A few questions about wine-making!

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Triskal

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Hi! I'm completely new to this, and want to learn as much as i can before i start my first batch of... anything. I've done as much research as i can, but i've reached a bit of a roadblock at this point and could use some help.

...ill try to underline the important bits so y'all dont have to read everything.

I intend to use store-bought fruit juice (not to be a cheapskate, i just don't like too many moving parts and its a nice easy base. i'm going to be using all proper equipment) - I can find all sorts of recipes for fruit wine, but not alot of clear information about what you're supposed to do *after* fermentation.

Obviously, tap/siphon it off into a new container, but... is that it? Should i transfer it as soon as fermentation has clearly come to a halt, or cold crash it first and then transfer it, or...?

Kinda important because itll determine how much i make in one hit:

How long will this kind of wine last in the fridge? What's its lifespan? Does it go bad, and if so after how long?

This should be an easy one: I live in a rural area, so no LHBS nearby. So, i can't figure this out with my eyes and a tape measure... I intend to use a 5-10L demijohn as my fermentation vessel, but i can't figure out if a tap that says its made to fit a carboy will fit on it or not? I'd rather not use a siphon if i don't have to. Should this fit on this or do i need to grit my teeth and siphon?

Second last, prepare to dive down my throat.
Is boiling hot water enough to clean stuff after i've used it, or should i throw money at no-rinse cleaning products?

And lastly, a rough overview of my intended process, to make sure i'm not doing something horrifically wrong.

3L Jug of Apple & Blackcurrant Juice (No Preservatives)
~3 cups of CSR Brown Sugar
7g SN9 Wine/Cider Yeast

Decant juice into 5L Demijohn
Add sugar, shake vigorously
Add yeast, shake gently
Add yeast nutrient, dont... shake?
Stick bung in top and set up airlock
Leave it to ferment in a dark place
Switch to 1L bottles for storage/use


Thanks everyone!
 

lukebuz

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You might find someone who'll type up all that, but I'd suggest just to keep reading, there are many many resources out there that will answer every question. You are on the right track, and welcome to the new hobby.
Start small, so when you screw it up, it's not much of a loss :).
You'll hone your skills over time!
 
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Triskal

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You might find someone who'll type up all that, but I'd suggest just to keep reading, there are many many resources out there that will answer every question. You are on the right track, and welcome to the new hobby.
Start small, so when you screw it up, it's not much of a loss :).
You'll hone your skills over time!
I appreciate the reassurance - I'm having a good time reading some of Yooper's stuff on here, and the Apfelwein recipe. Theyre pretty much what i'm going for :)

:mug:
 

bernardsmith

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Hi Triskal - and welcome.
I will just respond to a few points -
Siphons are really useful when you are racking from one carboy to another. The siphon allows you to leave behind lees and sediment. if you use a tap which will be located very close to the bottom of the fermenting vessel then you will - at best - be using the lees to filter the clear wine and at worst be filling the next container with the sediment. A tap is great for bottling but is not wanted for transferring wine (racking) from one carboy to the next.

You refer to using cups of sugar. Cups may be a useful measure in home cooking but in wine making it is usually far better to use weight. A pound of sugar in a gallon of liquid will increase the gravity by 40 points (eg increase the specific gravity or density of water to 1.040). If you make wine where the starting gravity is about 1.090 then that will result in a wine that should ferment dry and provide an alcohol content of close to 12%. ABV (alcohol by volume). Wines with that amount of alcohol stored so that they do not oxidize (in full bottles, with added SO2 (capden tabs) will keep for several years - They won't "go bad" or anything although tannins and color and various acids and so forth may very slowly drop out of solution. Such wines, of course also noticeably improve as they age so 12 months or two years after you bottle a wine it will taste significantly better than the day you bottled it.

Penultimate point: You want to aerate the must to provide the yeast with oxygen. Yeast require O2 to reproduce and during the active fermentation process (until the gravity drops to about 1.005) oxygen is really good for the yeast. Indeed, many winemakers (not brewers, but winemakers) will not hammer home a bung and airlock until they rack the wine to a secondary fermenter (when the gravity drops to 1.005) and agitate and stir or shake the fermenting wine several times a day a) to incorporate air into the process, b) remove CO2 from the process and c) ensure that the yeast remains evenly distributed throughout the solution. Adding a bung and airlock a few minutes after you pitch the yeast inhibits you from engaging in these three processes.
Last point: you want to use sanitizing techniques and chemicals that ensure the yeast you are using have no significant competition in the first few hours. In my opinion, that means using perfectly clean equipment AND using K-meta (potassium meta-bisulfite) to kill wild yeast and bacteria with sulfur dioxide. (the same chemical although at stronger concentration that you use to inhibit oxidation). If you are using store bought/commercially produced fruit juices such juices are pasteurized and are wild yeast free for you to avoid using campden tabs 24 hours before you pitch your yeast. (but be sure that the juice has not been inoculated with sorbates or other chemicals that will prevent fermentation).
 
