Two quick noob questions, your wisdom would be appreciated

Discussion in 'Beginners Wine Making Forum' started by Vinoish, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. Vinoish

    Vinoish Member

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    Hello, all!

    I've just started making a batch of wine, and I have two quick questions:

    1. Beginner that I am, I have of course managed to get wine in the airlock. It's bubbling just fine (it's been on the go for a week and will be fermenting for another two). I doubt the wine in it will go back into the wine. But let's say a drop or two would. Would that be anything to worry about (bacteria?)...? Or should I clean it out?

    2. Would removing the airlock for a minute just to rinse it out (and then put it back) affect the fermentation in any way? Any risk of it stopping or slowing down in that short a time?

    Thank you for your time! /V
     
  2. cmason1957

    cmason1957 Member Supporting Member

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    Not to worry. Yes, remove the airlock and clean it up. Don't worry about how long it takes, if you are pushing stuff up into the airlock, you are creating enough CO2 that you probably don't need an airlock. Many of us do our initial, in the bucket fermentation, with just a cloth over the top. You are fine.
     
  3. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    Oxygen is actually encouraged during fermentation, helping the yeast do their thing. So there's No need to stress over too much air exposure, and if anything you should stress over 'not enough' oxygen.
    So yes take it off and clean it. Stir the batch up daily. It's not until after fermentation when no more CO2 is being produced when you would need to be concerned with a good airlocked seal.
    What kind of wine are you making , what do you have in your airlock, and what vessel is it in? 3 weeks is a little longer than a typical red grape or juice batch. You don't want to judge solely by bubbling airlock activity. It's all about the dropping sugar levels (Brix°) and visually seeing the activity.
    Many home winemakers don't ferment using an airlock at all. If it's in a bucket then a towel can be placed over the top or use the lid just left loose on top.

    Sidenote: I use water or vodka in my airlocks early on in the process when I've got things at play that would be affected by So2. I'll then fill em with the potassium metabisulfite sanitizer solution after the wine is stabilized.
     
  4. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    That happened to me as well. Having some headspace is beneficial. After racking into glass I needed a few bottles for the last gallon. The lees dropped and I guess separated, changing the volume a little. I ended up with wine flowing up and through the k-meta filled airlocks. This time around I'm just using water for now.
    IMG_0412.jpg
     
  5. Vinoish

    Vinoish Member

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    Thank you for your replies.

    Actually, I'm making a super strong white wine this time. I've made sure to add the amount of grape juice the law requires.

    I did replace the airlock, and the fermentation appears to have stopped since.

    I'm guessing the more likely explanation is I let out the last of the CO2.
     
  6. Vinoish

    Vinoish Member

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    No more bubbles now. Natch, I blame the people who said I could change airlocks.

    I am, of course, kidding. Will be adding yeast stopper and then clear it. Worst case scenario, I'm out twenty bucks.

    Next batch will be a more serious project.
     
  7. BernardSmith

    BernardSmith Senior Member

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    Hi Vinoish - and welcome.
    If you had wine in the airlock the activity you saw COULD have been the liquid in the airlock fermenting... The only useful measure of activity of your wine is a change in the density of the wine as measured by an hydrometer using the specific gravity scale. If the wine is no longer dropping in gravity (as determined by say, three measures each taken a couple of days apart then either the fermentation has stalled or the fermentation has ceased. Fermentation can stall for all kinds of reasons - none have which have anything to do with the removal of the airlock. Fermentation ceases when the gravity drops to 1.000 or lower. There is simply no more sugar left for the yeast to ferment.
     
  8. meadmaker1

    meadmaker1 Member

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    I am, of course, kidding. Will be adding yeast stopper and then clear it. Worst case scenario, I'm out twenty bucks. (Quoted from vinoish)



    What do you mean.? Yeast must stop on its own. Then be prevented from restarting.
    Unless you are fortifying with stronger alcohol.
     
  9. Vinoish

    Vinoish Member

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    I'm using something that came with the kit, to be used before the gelatin and all that.

    As is apparent, I'm no pro... And English is not my first language, so maybe something got lost in translation, so to speak...
     
  10. Vinoish

    Vinoish Member

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    Thank you all for the replies! I'll let you know how it turned out.
     
  11. BernardSmith

    BernardSmith Senior Member

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    Good luck!
     
  12. Vinoish

    Vinoish Member

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    Thank you!

    Still a bit concerned. According to winemakersacademy.com, yeast only produces alcohol while consuming sugar, and this only happens when it's run out of oxygen. Thus, according to that site, you need to starve the yeast of oxygen, or it won't produce alcohol.

    You know this stuff better than me, but after I removed and cleaned out the airlock for a minute before putting it back, obviously CO2 escaped and it was exposed to oxygen for a short time. I wouldn't worry about it if it weren't for the fact that there were no bubbles at all the next day.

    But that short exposure couldn't possibly stop the fermentation process?

    Bear with me, new at this. Thanks!
     
  13. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    There's gotta some sort of misinterpretation going on. For years I fermented my wine in buckets without even a lid on top. Oxygen is helpful during fermentation. And you want the co2 escaping. Too much resting on top can be bad.
     
  14. Vinoish

    Vinoish Member

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    Sounded a bit strange to me, too. I mean, wine was around before airlocks.

    Thanks for taking the time to reply :b
     
  15. sour_grapes

    sour_grapes Victim of the Invasion of the Avatar Snatchers

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    It is true that when yeast consume O2, they do not produce alcohol. Fortunately for us, they quickly use up all the O2 dissolved in the must at the start of the party, then they switch over to eating the sugar anaerobically. When you expose it to air, some O2 may get into your must, but not enough to supply the yeast enough O2 for them to oxidize the sugars completely aerobically.
     
  16. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Still getting started at 26 batches & 2 1./2 years Supporting Member

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    The wine in a bucket or carboy undergoing fermentation is covered with a blanket of CO2 that reduces exposure to oxygen.

    BUT... That site you mentioned has had several other things that I take issue with - things that are counter to other sites.

    Nonetheless, As others have and will mention, most folks do some stirring of their wine must which does expose it to oxygen to some degree and we never have any problem with fermentations stopping because of that. If you are still having issues keep us posted.
     
  17. Vinoish

    Vinoish Member

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    Ah, I think I get it now. So basically, once fermentation is underway, the yeast will start producing alcohol anaerobically. So a quick exposure to some O2 a week into fermentation wouldn't affect the process, since the yeast is now making alcohol anaerobically.

    Again, thank you all for your replies.
     
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2017
  18. Vinoish

    Vinoish Member

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    Trying it out as we speak. I'm assuming, since I used a LOT of sugar and the dryness is about medium, that the fermentation was indeed finished... Makes sense, wouldn't you say?

    Tastewise, it's pretty damn good already.
     
  19. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Still getting started at 26 batches & 2 1./2 years Supporting Member

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    Dryness to the individual may vary. The question is what is the SG reading. Between .995 and 1.000 is considered less dry than .990 to .994.

    But your last statement is what matters. I only have issues with those who are clearly out to make hooch - an alcoholic beverage with the Alcohol content valued over the Flavor. (They want to drink it 7 days after they start fermentation)
     
  20. Vinoish

    Vinoish Member

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    I hear you.

    Then again, this isn't a top of the line batch I've made, but it's not like it's pruno.

    It's of the amateurish variety, but it turned out surprisingly good. Plus it was fun to make!
     
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2017

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