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Zog

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Hello, just started my first batch of wine two days ago. It's a Vino Del Vida Valpolicella kit. It's bubbling away nicely at 74 degrees under an airlock. I've read conflicting opinions on whether it is best to airlock during primary fermentation or not, but decided to be safe and seal it up. The instructions also aren't explicit about how often I should open it up and check specific gravity or whether I should stir it up from time to time. It basically says that it should be ready in 14 days. What should I be doing?
 

cpfan

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Have a beer or glass of wine, and be patient.

The airlock-on-primary thing is optional. I do not do it. Others do. There is no need to stir unless fruit or a teabag is floating on the surface, so not necessary in this case. If it was me, I would wait till day 14 to check the sg.

Steve
 

Dugger

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There is no need to stir unless fruit or a teabag is floating on the surface, so not necessary in this case. If it was me, I would wait till day 14 to check the sg.

Steve
I'm looking for some guidance here as well. I have 2 of the RJS RQ Meritages in the primary under loose lid - I've been punching down the oak, elderberries and grapepack for about 7 days now and the SG is at 1.000 +/-. It's a real rats nest in there with the oak and elderberries in separate muslin bags and the grapeskin in a strainer bag. Normally I would put the lid on tight under airlock now for the second week. However, should I continue to punch down at this stage or just forget about them? Also, with the grapepack in a strainer bag wrapped around the primary top it's doubtful I can attach the lid tightly ( ie engage the rubber gasket). I haven't actually tried to do this but am wondering if anyone else has before I do and maybe mess something up? Any suggestions on what to do here would be welcome.
.. Doug
 

Mud

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I got the lid on my primary to close with a straining bag looped over the top of the bucket. But the bag wicked up juice and dripped along the seam. :m

I've often thought of jamming the bag to the bottom of the fermenter with a piece of stainless rod. Never got around to trying it, though. Maybe next time.

-procrastinating idea man Mud
 

cpfan

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Dugger:

I forget what the Meritage instructions were (and too lazy to go downstairs to find them), but you could transfer to carboy now. BTW, I use a large primary that doesn't take an air-lock. I also put everything in loose. To each, their own.

Mud:

With the primaries that I use, and my old stirring spoons, I can push the bag to the bottom the primary with the spoon, then quickly put the lid on, and it holds everything in place. But as I said above, I don't do that any more. I just put them in loose.

Steve
 

Mud

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Never thought to use the spoon. What an obvious solution.
 

Dugger

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The instructions are silent on how to do this - just put everything in and 14 days later, after fermentation, transfer to carboy. I have tried loose before but had problems with plugged hoses so try to use muslin bags for most things; this is my first time with a strainer bag. What I just did a few minutes ago is unhook the bags from the bucket and drop them into the bucket and put my lids on tight. I may actually end up with quite a mess when I rack but I'll deal with that then.
I think I may try what you've done Steve next time and put everything in loose and then pour through a strainer into another bucket. I think loose oak, berries, whatever, would get better exposure if loose rather than confined in a bag.
Do you just rack Steve with everything loose? plugged hoses? pour through strainer?
Mud - what do you mean by jam the bag to the bottom - would you tie the top of the straining bag ( now, why didn't I do that!!) and jam the whole thing down? Not sure I follow what's happening there.
.. Doug
 

Mud

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That's exactly it. Tie the bag shut, push it to the bottom with the spoon(!) and put the lid on. If the bag wants to float it will be held down by the spoon hitting the lid. Lemme just doodle something...AutoCAD isn't really for doodling so this is going to look a lot funny...Here you go:

View attachment primary section.pdf
 

Wade E

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I always seal it up and open it every day and punch down then cap, no big problem here doing that I near the end I dont even open the lid, just slosh it around a little with the lid on to realease a little C02 and get everything in there wet.
 

cpfan

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That's exactly it. Tie the bag shut, push it to the bottom with the spoon(!) and put the lid on. If the bag wants to float it will be held down by the spoon hitting the lid. Lemme just doodle something...AutoCAD isn't really for doodling so this is going to look a lot funny...Here you go:
Mud:

Might not be "ART", but it conveys the idea. That's what I have done in the past.

Steve
 

cpfan

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Dugger:

Handling the grape skins when loose is often discussed on the wine-making forums. A few years ago, the Winexpert rep (Tim V) recommended a kitchen tool called a chinois. I was running a Ferment on Premises at the time, and starting to make grape skin kits. I broke an Auto Siphon on the first one, so was looking for another choice.

Here's my current method. Sanitize an empty primary and the chinois. Place the chinois across the primary, and the primaries side-by-side. Using a s/s strainer, scoop the skins out of the wine and into the chinois. Don't overfill the chinois. Allow the wine to drip out, and encourage it by pressing with the spoon. Once the skins are drained, dump them in the compost (or garbage). Repeat until all skins have been processed. Pour the drippings back into the original primary. Now siphon to carboy.

Note the chinois is also useful for bags of oak or grape skins. Pull the bag out of the primary and place in the chinois over the primary. No need for a second primary this way.

My chinois looks sorta like the China Cap in the wiki article http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chinoise_(utensil)

BTW, I have a small and a large chinois. When I bought them I had the choice of small or large holes. I chose small.

Hope this helps some of you.

Steve
 

Dugger

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Thanks, guys - I have a better understanding now and will probably do some of these things next time. I may be able to fish out the strainer bags tomorrow morning and tie them off - time for bed now - it's getting late here on the Atlantic coast! Chinoise, eh - that's a new one for me. Have to keep an eye out for one.
.. Doug
 

Wade E

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I just use a small SS strainer myself. Everyone has there own method of doing stuff but I always opt for whatever will be less to cleanup later.
 

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