Scaling a recipe to a fermentation vessel

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Hi. I'm a beginner wine maker and I am starting with small batches until I get the hand of this - no reason to waste money and spoil good fruit until I get a recipe that works.

I got a recipe that yielded 4.5L (1 gallon) of wine. My fermentation vessel for this batch is a 1.9L jug with an airlock.

I scaled the recipe by 1.9 x 4.5L. The recipe called for mixing half the water with the sugar, pouring over the fruit, and then adding the remaining half of the water. The scaled recipe had 2 liters of water... which I guess should have alerted me to the upcoming problem.

When I poured in the water and sugar over the fruit I totally filled my fermentation flask. There was no room for more water. I really needed a 3 liter fermentation flask to make 1.9L of wine. I should have scaled down another 1/3.

When a recipe says it produces X liters of wine, how do you scale to a Y liter fermentation vessel?
 

vinny

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Your primary (initial) fermentation vessel should be much larger than the recipe you are making. It should also be open, yeast need oxygen. you only want your wine under airlock if fementaion is complete.

If you were making a 6 gallon batch, you would want to start your must in a container that will hold 8-10 gallons. I make 1-3 gallon batches in a 5 gallon pail with loose fitting lid and a towel to cover.

Fermentation is a very active process that creates bubbling, foaming, and if agitated, a sometimes violent release of CO2. You want to make sure your primary vessel has room to accommodate all of these factor.

A recipe will often account for losses or excess bulk from ingredients. Once your fermentation is complete this is when you want to rack (siphon) off of the gross lees (expended fruit solids and yeast that have fallen out of suspension) into a secondary vessel. Once you have transferred your liquid off of the solids you should be left with roughly the estimated volume of wine the recipe stated.

If you have started your fermentation in a full container you are in for a mess, 100% guaranteed. You want to move your batch over to a clean and sanitized LARGE container that will allow for the process to take place. This is also the solution if you are looking for how to proceed.

Once the primary fermentation has completed and you move the wine over to a secondary vessel you can put it under airlock. This is where the wine can sit and age to allow the flavours to blend and mellow without coming in contact with oxygen and either spoiling or turning to vinegar.

Welcome to WMT!
 
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Rice_Guy

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My normal gallon batch is to start with an open top like Vinney, at least six liter but sometimes eight liter primary fermenter > siphon this to a four liter glass screw cap (in a fruit recipe filtering the solids at 1.020 gravity) > putting under air lock to finish about a month > siphoning clean liquid to a 3.78 liter (gallon) > at six to nine months siphon clear liquid to a 3.78 liter and bottle from that or siphon to a 3 liter for more age. Some of us keep the same volume glass but add marbles to reduce head space and lots of us will top off with a low flavor as white grape wine. ,,, Which ever technique air is bad for the process since it reacts with alcohol creating a sharp flavor/ burn in the back of the throat swallowing.

1.9 liter is small. This means that the headspace to Wine ratio is high and it has more risk of oxidation. I have used 2 liter and half gallon sizes but I try to stay away from very small batches. I would prefer to mix two fruits together to make a 10 liter or two 4 liter to increase the batch size.

Conceptually the process of making wine is cleaning materials that might spoil/ cause off flavors/ look gunky out of fruit creating a transparent shelf stable beverage. Each step in cleaning results in some loss of volume. ,,, From a practical point you could let fruit solids creating a chewable wine but yeast which settle to the bottom putrify creating reductive flavors so they need to be cleaned out at roughly the one month point.
 
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Vinny's response is spot on!

When a recipe says it produces X liters of wine, how do you scale to a Y liter fermentation vessel?
As a general rule, fill the primary no more than 3/4 full. This matches Vinny's comment, as most folks who make 23 liter (6 US gallon) kits use standard 30 liter (7.9 gallon) primaries. Always err on the side of caution, e.g, bigger is better than smaller.

