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Old 10-22-2009, 07:02 PM   #1
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Default First wine kit. I have questions.

I've made about a dozen or so batches of beer, I decided to try some wine.

There's a package of Metabisulfite that came with the wine kit. Instructions say to use it for sanitizing purposes. Can I just use StarSan, or does that not play well with wine?

I read somewhere that I need to minimize head space for the wine to ferment properly. Is this true? In primary or secondary or both? I ask because both of my primary carboys are tied up at the moment, I have a bucket and a 7.5 gallon carboy that I can use, but I don't want to mess up the process.

I also read somewhere about degassing a wine. When is this done and is it necessary? Instructions don't say anything about degassing.

Appreciate the help.

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Old 10-22-2009, 07:13 PM   #2
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I am in no way a wine guy, but I will tell you what i know. The Sulfite is used to kill the yeast at the end of the fermrntation before bottling so there are no yeasties/bacteria in the bottles. Degassing is a process used to "whip" out all of the carbonation befor bottling so there is no carbonation in the liquid when bottling.

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Old 10-23-2009, 12:58 AM   #3
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The starsan will work fine. I use a closed 7gl bucket for my primary and the carboys for secondary. it is when racked into the 2nd that the head space is important. the yeast needs O2 to fement in the primary but don't let it sit in the primary any longer then it needs. I use a blow off tube into a jug of sanatize water and watch to see when it is done. to much head space in the secondary can lead to oxadation in the secondary so top it up with some wine of the same or if you have a tank of co2 you can put a layer of gas in the carboy. fallow what the kit tells ya and you will get wine.

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Old 10-23-2009, 01:01 AM   #4
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So, just like the brew, if I use an airlock, can I assume that by the time the fermentation is done there will be no or minimal oxygen left in the carboy? As for degassing, what do you use? I saw that three pronged tool in the catalog, but I don't have one yet.

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Old 10-23-2009, 01:38 AM   #5
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I don't know why they tell you to use metabisulfite for sanitizing. It's an option, but so are StarSan and such. The metabisulfite in the kit is for the stabilizing part of the instructions, so save it for then.

Most kit makers use a 7.5 or 7.9-gallon bucket for wine. You need headspace in primary and many kits allow for it in secondary too, as you rack to a 6-gallon secondary and don't top off until stabilization.

You can get fancy tools for degassing or you can just use an upside down brew spoon. Frankly, that's what I do. I have a drill-mounted wine whip but rarely use it.

BTW: This is a great forum for beer and other things, but if you want to tap into wine knowledge beyond your dreams, go to the winepress site. There's a kit section.

Jim

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Old 10-23-2009, 01:42 AM   #6
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On the first couple kits I used the long handle of my brewing spoon to degas. Your arm will get tired with this method! I have since purchase a degassing tool so I can use it with my drill.

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Old 10-23-2009, 03:59 PM   #7
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Alright. Thanks. That helps a lot. Like I said, I don't have one of those drill adapter things for degassing, but I read on a different thread that someone was using theirs for aerating their brew. I think that's a great idea and when the next order comes around, I think I'll pick one up. I think just with logistics of carboys and whatnot, it will still be a few days until I can put this kit together. I'll need my six gallon for secondary and I won't have it free until about a week or two.

I emphatically agree that this forum is great. The people who all help with their knowledge and opinions are what make it so awesome. Thanks to everyone.

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