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Wine & Kegs, 2017

Wine Making Talk

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michael-s

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I was looking thru threads and I could not see any recent posts about what I have questions about. Does anyone here use Kegs for storing fermented wine.
What gas do you use, I believe nitrogen is the best and more affordable than argon. I also read that a 75% nitrogen/25% co2 would work. If you store your wine in a keg how long have you successfully kept it in a keg. More than 1 year, 2 years? Are you pleased with the results by storing in a keg over transferring finished wine to a bottle. Would you recommend kegging wine. I believe the most popular kegs are the corny kegs. Any and all opinions and
suggestions will be greatly appreciated. I am interested in trying that method
but at the present I am not sure or convinced in going that way.
Thank you............. Michael.
 

brewbush

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I have a diablo rojo on tap right now. It has been there for a month so far, first one. I have it set up with nitrogen. So far so good, I assume like bottles it will take a little aging to make it better, but it has been interesting to pull a glass of wine from the kegerator!

Mine are corny kegs.

I have heard that with CO2 and beer gas that you will overtime get some carbonation. This is why I chose nitrogen. Plus I dispense cold brew coffee with it too.
 
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Like @brewbush - I did the same thing. Used Nitrogen. Only had one issue when I decided to oak in the corny keg. An oak chip got stuck in one of the posts, and wine was squirting everywhere. I forgot what was actually going on when I this happened, but it was a geyser of wine!

@brewbush - What is your cold brew recipe? How long does the cold brew keep for in the keg?
 

michael-s

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Going by everything I have read online Nitrogen is the gas to use for wine. Argon is also an option but the purchase cost for Nitrogen is much cheaper than Argon so that is what people use for wine, it also does not carbonate the wine
like co2 will do.

I also like the idea of having 1 or possibly 2 batches of wine in kegs but it is the
long term storage of it in a keg I am not sure of. In bottles there is no worries.

Thanks for your comments.
 
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I've left my wine in a keg for about 9 months. I believe that long term storage would be fine since you purge the air after you fill it with wine and make sure that the keg is always under pressure.
 

Desmond2

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I have an old habelton bard beer sphere that has a flot inside. I have left the lid slightly open to allow air in when in use. I also use the S30 gas cylinder. I think the gas for beer would also do for wine. they are both plant based fermentation. Nitrogen would be better but the beer industry has stopped making these for home brew. SAD:(
 

Mortalpawn

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I keg wine, and I actually researched this extensively before doing it. The best gas to use is actually the "stout mix" which is also known as "G-mix" or Guinness mix. It is 75% nitrogen and 25% CO2 and you use it with a nitrogen regulator. It is available from just about every beverage gas provider.

The reason you want the stout mix is that pure nitrogen can actually strip the natural CO2 out of the wine over time. With no CO2 in the headspace, it will leach out of the wine to equalize in the headspace. Even after degassing your wine you will have some residual CO2 in the wine which is part of the flavor of your wine. If you strip it all out you will negatively alter the flavor of the wine over time. That's why many commercial wine draft systems actually have a CO2-Nitrogen mixer built in so they can control the CO2/Nitrogen mix and maintain the wine quality.

For long term keg storage, the 75-25 stout mix is the best compromise for most home wine makers as it won't carbonate the wine at low pressure, but it still preserves the existing CO2 balance in the wine.
 

Redbird1

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Good info.

Another name for that mix is beer gas. That's how I've always heard to it referred as.
 

michael-s

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Thanks for the good information Mortalpawn. Kegging wine interests me quite a bit. After fermentation is complete you have the waiting time for the wine to age, at least 3 months typically. I just recently opened the last bottle of wine from a batch that was bottled in 2015. The batches of wine I make last for quite a while before being opened, we love wine but are not big wine drinkers. I still have Dragon Blood wine and Rhubarb/Strawberry wine that I also made in 2015 still sitting on the wine rack. Of course there is wine there from 2016 and 2017.
That is one of the questions I have about kegging wine, how long could it safely sit in a keg with gas. I know there are businesses that keg wine and I am certain that their kegged wine goes very quickly, long term storage is not their goal but sell it quickly and get it refilled and continue selling it. So I really wonder if it would be practical to keg a batch of wine and let it stay there for a long length of time before it is drank.
 

