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Old 08-02-2008, 02:43 PM   #1
JWHooper
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Default when to rack, when to air lock?

I'm confused.

When exactly am I supposed to rack? Isn't it when fermentation dies down? That is when you start using the air lock, right? But before it needs some oxygen, that's how I understand it.

I have 3 gallons of Welch's wine in a 5 gallon bucket fermenter, the lid sitting on top (but not locked on) with a towel over it. I have a gallon of Apfelwein in a 1 gallon glass jug, and a hybrid gallon of Welch's and Apfelwein in another gallon jug. The gallon jugs have stoppers with air locks and little lids on the air locks, but no water in the air locks, because they just started fermenting.

Oh, and when I do start actually using the air locks, do I need to store the bottles (which are clear) in the dark? How dark? Like completely dark, or just a dimly lit room like a basement?

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Drinking: nothing yet
Primary: EMPTY!
5 Gal: Cherry wine
3 Gal: Welch's grape wine
1 Gal: Edwort's Apfelwein
1 Gal: Welch's grape with a pint of Apfelwein
1 Gal: Edwort's Apfelwein
1 Gal: Edwort's Apfelwein
1 Gal: Edwort's Apfelwein
Bottled/Aging/Kegged: Edwort's Apfelwein
Future Projects: lot's more wine! :)
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Old 08-03-2008, 03:46 AM   #2
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I am a noob with wines, and have been getting most of my answers from Yooperbrew. But from what I have been reading on wine kits, is you can put a mesh cover over the bucket when you first make the must for 48-72 hours (only ingredient added is benonite). Then put the airlock on it for 7-10 days (for some reason my primary took a month). The starting gravity will probably be around 1.095 and you rack it into a secondary when it is at 1.010. If you are planning on using oak, put it in then. Continue fermenting until it gets to .995, then add your ingredients to stop fermentation. Let the wine settle and rack it as it clears, but this can take several rackings. When it is finally clear, add whatever you are planning to use to help it stay preserved and keep it from turning into vinegar. Something like Campden tablets, or powder Potassium Metabisulfite. Then bottle and store for 3-6 months or up to a year.

I am not sure if this is smart or not, but I thought about adding gelatin to my secondary to help it clear. Any thoughts out there?


Oh ya... I do all my fermenting in the basement where it is cooler. My room is 68*, and is pretty much dark except when I am checking on the carboys every couple days.

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Old 08-03-2008, 05:04 AM   #3
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Thanks Dutch. I have them on airlocks so now I'll just put them in the basement and wait a week or two.

Sorry, but I can't help you with the clearing question because I don't know anything. This is the first thing I ever fermented. I did make some soda pop once.

__________________
Drinking: nothing yet
Primary: EMPTY!
5 Gal: Cherry wine
3 Gal: Welch's grape wine
1 Gal: Edwort's Apfelwein
1 Gal: Welch's grape with a pint of Apfelwein
1 Gal: Edwort's Apfelwein
1 Gal: Edwort's Apfelwein
1 Gal: Edwort's Apfelwein
Bottled/Aging/Kegged: Edwort's Apfelwein
Future Projects: lot's more wine! :)
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Old 08-03-2008, 02:22 PM   #4
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If you are using airlocks then you are going to want to put sanitizer water or some vodka in them because whenever your ferementation ends then you are going to be leaving the wine wide open to fruit flies and other bacteria that seriously ruin your wine. Your going to want to do this soon because I've had wines finish fermenting in as little as a few days!!

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Old 08-03-2008, 03:25 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KiRbY29869 View Post
If you are using airlocks then you are going to want to put sanitizer water or some vodka in them because whenever your ferementation ends then you are going to be leaving the wine wide open to fruit flies and other bacteria that seriously ruin your wine. Your going to want to do this soon because I've had wines finish fermenting in as little as a few days!!
Thanks for the tip, I didn't know you had to use anything special. I'll buy a cheap pint of vodka.
__________________
Drinking: nothing yet
Primary: EMPTY!
5 Gal: Cherry wine
3 Gal: Welch's grape wine
1 Gal: Edwort's Apfelwein
1 Gal: Welch's grape with a pint of Apfelwein
1 Gal: Edwort's Apfelwein
1 Gal: Edwort's Apfelwein
1 Gal: Edwort's Apfelwein
Bottled/Aging/Kegged: Edwort's Apfelwein
Future Projects: lot's more wine! :)
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Old 08-03-2008, 04:19 PM   #6
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Jack Keller is kind of my guru of winemaking- and his website is great. I recommend starting here: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/basics.asp

The nice thing about the way that's set up is you can click "step 1" for more information on the ways and hows of each step as you read. It really explains in "real people" talk how to make wine. The site can be hard to navigate, but it's worthwhile!

Dutch, I'm not a big fan of gelatin in wine for clearing. I'd recommend sparkeloid or isinglass, but before that, see if crash cooling the wine will clear it first. (Also, look on Jack Keller's site for "finings"- he explains it all concerning the positive/negative charged particles).

