First wine kit

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RandalG

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I've been homebrewing for about 6 years now and decided to take the plunge into winemaking mostly for SWMBO and my daughters. So I got a World Vineyard Washington Riesling kit Tonight I'm at the stabilizing stage and was degassing tonight. I bought one of those whip degassers and followed the instructions for the kit. It was foaming up and overflowing. Is that normal? The kit says you need to degass fully so I was wondering how you know when that is? With each addition of clarifier I degassed for a total of about 5 minutes probably. The other thing is I pulled off two cups for the f pack and it says to add it back in but the carboy is almost full so how much headspace do I need to leave? There's still foam on the top so do I let that settle before adding the wine back in? Sorry for the newbie questions but this is my first time as I said and I don't want to screw it up.
 

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Yes, it will overflow if you start too quickly! Start slowly, and once much of the gas is gone it won't overflow any more. I talked to one guy who used a drill and almost electrocuted himself because it volcano'ed up on him right away. Agitating a carbonated liquid would do that- think of shaking a can of warm soda.

You shouldn't have any foam on top before adding the F pack. If you do, either it's not degassed fully, or you just need to let it sit. Either way, let it sit a couple of hours and then test for gassiness by pulling out a sample in a small glass and looking for bubbles. Then, put your hand over the glass and shake it. When you remove your hand, if you hear a "poof" of gas, you're not done degassing.

One time, I had a kit that took three days of degassing. Other times, 5 minutes. It depends on the kit, the timing, the temperature, and I swear the position of the moon!
 
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RandalG

RandalG

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Thanks. So I put the airlock on and the liquid is all to one side so I'm guessing it's not done degassing. I already added the f pack so is that a problem? Should I use the whip again tomorrow starting slowly or just let it sit and take a sample like you suggested? When you say you had a kit that took three days was that letting it sit or from stirring for three days in a row?
 

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Thanks. So I put the airlock on and the liquid is all to one side so I'm guessing it's not done degassing. I already added the f pack so is that a problem? Should I use the whip again tomorrow starting slowly or just let it sit and take a sample like you suggested? When you say you had a kit that took three days was that letting it sit or from stirring for three days in a row?
I degassed that one kit about five times a day for three days!

I don't know about degassing this late, if the next steps have been done. Normally, you degas before proceeding because the gas interferes with clearing.

If you aren't pressed for time, you can let the wine sit in the warmest place you have and it will naturally degas on its own. The only reason for degassing the kits are because they are rushed to bottle, compared for more traditional winemaking techniques. I've had one non-kit wine that needed to be degassed in 20+ years of winemaking- it's not the norm. Wine will degas on its own pretty well, especially in a warmer environment. If not, you could help it along a bit if needed.

To see if it needs to be degassed more, just take out a little sample and put it in a glass and cover with your hand and shake. When you remove your hand, if it goes "poof" or you see bubbles, it's still gassy. If not, it's good.
 
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RandalG

RandalG

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Thanks Yoop. I'm not that pressed for time really so maybe I'll just let it sit longer then. The instructions do say if you are going to age more than a month in the carboy to replace the airlock with a solid bung and add 1/4 tsp. of metabisulphite to prevent oxidation. What's your take on that?
 

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Thanks Yoop. I'm not that pressed for time really so maybe I'll just let it sit longer then. The instructions do say if you are going to age more than a month in the carboy to replace the airlock with a solid bung and add 1/4 tsp. of metabisulphite to prevent oxidation. What's your take on that?
Keep the airlock, but do use the k-meta to help prevent oxidation. You want the airlock, for off-gassing.
 

RegarRenill

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Thanks Yoop. I'm not that pressed for time really so maybe I'll just let it sit longer then. The instructions do say if you are going to age more than a month in the carboy to replace the airlock with a solid bung and add 1/4 tsp. of metabisulphite to prevent oxidation. What's your take on that?

I'd also pull out about a 1/2 cup of wine in which to dissolve the potassium metabisulfite, it mixes more uniformily that way.
 
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