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Primary Fermentation

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msfgroup

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Good Morning

I have a very simple question that seems to have a toss up of answers. What is the feeling(s) of everyone regarding fermentation in the primary, do you use a lid and airlock or a clean towel over the primary? We are getting ready to do 2 Big Reds and 2 Whites and would like to see what everyone has to say.

Sorry for the simple question but I have been told by so many people both ways (most have NO knowledge) so we are coming to the people with experience

Many Thanks

Mike and Sherry
MSF Group
 

Brian55

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Good Morning

I have a very simple question that seems to have a toss up of answers. What is the feeling(s) of everyone regarding fermentation in the primary, do you use a lid and airlock or a clean towel over the primary? We are getting ready to do 2 Big Reds and 2 Whites and would like to see what everyone has to say.

Sorry for the simple question but I have been told by so many people both ways (most have NO knowledge) so we are coming to the people with experience

Many Thanks

Mike and Sherry
MSF Group
Our first 50 or so kits were fermented under an airlock, the latest 50 or so have been covered with a towel, until fermentation starts to slow. Can't find a noticeable difference in results between the two methods.
 

Stressbaby

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I don't ferment anything under a tight airlock, but I've started managing my cool-ferment whites with the lid snapped down and minimal stirring. Subjectively they are better.
 

Doug’s wines

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I leave the lid sitting on top of the fermenter not snapped down until vigorous fermentation seems to be slowing, then I snap it down under airlock. Yeast needs some oxygen for the process so I usually stir the must and lees everyday Until SG is under 1.020 (usually thinking about racking sometime soon thereafter). That said, I’m not terribly fanatical about oxygen damage potentially early on. I feel there is so much co2 in solution that it isn’t much risk for oxygen damage. I know some people use argon or co2 gas cans to displace oxygen Once they are getting below fermentation sg’s.

While it seems to be more common, I’ve never been a fan of the towel thing. Too many pictures of big red wine volcanos and I don’t want to lose product or have the cleanup issues.

I’ve also read that the more vigorous / faster the fermentation the harsher the yeast impact and that if you control the amount of oxygen you create a more balanced product. Having never tried a side by side comparison, there’s no way I can confirm this, but since reading that, I’ve tried to avoid the volcano situation which can be avoided by controlling oxygen a little.
 

BernardSmith

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I tend to make meads and country wines - not grape wines and I typically ferment only under a very loose cover as I want to degas during active fermentation and I want to add nutrients during this same period and it is much simpler to remove a cloth cover or a loosely placed plastic lid than it is to unseal a tightly fitted lid.
 

cpfan

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i use a lid that does not seal tightly (the lid & pail were designed that way for fermentation) and does not have a hole for an airlock. I believe that it is better than using a towel but it's basically the same thing.

Steve
 

Johny99

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I snap the lid down on brutes for my reds, not airtight by any means. All my whites I ferment under airlock. No need to punchdown, so it seems safer to me.
 

kuziwk

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Good Morning

I have a very simple question that seems to have a toss up of answers. What is the feeling(s) of everyone regarding fermentation in the primary, do you use a lid and airlock or a clean towel over the primary? We are getting ready to do 2 Big Reds and 2 Whites and would like to see what everyone has to say.

Sorry for the simple question but I have been told by so many people both ways (most have NO knowledge) so we are coming to the people with experience

Many Thanks

Mike and Sherry
MSF Group
Ive only made a few kits but i put the lid on loose and when it hits a sg of around 1.02 i pop the lid down and install an airlock. The lid i use is from home depot and it has one of those flip top things on the top for pouring, a bung fits on there perfectly. This is for the cheaper kits, the expensive kit ive done i rack when it says to rack for secondary fermentation to get it off the grape skins and what not.
 
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