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Old 07-23-2007, 05:57 AM   #1
yaeyama
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Default New to wine making! Acid blend, top-up, etc. questions

Hello:

I am preparing to make my first batch of wine. I have decided on the raisin wine recipe, from the "Winemaking" book by Anderson & Anderson. I have pretty much everything I need to get started, but before I begin I would like to ask the following questions.

- I have a 25 litre (5 gallon) primary fermentor (plastic food grade tub with spigot and sealable lid). Instead of tying down a plastic sheet can I use the lid instead? If so, should I affix it securely, or just loosely cover it?

- I had trouble finding carboys in my area; I ended up buying two 6 gallon glass ones. However, I expect I will end up with a substantial air space during secondary fermentation. The recipes in my book allow for topping up with water, however this is for topping up a 5 gallon, not a 6. I am thinking of using glass marbles to compensate for this, however, how many do I need to displace a gallon? Also, is there a way of inserting them into the carboy without resulting in breakage or scratching the carboys?

- The recipe for the raisin wine calls for 16 teaspoons of Vinacid R. However, I was only able to purchase Acid Blend. It appears that I can substitute acid blend for Vinacid. However, looking at several wine making sites, it appears that most people are adding around 1 to 1.5 teaspoons per gallon. Why the huge discrepancy between 16 teaspoons of Vinacid vs. 5 to 7 for Acid Blend? Should I try to find Vinacid R and use it as stated by the book?

- 4 teaspoons of liquid tannin is required. I have powdered tannin. Problem?

- 1 pkt of "Wine yeast with a high alcohol tolerance" is required. I have two packets each of Cotes des Blancs, as well as Montrachet. Which would be more suitable? By the way, the book says that Montrachet is liable to develop hydrogen sulphide in the must, and to avoid the problem they recommend the champagne strain. (Should I discard the Montrachet? I wish I had read that part before purchasing it. )

Thank you in advance for your advice. Can't wait to get started!


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Old 07-23-2007, 12:28 PM   #2
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First off welcome to HBT!
You definitely don't want much head space in your carboy (secondary fermenter). The wine will be in there for quite awhile and you don't want too much oxygen exposure. The marble idea will work. The other option is to increase the recipe to compensate for the larger carboy.

Have you checked out this forum for wine making?
http://www.winemakingtalk.com/forum/index.php

Good luck on your first wine.


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Old 07-23-2007, 12:39 PM   #3
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For your first question, I would not! What you are wanting to do in the primary is give the must some O2 to multiply. What I do is to take a clean towel and cover the fermentor then tie it down with a shoe string. This allows the must to breath and when using fruit you do want to stir the fruit each day. The fruit will expand and start floating do to the yeast working its magic within the fruit and it needs to stay moist. But you need to keep and bugs out as one fruit fly can create a batch of vinegar.

Can't really help with the second question but I would suggest being careful and adding with the carboy at an angle. If you have problems order a carboy. I stopped in Austin, Texas on my way back home and picked up a betterbottle carboy. I am sold on using them! Try their website http://www.austinhomebrew.com/

Vinacid R is an old acid blend used to retain as much of the aroma of fruit as possible. Replace the acid blend you bought for the Vinacid R but cut it down. Concentrations can vary from manufacturer to manufacturer and I do not believe Vinacid is in business anymore. They used so much more acid due to the lack of it in the raisins. I would use about 6 or 7 tsp of the acid blend a then do the tasting first. You cannot remove it if you get too much.

The 4 tsp sounds about right for powdered tannin.

Cotes des Blancs is not a good substitute. It does not give a high ABV, around the 13% range. Montrachet got a bad rep back in the 80's but it is a good yeast. The issue here is the extremely high acid and tannin content. The Raisins are so sweet they are trying to compensate with some bite. This could give you some issues but I believe you will be alright.

The thing here is if you don't feel comfortable with using the Montrachet then use Lalvin K1-V1116 (Montpellier) or something close. Don't discard the Montrachet as it is a great one to have, especially for something like Edwort's Apfelwein!

Hope this helps a bit and good luck!
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Old 07-23-2007, 12:45 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by yaeyama
Hello:

I am preparing to make my first batch of wine. I have decided on the raisin wine recipe, from the "Winemaking" book by Anderson & Anderson. I have pretty much everything I need to get started, but before I begin I would like to ask the following questions.