To scale the primary size, start with the final result size, in your case, 2 liters (1.9 rounded up). Always plan for more than you need, as you'll lose volume to sediment and need to fill the container. Add 50% to allow for fruit, which bumps the result to 3 liters. Then ensure the container is large enough by dividing by 3/4 -- so you need a 4 liter container. Plan for at least double the final batch size (I did the math so you'd see how I got the result).

Do you have a stainless steel cooking pot? That will work as a primary. DO NOT use any form of aluminum or carbon steel, and especially not copper. Wine is acidic and it will leach from most metals, and copper will produce a poison.

1.9 liter is small. This means that the headspace to Wine ratio is high and it has more risk of oxidation. I have used 2 liter and half gallon sizes but I try to stay away from very small batches. I would prefer to mix two fruits together to make a 10 liter or two 4 liter to increase the batch size.
This is very true. @Shanghai Wine Maker, I realize you're experimenting and making very small batches, and that makes sense. I suggest you find a neutral white and/or red wine to keep on hand, to top up your wines if necessary.

OTOH, once you've had a success or two, upsize to 4 liter batches, assuming you can find 4 liter jugs to use as secondaries. In the States it's common to buy Carlo Rossi wines in 4 liter jugs. The wine is completely average, makes great cooking wine, and the cost of a full jug isn't much more than buying a new jug from a LHBS.
 
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Hi. I want to thank everyone for their advice.

For this recipe, I was supposed to add an additional liter of water. I did not since I totally filled my 1.9L bottle.

So, tomorrow I will prepare an additional 1 liter of sugar water and then switch to a 4.5L fermentation vessel and add yeast.

For fermentation vessels I use big plastic jugs, either for water or for Baijiu - Chinese white alcohol. I have some 4.5L jugs.

I have attached a picture of my 1.9L fermentation vessel.

I will keep the airlock, even though I gather it is not necessary initially - as has been pointed out, with a small batch oxidation matters.

I will go from the 4.5L to the 1.9L bottle in a week or so after primary fermentation is done.

I can then go to 1.5L when I rack it... or add glass marbles - that's a great idea since you can adjust the volume, but I am concerned - how do you siphon wine out if you have glass marbles in the bottle and the sediment is sitting on top of it? Wouldn't you lose a lot of wine? Would it be better to have something that floats above the wine rather than that sinks to the bottom?

When I go to larger quantities I can use a steel pot, a steel fermentation vessel (I now think that was a waste) or 14.5 liter water jugs.

Here is my blueberry wine - in pic.

BTW, another interesting thing here is that you cannot buy some of the things that you guys seem to take for granted.

I could not find Campden tablets. I bought Potassium Metabisulfite and I measure out how much to add. I could not buy acid blend. I bought citric acid, malic acid, and tartaric acid. I measure then out individually.
 

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heatherd

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Hi. I want to thank everyone for their advice.

For this recipe, I was supposed to add an additional liter of water. I did not since I totally filled my 1.9L bottle.

So, tomorrow I will prepare an additional 1 liter of sugar water and then switch to a 4.5L fermentation vessel and add yeast.

For fermentation vessels I use big plastic jugs, either for water or for Baijiu - Chinese white alcohol. I have some 4.5L jugs.

I have attached a picture of my 1.9L fermentation vessel.

I will keep the airlock, even though I gather it is not necessary initially - as has been pointed out, with a small batch oxidation matters.

I will go from the 4.5L to the 1.9L bottle in a week or so after primary fermentation is done.

I can then go to 1.5L when I rack it... or add glass marbles - that's a great idea since you can adjust the volume, but I am concerned - how do you siphon wine out if you have glass marbles in the bottle and the sediment is sitting on top of it? Wouldn't you lose a lot of wine? Would it be better to have something that floats above the wine rather than that sinks to the bottom?

When I go to larger quantities I can use a steel pot, a steel fermentation vessel (I now think that was a waste) or 14.5 liter water jugs.

Here is my blueberry wine - in pic.

BTW, another interesting thing here is that you cannot buy some of the things that you guys seem to take for granted.

