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wburns 01-24-2013 01:53 AM

Initial primary ferment question (total newbie)
Ok, trying to figure this out on my own, read a bunch of books etc, but still have a totally stupid question...

I am starting my first run of wine. Not kit form, I sat last night and cleaned and mashed 17 lbs of strawberries in a strainer bag, got everything mixed and added yeast tonight. I am following the recipe from the EC kraus handbook for my first attempt.

My weird question, everything says to cover closely at the beginning of ferment (day 1 for me), because the yeast needs oxygen to multiply. Is a clean cotton towel over my primary, bungee corded in place acceptable for the first 5 days? Am I doing this wrong?


Padawan 01-24-2013 01:54 AM

I have heard of people using cheese cloth.

okemasis 01-24-2013 03:03 AM

That's fine as far as I know... All the oxygen is being eaten by the yeast, so as long as you've sanitized, oxygen is good.
I just leave the lid on loose, but I almost like the (sanitized) towel better

DoctorCAD 01-24-2013 12:19 PM

You can leave the towel on until the SG drops to around 1.01 with no worries. After that, get it into a carboy with an airlock.

wburns 01-24-2013 07:09 PM

I have a plastic 6 gallon carboy I bought, actually the stopper showed up today, so I can rack into that. I had originally bought the carboy just as a holding tank while I cleaned the fermenter. Once the fruit is off, is there any reason not to use the carboy?


WVMJ 01-25-2013 05:41 AM

That is exactly what we use, a tea towel with a tight weave that no gnat could get thru and a bungie. Its more important what the gravity is at the end as to how long to keep it in the primary, you can rack it anytime after it gets to 1.02 or lower. Its saturated with CO2 in solution so its not going to oxidize with just a tea towel over it. WVMJ

wburns 01-26-2013 04:15 PM

It's definitely saturated with CO2 currently, yeast went in 1/23, 1/24 SG was 1.086 today (1/26) I am at 1.068, it is furiously bubbling though! Pulled the towel off to check SG and there was literally a head on the top of the liquid, I had to push it aside to check SG


wburns 01-28-2013 12:26 AM

I'm down to 1.033 from 1.068 in 24 hours. Should I transfer into a carboy and air lock it? That would also involve pulling the fruit out (it's in a strainer bag)

I can air lock my primary with the fruit in still too, does that sound like a better option?


WVMJ 01-28-2013 12:29 PM

Patience, you can wait until it gets to 1.02 or even down to 1.00 before you transfer to your carboy, keep a towel on top, keep stirring it, you can probably remove the fruit and adjust the volume if you lost to much now while it is still fermenting. WVMJ

wburns 01-28-2013 03:50 PM

Ok. I'll leave it as is for now. Most elementary question in the world. Should I use water to top up once I pull the fruit?

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