Types and sizes of fermenters

Discussion in 'Beginners Wine Making Forum' started by Allison Gray, May 15, 2019 at 9:11 PM.

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  1. May 15, 2019 at 9:11 PM #1

    Allison Gray

    Allison Gray

    Allison Gray

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    Can I use two 5 gallon big mouth bubbler fermenters for both primary and secondary fermentation of a 5 gallon batch of fruit wine?
     
  2. May 15, 2019 at 9:28 PM #2

    mainshipfred

    mainshipfred

    mainshipfred

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    Primary is fine but I would recommend a 5 gallon standard carboy for secondary. It's hard to limit the head space in a big mouth.
     
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  3. May 15, 2019 at 9:40 PM #3

    Allison Gray

    Allison Gray

    Allison Gray

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    Does the primary fermenter need to be bigger than the batch size? What do you mean by head space?
     
  4. May 15, 2019 at 10:39 PM #4

    Scooter68

    Scooter68

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    Headspace is that volume of air between the surface of your wine must and the lid/cover.

    During the initial period of fermentation it's normal to have a significant amount of foam build up and if you have a bag with grape skins/fruit in it, that will often rise above the surface due to gas building up in the grapes skins/fruit. So to avoid having a messy spill of foam, it's a good idea to have at least 1/2 gallon to 1 1/2 gallons of space above the surface. The CO2 gas released by the fermentation process fills that volume and displaces the oxygen.
    BUT as the fermentation process slows down the amount of CO2 released does too and normally that's when folks rack the wine into a carboy with less headspace ( an inch or less in the neck of the carboy typically ) That period of time after that racking is what is referred to as the "secondary fermentation" phase although it's all just one period of time that we chose to randomly call "Primary" and "Secondary."

    Headspace during initial period fermentation = GOOD (From starting SG down to about 1.020 or 1.010)
    Headspace during latter period of fermentation (And while aging wine) = BAD

    So the first racking is done for two reasons normally:
    1) Reduce headspace and protect the wine from too much oxygen exposure
    and
    2) Remove the gross lees and pulp. This second part is not always preferred or done with some varieties of wine that need longer exposure to the grape skins to extract color and other elements from the grapes.

    For me, making fruit wines exclusively, I normally rack into my carboy when the SG has dropped to about 1.015 or lower depending on the amount of foaming action that I observe. At that same time I remove the fruit bag and as much pulp/gross lees as possible.

    Hope that isn't information overload but... I'm known for overkill on answers trying to be complete.
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2019 at 2:17 AM
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  5. May 15, 2019 at 11:07 PM #5

    Allison Gray

    Allison Gray

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    That is alot of help! I need all of the information I can get! Thank you!
     

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