- I have a 25 litre (5 gallon) primary fermentor (plastic food grade tub with spigot and sealable lid). Instead of tying down a plastic sheet can I use the lid instead? If so, should I affix it securely, or just loosely cover it?

- I had trouble finding carboys in my area; I ended up buying two 6 gallon glass ones. However, I expect I will end up with a substantial air space during secondary fermentation. The recipes in my book allow for topping up with water, however this is for topping up a 5 gallon, not a 6. I am thinking of using glass marbles to compensate for this, however, how many do I need to displace a gallon? Also, is there a way of inserting them into the carboy without resulting in breakage or scratching the carboys?

- The recipe for the raisin wine calls for 16 teaspoons of Vinacid R. However, I was only able to purchase Acid Blend. It appears that I can substitute acid blend for Vinacid. However, looking at several wine making sites, it appears that most people are adding around 1 to 1.5 teaspoons per gallon. Why the huge discrepancy between 16 teaspoons of Vinacid vs. 5 to 7 for Acid Blend? Should I try to find Vinacid R and use it as stated by the book?

- 4 teaspoons of liquid tannin is required. I have powdered tannin. Problem?

- 1 pkt of "Wine yeast with a high alcohol tolerance" is required. I have two packets each of Cotes des Blancs, as well as Montrachet. Which would be more suitable? By the way, the book says that Montrachet is liable to develop hydrogen sulphide in the must, and to avoid the problem they recommend the champagne strain. (Should I discard the Montrachet? I wish I had read that part before purchasing it. )

Thank you in advance for your advice. Can't wait to get started!
I think I can answer some (but not all!) of your questions. First, for primary fermentation, you don't want a lid on the fermenter to allow plenty of oxygen to get in, and usually you have to stir it several times a day. You can set the lid on lightly, but I like to use a clean dish towel, secured with big rubber bands. You want to make sure no fruit flies or other critters get in there because then you'll have vinegar instead of wine.

You'd need a TON of marbles to displace that much headspace, so I'd do what Rich suggests and just scale your recipe to 6 gallons. Even then, you'd have a little headspace since the carboy usually hold about .5 gallon more than the amount they say, if you fill to the neck (and you should). You'd just scale it to six gallons, but still add the same amount of yeast.

I don't know what vinacid is, so I'm no help there.

Honestly, I wouldn't use either one of those yeasts. If you need a neutral wine yeast with high alcohol tolerance, champagne yeast is the best choice. Cote des blanc will be the better of the two, but I'd wait for champagne yeast. Those yeasts don't do well in high sugar environments.

Again, welcome!
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Old 07-23-2007, 04:19 PM   #5
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Thanks for the helpful advice. Scaling up to 6 gallons was actually my first choice, but my primary fermenter only holds 5 so I'm not able to do so. Unfortunately, buying new carboys is not an option here (int'l shipping to Japan is unbelievably expensive, and I -just- bought the two 6 gallons). I'm going to have to do the marble thing, I think. :-/

Regarding the yeast, I'll guess I'll hang on to these ones (shelf life is about a year?) and try to find a champagne yeast.

Thanks again!
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Old 07-23-2007, 04:27 PM   #6
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I just checked my supplier in Japan, and I can get either Lalvin K1-V1116 Montpellier or Red Star Pasteur Champagne. Which one would I be better off ordering for this recipe?

Thanks again...
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Old 07-23-2007, 04:57 PM   #7
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You can use the champagne yeast- that's a great choice. Keep the others in the fridge and it might be good for several years.

If you want to, you can do primary fermentation in two different containers, just splitting them in half. If you're trying it in a 5 gallon bucket, you won't have enough room for even 5 gallons in the primary. It will foam up a bit and you need to stir it. You can use two different 3 or 4 gallon buckets or bowls if you have them.

Here's another very good website for winemaking: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/basics.asp

It's tough to navigate at first, but it's a great resource for learning all about wine making and sanitation.
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Old 07-23-2007, 09:19 PM   #8
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You could do two 3 gal primary fermentations in two plastic buckets and then combine them in a 6gal carboy.

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Old 07-24-2007, 04:09 AM   #9
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Thanks, sounds like a great idea. Time to go buy another bucket. (My wife is gonna be pissed though.)


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