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Old 02-21-2014, 06:33 PM   #1
BHebert
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Default First wine

Just finished mixing up my first batch using Vintners Harvest concentrate. I will pitch the yeast tomorrow. The instructions state that it needs to be stirred everyday until the gravity reads 1.040. What I can't figure out is if the fermenting bucket needs to be covered and an airlock installed or just cover with the wet rag it is covered with now.

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Old 02-21-2014, 11:42 PM   #2
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Sealed and air locked is only used to keep O2 out so the wine does not oxidize. In the early stages of fermentation the yeast like O2 and they produce so much CO2 it floats over the surface of the wine to keep O2 from messing anything up. You can airlock it any time after you stop stirring the wine.

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Old 02-21-2014, 11:52 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BHebert View Post
Just finished mixing up my first batch using Vintners Harvest concentrate. I will pitch the yeast tomorrow. The instructions state that it needs to be stirred everyday until the gravity reads 1.040. What I can't figure out is if the fermenting bucket needs to be covered and an airlock installed or just cover with the wet rag it is covered with now.
You don't need to snap down the lid on your fermentation bucket during early stages of fermentation. Just lay the lid on top loosely or cover with a damp cloth. Stir the wine twice a day until you reach your 1.040 SG then leave it be until SG reaches 1.020-1.010. At that time you can either snap down the lid and add an airlock or rack to a clean carboy and attach an airlock to allow the fermentation to finish. Then you can stabilize, clarify if you choose, bulk age or bottle. What ever your normal procedure is. Good Luck
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Old 02-22-2014, 12:37 AM   #4
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Thanks.

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Old 02-23-2014, 03:06 PM   #5
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For primary, most seasoned winemakers use a towel or something to cover the fermenter to keep out dust and fruitflies and things. The wine needs oxygen at that time, and it needs to off-gas c02 (which is poisonous to yeast). Stirring it daily to break up the "cap" and resuspend any solids that may form is important, and it's so much easier to stir when there is no lid.

Once the wine gets to 1.010-1.020, it is generally transferred to secondary and then airlocked at that time.

If you have a ton of fruitflies like I do in the fall, then a lid and airlock is a good idea as they seem to get into things without a tight fitting lid, but a towel with a big rubber band around the rim of the bucket works well and keeps those buggers out. This time of year, I would just cover the primary with a towel.

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