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Old 06-07-2013, 03:46 AM   #1
DonnieZ
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Default The straight dope on degassing kits?

Well, I'm at the third stage of my first wine kit, and this is the step I thought would give me the least grief. Prior to this point, I was on a gravy train with biscuit wheels with this wine kit, but at this point its turned out to be the most difficult.

Most everything I've read before this point states that using the drill is the way to get the wine degassed. I call BS. I bought this hook looking thing that attached to my drill, I think it's called the Wine Whip. The directions say use a stir stick for 2 minutes to degas the wine in the carboy. I used the wine whip and the drill for about 10 minutes and I've still got gas in the wine.

I've determined there's still gas in the wine by taking a small sample, putting it in the hydrometer test jar, covering it with my hand and shaking. I still get a nice "poof" of gas when I release my palm.

At this point I don't want to just keep beating the hell out of the wine, because I know there's always the chance the wine is getting oxygenated at this point with as much as I've had the drill/bung attachment in and out. I've tried reversing the drill every 10 seconds or so, using it at an angle, moving it in and out.

I've already added everything to this wine except for the liquid fining (Eisenglass?). I'd like to know the best way to get this degassed.

I've read about using:

Vacuum pump - I have a foodsaver, and I can get some hose or something tomorrow to adapt it to the bung.

Handheld bake bleeder / mityvac - I could probably use one of these in my toolbox anyway.

Wet/Dry vac - Have one of these, and as soon as I read about vacuum degassing, this is what came to mind.

Continue using the drill - Not my preferred option, but maybe I'm doing it wrong. Advice?

Something I haven't thought of - Help!!!

All of the vacuum stuff I've read about warns against imploding the carboy. Is this a legitimite concern?


Should I top off my wine with water now / add the liquid fining agent before degassing is complete? The kit instructions strongly suggests that degassing be done otherwise the wine will not clear.

Thanks for any advice!

- DZ

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Old 06-07-2013, 04:06 AM   #2
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The whip is probably the least effective of the drill mounted degassers. You can try a mix-stir, but avoid creating a vortex which will incorporate oxygen into the wine. On the plus side, when your wine is saturated with CO2, there is a decreased risk of oxygen pick up.

I use an All in One wine pump. Each racking is essentially a splash rack with a slight vacuum. My wine is completely degassed by the second racking (unless I'm working with Frontenac which retains gas like no other). It also can be used to bottle (also under vacuum which will clean up any residual CO2). The imploding carboy thing is only an issue if you are putting a direct vacuum on the carboy. Demijohns are more prone to breakage in this situation. In addition to the risk of imploded vessels, using a vacuum pump like this is also really hard on the pump.

I'd hold off on fining until the wine is degassed. Residual CO2 runs the risk of keeping solids in suspension. I would never top off with water. I find kit wine to be a bit thin to begin with (the use of finishing tannins a week or two before bottling can help with this). I'd use a cheap bottle or box of similar wine to top off with, or divide the batch into a 5 gallon carboy and a half gallon jug.

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Old 06-07-2013, 04:44 AM   #3
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Thanks for the tips. I guess I should have stated this is a Wine Expert Chianti kit, so finding a similar wine shouldn't be that difficult.

However, an all in one wine pump seems a little out of my leauge at the moment. I'm looking to do this somewhat economically, as buying the wine equipment and the first kit has me in for about $200 right now. I realize the value of investing in good equipment, but I can't do it all at once.

Which of the other methods are worth trying? How much vacuum will it take to break my carboy?

FWIW, the wine that I did taste from the bottom of the test jar didn't taste awful, and it's only been slightly over two weeks. A little alcohol sharpness, but not bad nonetheless. I'm by no means a wine connisseur, I probably couldn't tell you the difference between a $25 glass of wine and a $6 bottle, however I'm making this batch as a gift for my in-laws who love wine. Hopefully by Christmas it will be something someone who enjoys wine will like to drink.

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Old 06-07-2013, 11:38 AM   #4
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The stainless mix-stir is probably going to be the most bang for your buck. I recommend the stainless one because the plastic mix stir snapped in half on me after about a year.

I don't know have strong of a vacuum a carboy can take.

Good luck with the batch.

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Old 06-07-2013, 11:53 AM   #5
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I just use the mix-stir thing on my drill, and I've only had about two kits that needed a bit extra degassing. The ones that did REALLY held onto the gas. Warming it up a bit helps a lot. If it's still gassy, you can always let it sit for a week or two in a warm place and agitate the carboy once in a while and that helps a lot before you give it another try.

One thing that isn't expensive that you may have is a mity-vac. You know, one of those things you use to bleed brakes. I don't have one, but many people who make wine use a mity-vac to degas their wine kits so it must work well!

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Old 06-07-2013, 02:57 PM   #6
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I made a home-made wine whip from 2 stainless steel skewers, a cake batter mixer and several plastic zip-ties (acting as the whip) it seems to be very effective. It attaches to a drill.

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Old 06-07-2013, 03:06 PM   #7
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Or, you could just forget about it for a few months, it will magically degass itself without oxidizing.

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Old 06-07-2013, 05:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bluespark View Post
Or, you could just forget about it for a few months, it will magically degass itself without oxidizing.

Ok.. I've seriously considered this, however the kit directions state that in order for the fining agents to work properly, the wine must be degassed.

This is a real basic 4 step kit:

1. Mix and ferment. (7 days)
2. Check Gravity and rack. (10 Days)
3. Add sulphites, sorbate, Degas, add Eisenglass (or whatever liquid fining they included) (2 weeks)
4. Bottle.

I know wine generally gets better with age, but is there anything I need to worry about with bulk aging / bottling in a few months?
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Old 06-07-2013, 06:42 PM   #9
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I've had the same exact experience with my kit wines. They just don't degas. I've whipped them to no avail, even let them sit four months, and they were still gassy.

At my wits end I bought this thing called a WineCuum (like vacuum but with wine replacing the "va"). You just hook this little gizmo to an air compressor of sufficient size and it pulls a vacuum on your carboy. My wine was degassed in no time.

It comes as a complete kit with an eductor for pulling the vacuum, drilled stopper to attach it to the carboy, and a vacuum gauge to keep you in the safe zone of implosion. I pulled about 10 psi vacuum on my carboy, and if any of you are engineers out there you know that's a heck of a lot of vacuum.

So, if you have an air compressor, I'd go that route. BTW, my shop vac didn't work for degassing.

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Old 06-09-2013, 04:40 PM   #10
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Ok.. Back to this again

Went out and bought a mityvac.. The included hoses and such fit right into the bung of the carboy, so I started applying vacuum to no avail. Doesn't look anything like the videos I see on Youtube when people vacuum degass. On the videos of others vacuum degassing, I see tons of activity, bubbles coming out of the wine, etc.. I pulled 5 inches of vacuum and on mine I just see nothing. Literally, nothing.

My carboy isn't topped up at this point, I'd say there's .5 gallons of headspace in there. Is this the reason? If I shake the carboy, I do see the vacuum gauge falling, indicating that maybe agitating the wine a bit is causing the CO2 to come out of solution, however I"m just not sure.

Doing the shake some in the hydrometer tube test still gives me a "poof" of gas.

Am I doing this wrong? Will it hurt to leave 5 inches of vacuum on the carboy? I hear all these tales of carboys imploding, but I also think about all of the jars I've sealed with my foodsaver - they never implode?

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