Discussion in 'Kit Winemaking' started by jgmann67, Dec 19, 2017.
I will join the EM group soon with a RJS Amarone. Still looking around for fermonster.
Jim: how'd you feel about headspace during the peak of fermentation? Despite information to the contrary, I can't help but think one of these kits is going to end up blowing the lid off the Fermonster. Its 7.0 gallons, right? I've been looking at the Speidel fermenter, which is 7.9gal. More expensive, but plenty of room there. I wonder what the extra headspace would do over the length of the EM.
I'm trying my first E M, after 9 days transferred the Amarone into a 6 gal carboy & a 3L jug, with all the skins etc. Had to remove grape skins/raisins a few times as they were plugging up the neck & blowing wine up into the airlock. Leaving it for 4 days, hoping NO explosions when we get back. Roy ps I was studying up all day on my Chinese, glad I don't need it. LOL!!
When I do eventually get a fermonster and try it, I'm not too worried. Think of all the "micro" oxidation that happens during barrel aging. As long as their isn't an open highway to more and more oxygen to contact the wine, I would think you'd be fine. You could purge the headspace with some type of heavier gas, but I think it would, over time, eventually be replaced with oxygen with an airlock attached.
I have started an EM on the RQ18 Shiraz Viognier, coming up one 1 week in a 7gal fermonster, at no point has it come close to the lid. Skins are in loose and I am now sloshing instead of stirring
Yes, it's marked as 7 gallons. But it looks like it's got a little more room than that. I liked the speidel, but didn't have the extra $$$. So, it was either the fermonster or big mouth bubbler.
If you can leave it sealed over the EM, I think the added headspace is not an issue.
The kit comes with two packets of RC212. I could have probably dropped just one of them. But, even with dropping both, it never got close enough to the top for me to be concerned.
I recently started a MV LaVie Cabernet on Dec 13. It is clearing now. I decided to do a short EM. I left it in primary for 3 weeks (moved out of primary off oak and skins on Jan 4) while I went out of town A few weeks. I only punched down a few times a day during rigorous primary i.e. About 4 days. Once I was back I tasted it each day and waited for that "dramatic change" where it gets softer and tastes like it's been aged. This was at 3 weeks and 1 day for me EM'ing at ~73 degrees.
Tasted it again yesterday and it's pretty good. Got a rich body and nice tanin structure for a kit. I feel like it picked up more from leaving it on the skins the extra time. As for leaving it 8 weeks, I'm not sure there is any magic in that number. I've read that the secret to EM is tasting it to know when it's finished looking for the dramatic softening. Other books say when the cap falls. The taste test worked well for me and the overnight change was very noticeable.
Btw "home wine making step by step" a book by Trish Broersma suggests that during EM it is important to look for that taste change as the target time to end EM otherwise the wine will quickly develop significantly more tannic tastes. She suggests this is a short window of opportunity. This book is available free via kindle prime if interested.
She is referring to whole grape EM which would include seeds etc so not sure if we would be risking the tannic overbalance using kit skins (probably not much?), but I did want to confirm that taste testing worked for me and I feel I get a good result with it.
I think that's probably the key here. No mention of a particular window to rack in the blogs on EM for kits. Plus, I'm not keen on opening the fermonster up before it's time to rack.
@jgmann67 i can understand the reluctance to open primary. Her suggestion is to fill the headspace with argon or co2 to displace the oxygen. Personally with kits, I believe it creates so much entrained co2 that I don’t know if we need to worry so much about oxidation until after stabilization and degas for reds so I didn’t bother, but I did minimize the amount I opened my primary.
Just got my FerMonster in local store and about to kick off my RJS EP Amarone. Just watched Tim's Utube Videa, Found that is exactly the same kit Tim V did. No worry about the result now. Haha.
Planning as follows:
-1 week cold soak and 8 weeks total on skin
-1 wk soak w pectic enzyme
-1 wk in bucket fermentation with loose skin
-6 wk in Fermonster with skin in muslin bag for easy quick removal and squeeze after EM. To add some KMS halfway for further protection
-After that rack off lees with KMS only to stabilize and bulk aging for a long time, rack every three months. no degassing, no sorbate, no clarifier, no rush. Everything natural. 12+ months later straight into bottle. Target is a tannic bold big red.