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Triskal

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Thanks for the welcome, and thanks for taking the time to go into so much detail!

Ah, so a siphon is useful for a specific purpose. Okay - I'll just suck it up and get both :)

I'll try to use weight as a measure, but i have zero experience with doing so. I guess i'll buy a scale. A new skill to practice in the meantime, but i imagine itll become clearer to me as soon as i shove a hydrometer into the mix and learn from experience :)

I had no idea oxygen was good for yeast - That's invaluable information, i never understood why some people say to just shove the airlock on and others have long drawn out processes before that point! It seemed unnecessary, but now i know to give it a try. Thanks!

I don't think i can get K-meta on any of the online stores i've looked at (in Australia)... but i did find "Sodium Metabisulphite 1.5kg" - Is that the same thing, or should i look for something else?

Thanks again!
 

bernardsmith

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Sodium Meta-bisulfite is basically the same as potassium meta-bisulfite, but see if you can get the postassium meta-bisulfite (AKA K -meta). Yeast use the potassium as a useful element. Not sure if the Na Meta adds a salty taste to wine if over used .
 

onealz709

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[emoji106] bernardsmith is right on target about keeping the oxygen into the wine, very important if you want ALL of your yeast to work. some people still use the air lock on the primary fermentation to keep it free of contamination and fruit flys (which you will see a lot of) once it starts to produce c02, but you have to remove the lid several times a day and stir with a Sterile utensil either plastic or stainless steel try not to use wood if possible. As far as checking the sugar levels you can order a hydrometer for around 6 bucks fairly easy use! Just YouTube how to read one. Good luck on your first brew!
 

fuelish

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Whatever you do, investing in a quart of Starsan is worth it's weight in gold.....takes like one fluid ounce to make 5 gallons of sanitizer, iirc.....a quart lasts a LONG time, and it's the best no rinse sanitizer available, imho, although, of course, stuff must be clean before sanitizing...
 

rlmiller10

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edues

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Keeping it simple. Siphon, sanitizer, hydrometer, are priceless! If your on a budget, food grade buckets from a local bakery work great as a fermenter and there lids seal tight. Drill a whole in the lid for a airlock an seal that up. You can get the cover and bucket for around $1.00, beer bottles work great for taste testing as the wine is aging in bottles. Small sized wine corks fit beer bottles. Just like an apple on the counter to much air can oxidize light colored wines. Just the process of siphoning it from one secondary to the next while racking was always enough for me. If you're just starting out. As far as choosing a yeast. Red star yeast is in a since color coded. Yellow for light colored wines, pinkish for a blush red for reds. Light colored wines ferment best in cooler temps reds warmer. If you drink it cold brew or ferment it cool. If you drink it at room temp and its dark in color brew or ferment it warmer. Wine making it 10% science 90% intuition. And you can't forget about patience!
 
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Triskal

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...i mean no disrespect by trimming, it's just this turned into a really long reply :mug:
You guys are super helpful!

-trim to save us from a wall-of-text-
Ah, excellent. I don't mind a bit of a salty taste anyway, it'll be fine.

[emoji106]-trim to save us from a wall-of-text-
I understand! As far as i can tell it isnt *essential* to do any of this pre-airlocking stuff, but you guys clearly know what youre talking about, so i assume its a matter of how good quality youre trying to make your stuff? :)

Cheers!
EDIT: What i'm trying to say is, i believe you both and im likely going to do that, but nearly every recipe i've been reading just slaps the airlock straight on and leaves it to ferment, so im assuming its a quality thing and not a necessity thing. If im wrong, let me know and ill dedicate my own time to researching, i dont expect you guys to spell it out to me :)

-trim to save us from a wall-of-text-
I don't know if i can get Starsan here, but it sounds pretty fantastic (both from your description and reading up on it!) I'll see what i can dig up

-trim to save us from a wall-of-text-
Ah! I knew about yeast nutrient, but i've never heard of yeast energizer. That can be my reading project before bed. Thanks :)

-trim to save us from a wall-of-text-
Simple is good! :) I always thought it was weird that im expected to pay ~$30 for a bally bucket... i don't mind, but i'll stop by the bakery and the... store that doesnt have a name that sells seeds and livestock feed and see if they have anything for cheap :D

If there's one thing i've learnt from late-night research, it's that making alcohol is hilariously simple. Water + Sugar + Yeast, itll be done in less than a week and it wont be very good.