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Old 08-04-2008, 05:35 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
Jack Keller is kind of my guru of winemaking- and his website is great. I recommend starting here: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/basics.asp

The nice thing about the way that's set up is you can click "step 1" for more information on the ways and hows of each step as you read. It really explains in "real people" talk how to make wine. The site can be hard to navigate, but it's worthwhile!

Dutch, I'm not a big fan of gelatin in wine for clearing. I'd recommend sparkeloid or isinglass, but before that, see if crash cooling the wine will clear it first. (Also, look on Jack Keller's site for "finings"- he explains it all concerning the positive/negative charged particles).

Thanks once again!
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Old 08-04-2008, 03:08 PM   #8
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I found this in a link off of Jack Keller's website. Maybe it will help somebody else , as it clarified several things for me.


EXTENDED INSTRUCTIONS FOR MAKING WINES FROM KITS:
All utensils should be well cleaned and sanitized before use.
When re-hydrating the concentrate, we recommend the use of
either filtered, distilled or spring water.
DAY 1:
Rehydrate your must to the full 23L in a 23L carboy, stirring
very well.
(Optional tannin addition for red wine kits: Many styles of
full-bodied, red wine kits will benefit from the addition of
grape tannin to the must before fermentation. Therefore, one
may wish to add 1 tablespoon of grape tannin as follows: before
rehydrating the must _THOROUGHLY_ dissolve 1 Tbsp of grape
tannin in about 200ml of boiling water. Once dissolved, add the
tannin solution to the must as part of its re-hydration).
-Using a hydrometer, check the weight of the must.
-Red & Chardonnay musts should have 23 Brix.
-White musts should have 22 Brix.
(If the must weight is insufficient, add sugar using the
following guideline: 11 oz (312g) of sugar will raise 23L of
must by 1 degree of Brix)
-Next, withdraw 1 USGal (4L) of the must to a well sealed glass
jug & refrigerate it for later addition to the main batch.
If your kit has oak powder add it now as instructed, or use the
following guidelines: If oak fermentation is desired, add "Oak-
Mor" American white Oak Powder, used untreated (right out of the
bag) at a concentration of 1.7 grams per liter (39 grams
[slightly more than 1 oz] per 23L carboy).
Now; properly rehydrate the enclosed yeast (Lalvin RC-212 for
red kits & Lalvin 71B for Riesling & Gewurztraminer kits and
Lalvin D47 for all other white wine kits) . For detailed
instructions on how to hydrate your yeast please see this site:
http://www.lallemand.com/lalvin/LalvinRehydration.htm
Now, using a clean & sanitized funnel, add your yeast slurry to
the main 19L of must (you can add 50ml of the must to the
rehydrated yeast slurry to make it easier to pour into the
carboy). Do not attach your airlock for the first 48 hours of
fermentation. Instead, cover the mouth of the carboy with a
multi-layer cheesecloth barrier.
It is important to not attach the airlock right away because
your yeast will actually need O2 while they are multiplying.
Place your carboy in an area where the temperature remains at
about 70F (20C)
DAY 2:
On the second day of fermentation, lightly stir the must to keep
the yeast in suspension. At the end of the second day (after 48
hours), attach the airlock.
DAYS 3 & 4:
Stir the must once a day on days 3 & 4 (Also, stir on day 5 if
the fermentation has not yet gotten plosive). Always reattach
the airlock after stirring.
DAY 7 or 8:
Watch for the plosive period of fermentation to subside (this
will be on about day 7 or 8). When the plosive period of
fermentation has passed, slowly (over about an hour) add the
reserve 1 US gallon (4L) of juice back to the main batch.
Add back a little at a time (about 1 L per 15 minutes) so that
overflow will not be a problem. Be sure to stir the must
lightly after each addition of the cool juice (this will help to
avoid cold shock).
Now; once the carboy is full, re-attach the airlock and keep it
at around 70F (20C) for the next three weeks.
DAY 28:
Using a clean & sanitized hydrometer (we recommend a narrow
range +5/-5 hydrometer if possible) check the weight of the
must. Note the weight & re-attach the airlock. The weight of
the must should be under .995 for most kits (and under 1.000 for
some Big Red kits).
DAY 29:
If making a white wine, prepare your bentonite as follows:
-Place 120ml of boiling water in a blender.
-Turn the blender on to a medium setting.
-Slowly add 1 level tablespoon of bentonite to the blender.
-Note: The final slurry should have the consistency of pea
soup. (it may be necessary to add a small amount of additional
water to make the slurry the proper consistency).
-Once the proper consistency is achieved, blend the bentonite on
high for 2 minutes.
-Turn-off the blender and set the slurry aside.
DAY 30:
Using a clean & sanitized hydrometer (again, we recommend a
narrow range +5/-5 hydrometer if possible) again check the
