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Racking From Large Fermenter

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Dom Lausic

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Hope everyone is excited for the new harvest! And that your winemaking plans well underway!

I wanted to ask how everyone drains their wine from their large fermenters (5 gal buckets don't count...). I have a 200L drum i ferment it, and have used a racking cane to siphon in the past. But typically i can only get so much out before it gets stuck. I then scoop the rest into the wine press. But last year i added some enzymes into my wine, and i had a ton of fine pulp and sediment that fell to the bottom, so the siphon didn't work. I was considering adding a ball valve to the fermenter but wasn't sure how to keep that from clogging.

Would love to know/see how you guys are doing it! Here's to "a better way!"

Cheers
 

Rocky

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When I lived in Rochester, NY I purchased two 50-some gallon containers that were used to import lime juice. I added a spigot to each one about 3-4 inches above the bottom. I also had to cut the top off the drums with a saber saw and I used the tops as a cover during fermentation.

I was making wine from grapes at the time so I would set my crusher on top of the drums and process the grapes directly into the drum. I had the drums set on a stand that was only about 2 feet high but it was high enough to set a large stockpot under the spigots and drain the wine into the pots. From there I poured the wine into 20 and 30 gallon barrels, using a large funnel, to complete fermentation and clear.

My procedure was to crush the grapes into the fermenters and ferment the wine from 10 to 14 days. After that time with fermentation slowing, I first scooped out the skins and let them drain into a vessel before pressing them. I added the free run juice from the skins to the wine from the spigot and kept the wine pressed out of the skins separate. The wine would stay in the barrels from Mid October to early December at which time I would insert the bung. The wine was drinkable around Easter but I usually bottled most of it for additional aging.

It was slightly labor intensive, but not a big deal when making only 70-80 gallons. The spigots were stainless steel and easily removed for cleaning after the season.
 

Johnd

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Hope everyone is excited for the new harvest! And that your winemaking plans well underway!

I wanted to ask how everyone drains their wine from their large fermenters (5 gal buckets don't count...). I have a 200L drum i ferment it, and have used a racking cane to siphon in the past. But typically i can only get so much out before it gets stuck. I then scoop the rest into the wine press. But last year i added some enzymes into my wine, and i had a ton of fine pulp and sediment that fell to the bottom, so the siphon didn't work. I was considering adding a ball valve to the fermenter but wasn't sure how to keep that from clogging.

Would love to know/see how you guys are doing it! Here's to "a better way!"

Cheers
Many of us use the “Gajillion Hole Pipe”, I made this one from a piece of 4” water pipe. It has a cap on the bottom and a gajillion holes drilled in it, you can see my auto siphon next to it. Push the tube down into the must, insert the siphon / racking cane, and remove the wine. I typically vacuum rack to avoid lifting the fermenters, which are 40 - 50 gallons. A bit labor intensive to make, but it works like a charm. As the wine level decreases, there are fewer holes for wine to flow into, so you may need to slow a bit and spin the tube in the must to keep the holes free. Once you’ve gotten the wine out, head to the press.
CFC1475A-D28B-4751-8DD0-F861C52788CC.jpeg
 

Dom Lausic

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The "Gajillion Hole Pipe"!!!! That's exactly what I need! So simple and brilliant, yet game changing!

Last year I drilled a gajillion holes into a soda pop bottle and used that to siphon. But as the holes got plugged and the pressure increased, the bottle caved it.

This is amazing, thank you!!!
 

Dom Lausic

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By the way @Johnd I'm extremely impressed in how precise you drilled a gajillion holes...… You've even off-set them. Great job!
 

Boatboy24

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The "Gajillion Hole Pipe"!!!! That's exactly what I need! So simple and brilliant, yet game changing!

Last year I drilled a gajillion holes into a soda pop bottle and used that to siphon. But as the holes got plugged and the pressure increased, the bottle caved it.

This is amazing, thank you!!!
I'm also a 'GHP' user. Although mine is not nearly as pretty as John's. I made mine with 4 inch PVC. Some people take it a step further and wrap a paint strainer bag around the pipe.
 

