Those who ferment in a large vat with spigot

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joeycannoli

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Can anyone share the secret to prevent the spigot from getting clogged? Every year I run into the same issue and the spigot gets clogged with grapes skins. I don’t punch down a full day before the transfer but still manage to get the spigot clogged. Is there a screen or anything that people attached to the inside of the vat against the spigot? Any help would be appreciated.
 

franc1969

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I avoided anything with a spigot because I didn't want to figure out a strainer. People have used something like the stainless mesh tubes for beer brewing. They use them for that instead of a false bottom pot. I don't know how your spigot attached, could work if all the hardware was set up correctly.
 

MiBor

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Can anyone share the secret to prevent the spigot from getting clogged? Every year I run into the same issue and the spigot gets clogged with grapes skins.
The trick to that is to have a large enough spigot/valve to allow the grape skins to pass through without clogging the opening. That minimum opening is 1". I've tried 3/4" and it didn't work as well.
I've got 3 of these fermenters sitting on a bench I made for my wine room, about 20" off the floor:

Speidel fermenter
1" adapter
gasket
1" valve
1" short nipple
1" 45deg elbow
1" cap

I disassembled the original spigots and used the orange open nuts to install the adapters and the valves. They never get clogged up. With this setup I don't really have to punch the cap in the fermenters, I mostly rack and return twice a day. That way I avoid extracting a lot of harsh tannins and the fermenting juice gets aerated which boosts the yeast activity and helps fermentation to complete. I can't be sure of this but I believe that after a few drains, a kind of "pocket" forms around the valve opening because very little skins come out when draining the fermenting wine.

When the time comes to press the wine, I drain the free run easily into buckets and I only use a strainer on the bucket to catch the few grapes that come out, then I scoop the skins into the press and keep the pressed wine separate until I figure out if/how much of it I want to blend with the free run.

I also have these cooling coils installed in each fermenter and connected to a chiller I bought on eBay for temperature control, but those are not necessary if you can control the environmental temperature where the fermenters are.
 

celladwella

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I don’t use the spigot. I use the free run mesh tube available at all in one wine pump and the pump to siphon out free run before I press
 

joeycannoli

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Thanks for the replies everyone. My spigot is a 1” - the same one that stickman posted, yet still clogs enough to make draining the free run juice a pain. I might try the screen he posted next season as that looks like it should work.
 

Jay A

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I had the same problem. The challenge with the screen is it doesn't sit on the bottom of tub. I carefully place something between the tank sidewall & the screen. This keeps downward screen pressure on tank bottom. It may get knocked loose during punch downs & valve clogs with seeds.

To fix, I'll open valve & insert a wire while catching wine. Snake it out & close valve quick when flow is restored. Wine comes out at a heavy volume. It's easier with some help, but easily done solo. Good luck,
 

hounddawg

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you can use a 2 inch GATE VALUE , you just pull your spigot use a proper hole bit, ,, just like the 2 & 3/8 used to drill door knob holes, from a lumber company or Home Depot and so on, they make many sizes, i have 1" thru 6" except you'll just need one of the size you wish and a mandrel that fits the hole saw, if just part time they make cheap ones,, put in drill and hang on,
Dawg
 

balatonwine

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I did not want to hijack this thread.

But I move long ago to a filter basket and pump. Never looked back. All that spigot fiddling issues are gone.

But large and wide wine making filter baskets, ideal for pumping out must so they do not clog up, seem to be difficult to find for US retail consumers, while they are readily available in Europe.
 