weight of the must. Note the weight , if it is in the range
specified above (in Day 28), and it has not dropped since day
28, move on to stabilization.
If the must weight has dropped since day 28, re-attach the
airlock. Continue to check the weight on a daily basis until
the weight remains unchanged for 2 consecutive days.
DAY 30 (assuming that the must weight has met the criteria
outlined above):
Stabilization and Fining:
-Add the contents of the bag marked potassium metabisulfite to
a clean & sanitized empty 23L carboy.
-Rack the wine from its original carboy into the new carboy.
(Be carefully not to transfer too much of the lees).
-Stir the wine vigorously for 3 minutes. Wait 15 minutes. Stir
again vigorously for 3 minutes.
-If making a white wine, add the bentonite slurry which you
prepared on day 29 (If possible, mix the slurry in your blender
for about 2 minutes on high just before adding).
-If making a red wine, add the packet marked Kieselsol from a
Wine Art Claro K-C red finings package (may not be included :-)
-Stir vigorously for 4 minutes.
-Top up with a similar, dry wine and reattach your airlock.
DAY 31:
-Using a wine thief withdraw about 200ml of wine.
-If making a white wine, add the packet marked finings which
came in your kit. (Alternatively, you can add the packet
marked Clarifier which comes in a packet of Wine Art Claro K-C
white finings).
-If making a red wine, add the packet marked Clarifier from a
Wine Art Claro K-C red finings package.
-Stir vigorously for 4 minutes. Wait 15 minutes. Stir
vigorously for 4 minutes.
-Top-up with wine withdrawn earlier. Re-attach airlock.
-Place wine in a very cool location. (Alternatively, the carboy
can be bunged with a cork and placed in a refrigerator).
DAY 45:
-Carefully rack the cool/cold wine into a clean & sanitized
carboy. Avoid splashing.
-If making a red wine or a Chardonnay, additionally oaking may
be done at this time using either of the following two
alternatives:
1. Add Medium toast, French Allier white oak chips (from "World
Cooperage") as follows:
-"Heat sanitize" 4 oz (115g) of chips for 30 minutes by placing
them on a piece of aluminum foil in an oven preheated to 250F.
-Allow the chips to cool & add to wine.
2. Add medium toast French StaVin
(http://www.stavin.com/homewinemaker.htm) oak cubes at a rate of
3.5 oz (100g) per 23L carboy. No preparation of the cubes is
necessary. Simply add to carboy.
-Top-up carboy to the very top with a similar, dry wine. (Note:
if wine was refrigerated, allow about 2.5 inches (6cm) of room
below the bung for expansion of the wine as it warms up).
-Place wine in a cool dark place. Over the next 35 days, check
to be sure that your air-lock remains filled with fluid to the
indicated level.
DAY 80:
-Rack wine off of its light lees into a fresh and sanitized
carboy.
-If using the oak chips, discard the used chips.
-If using the Sta-Vin cubes, rinse & sanitize them & return them
to the fresh carboy.
-Top-up the carboy with a similar, dry wine & re-attach air-
lock.
-Place wine in a cool dark place. Over the next 60 days, check
to be sure that your air-lock remains filled with fluid to the
indicated level.
DAY 140:
-Your wine should now be crystal clear.
-Check your wine for residual CO2 as follows:
-Place about 200ml of wine (withdrawn using the wine thief) in a
375 ml clear wine bottle. Cover the mouth of the bottle with
your thumb & shake vigorously. If the wine foams substantially
(1†[2.5cm]), further degassing is warranted.
-Rack the wine into a clean & sanitized carboy into which 1/4
tsp of potassium metabisulfite has been added.
-If using the Sta-Vin cubes, and further oak character is
desired, the cubes can be rinsed, sanitized & returned to the
fresh carboy.
-If the wine needs further degassing (as determined above), stir
vigorously for 4 minutes. Wait 15 minutes, stir vigorously for
4 more minutes.
-If the wine does not seem to need further degassing, stir
lightly.
-Taste test the wine.
-Top-up (with wine in 375ml degassing test bottle) & additional
dry wine if necessary.
DAY 170:
-Taste test wine.
-Reds which are still in contact with the StaVin cubes & which
are going to be filtered, can be racked into a fresh, sanitized
carboy. Top-up with a dry wine. Cubes should be discarded.
-If wine taste complete, is free of defects, and free of excess
CO2, bottle at leisure or filter for bottling on day 180.
DAY 180:
-Bottle wines filtered on day 170.
Finally; keep in mind that these instructions are not etched in
stone, but I think that they outline a pretty good timetable.

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Old 08-04-2008, 07:01 PM   #9
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Ah, I couldn't ask for more than that. So many questions answered!

Thanks!

__________________
Drinking: nothing yet
Primary: EMPTY!
5 Gal: Cherry wine
3 Gal: Welch's grape wine
1 Gal: Edwort's Apfelwein
1 Gal: Welch's grape with a pint of Apfelwein
1 Gal: Edwort's Apfelwein
1 Gal: Edwort's Apfelwein
1 Gal: Edwort's Apfelwein
Bottled/Aging/Kegged: Edwort's Apfelwein
Future Projects: lot's more wine! :)
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