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Any preference on type of caps to use?
Thanks!

I haven't used champaign bottles (yet), but I got some 22 oz beer bottles that I use for a "family size" serving of cider. I use caps like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZSEH8VW. If you have Craig's List in your area, you could watch it for a good deal on empty beer botles.
 

VinesnBines

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Hello VinesnBines,
I started a batch of the Mike's Hard Lemonade today! I'm wondering about the bottling though. I don't have a bottling bucket. Just wondering if this needs to be bottled or can I leave it in a carboy? Do we need to worry about head space and CO2 spoilage. If I bottle, the calcium carbonate should take care of any secondary ferment, right? I taste tested the mix before I put it in the carboy and I like it already!
Thanks,
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If you choose to bottle, you should either use potassium sorbate or plan to watch the carbonation level as raptor99 says and stash in the bottles in the refrigerator before they start to explode and they will since you back sweeten. Since it will be finished in a short time and ready to bottle or drink, you don’t need to bother with headspace. You can bottle without a bottling bucket. Just rack to a bucket and use a cup and funnel to fill bottles.
 
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I was just shopping and looked at that. So you use mainly beer bottles if the champaign bottles use different caps.
Sparkling wine made using methode champenoise have bottles that can be crown capped, as that is part of the process. The "mushroom" shaped cork is the final bottling; a crown cap is used prior to that. Note that not all crown caps are the same size; most fit the common size used by American non-twist-off beer.

Any preference on type of caps to use?
Whatever caps sold by your LHBS should be fine.
 

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I haven't used champaign bottles (yet), but I got some 22 oz beer bottles that I use for a "family size" serving of cider. I use caps like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ZSEH8VW. If you have Craig's List in your area, you could watch it for a good deal on empty beer botles.
Thanks Raptor99,
The recipe didn't really give a timeline on the fermenting process, just said till it clears, any ideas of how long that might take?
 

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If you choose to bottle, you should either use potassium sorbate or plan to watch the carbonation level as raptor99 says and stash in the bottles in the refrigerator before they start to explode and they will since you back sweeten. Since it will be finished in a short time and ready to bottle or drink, you don’t need to bother with headspace. You can bottle without a bottling bucket. Just rack to a bucket and use a cup and funnel to fill bottles.
Thanks VinesnBines!
 

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Sparkling wine made using methode champenoise have bottles that can be crown capped, as that is part of the process. The "mushroom" shaped cork is the final bottling; a crown cap is used prior to that. Note that not all crown caps are the same size; most fit the common size used by American non-twist-off beer.


Whatever caps sold by your LHBS should be fine.
Thanks winemaker81!
I will have to look at the specs on the caps to make sure I get the right type!
 

Raptor99

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Thanks Raptor99,
The recipe didn't really give a timeline on the fermenting process, just said till it clears, any ideas of how long that might take?

"Until it clears" can vary a lot depending on the type of the fruit, effectiveness of the pectic enzyme, etc. It could be from 2 months to over a year. Patience is the key ingredient for clearing.
 

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Sometimes my hard cider takes 5-6 months to clear. I don't add any chemicals to clear it, so I just wait for it to clear on its own.

On the other hand, if you like how it tastes there's nothing wrong with bottling and drinking it before it is completely clear. It's mostly a cosmetic issue. And if you bottle carbonate, there will be a small amount of sediment in each bottle caused by the fermentation of the priming sugar.
 

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Sometimes my hard cider takes 5-6 months to clear. I don't add any chemicals to clear it, so I just wait for it to clear on its own.

On the other hand, if you like how it tastes there's nothing wrong with bottling and drinking it before it is completely clear. It's mostly a cosmetic issue. And if you bottle carbonate, there will be a small amount of sediment in each bottle caused by the fermentation of the priming sugar.
Thanks!
I should have started it a few months earlier to have it ready by summer!
 
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On the other hand, if you like how it tastes there's nothing wrong with bottling and drinking it before it is completely clear.
This is a key point. A wine is ready to drink when the maker says it is. Sure, experienced winemakers know that aging is normally beneficial, and we encourage beginners to age their wine for better results, but it's not required.

