What type of container do you use during fermentation for a 15 gallon batch?

Discussion in 'Wine Making from Grapes' started by CipolloneWine, Aug 16, 2018.

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  1. CipolloneWine

    CipolloneWine Junior Member

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    Hi everyone! Newbie here looking forward to my 3rd season of making wine from grapes. All of my equipment is from my grandpa that’s been sitting in the basement. It’s all at least 50 years old. I have a crusher and a few 15 gallon glass demi-Johns. What do you use for your fermentation vessel if you have 15 gallons or more? I’d like to get something better than the glass demi-Johns. I’m always afraid of it breaking.
     
  2. NorCal

    NorCal Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    If I were doing a 15 gallon (net) batch, I would ferment using a 32 gallon brute, that I would then put into three carboys, that are 5 gallons each.

    The 32 gallon brute trash can is food safe and would give you plenty of head room. The 5 gallon glass carboy is a very oxygen safe container for wine and makes for around a 50 pound container when full, which is somewhat manageable.
     
    Last edited: Aug 16, 2018
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  3. jgmillr1

    jgmillr1 owner, winemaker

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    An alternative is to buy a 55gal polyethylene drum that come with a sealing lid. These have FDA compliant resins and are the industry standard for transporting food products. There are a lot of posts about using Brute trash cans in this forum (not picking on anyone here) and no one to my knowledge has become ill yet, but it is still a "trash can" and you can decide if you want to be drinking your wine made in it later. The designation of calling something "food safe" always comes with limits on time duration, acidity, and temperature before it becomes unsafe for food.
     
  4. NorCal

    NorCal Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Brute fermentation vessels :h are made out of HPDE, the highest grade plastic of choice for food prep. I don’t use my 20, 32 or 44 gallon Brute for regular trash service.
     
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  5. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    I’ve got some inherited Demi’s as well. If you talking about not wanting to ferment in the Demi’s 100% definitely don’t wanna do that.
    Going by 36lb lug increments, x6 lugs isn’t enough to fill the demi and need minimum 7 lugs.
    I’ve been doing 8 lugs to be safe and get a demijohn filled plus a carboy if finished wine. Primary in a 44 gallon brute or x2 20’gals (also allows to use different yeasts and have some fun) for fermentation. I bought Carlisle brand on Amazon. Like half the price. And American made. And food safe. https://www.amazon.com/dp/B002O8LDV6/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_KwLDBbVZ5MA14
     
  6. jgmillr1

    jgmillr1 owner, winemaker

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    Uline lists the Brutes as LLDPE plastic that meets the NSF 2 food contact standards. I visited the NSF website but could not find what that standard specifically means in terms of temperature and material contact. (You have to purchase the standards?!) However this chemical compatibility chart for LLPDE shows that it is considered satisfactory for all the main chemicals in wine at the temperatures in which wine is manufactured.

    Bottom line is that the Brute trash cans appear to be a safe option if you don't have stainless.
     
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  7. CipolloneWine

    CipolloneWine Junior Member

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    Thank you everyone for your suggestions! I considered using trash cans, but I was worried about how the air would contact all the wine. How do you seal it? Do you fill it all the way to the top?
     
  8. CipolloneWine

    CipolloneWine Junior Member

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    Yes, you are right. I only did 5 lugs last year and it wasn't enough. I plan to increase my volume this year. Of course, I need more to drink. :)
     
  9. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    No worries about headspace or sealing. That’s just how kits suggest fermenting. But for grape batches it’s needed to have full access and punching the thick cap. Cap is also protecting the wine underneath. Essentially my lid is just for fruit flies.
    This pic is (x2) 20 gal cans. 4 lugs in each. One punched and other full cap. U can easily see the difference. At the peak they went even higher. Any closer to the top and it can get quite messy when stirring. If looking to fill a demi of finished wine I suggest minimum 7lugs. Will end up with A couple gallons extra. But will use it to top up after racks. IMG_2123.jpg
     
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  10. NorCal

    NorCal Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    Checked my Brutes and you are correct, they are not hpde, but as you said, safe for what we are doing with them.
     
  11. balatonwine

    balatonwine The Verecund Vigneron

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    I currently use 60 liter or larger Speidel HDPE barrels. Such as:

    https://morewinemaking.com/products/speidel-plastic-fermenter-60l-159-gal.html

    Easy to clean. And can be used for long term bulk storage and aging as well due to low O2 permeability, so are multi-purpose vessels which justifies the added cost. Am also looking into maybe getting some polypropylene variable tanks (much, much cheaper than SS for the size I am looking at).

    Unlike things like Brute containers, the tanks I use or may use (either HDPE or PP) are specifically manufactured for wine making. That matters to me. :)
     
  12. gitmo234

    gitmo234 Senior Member

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    I have one of those i bought used but it was originally used for making beer. i'm paranoid to use it for wine because I cant convince myself i've cleaned it enough
     
  13. dangerdave

    dangerdave Chief Bottlewasher

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    I Brute.
     
  14. CipolloneWine

    CipolloneWine Junior Member

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    These are perfect! Then what do you press into? Multiple carboys?
     
  15. CipolloneWine

    CipolloneWine Junior Member

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    These are out of my price range for how. Since I'm still a newbie, I don't want to spend too much from the start. But I will definitely add this to my wish list. Thanks!!
     
  16. Ajmassa5983

    Ajmassa5983 Member Supporting Member

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    This one in particular went into carboys. Kept em separate after press. Ended up in (x2) 6gal, (x2)3gal, and (x2) 5L jugs- plus change.

    Same exact volume last fall -8 lugs- ended up in a demijohn and a 5gal carboy.
     
  17. NorCal

    NorCal Super Moderator Super Moderator

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    I bought two 32 gallon Spiedels from a beermaker $50 each on Craigslist. PBW and cleaned really well, have been using them for the past 3 seasons without issue.
     

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