Mortalpawn

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A sealed, pressurized keg has essentially no oxidation, as long as you maintain a positive pressure on it and the seal is good. The CO2 and nitrogen gas won't spoil the wine at low pressure as they are essentially inert. The stainless steel is also inert and also impermeable to oxygen. If anything it will probably age more slowly in a keg than in a bottle only because corks all leak some small amount of oxygen into the wine.

The only caution is that you do need to clean your taps periodically as they do tend to harbor mold and other nasties. While the tap won't spoil what's in the keg due to positive pressure on the keg, it can create off flavors while pouring if you don't clean the taps every few months.

Assuming you have a good seal, and perhaps top it up with a few pounds of gas pressure every few months (just to be safe) I don't see any reason why it would not last as long or even longer than in a bottle - certainly many years.

The other great thing about having wine on tap is that there is very little waste. I can pull as little or as much off the keg as I want and sample it at any point without having to open an entire bottle. When I want to give a bottle away, I just fill one up and cork it.
 

BBBF

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I've been putting my wine in kegs for a few years. It started as an unbreakable vessel that the wine could safely sit it until it was ready to bottle and also had the benefit of being able to use my Blichmann beer gun when it was time to bottle. Eventually laziness won out and I started dispensing from the kegs.

I use both corny and sanke kegs. I prefer the cornies for two reasons:

The first being that I make different varietals and I prefer to not drink 5 gallons of one before switching to another. When you disconnect the corny, there is just a drop of wine to wipe up. When you disconnect the sanke coupler, there's an ounce and it sits in the well of the spear, which is harder to clean.

The second reason is that you should be using 304 stainless steel with wine because it is more acidic than beer. Not all SS couplers are 304. Some are 303 and supposedly that can make a difference. There aren't many cheap options for the SS304 couplers, but corny disconnects are plastic and cheap.

I use 100% nitrogen or argon. It is much cheaper and I don't want to add more CO2 to dissolve into the wine. I've read what Mortalpawn has mentioned about CO2 being stripped out of the wine. He's advice is valid, but N2 is 1/100 as soluble in water as CO2. CO2 is not rushing out of solution to be replaced by N2.
 
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michael-s

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All good points about kegging wine Mortalpawn........... very helpful.
 

Mortalpawn

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I use 100% nitrogen or argon. It is much cheaper and I don't want to add more CO2 to dissolve into the wine. I've read what Mortalpawn has mentioned about CO2 being stripped out of the wine. He's advice is valid, but N2 is 1/100 as soluble in water as CO2. CO2 is not rushing out of solution to be replaced by N2.
Actually the N2 does not displace CO2 in the wine, but instead what happens is that CO2 leaches out of the wine into the headspace if you use pure nitrogen due to Dalton's law or partial pressures. In fact some wine makers use nitrogen specifically to strip excess CO2 from wine.

CO2 is important: http://www.winewisdom.com/articles/techie/role-of-carbon-dioxide-in-still-wines/

Article on why pure N2 and pure Argon are not ideal:
http://www.winewisdom.com/articles/techie/role-of-carbon-dioxide-in-still-wines/

The 75/25 nitrogen/CO2 mix is the best option for home wine makers who don't want the expense of purchasing an adjustable gas mixer. The ideal N2/CO2 mix actually depends on the temperature of the wine, but for home use that level of precision is probably not that important.
 

sour_grapes

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Actually the N2 does not displace CO2 in the wine, but instead what happens is that CO2 leaches out of the wine into the headspace if you use pure nitrogen due to Dalton's law or partial pressures. In fact some wine makers use nitrogen specifically to strip excess CO2 from wine.
I don't disagree with anything you said, but I think Henry's Law is the more applicable one here.
 

DG2001

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I plan on kegging one of my white wine for the first time. Do I need to cold stabilize to remove diamonds before kegging or will it be like beer and the remaining sediment will just come out on the first pour?
 
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