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Gamer

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Looking into doing a batch of wine from a kit. All the kits I see include a 7+ gallon primary fermenter. I have a 6.5 better bottle. Would that be large enough to do the primary fermentation or do I need to spend the $20 for a 7+ gallon bucket?
 

khiddy

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Let me lead off with this warning: I don't have enough experience as a vintner to provide a definitive answer, but here are a few thoughts to consider:

*Most kits start with 6 gallons in primary, a portion of which is left behind with the lees each time you rack to another vessel. Thus, you actually need the largest vessel to start, then smaller ones as the process proceeds - many vintners actually start with the bucket, then use 5-gallon glass carboys for secondary & further racking, and supplement with half-gallon or smaller bottles for the excess, using the smaller bottles to top off the carboys as wine is lost to the lees.

*It depends on the yeast somewhat, as to the amount of foam (krausen, for beer brewers) that will be produced, but many of the widely-available Lalvin yeasts are specifically described as "low-foaming" (e.g., Bourgovin RC 212, D-47, EC-1118).

*Is there a grape pack included in the kit? If so, the grapes will displace some of the must when they rehydrate, making a larger volume fermenter necessary.

Good luck!
 

Yooper

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The better bottles don't come in 6.5 gallons- only 5 and 6 gallons, to my knowledge. So, no, your BB won't work until secondary. But it will work perfectly for secondary if it's a 6 gallon BB.

You really need an "ale pail" type of fermenter for most wine kits. As was mentioned, some have grape skin packs (but not most) and they'd be impossible to get in and/or out of a carboy!
 
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Gamer

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Wine Expert Estate Series Lodi Ranch II Cabarnet Sauvignon is the kit I ordered, no grape skins. I went ahead and got the 7.5 and 6 fermenters. I think I'm going to use the 7.5 for primary and use a glass 5 gallon I have for the 2nd and 3rd. I know my 5 gallons hold 5.5 gallons and I'm guessing I'll lose some during the racking process. What would be an awesome sticky is a set of instructions by the experts on the forum. The instructions I've read from companies seem a tad quirky..

:)
 

Yooper

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Wine Expert Estate Series Lodi Ranch II Cabarnet Sauvignon is the kit I ordered, no grape skins. I went ahead and got the 7.5 and 6 fermenters. I think I'm going to use the 7.5 for primary and use a glass 5 gallon I have for the 2nd and 3rd. I know my 5 gallons hold 5.5 gallons and I'm guessing I'll lose some during the racking process. What would be an awesome sticky is a set of instructions by the experts on the forum. The instructions I've read from companies seem a tad quirky..

:)

That is a great kit! The instructions are clear and perfect. You'll need your 6 gallon carboy for it, not the 5 gallon. The kits make a 6 gallon carboy full of wine. It's a tad over 30 bottles.

You don't really get racking losses with a kit because you are instructed first to not top up (so you can degas) so you need the room for the degassing in the 6 gallon carboy. Then you top up after that.
 
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Gamer

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Yooper, take me under your wing and get me through this wine thing? :D
Want to surprise the wifee-poo with something special.

StarSan workable for the sanitizer?
When it's time to top off, use the same type of wine or is plain water fine?
 

DoctorCAD

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When it's time to top off, use the same type of wine or is plain water fine?
If it is only a quart or less, water will do, as kits are made for that much. Any more than that, use wine.

One thing I learned recently is to rack just about everything on the first racking. There will be less loss and the lees will still fall out during secondary.
 
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Gamer

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Was playing with the swing arm corker. Even after adjusting I cant get the corks all the way into the bottle neck; 1/4 inch sticks out. Anyway to get them all the way in?
 

roadymi

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Was playing with the swing arm corker. Even after adjusting I cant get the corks all the way into the bottle neck; 1/4 inch sticks out. Anyway to get them all the way in?

How much head space between the wine and the cork? I usually leave 3/4 - 1" any less and I have the same problem you describe.
 

Honda88

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Most 5 gallon carboys are not exactly 5 gallons to the top so ferment 6 gallons in your primary and then you will have enough to fill it up.. If the 6 gallon carboys arent exactly 6 gallons, then make 7 in primary...As long as you wait until primary fermentation has settled down you should be fine...
 

Yooper

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Was playing with the swing arm corker. Even after adjusting I cant get the corks all the way into the bottle neck; 1/4 inch sticks out. Anyway to get them all the way in?
Can you adjust it to go in further? I have a Portuguese floor corker, and you just turn the screw up to have them sit higher, and down to go in further. It doesn't cork 375 ml bottles, though, unless you put a hockey puck under the bottle. But otherwise, it's fully adjustable.
 
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Gamer

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I adjusted it all the way out and still no change. Read that it needs size 8 corks and I'm practicing with the corks that came with the LODI Cabernet kit, dont know their size. Guess I'll order some size 8 and try again.

BTW ::
Bought this for $20 at Walmart. Used it to degass some mead I have. Works like a champ.. of course the VinVac was doing a good job as well.


http://www.walmart.com/ip/FoodSaver-FreshSaver-Handheld-Vacuum-System/15777783
 

Yooper

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Most people use #9 corks for regular wine bottles, and #7 or #8 for those small 375 ml bottles, but with my corker I use #9 for all bottles.

I don't know what kind of corker you have, but if the manufacturer says to use #8 corks, that's probably what you'll have to do to get them in.
 

kk1181

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I use the same corker...my corks stick out the same as well...some bottles they go in fine and some terrible...do you soak the corks first before corking? Do you just do them dry? How old are your corks?
 
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Gamer

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I was trying to cork a Turning Leaf empty bottle. Stuck out no matter how I adjusted the cork.
 
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Gamer

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Found this so it must not only be me. Think I'll try cutting a piece of wood using a hole drill and put that in the corker to add space.

http://makingyourownbeer.com/wine-equipment/cant-get-those-corks-in-1399133.html

I place a cork in my corker, and then I place one of the 1/4 inch discs on top of the cork. Then I insert the cork as I normally would. The 1/4 inch disc solves the three problems that people have with hand corkers. It makes the cork go in all the way. It prevents the top edges of the cork from breaking up, and it eliminates that big dimple in the top of the cork. The 1/4 inch disc can be reused many times before it starts to break up.
 

huesmann

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If you're not using a floor corker, you should be. The extra cost is well worth the amount of frustration saved by not having to deal with the cheaper hand corkers.
 
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