Venatorscribe

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i solved my issue by buying a reasonably sized colander, then I butchered and mucked around with it and by turning it upside down I created a good sized clear area over the inlet to the spigot. because the colander is in the upside down position - any skins etc are sluffed to the side leaving the juice to flow.
 

vinoman99

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Can anyone share the secret to prevent the spigot from getting clogged? Every year I run into the same issue and the spigot gets clogged with grapes skins. I don’t punch down a full day before the transfer but still manage to get the spigot clogged. Is there a screen or anything that people attached to the inside of the vat against the spigot? Any help would be appreciated.
I have found that nothing really works. So what I do is first remove the cap with a strainer and place the mash in the press then bucket the juice into a funnel lined with a food grade screen. I have multiple screens so that I could use a clean one after each bucket or when needed. Another idea is to take a piece of PVC pipe drill multiple small holes in it so the juice can flow through and then place a siphon hose in it and draw the juice out. Make sure to place a cap on the bottom of the PVC pipe so that none of the sinks enter through the bottom
 

balatonwine

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I would like to see what you use, so it can be searched for.
Here is a link to one of the local suppliers I use in Hungary:


"Mustszűrő kosár INOX", roughly translates to "Must filter basket stainless steel". Must is must, szűrő is filter, kosár is basket, and INOX is stainless steel.

These are wide mouth baskets (25 cm or larger) up to one meter long. The width really matters, reduces* clogging issues when pumping. They are designed specifically to remove wine from the grape skins from tanks and bins. But you have to use a pump. I pump out the liquid, then press the skins.

On my pump, I also have an extra filter at the end, just as a double measure. Because I actually have the polypropylene model, rather than stainless, and the vents are larger than on the stainless models. But still works great. But since it has linear vents, rather than holes, a DIY idea may be to simply cut vents, rather than drill holes....

Hope this helps.

* Reduces but may not eliminate in all cases. If the basket get overly clogged, simply remove clean off and reinsert into the must. I have never had to do this, but I can envision cases when it may be needed.
 
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franc1969

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Here is a link to one of the local suppliers I use in Hungary:


"Mustszűrő kosár INOX", roughly translates to "Must filter basket stainless steel". Must is must, szűrő is filter, kosár is basket, and INOX is stainless steel.

These are wide mouth baskets (25 cm or larger) up to one meter long. The width really matters, reduces* clogging issues when pumping. They are designed specifically to remove wine from the grape skins from tanks and bins. But you have to use a pump. I pump out the liquid, then press the skins.

On my pump, I also have an extra filter at the end, just as a double measure. Because I actually have the polypropylene model, rather than stainless, and the vents are larger than on the stainless models. But still works great. But since it has linear vents, rather than holes, a DIY idea may be to simply cut vents, rather than drill holes....

Hope this helps.

* Reduces but may not eliminate in all cases. If the basket get overly clogged, simply remove clean off and reinsert into the must. I have never had to do this, but I can envision cases when it may be needed.
Thank you! Those look just like I expected. I wish those were sold here, useful to buy instead of hack the same. Large hops baskets with handles, essentially. The plastic one looks like I had thought of making with a pipe- alternating slits along the length. What I settled on is a pipe with cap, with most of the pipe cut away. Food safe screen or window screen over open areas to keep grape skin and seeds out. I am wondering if a hop screen could just be fitted to a tube, or use the carboy tubes meant for holding oak cubes. I think holes in that are fine enough.
 

larsnpmi

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I used a stainless steel mesh basket from an asparagus steamer, pushed it through the cap in the fermenter, and pumped from it directly to carboy. The pump has a fine mesh prefilter, which clogged and had to be cleaned a few times while pumping 12 gallons. It worked well, but the pump setup and breakdown probably took as much time as when I had put all the must and juice through the press.
 

balatonwine

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pumping 12 gallons. It worked well, but the pump setup and breakdown probably took as much time as when I had put all the must and juice through the press.
Really excellent points!!!

There is a definite cost benefit ratio.

I typically process more, but for lower volumes, a pump is really over kill in time and effort. For anything less than 60 liters (12 gallons) then manual dip transfer with a small container is indeed less time and effort over all.
 

pete1325

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Get the tallest guy in the group with the longest arms to stand by and clear the area durning free run. we've tried different methods, without redrilling the vat and installing a bigger valve and spigot, it's always been a PITA clearing the valve. Part of the process.
 

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