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Old 10-05-2012, 01:06 AM   #1
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Default Fermentation Strength?

How does the fermentation of crushed grapes compare with fermentation of beer? Beer can have a big head that can blow off a lid if it doesn't have either a lot of head space or a big blowoff tube. I've never fermented grapes and wanted to know how high I can have the must.. ie how much headspace should I leave.

I'm hoping to get about 15G of Chardonnay must that should mostly be juice.. I''ll have had a couple of days to settle a bit in the large tanks.

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Old 10-05-2012, 01:11 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HbgBill
How does the fermentation of crushed grapes compare with fermentation of beer? Beer can have a big head that can blow off a lid if it doesn't have either a lot of head space or a big blowoff tube. I've never fermented grapes and wanted to know how high I can have the must.. ie how much headspace should I leave.

I'm hoping to get about 15G of Chardonnay must that should mostly be juice.. I''ll have had a couple of days to settle a bit in the large tanks.
Some yeasts are more active than others. I just did 15 gallons of Zinfandel must in three 6 gallon buckets and had no issues. I used Lalvin R212 yeast.
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Old 10-05-2012, 01:18 AM   #3
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Local HBS recommended a yeast called M-2. I guess, unlike beer brewers, wine makers don't care for liquid yeasts and favor dry yeast. M-2 is seems to have a lot of great qualities.. and the "Vigor" rating is "fast". Based on our location.. we have tons of home winemakers.. so, I'd guess the HBS is pretty familiar with this yeast. I've been way too busy to have a good chat with him.

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Old 10-05-2012, 05:17 PM   #4
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I've cleaned up a fair amount of purple foam when starting in too small a vessel, but I think beer does foam more.

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Old 10-06-2012, 10:08 AM   #5
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I did four gallons of pineapple wine, in a five gallon bucket, with premier cuvee yeast. I didn't have an O-ring in the lid, and the next day, when I got home from work, there was pineapple froth everywhere. Now when I start anything close to the top with Premier Cuvee, I put a large canning kettle underneath. That yeast rocks, but I think it peters itself out. I really like using Pastuer Champagne, it works effortlessly and continually. I may just be my imagination or 'go with what you know' attitude.

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Old 10-06-2012, 04:42 PM   #6
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Thanks.. I guess I'll go with a "blowoff tube" like brewers use. For some reason, I didn't think wine fermentation was as active as beer..

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Old 10-07-2012, 12:20 PM   #7
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I think if you initislly start in a 20 gallon primary you will be more than fine, or three 7-gallon. If a low to no foamer you may be fine with three six gallon buckets...but it will also depend on if you get all juice or actual grapes with this order. Though if a blowoff tube works for you initially, that is fine. I would ask the LHBS about foaming, etc., of M-2. Here is what I found on it......
Lalvin M2 : This is a neutral to low ester-producing yeast and needs a high level of balanced nutrients with moderate nitrogen for a strong fermentation finish. It can achieve 15% alcohol at 59-86° F. In both reds and whites it can be distinguished by its expression of citrus and blossom notes, but is also excellent for producing well-rounded rosé wines.

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Old 10-07-2012, 03:31 PM   #8
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Thanks saramc.. I'll be getting juice.. I'm sure it'll have some solid type material in it.. however, it'll have settled a bit for a day. I've never done this and I'd guess the must comes from the bottom of the barrels that the juice gets transferred to from the crusher/destemmer/press. I have three 6+gallon buckets and some 3 g food grade buckets with sealable lids. and think I'll not be over agressive this year. I'll probably take two 6 g buckets that have 4.5-5g in them and a third 3g bucket with 2 g that I'll use for topping up. I'll find out tomorrow a bit more about M-2. I mentioned above that the "vigor" says "fast".. I don't know how to interpret that.

In the catalog, which is likely designed for our wine region.. M-2 says it has the following:
Varietal: Chard and Cabs
Enhances fruit
Enhances mouthfeel
Sensory effect: Estery.. Enhances varietal character, fruitness
Reduces vegetal character
Temp range is 59-86
Vigor: Fast
Alc tolerance: 16%
High Alc Tolerant
Nutritional need: Medium.. try additions of O2 with active stirring during fermentation to yeasts that react to O2 additions
Reaction to O2: Low
Comments: Complex

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Old 10-07-2012, 06:21 PM   #9
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I would take thst to mean it is a fast fermenter, and do not be shocked if your wine is dry in 3-5-7 days, but also may speed up if you are on the warmer end of temp range. IMHO, I would try a cool ferment, on the lower range. Expect the ambient temp of must to be up to eight degrees higher than the room temp. Sounds like it may be a low foamer also.

Now, will you be fermention in buckets the whole time, or tranafer to carboys at a certain point? Do you have your nutrient and energizer, tannin, and know how to chech and adjust TA?

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Old 10-07-2012, 07:24 PM   #10
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My house is in the mid-60's to mid-70's. I'll be fermenting in buckets and transfer to carboys when complete. I may consider putting the buckets under the house.. but, I'll have to be careful as there is sleeping mold/mildew down there until the ground gets wet. I'll probably just keep it in the spare bathroom or back bedroom on the cooler side of the house.

I'll be going to the LHBS to pick up the yeast, nutrient tomorrow or Tuesday.. probably picking up the must on Wed if the pick goes on schedule.

I'm not familiar with energizer.. but, I'll ask.. re Tannin.. same.. don't know. I had planned on putting some oak chips in the carboys. They are simply very small oak cubes.. I was going to ask if it makes any sense to "toast" them because most barrels I'm familiar with are charred inside.. don't know about chard barrels.

Checking TA? Don't really know about that either. I have a pH meter and pH strips.. but, I"d guess this is more involved.. like titration??

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