The 4-3-2 Week method...anybody tried it?

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Green Mountains

Senior Member
Nov 29, 2009
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Has anybody here tried this? Throw away the kit directions and follow this procedure?

Start your kit the usual way but leave it in the primary for four weeks.

After 4 weeks, rack to carboy.

After 3 more weeks, rack, degas and add stabilizers flavor additives as per the instructions in your kit.

Wait another 2 weeks, rack once more and immediately bottle.

I'm trying this with my white zin and after two weeks in secondary it already looks very clear and tastes very good.

The old brew shop that I used to go to in Maine swears by it but I've never tried it until now.

I'll let you know.

(BTW, I posted this earlier but it didn't seem to post...if it's also in another place, my apologies.)


Looking forward to your results. BTW, I have heard that some ferment on premises stores never take it out of the primary. It doesn't make it the best way to make wine, but it is a lot less work for a store with many kits on the go.

Personally, I think 4 weeks in the primary is too long. Of course, one issue is the size of your primary. If it's a 25 litre primary with air-lock that would be better than the 45 litre primary without air-lock that I use.

Spagnols uses a 2+2 (week) format for many of their kits. I use a 1+4+6 week format where the 4 & the 6 can end up being 8 & 12 quite easily.

You are most likely using a 7.9 gallon primary as thats what the industry standard is for wine and beer primary buckets. You would not be able to make a 6 gallon batch in a 6 gallon bucket! I usullay do 2 weeks in primary unless its a fragile wine like apple or some white grape wine. Those i do 1 week in primary and then I just play it by ear after that, no set schedule. I leave it in bulk for around 6-8 months though!
Darren, our buddy Ryan was making "Skeeter Pee" , he followed the directions the first time and it turned out great. The second time he tried to alter something that worked fine the first time. He had nothing but problems. He's got it going now. but don't forget the old rule about trying to fix something that isn't broken!

Only a hydrometer can tell you when the next step is necessary!

I agree with the "don't fix what's not broke" idea. I DO think though that the industry has probably painted themselves into a corner with their "4 week wine kit" idea.

My first impression when I bought my first kit was "WOW, I can have my own wine in 4 weeks". The guy at the shop said something to the effect...."Well, you CAN,'s better if you take longer". He pointed me towards the schedule they use. Which is posted on this page.

I followed the kit directions for the first 8 kits however and have been pleased.

I've got a little scientist inside of me though. :d
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here ya there bro, I have been wondering about this 4 week kit idea since I became involved with this, and though I am not familiar with kits, I AM JUST NOT buying it. Wine has to age, we all know that. I'd like to see what CP says about this, he is probably the most knowledgable kit guy amongst us.
Think I wll be sticking with the instructions that come with my 4 week kits . I would never leave any kit in primary for 4 weeks i think going by the SG is the best idea also .These people say not to top off the carboy either , I don't know if I have heard anyone say that a good idea .Our store did tell us if we left it for 2 more weeks after degassing it would be better .
other than being 'a scientist' ;), are there any other reasons one would want to leave the beaten path of a kits instructions?
Of course, we learn by others successes and mistakes! LOL. I am not EVEN qualified to comment on kits, but it just seems to me leaving it in the primary to long is just not good.

i hope some of the others more familiar with kits can clarify some of this. It'd just be a shame to see an honest "adjustment" screw up an otherwise perfect batch of wine. I know you have alot more tolerance on fruit or other scratch wines but kits may or may not afford you that same tolerance.
I just thought of another reason i wouldn't mess with the instructions if you do and something goes wrong they won't replace it .
The only thing I do different is I put half the f pack in the primary in the beginning. This way I am retaining some of the flavor from the pack, and turning the sugar into a higher abv. Putting the entire f pack in at the end creates a much sweeter wine than we enjoy. I still add approximately 4 pounds of sugar up front to kick the abv up to about 10% abv. Keep in mind I am only talking about patio wines like Island Mist that typically finish at about 6.5 % abv.
I up the sugar on mist style kits everytime with no ill results. It makes a wine that is a little more balanced for the amount of sweetness involved in these kits and makes them more able to age a little better even though they are ready to drink when done pretty much. Upping the abv will increase the time it will fermen t and add a little more time to age before it comes around. I would do this with any other kits though.
other than being 'a scientist' ;), are there any other reasons one would want to leave the beaten path of a kits instructions?

In my opinion, yes, there are good reasons to modify the instructions. Mainly that they rush the process. We shouldn't be worried about time while waiting for the yeast to finish its job or for the wine to clear. Also most people merely following the instructions will end up with CO2 still in suspension when they bottle.

A lot of kitmakers, including me, use a longer timeframe, but it's more like one week primary, two weeks (or until done) secondary, three weeks to clear and another month or two just settling. The longer time simply resting, plus much more vigorous degassing during stabilization, seem to yield a more finished product.


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