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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > size of vessel vs. amount of liquid
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Old 11-04-2008, 03:49 PM   #1
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Default size of vessel vs. amount of liquid

If I'm going to make 2 gallons of wine, do I need a two gallon vessel to ferment in? Is there a problem with the excess ''space'' if I used a larger vessel? I plan to make strawberry wine - am going to the wine store today. I have on my list: campden tabs, wine yeast, a hygrometer, an airlock - is there anything else I absolutely NEED for making strawberry wine? I've been reading and reading and reading and there are so many different ways to do it, my head is spinning! I want a semi-sweet wine - what type of yeast do you recommend?

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Old 11-04-2008, 04:05 PM   #2
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Yes, you should closely match your batch size to the carboy. So, either make three gallons and use a three gallon carboy, or buy two one-gallon jugs. (I use Carlo Rossi wine jugs- a #6 stopper and airlock fit great!).

In primary, you can use a bucket or a larger carboy because oxygen is good for the yeast at that time. But after the fermentation slows, and you rack to secondary, you want to have the absolute minimum of headspace possible. Oxygen is the death of wine after that. It'll turn brownish and taste like sherry if it becomes oxidized.

I'd buy some racking tubing (so you can siphon to a new container several times during this process), and make sure you have a good quality sanitizer. You can use potassium metabisulfite for this, but I like to use a no-rinse sanitizer like one-step or star-san.

Just about any wine yeast will take the wine dry- that's what it does. That's fine. After it's completely clear and finished, you "stabilize" the wine with campden tablets and potassium sorbate (or "wine conditioner" is sold, as well) and then sweeten to taste before bottling.

For specific strains of yeast, I would probably use Red Star's cotes de blancs, or Lalvin's k1-v1116 (montpelier).

Here's some recipes from my favorite winemaking site: winemaking: Requested Recipe (Strawberry Wines)

I really like his common sense way of explaining basic winemaking:
winemaking: The Basic Steps

Strawberry wine is a very nice wine, and pretty simple and straightforward. You should have no problem with it!

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Old 11-04-2008, 04:46 PM   #3
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thanks, I have been reading those pages you posted, I like the summary page and will read it again and again until it sinks in, LOL.

I might just go ahead and make 5 gallons since I already have a 5 gallon container, and lots of strawberries in the freezer

Are there different yeasts that ferment faster/slower than others? Of course we all want our wine as quickly as possible, LOL. I made liquors last year for Christmas presents, I should have started earlier this year if I wanted to do wine for presents - or is it possible to have wine within 6 or so weeks?

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Old 11-04-2008, 05:03 PM   #4
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You won't get a very good product for gifts in 6 weeks. However, now would be a great time to start on next years presents. Wine takes a long time to make a good brew. Primary fermentation can take a week or two, but it might take another month or more just to finish fermentation. And once fermentation is complete, the wine is certainly not done. It needs time to clarify and age.

I haven't bottled anything in less then 5 months and I am new to this myself. Take your time and you will be richly rewarded for it. Having said that, on the off chance that your wine is done fermenting and is crystal clear by the third week of december, you could always bottle it and give it with a nice card instructing the receiver to age it for several months before enjoying it. That could be well done, but you might find that unappealing.

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Old 11-04-2008, 05:16 PM   #5
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ah, ya, I think I'll plan for next year wine presents - maybe make liquors again this year (those are pretty easy and fast and were a big hit last year). I know I wouldn't want to wait on a bottle of wine I got as a present, LOL.

I got a bottle of coffee liquor once several years ago - and it had an expiration date on it. Like THAT would be a problem, it was long gone way before the expiration date, LOL!

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Old 11-05-2008, 01:03 AM   #6
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Speaking of liquors, I recently bought some very nice vanilla beans for my Leap Year Mead, and I intentionally bought too many. I bought them from beanilla.com, and they have a recipe section. One of the recipe's is for a homemade kaluha clone, and I plan on trying that out. That might be something you could try for gifts. It certainly would be done in time.

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Old 11-05-2008, 12:53 PM   #7
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I did a homemade ''Kahlua'' last year - it was very nice Not as good as the real stuff, but still great! My favorite drink is a black russian and second a ''brown cow'', so my extra after gifts went fast

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Old 12-05-2008, 03:13 PM   #8
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When you guys talk about making your own liqueur are you talking about fermenting cane sugar w/ distiller's yeast and adding flavoring? Or are you talking about mix high proof liquor w/ other flavoring. I'm very interested in fermenting my own liqueur and would like some tips/ recipes.

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Old 12-05-2008, 04:36 PM   #9
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The only thing I have tried is the homemade Kahlua. It was made with sugar, coffee, vanilla beans, water, and vodka. No fermenting involved. I am not sure how much success anyone has had with fermenting sugar water for liquor. I have heard nothing but bad things flavors, alcohol, and headache wise.

Oh and if you are intending on distilling, look elsewhere for advice as it is against rules to discuss that on this board.

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Old 12-05-2008, 09:30 PM   #10
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BKVAIL, the waiting advice is the right advice. It kinda sucks if it's your first year winemaking but always look at it that you are drinking last years wine while fermenting next years wine. I'm drinking my wine I started in September of 2007 while I'm fermenting the juice I bought September of 2008. You will also realize you wont have enough on hand, My first year 12 gallons seemed like alot, I currently have 30 gallons going and I'm questioning if I'll need more when I start drinking it in Septmeber 2009. My advice would be to make twice the amount you think you will drink. When you make it and are proud when it turns out you will be drinking it and sharing it more often, Good luck, Ken

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