Johnd

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By the way @Johnd I'm extremely impressed in how precise you drilled a gajillion holes...… You've even off-set them. Great job!
LOL! I wrapped a piece of perforated vinyl soffit around the pipe, zip tied it in place, and used it as my hole drilling guide, worked out quite well.

Incidentally, my first GHP was a piece of perforated vinyl soffit rolled into a tube and riveted together at the seam, with an end cap siliconed on the bottom. Worked well, just a little too flimsy.
 

Johnd

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Those products always looked to me like the screen would clog very quickly, just like a stainless mesh strainer during pressing.......have you tried them?
 

cmason1957

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FunkedOut

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Those products always looked to me like the screen would clog very quickly, just like a stainless mesh strainer during pressing.......have you tried them?
Never for wine. It works well for a dry-hopped beer, although it does clog as your intuition tells you. As the level gets lower, it clogs quicker and quicker. You have to shake or spin it a bit to get it flowing again.

I put a similar screen (much larger mesh and shorter length) on my racking cane for the wine. (http://www.morebeer.com/products/racking-cane-filter.html)
The good news is, as it gets clogged, it strains finer and finer.
The bad news is, I had to remove and clean it about 3 times for a 6 gallon carboy.
 

Dom Lausic

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Thank you all for the great suggestions! I've got to rack and press these beauties in about 10 days!

20190921_173502.jpg
 

Chuck E

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I saw this at Amazon. The piece is made for holding wood chips in a gas grill for smoking meats. The perforated SS tube is closed on one end. I made an extension out of PVC pipe. I can set this into my RubberMade fermenters and not get any of the cap residue in the racking cane.
 

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Dom Lausic

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Hey @Johnd, what material is your GHP 4" water pipe made from?? Is it PVC? I was looking at some of the ABS piping and it was pretty nicked up...... Was just concerned what type of risk that could pose from a bacterial standpoint. They keep telling us not to stack our pails to keep them from scratching, and this ABS wasn't too pretty..... So curious as to what type of piping that is.
Thx!
 

Dom Lausic

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@Boatboy24, i see you used PVC, which i believe is better than ABS. I believe ABS contains BPA, which I don't like the idea of..... Seems like PVC is the better choice???
 

Boatboy24

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@Boatboy24, i see you used PVC, which i believe is better than ABS. I believe ABS contains BPA, which I don't like the idea of..... Seems like PVC is the better choice???
I'm no chemist, but my thinking is the wine is in contact with the PVC for such a short time, that there isn't an opportunity for it to react with any of the plastics/chems. Don't know anything about ABS, but I'm all for avoiding BPA where possible.
 

Johnd

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Hey @Johnd, what material is your GHP 4" water pipe made from?? Is it PVC? I was looking at some of the ABS piping and it was pretty nicked up...... Was just concerned what type of risk that could pose from a bacterial standpoint. They keep telling us not to stack our pails to keep them from scratching, and this ABS wasn't too pretty..... So curious as to what type of piping that is.
Thx!
Yes, mine is water pipe, schedule 20, not schedule 40, so it’s a good bit lighter.
 

jgmann67

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I made, and used, my GHP for the first couple of wines I made from grapes. Because my wine making is a one-Mann-show for the most part, I try to keep it all as simple as possible.

Last year I used a plastic pitcher and just scooped the wine from the fermenter and poured it into my butt press (into the straining back that was set up inside). After the free run was gone, I pressed the rest. Repeat until all the wine is out of the fermenter and ready to go into carboys.
 

Dom Lausic

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I made, and used, my GHP for the first couple of wines I made from grapes. Because my wine making is a one-Mann-show for the most part, I try to keep it all as simple as possible.

Last year I used a plastic pitcher and just scooped the wine from the fermenter and poured it into my butt press (into the straining back that was set up inside). After the free run was gone, I pressed the rest. Repeat until all the wine is out of the fermenter and ready to go into carboys.
I've done the same in the past. Racked what i could, then scooped the rest.

One-man show here as well! But enough wine for an army..... go figure....
 

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