Curious to see what will happen.
Skip the week in the bucket with loose skins, do the whole thing in the fermonster - you did get the 7 gallon one? I don't think loose skins matter when they will be in that long.
Thanks for your reply.
Actually, the decision to use bucket at the beginning was based on three considerations:
First, Quick extraction: You are right. Since the skin will go thru lengthy maceration, the quick extraction is not that important at this stage.
Second, overflow: The Fermonster I bought is 7 gal. However, there is a post (WE Lodi 11 EM) talking about overflow issue due to vigorous fermentation. I am trying to minimize the risk. If that happens, that would be a big mess. I forgot to mention about swapping yeast. It is almost my standard procedure to use either RC212 or BM4x4 for red and Q23 or D47 for white. So foaming is a concern.
Last, I am thinking about leaving some seeds behind after bucket fermentation to minimize the harsh tannin extraction in EM. It is a good opportunity to do so when the skin is floating and the seeds are at the bottom. It was said that the harsh tannin is from the seeds when alcohol level is high.
I've been puzzling over this m'self. I have possession of: a Big Mouth Bubbler and an older Rosso Fortissimo kit. I have been planning to try an EM on this kit. My problem is that the Big Mouth Bubbler is, I believe, exactly 6 gallons. The plan I have been hatching from reading this and other EM threads is to: ferment in a bucket to start. Do not add the full amount of water, but short the kit about 3 liters. Let this go in primary until major foaming subsides. Transfer about a gallon of liquid to a glass container. Transfer the rest, including skins, to the BMB. After fermentation is well settled down, top off the BMB using the wine from the gallon jug. Then let the must, err, Macerate for an Extended period of time .
If I follow this protocol, the wine will be a bit concentrated (from shorting the 3 liters of water). I could remove the skins, and water it back to the intended strength. Or I could wait until that time and see how the wine is, and decide to leave it a bit thick.
Whaddya think of this plan? At this point, I have no intention of purchasing another fermentation vessel.
That can be a plan.
Here is an alternate one. Since it is a big kit, dropping volume might be a kind of loss of resource (4 bottles loss and risk of off balance) :
Do as per instruction to full volume with all the ingredients in. Before pitching yeast, draw 3L of juice (no skin) out and store in fridge. Pitch yeast into the bucket batch until the fermentation slows down and transfer everything to BBM to continue EM. To some point, (say 2~3 weeks), take out the stored juice, warm up and pitch yeast to start another fermentation in 1 gal carboy, if you like, you can connect headspace to the BBM with a hose to feed CO2 to the EM batch and share one air lock since that batch is to the end of EM and at risk of oxidation. (not sure if it is achievable for BBM, but can be easily done in Fermmonster. Or you can do the small batch separately as long as the timing is coordinated nicely to finish both at almost the same time. After the small batch fermentation is done. Rack both to a 6 gal carboy to continue the rest tasks. In this case, no volume loss. How do you think?
I have to scratch my head over what use a BMB has? Is it designed for 5 gallon ferments? If so, that's silly since most kits I've seen are 6 gallon.
Trick, I like your plan better than my plan. Never would have thought of drawing off liquid before fermentation. "I'm so glad we had this little chat...."
Yeah, I dunno. I didn't buy it. It was a freebie promotion when I bought a kit once at Northern Brewer. I didn't even know it was a throw-in until I was at the register. "Sure, I'll take it, why not?" I, too, have not really figured what it is for, and have never used it. When EM came to my attention, I said "aha!" but then struggled with my above question...
I assume it was designed with brewers in mind - who usually make 5 gallon batches.
Sounds more like a big mouth carboy best suit for secondary fermentation. Easy cleaning with chance to drop in some oak chips etc.
Actually even the 7 gal still tight for vigorous fermentation of a 6 gal batch especially when extra skin volume is added in.
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