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Old 01-03-2013, 03:44 PM   #1
malisk
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Default Brand New to Homebrewing in General - Wine Question

This is my first post so please don't destroy me too much haha, but for Christmas my best friend bought me a Homebrewing starter kit to make a red wine (complete with ingredients, must, instructions, etc). This was my first foray into home brewing so I was a bit confused but think I made it through the process somewhat okay.

I did everything according to instructions - sanitized EVERYTHING, added the must to the plastic 6 gallon bucket, then added cold tap water to bring it to the 6 gallon mark. (Note: I know I have read that you should use purified water but this is all I had - I am not really concerned with making 5 star quality wine on my first attempt, but rather just coming out "successful" on my first homebrew with something that is actually wine so I can build and improve on my next attempt).

Then I added the packet of something that started with a B (I am currently not at home to check), stirred for a minute. I then added the packet of yeast to the top of the must, let it sit for 10 minutes, then stirred it for 2 minutes. Afterwards I laid the lid on top (didnt clamp it down) and inserted the airlock. I placed it in my living room on the concrete floor (we don't use the living room at the moment).

This was Tuesday at around 10am. Now, Thursday, there is absolutely 0 signs of physical fermentation. I have not taken a gravity reading yet so I know I need to do that. However, my concern is, after reading up a lot, that I do NOT have heat in my house. I live in Arizona, and at night it probably gets to around 50 degrees. The day probably isn't much better.

I am thinking that this may be the reason my fermentation is stuck? If so , would a brew belt be a good idea? If I order it now, and my current must sits until, say, next Tuesday when the belt arrives, will my batch have "gone bad" in the meantime, or can I save it?

Any help is greatly appreciated. Once again I'm not trying to come out with the best wine ever tasted, I just want to have a successful first attempt even if it doesn't taste too spectacular.

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Old 01-03-2013, 04:03 PM   #2
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Yes, much too cold for the yeast to work. Get it above 60F and it should start.

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Old 01-03-2013, 04:07 PM   #3
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I would try moving it to a warmer location while you wait for the brew belt, say the kitchen? I find that brew belts are a very useful accessory particularly with wines, as I brew in my basement and it stays quite cool in the winter. Red wines like to ferment in the 70-80F range.

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Old 01-03-2013, 04:38 PM   #4
malisk
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Thanks for the responses. Unfortunately with no heat in my house the place is relatively the same temp. We use space heaters but don't leave them on when we leave due to fire concerns .

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Old 01-03-2013, 04:43 PM   #5
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If you didn't clamp down the lid, you won't see any activity in the airlock. Lock the lid down and warm that puppy up!

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Old 01-03-2013, 04:56 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mischief_Brewing
If you didn't clamp down the lid, you won't see any activity in the airlock. Lock the lid down and warm that puppy up!
I got conflicting messages about this. Should I clamp it down or leave it "breathing." Some places say to do one or the other.
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Old 01-03-2013, 05:06 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malisk

I got conflicting messages about this. Should I clamp it down or leave it "breathing." Some places say to do one or the other.
It's safer to cover somehow with a towel or a loosely placed cover. It will be generating a lot of CO2 once it gets going, plus you'll want to stir it daily.

After you rack to your secondary, attach your airlock.
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by malisk View Post
Thanks for the responses. Unfortunately with no heat in my house the place is relatively the same temp. We use space heaters but don't leave them on when we leave due to fire concerns .
Then at the very least wrap the fermenter in a blanket or sleeping bag. The yeast will generate some of its own heat.
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