First Time Brewer - 5 gal. Washington State Cab (from concentrate)

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Neon Swan

New Member
Apr 24, 2023
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This is my first time brewing and I decided to buy a wine-making kit from Northern Brewing and a Washing State Cab kit from Fontana. At about T+30hr, I had an overflow through the airlock. This was late at night and I didn't have a blowoff tube so I just covered it with a clean rag. I installed the blowoff tube the next day. I left the wine undisturbed until tonight, about 8 days since starting the project. I felt no need to check on it in the meantime as our house stays around 70F on average and the yeast was generating a lot of bubbles through a 1" hose.

So tonight, I took a specific gravity reading of 1.026 (started at 1.074) and the wine temperature was 65F. I returned the airlock and I'm getting about 15burb/min (1 ever 4 seconds). I did taste the wine at this stage and it is AMAZING. It is like this wonderful mix of carbonated beer and wine, and very very creamy from the yeast. So good, should definitely be a product as it.

Anyway, I have decided to continue the primary fermentation until S.G. ~1.010. I am still a little gunshy of another blowoff through the airlock.

Does this seem a little strange for a cab to be this vigorous? Or is there nothing to worry about?

Day 0:


After blowoff tube was installed:



I haven't made any wine, just beer and a little cider. But the standard answer is Don't Worry (Have a Homebrew)
Welcome aboard, keep us posted.
First, welcome to this hobby and welcome to this forum. I don't often make wine kits (I prefer to make country wines and mead) but I would suggest that you want to start a 6 gallon batch in a 7 gallon food grade bucket , or a 5 gallon batch in a 6 gallon bucket - loosely covered perhaps with a clean dishcloth or towel. Brewers (of beer) are appropriately anxious of infections that will sour their beers. Wine makers expect the pH to be close to 3 and so such infections are unlikely (and grains are swamped with lacto-bacteria but your kits are microbe free until a) you add water and b) pitch the yeast. A wide mouthed bucket with about 4-6 inches of headroom does not need a blow-off tube or an airlock, and indeed, the yeast need and benefit from access to O2 during the first week or two of fermentation. Indeed, when you ferment on fruit - whether grapes or berries or dandelions (OK, a flower and not a fruit) you want to push down the fruit two or three times a day to ensure that the surface -does not tend to dry out and so become a haven for mold and other spoilage organisms.

All that said, some fermentations can be VERY vigorous and some are far more gentle. Whether vigorous or not can depend on the substrate you are fermenting AND on the yeast you, or the manufacturer of the kit selected. Kit makers typically select a yeast that is more or less fail safe- will happily work at just about any temperature in your wine room, and which are likely to be very vigorous (in part because the kit maker wants you to come back after a successful operation that makes a wine that CAN be enjoyed a few weeks after you pour the concentrate into your fermenter. A wine made using a less vigorous yeast under different temperatures might be best enjoyed after 6 months to 1-2 years of aging. (fermentation may have long finished but c) the yeast continue to clean up after themselves and d) chemical changes continue in the wine modifying flavors and color and mouthfeel: you can still find sediment dropping out of solution 12 months or more after you have decided to bottle - which is a good reason to allow a wine to age longer than the minimum time suggested by the kit maker. Again, their goal is for you to become a repeat customer.

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