I could not find Campden tablets. I bought Potassium Metabisulfite and I measure out how much to add. I could not buy acid blend. I bought citric acid, malic acid, and tartaric acid. I measure then out individually.
Agree with the posts above. I wouldn't use marbles during fermentation because you really need extra space, that's something you can do in the carboy after fermentation. I'd use your steel fermentation vessel for this until fermentation is done and then rack over to your airlocked jugs and either top up with wine or add your marbles.
 

vinny

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During the initial stages yeast is creating a huge amount of CO2 while it is converting sugar to energy. Yeast can survive in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions, but Oxygen is a 100% necessary part of yeast converting sugar to energy which promotes reproduction and strong fermentation. CO2 and ethanol are just the biproduct of yeast feeding, reproducing and trying to survive. Any oxygen introduced in the initial stages of fermentation will be consumed during the process and is not a concern until fermentation has completed. It is actually promoted. Without active yeast oxygen can remain suspended in the wine/must and at this point can cause negative effects, which is why wine is put under airlock after the bulk fermentation process has completed.

For the first 3-5 days minimum, oxygen is very beneficial to your ferment. This is why most use a simple bucket as a primary vessel. It is easy to stir and introduce oxygen. The other benefit of an open top vessel is being able to add fruits in a bag. You can press the bag with a spoon to encourage flavour transfer, but you can also remove the bag and solids making for a much less messy/involved process.

Something like this cost $5 at home improvement stores.

By all means, do it as you see fit. I am just trying to offer simplicity in your process.

1653781371456.png
 
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I'd use your steel fermentation vessel for this until fermentation is done and then rack over to your airlocked jugs and either top up with wine or add your marbles.
Thanks but the steel fermenter is 12 liters. Is that a good idea for 3 liters of wine and blueberries?
 
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During the initial stages yeast is creating a huge amount of CO2 while it is converting sugar to energy. Yeast can survive in both aerobic and anaerobic conditions, but Oxygen is a 100% necessary part of yeast converting sugar to energy which promotes reproduction and strong fermentation. CO2 and ethanol are just the biproduct of yeast feeding, reproducing and trying to survive. Any oxygen introduced in the initial stages of fermentation will be consumed during the process and is not a concern until fermentation has completed. It is actually promoted. Without active yeast oxygen can remain suspended in the wine/must and at this point can cause negative effects, which is why wine is put under airlock after the bulk fermentation process has completed.

For the first 3-5 days minimum, oxygen is very beneficial to your ferment. This is why most use a simple bucket as a primary vessel. It is easy to stir and introduce oxygen. The other benefit of an open top vessel is being able to add fruits in a bag. You can press the bag with a spoon to encourage flavour transfer, but you can also remove the bag and solids making for a much less messy/involved process.

Something like this cost $5 at home improvement stores.

By all means, do it as you see fit. I am just trying to offer simplicity in your process.

View attachment 88950
Got it. Use the big fermenter and don't seal it. Thanks.
 
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Oxygen is a 100% necessary part of yeast converting sugar to energy which promotes reproduction and strong fermentation. CO2 and ethanol are just the biproduct of yeast feeding, reproducing and trying to survive. Any oxygen introduced in the initial stages of fermentation will be consumed during the process and is not a concern until fermentation has completed. It is actually promoted. Without active yeast oxygen can remain suspended in the wine/must and at this point can cause negative effects, which is why wine is put under airlock after the bulk fermentation process has completed.

For the first 3-5 days minimum, oxygen is very beneficial to your ferment. This is why most use a simple bucket as a primary vessel. It is easy to stir and introduce oxygen. The other benefit of an open top vessel is being able to add fruits in a bag. You can press the bag with a spoon to encourage flavour transfer, but you can also remove the bag and solids making for a much less messy/involved process.

Thanks @vinny. This is now much clearer.

New supplies need to wait until after lockdown ends.

Meanwhile, I'm using a steel pot for this with a net stretched over it.
 

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