dairy Connection website... it is really nice. I may not be able to get started making the cheese immediately... I have 2 kits to get going and some other items I need to mop up, but I will tell you this... I am very interested in making my own cheese. My wife and I consume a lot of cheese... I grow my own peppers and I they will be great in homemade cheese.
Thanks again...
HB
 
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