Keep in mind that we might start drinking a wine young, and 6 to 12 months later we'll kick ourselves for not waiting! 🤣
 

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Hello Vinobeau,
Fellow wild grape member here. I was reading your post about the Carbonic Maceration. That sounds very interesting. I looked up what it meant and was curious how you ferment with CO2 by itself. I did read that some have done it in a plastic bag with dry ice. Without being a professional winery, I was wondering what home winemakers do to make this happen? in the above posts it sounds like there are a few methods to ferment the wild grapes.
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I followed the recipe for "Wild Grape, Nouveau Style" wine, found in" Mary's Recipes". Take a handful of grapes and crush them into the botom of the seal-able buckett. Place the rest of grapes, still attached to the stems into the bucket. Seal the bucket and let it sit for 4 to 5 weeks in a cool spot. Then you remove the stems & crush the grapes and start the regular fermentation.
 

Vinobeau

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What is the shelf like of the wine? Beaujolais nouveau has a life measured in months.
I have no idea how long it will last. The straight Beaujolais was terrible and I kept four bottles of it to try in 5 to 10 years. The rest of the batch i blended with some Elderberry & Cranberry & Tomato. That blend turned out drinkable!
 
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I have no idea how long it will last. The straight Beaujolais was terrible and I kept four bottles of it to try in 5 to 10 years. The rest of the batch i blended with some Elderberry & Cranberry & Tomato. That blend turned out drinkable!
Carbonic maceration is fermenting whole, uncrushed grapes in an anaerobic environment, typically produced by filling a tank with grapes and pumping in CO2 or nitrogen. The resulting wine ages VERY quickly, and in Beaujolais, each fall's Nouveau production is on the market by November 15. From my own experience, the wine is declining by late January and by April it's in rough shape, approaching undrinkable.

The process you described appears to mimic this, as the crushed grapes will produce CO2, so the whole grapes will ferment inside the skins in an anaerobic environment.

If this is carbonic maceration, you will not get 5-10 years from the wine -- 5 months may be it.

Please note I don't know this for a fact -- I'm comparing processes and making what is hopefully1 an educated guess.

Does anyone else have any experience with this process?
 

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You may enjoy the Skeeter Pee. Personally I don’t like it as well as my hard lemonade (better than Mike’s). I can post the recipe if you are interested. It uses dried malt extract so is more like a beer.
You may also like the Dragon Blood but even with extra fruit, I find it thin and weak.
Not trying to discourage you from trying; just a word of warning that Dragon Blood and Skeeter Pee may disappoint.
Hello VinesnBines,
I started your recipe of Skeeter Pee last week. Just curious, is there any maintenance I need to do? No daily testing, etc? I put it with my other wine in a cooler dark room after starting it; probably should have put it in a warmer room. It had some bubbling buildup on the top after a few days. I shook it a few days and brought it out in a warmer room. It seemed to have a small buildup like lees on the bottom so I shook it every day for three days to mix the yeast up a little. It looks like it is more bubbly looking now although I don't think I've seen any bubbling in the airlock. Does this take a few months to complete?
 

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Check your fermentation with a hydrometer. It should have started about 1.040 - 1.050 and ferment in one to two weeks to dry. .998 or thereabouts. It will start to clear as it hits 1.000 or lower. Keep it under airlock because it is lower alcohol; more like beer than wine.

As soon as it is dry, in a large sauce pan, add between 4 to 8 cups cane sugar (I use 4 but you should add 4 to the whole batch then taste; add more if necessary for your taste), 2 cans lemonade concentrate, and 3 cups water and, stirring continuously, bring to a simmer. Remove from heat, and dissolve 3.5 teaspoons of potassium sorbate. Add lemonade/sugar/sorbate solution to a 7 gal bottling bucket. Rack the fermented lemonade from your carboy into bottling bucket with the sorbate solution, stirring thoroughly.

You can bottle in beer or wine bottles, or you can keg. Even with the sorbate, you will probably get a little bit of carbonation as it sits, but it is usually not enough to pop a cork. I usually keg, and force carbonate.

It is ready to drink on bottling day.

Here is the original recipe: Full Hard Lemonade recipe
 
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