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Old 12-03-2008, 12:12 AM   #1
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Default Super easy simple wine making Questions from a complete n00b.

First off let me just say that my GF and I are totally not making wine to satisfy our sophisticated palates.

We pretty much are doing it for fun and to use as cheap Holiday gifts Being poor college students made this both fun and beneficial.

I bought my GF a simple wine making kit and all the chemicals suggested by the local brew store last x-mas along with making her a 36 bottle wine rack which turned out pretty damn nice for my first attempt at wood working.

We have had a batch of Welch’s going in the primary fermenter for 5 days now. 6 gallons in all. With 5 lbs of sugar and a packet of bread yeast. I know that bread yeast isn’t the best choice but we didn’t get any instructions with the kit so I went off of instinct . I made sure everything was sterile with supplied chemicals and stirred the sugar into a gallon of boiling water and added that to the juice, let it sit for 4 days and then added the yeast with the air lock. After yeast colonies were visible on the surface we racked the juice into the glass carboy and it has had the airlock bubbling ever since.

Now on to the questions.

1. Does the glass carboy need to be covered or in a temp sensitive place?

2. How do I know when the fermentation has been finished? I didn’t do any readings when I started the batch out of ignorance. Can I still test it now to check for a favorable reading which would signify it’s time to bottle?

3. Do I need to add 1 crushed up campden tablet per gallon to the juice before bottling?

4. Should my juice be a dark purple color or should it clear up? I have read on here a few different people stating different things.

5. How much air should there be between the juice level and the rubber airlock cork? Do I need to purge the O2 with CO2 if I have about an inch of space?

Heres a pic of the current set-up, We dont have a basement or anything in the tiny apartment so the corner of the dining room will have to do. I vented the yeasty smelling yeasty gasses to the window, is that too weird? Im super paranoid about the airlock leaking so I figured I would beef it up with some baggies and rubber bands. Dont mind the date, I cant figure out how to change it on the camera.





Thanks guys!

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Old 12-03-2008, 12:47 AM   #2
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You made me LOL at that jerry-rigged airlock venting. Thanks for the pictures!

First, relax- it isn't brain science, or rocket surgery. If you two are in college, you have way more intelligence that this hobby requires. So, you've done great so far. If you want, take a look at my Welch's recipe, and see if it's similar to what you've done. Keep in mind that wine yeast is like $.79/pack which is good for up to 6 gallons of wine, so you may want to go that route next time. It'll give you better tasting results.

Ok, on to the questions!

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1. Does the glass carboy need to be covered or in a temp sensitive place?

Yes. Cover it with a blanket or towel- to keep the temperature steady and fairly warm, and to protect it from light
2. How do I know when the fermentation has been finished? I didn’t do any readings when I started the batch out of ignorance. Can I still test it now to check for a favorable reading which would signify it’s time to bottle?
Yes- go ahead and use the hydrometer. When fermentation is done, it'll be under 1.000 (probably .994 or so) and not change after a week.

3. Do I need to add 1 crushed up campden tablet per gallon to the juice before bottling?
You don't have to, but it's a good idea to help preserve it. If your friends will be drinking it within a month or so, though, don't bother. If you do, crush the tablet, and dissolve it in some boiling water (like 1/4 cup) so that it's dissolved well.

4. Should my juice be a dark purple color or should it clear up? I have read on here a few different people stating different things.
If you used purple juice, the wine will be purple. If you used white grape juice, it'll be white. It'll clear up a bit, though- being more transparent, but still purple.

5. How much air should there be between the juice level and the rubber airlock cork? Do I need to purge the O2 with CO2 if I have about an inch of space?
It should be fine if you're above the neck of the carboy, where the contact with o2 would be minimized.
Heres a pic of the current set-up, We dont have a basement or anything in the tiny apartment so the corner of the dining room will have to do. I vented the yeasty smelling yeasty gasses to the window, is that too weird? Im super paranoid about the airlock leaking so I figured I would beef it up with some baggies and rubber bands. Dont mind the date, I cant figure out how to change it on the camera.
Yeah, kinda weird. But ok. I'd pull all that stuff out though, and just use an airlock. If it smells bad, then you're doing something wrong.


Thanks guys!
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Old 12-03-2008, 01:02 AM   #3
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Thank you sir I think lol.

So once I have my proper reading on the hydrometer dont I have to stop the yeasts before bottling? I dont want to give away ticking time bombs for X-mas.......... To all my friends at least.

