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Rotzilla

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I haven't made a batch of wine in quite a few years. Well, I decided to get back at it. I get buckets of juice. I usually let it sit for a week and then throw it into carboys for primary fermentation. Well, I set myself up today and had a brainfart and added the yeast. When I finished, I realized my mistake. Do I let it sit open or throw it into the carboys tomorrow. I have 42 gallons so, I'd really rather not ruin this year's batch. Any help would be appreciated.
 

toadie

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I usually ferment my wine and cider in the pails I get the juice in. I put bungs and an air lock in the lids. Then rack to carboys after fermentation. You should be good for a few days with a lid loosely sitting on the pail while you get this organized. Cheers.
 

bernardsmith

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Hi Rotzilla and welcome.
If you are fermenting juice, I would imagine that the supplier has either pressed the grapes immediately after harvesting (white) or had extracted color and tannin from the skins before pressing (red) so absent crushed or frozen fruit I am not sure I see the benefit of waiting any length of time before pitching the yeast. What is in the juice today is what is in the juice. If you have crushed fruit then macerating for a few days will extract all kinds of goodness ,

But that said, todie, strikes me that there is no good reason to put an airlock (or bung) in a bucket or pail. The surface area is very large but the yeast will be pumping out CO2 to blanket the wine and if you are fermenting fruit, the pressure from the CO2 is powerful enough to keep the fruit on the surface such that you need to punch this cap down several times a day.
 
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Farside

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Yeah I ferment anything with lumps in a pail and just put the lid on. They aren't airtight but the ferment is so vigorous that there is positive pressure in the pail.

It's also much easier to clean. That being said I always ferment beer in glass because plastic is much harder to sanitize to the same level as glass. But I've found wine doesn't need to be quite that clean in the primary. Probably the acidic environment of wine must has something to do with it. Wine yeast may also be more aggressive than beer yeast.
 
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Rotzilla

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Thanks for the replys. I will try to let it go for a few days and keep my fingers crossed. I will just have to dump the whole pail in the carboys as I stated the yeast is already on there. Just a brainfart on my part from being a few years since my last batch. Hopefully it comes out as good as usual...
 

toadie

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My question then is how long do you leave the fermented juice in the pail with the lid on loosely? I definitely age in glass and also do my beer in glass with no transfer.
 

Farside

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I personally rack as soon as I notice it dropping clear.

If I'm fermenting on skins then I rack when the cap stops forming but there is still some activity because I want the yeast to have enough residual sugar to purge the pressed wine with co2 before running out of gas.

If I'm fermenting pressed juice then I wait until the wine has dropped clear because I don't want any gross lees in the secondary.
 
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Rotzilla

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Normally did a week. Stirring every day. Then it goes into the carboy for it's primary. Then it gets racked for aging.
 
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Rotzilla

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I'm not sure to be honest. It's how I was taught to do it.
 

Farside

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That liquid is an ideal growing medium for all types of living things and until the environment is filled to capacity with life then it is game on.

Yeast happens to be really good at doing that and forcing out competitors but there are some that will cohabit. Some of these are relatively benign but some will ruin your wine. Many of these things live on your skin and on your utensils and even in the air, dust, whatever.

If you are finding that family and friends aren't as enthusiastic about drinking your wine as you expected then it may have something to do with this practice.
 
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Rotzilla

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My wine normally comes out excellent and those that I offer it to normally look forward to it. If you use grapes, it starts open as well and you punch the skins for a week.
 

Farside

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That's good to hear. I'd personally be super nervous aerating must without pitching yeast.

FWIW I have punched skins for 3 weeks during a slow fermentation so yeah it happens but the difference is that the skins are saturated with CO2 and swarming with hungry yeast. When I punch the skins down, the must foams up through the hole because of how much CO2 is being released. CO2 is extremely hostile to a lot of spoiling organisms as is alcohol and a large population of yeast.
 

bernardsmith

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Many wine makers who work with whole grapes will crush the grapes and add SO2 and allow the grapes to macerate for a few days before they pitch the yeast. This maceration allows the water soluble compounds, including color and some tannins, to be extracted. The SO2 will inhibit some of the wilder yeast and bacteria but if you pitch an active lab cultivated yeast then very quickly that culture being so very large will dominate the wine, but those few days will have allowed some very different and interesting flavor notes to be produced by indigenous yeasts and bacteria
 
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Rotzilla

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Many wine makers who work with whole grapes will crush the grapes and add SO2 and allow the grapes to macerate for a few days before they pitch the yeast. This maceration allows the water soluble compounds, including color and some tannins, to be extracted. The SO2 will inhibit some of the wilder yeast and bacteria but if you pitch an active lab cultivated yeast then very quickly that culture being so very large will dominate the wine, but those few days will have allowed some very different and interesting flavor notes to be produced by indigenous yeasts and bacteria
Thanks!
 
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