...making a beverage thats worth the time and effort you put into it, and the money you spent on proper equipment, is a whole other thing entirely. I can't wait to get started, but i want to make sure i at least *think* i know what im doing :) :eek:nestar:
 

rlmiller10

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.. have a name that sells seeds and livestock feed and see if they have anything for cheap :D
:
Make sure you are getting a food grade bucket. The bakery bucket should be food grade as it had food for human consumption in it, livestock feed probably not.
 
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Triskal

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Make sure you are getting a food grade bucket. The bakery bucket should be food grade as it had food for human consumption in it, livestock feed probably not.
...right! That makes sense. I would have checked before i bought anything, but now that saves me 5 minutes of driving.
 

bernardsmith

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I guess that since the web isn't peer-reviewed and anyone can post anything - including recipes, whether a recipe in fact is based on what we know about yeast and about fermentation from a scientific perspective is not really viewed as important and if 85 out of 100 folk who use a recipe discover that it results in at best awful wine and at worst a failed fermentation then Heck! they are most likely to blame themselves and their own lack of experience rather than the ignorance of the person who posted the recipe. :confused:
Perhaps the only recipes and techniques that novice winemakers should use are those recipes with a proven track record (prize winning wines at major wine competitions )- and those that are posted by winemakers recognized by their peers as really good wine makers.
 
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Triskal

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I guess that since the web isn't peer-reviewed and anyone can post anything - including recipes, whether a recipe in fact is based on what we know about yeast and about fermentation from a scientific perspective is not really viewed as important and if 85 out of 100 folk who use a recipe discover that it results in at best awful wine and at worst a failed fermentation then Heck! they are most likely to blame themselves and their own lack of experience rather than the ignorance of the person who posted the recipe. :confused:
Perhaps the only recipes and techniques that novice winemakers should use are those recipes with a proven track record (prize winning wines at major wine competitions )- and those that are posted by winemakers recognized by their peers as really good wine makers.
Of course, in this case it is my inexperience talking - Off the top of my head, the sticky'd Apfelwein recipe (it's in the wine-making forum, so i assume it's relevant?) and the guide on our national liquor giants site (https://www.danmurphys.com.au/liquor-library/wine/more-about-wine/how-to-make-wine) say nothing about aerating or stirring pre or post fermentation - I'm using them as examples of instructions that just... airlock and ferment.

So, you and the other gentleman are literally the first time i've ever heard of aerating the must, let alone on a regular basis.

I'm just trying to bridge the gap between what i know so far and this new information, and it's a bit difficult :)
 

Yooper

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I highly recommend this "how to" for beginners- it's quick and easy to read, but tells you the important things. http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/basics.asp

If you click on "step one", it will give you more details. Things that are important are listed.

The "apfelwein" on this site is a German type of cider. It's quick and easy to make, and lots of people like it.

Somethings you learn from experience, and you'll find what works for you. One thing that I can tell you from my experience is that I think fermented brown sugar tastes quite foul (think molasses without any sweetness) and I won't use it in apple wine or cider. Some like it. But for my first batch, I'd probably not use brown sugar at all. I'd also not use "cups" for measurements- a small kitchen scale is really helpful for winemaking and adding sugar and other fermentables.
 
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Triskal

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I highly recommend this "how to" for beginners- it's quick and easy to read, but tells you the important things. http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/basics.asp

If you click on "step one", it will give you more details. Things that are important are listed.

The "apfelwein" on this site is a German type of cider. It's quick and easy to make, and lots of people like it.

Somethings you learn from experience, and you'll find what works for you. One thing that I can tell you from my experience is that I think fermented brown sugar tastes quite foul (think molasses without any sweetness) and I won't use it in apple wine or cider. Some like it. But for my first batch, I'd probably not use brown sugar at all. I'd also not use "cups" for measurements- a small kitchen scale is really helpful for winemaking and adding sugar and other fermentables.
Hi Yooper!
I'll give all that a read, and buy something better than the acreage of brown sugar in my pantry :) Thanks!
 

edues

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Have fun making wine and enjoy the fruits of your labor! Reamber wine making is 10% book and 90% intuition! If its good drink it! If not tweek it an try again.
 
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