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Old 04-05-2012, 02:57 PM   #1
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Default Wine Equipment

Looking into doing a batch of wine from a kit. All the kits I see include a 7+ gallon primary fermenter. I have a 6.5 better bottle. Would that be large enough to do the primary fermentation or do I need to spend the $20 for a 7+ gallon bucket?

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Old 04-05-2012, 09:22 PM   #2
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Let me lead off with this warning: I don't have enough experience as a vintner to provide a definitive answer, but here are a few thoughts to consider:

*Most kits start with 6 gallons in primary, a portion of which is left behind with the lees each time you rack to another vessel. Thus, you actually need the largest vessel to start, then smaller ones as the process proceeds - many vintners actually start with the bucket, then use 5-gallon glass carboys for secondary & further racking, and supplement with half-gallon or smaller bottles for the excess, using the smaller bottles to top off the carboys as wine is lost to the lees.

*It depends on the yeast somewhat, as to the amount of foam (krausen, for beer brewers) that will be produced, but many of the widely-available Lalvin yeasts are specifically described as "low-foaming" (e.g., Bourgovin RC 212, D-47, EC-1118).

*Is there a grape pack included in the kit? If so, the grapes will displace some of the must when they rehydrate, making a larger volume fermenter necessary.

Good luck!

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Old 04-06-2012, 01:05 AM   #3
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The better bottles don't come in 6.5 gallons- only 5 and 6 gallons, to my knowledge. So, no, your BB won't work until secondary. But it will work perfectly for secondary if it's a 6 gallon BB.

You really need an "ale pail" type of fermenter for most wine kits. As was mentioned, some have grape skin packs (but not most) and they'd be impossible to get in and/or out of a carboy!

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Old 04-06-2012, 02:22 AM   #4
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Wine Expert Estate Series Lodi Ranch II Cabarnet Sauvignon is the kit I ordered, no grape skins. I went ahead and got the 7.5 and 6 fermenters. I think I'm going to use the 7.5 for primary and use a glass 5 gallon I have for the 2nd and 3rd. I know my 5 gallons hold 5.5 gallons and I'm guessing I'll lose some during the racking process. What would be an awesome sticky is a set of instructions by the experts on the forum. The instructions I've read from companies seem a tad quirky..

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Old 04-06-2012, 04:18 PM   #5
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Wine Expert Estate Series Lodi Ranch II Cabarnet Sauvignon is the kit I ordered, no grape skins. I went ahead and got the 7.5 and 6 fermenters. I think I'm going to use the 7.5 for primary and use a glass 5 gallon I have for the 2nd and 3rd. I know my 5 gallons hold 5.5 gallons and I'm guessing I'll lose some during the racking process. What would be an awesome sticky is a set of instructions by the experts on the forum. The instructions I've read from companies seem a tad quirky..


That is a great kit! The instructions are clear and perfect. You'll need your 6 gallon carboy for it, not the 5 gallon. The kits make a 6 gallon carboy full of wine. It's a tad over 30 bottles.

You don't really get racking losses with a kit because you are instructed first to not top up (so you can degas) so you need the room for the degassing in the 6 gallon carboy. Then you top up after that.
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Old 04-10-2012, 01:39 AM   #6
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Yooper, take me under your wing and get me through this wine thing?
Want to surprise the wifee-poo with something special.

StarSan workable for the sanitizer?
When it's time to top off, use the same type of wine or is plain water fine?

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Old 04-10-2012, 12:38 PM   #7
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When it's time to top off, use the same type of wine or is plain water fine?
If it is only a quart or less, water will do, as kits are made for that much. Any more than that, use wine.

One thing I learned recently is to rack just about everything on the first racking. There will be less loss and the lees will still fall out during secondary.
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Old 04-29-2012, 05:46 PM   #8
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Was playing with the swing arm corker. Even after adjusting I cant get the corks all the way into the bottle neck; 1/4 inch sticks out. Anyway to get them all the way in?

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Old 04-29-2012, 08:13 PM   #9
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Was playing with the swing arm corker. Even after adjusting I cant get the corks all the way into the bottle neck; 1/4 inch sticks out. Anyway to get them all the way in?

How much head space between the wine and the cork? I usually leave 3/4 - 1" any less and I have the same problem you describe.
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Old 04-30-2012, 03:19 AM   #10
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Most 5 gallon carboys are not exactly 5 gallons to the top so ferment 6 gallons in your primary and then you will have enough to fill it up.. If the 6 gallon carboys arent exactly 6 gallons, then make 7 in primary...As long as you wait until primary fermentation has settled down you should be fine...

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