Yea I kida figured about using the proper yeast. I just didnt know there was a difference. I have a batch of the apple juice wine I started yesterday in the bucket now, Ill have to run to the brew store for a second carboy and wine yeast tomorrow.

There isnt a foul smell, just a pungent sweet yeast smell. Like fresh bread. Is that bad? I rigged up that hose to keep the dog from snouting the hell out of the air lock for 4 months.

Do you think I did any damage to the final ABV by not using the proper yeast? I used 5 gallons of welchs juice jugs on sale at wal-mart at $3 a gallon. No sorbate.

PS. Im a microbio major. I tried consulting my notes but couldnt answer all of my questions lol. I could lecture about fermantation and NADPH transfer all day but that doesnt really seem to matter much now.

PPS. We used your welchs recipe, but with the apple juice batch.

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Old 12-03-2008, 01:22 AM   #4
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Quote:
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Thank you sir I think lol.
Well, no, you think wrong on that one!

If you're already added yeast, that will probably overpower any other added yeast, so it'll be too late by tomorrow. Don't sweat it- just buy it for next time. I have about 10 packages in my fridge- it keeps well, and I can make wine whenever the mood (or fruit) strikes.
The bready smell is not bad- but probably from the bread yeast. I just wonder, though, how you will keep it from getting contaminated. An airlock is a one way valve, but if it's outside, then you don't have your one-way valve. At least stick the "free" end in a pitcher of water/sanitizer mix, so you still have an airlock, and not an open freeway for bugs to your wine. At this point, it's probably off-gassing so much it's not a concern, and with it being winter, it's probably still not much of a concern. But there are still stray wild yeast, molds, bugs, etc, around so you want to at least rig some sort of airlock.
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:07 AM   #5
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Yooper, I took it to mean that he has a baggy over the usual air lock. Looks like that in the pic.

My limited home brew experience includes yeastie smell/tastes that goes away with some aging. Your Welches may not be drinkable for Christmas. Don't be afraid to taste it all the qway along- right now it is harmless yeasty grape juice, later it may taste more like grape beer, what with the yeast. Then give it a few weeks, might be onto a new taste? "I thought Fleishman's was German, not Welch"

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Old 12-03-2008, 05:22 AM   #6
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psssst GooooB.
Yooper's one of yours. Not a sir.....

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Old 12-03-2008, 03:05 PM   #7
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Quote:
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Yooper, I took it to mean that he has a baggy over the usual air lock. Looks like that in the pic.

My limited home brew experience includes yeastie smell/tastes that goes away with some aging. Your Welches may not be drinkable for Christmas. Don't be afraid to taste it all the qway along- right now it is harmless yeasty grape juice, later it may taste more like grape beer, what with the yeast. Then give it a few weeks, might be onto a new taste? "I thought Fleishman's was German, not Welch"
Correct, my dog chewed up the rubber carboy topper before I had a chance to fit it on so I had to make a last minute run to the hardware store and they didnt have any rubber corks, only cork corks. So I drilled a hole through it and fitted the airlock through that and then used the baggies to seal the cork which was far from air-tight. Then my dog kept snouting all over the air-lock because of the smell so I ran that hose outside to stop the smell.

I did taste a little bit when I racked the first time and its def. not grape juice anymore lol. Has a bit of alc. taste to it at the end so I have some fermentation going on.

Do I want to stop my fermentation when I reach a certain alc. % or when my air lock stops bubbling? I understand all of the microbio behind whats going on I just dont know whats best for the taste/ al. content. Do I want to let my wine reach the critical 1,000,000 active yeast cells per mil before the batch starts to go into the death stage or do I want to stop the yeast growth before that?

Am I looking too deep into this?
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:06 PM   #8
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Quote:
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psssst GooooB.
Yooper's one of yours. Not a sir.....
True, but anyone who has over 11,000 posts in a home brew forum gets the title bestowed upon them from me
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Old 12-03-2008, 03:28 PM   #9
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Quote:
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True, but anyone who has over 11,000 posts in a home brew forum gets the title bestowed upon them from me
Yep Yoop is the man... erm well she's not a man but in the sense of "she's cool" ya know.

Also I think of her as the resident expert on wine
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Old 12-03-2008, 05:21 PM   #10
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Opppps my bad, sorry Yoop. Now I feel like an ass lol.

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