I’m trying out wine making, as I’d had a gift certificate and stumbled upon a ‘home wine making kit’ from amazon.com.
Much like my attempts with gardening (bugs! sun! potential bears!) it’s not turning into the frolic-with-grapes dream I’d expected. (Cleansing the carboy tends to get more cleanser and water on me than anything else, but those things are heavy!)
My wine kit states I should filter, but my basic wine equipment kit did not come with that.
I’ve been checking out grapestompersand am confused…do I just stick one of those bags on the end of hose when siphoning? Granted this first batch may be a loss, as I couldn’t even open the stupid grape juice bag. Had to cut it. Tried to fill it with water like they said, but ended up filling the outer bag instead…and the cats head.
What would be…easiest? If anyone on the sdmb has made wine?
I rather need to know exactly how one does this…without spilling all over (as I did just now when I tried to test the ‘sg’ specific gravity from a carboy). I couldn’t figure out what to do with the wine sitting in my racking tube after I’d gotten the wine I needed into my hydrometer tube (again, the cats head helped).
When you rack you don’t have to get every little bit out of the bottom of the carboy. Leave the sludge on the bottom and rack into another vessel to clear the wine even more. You actually don’t want to strain fermented wine through a bag, as it will aerate it and can cause premature oxidation. Also, get yourself an autosiphon. They are the best invention for homebrewing ever.
You don’t have to filter wine, but it does make it easier to make it clear. After primary fermentation is done you rack into a clearing tank (also called a secondary fermenter, but that’s a misnomer) and let everything settle for a few weeks. What I do is after the specific gravity has stopped dropping is add some finings (polyclar is a good one) and cool off the carboy as much as possible. The cold helps proteins and yeast still in suspension to drop out, and the finings grab on to everything else. Then rack again leaving the lees at the bottom.
Also, are you trying to bottle, or just rack the wine off the primary fermentation lees? If you’re trying to bottle you should get a bottling bucket instead of trying to use the hose off the siphon. I’ve tried bottling off a siphon out of a carboy, it’s messy and slow.
The obvious answer as to what to do with the wine left in the siphon is to [del]drink[/del] sample it for flavor testing. I’ve made many batches of beer, wine, mead and cider so I know all the mistakes people can make.
I should now share that when I moved the wine from the primary bucket to the carboy I first used the siphon/hose and then tipped the bucket over to pour the rest of it into the carboy – sludge and all. I won’t be doing that again.
I believe I have been using an autosiphon - I have the hose and then the two piece thing that pumps the wine out. This is my equipment kit (plus, I bought an extra carboy): http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00461G6BG
If I’m reading this correctly ‘filtering’ the wine is the process of moving it from carboy to carboy or from fermenter to fermenter, not actually using filtering equipment? (I’m used to filtering meaning the pump thing you use to clean water when camping.)
Currently I’m only in the second stage, so I’m not bottling yet. (Stage one was in a bucket, stage two was moving it to the carboy. I’m not yet at the ‘sg’ level to move it again, and I may never get there. I used water that was still a bit warm from boiling it to top off the bucket after I’d added the yeast so I may have killed them all.)
There are several kinds of filters, depending on how much money and sophistication you need. If you aren’t trying for a gold medal at the state fair, a coffee filter in the late stages might be sufficient. Earlier stages, even a metal or plastic kitchen strainer might be enough. The later the stage, the finer the filter.
OK it looks like you have a really good beginner setup without any gotchas. I don’t know if you’re doing this or not, but you should only pump the siphon until the suction gets going, you don’t have to keep pumping it. The problem with buying more carboys is soon they’re full, and you need more carboys If you plan on bottling in wine bottles instead of beer bottles, you should look into getting a wine degasser. It’s like a mud mixer except it fits down the neck of a carboy. When yeast ferment they produce alcohol and CO2 as a byproduct, and the degasser whips all the CO2 out making it flat. Believe me, you DON’T want carbonated wine bottes. Don’t ask how I know.
In homebrewing filtering actually means that, filtering; using something like one of these. Racking is the process of moving the liquid from one vessel to the other. A little warm water isn’t going to kill the yeast. It can take up to 120º and live, although I wouldn’t suggest that for fermentation. When I make a starter I use 110º water and the yeasties lovei t.
Thanks for the advise! Would you put the coffee filter in a funnel type thing?
It’s…as if you’re in my laundry room with me! I kept pumping when moving it from the primary fermentation bucket to the carboy and the hose came off and I drenched myself.
You can put wine in either? I’d been thinking of just buying the larger wine bottles as then you bottle less. I’m really looking for the easiest method (though I do have the wine corker and plenty of bagged corks as both kits came with them.)
Yay! I have that kind of degasser, it is called ‘The Whip’ and the picture shows that I attach it to a drill. I’m sure nothing will go wrong with this process.
Okay, this makes sense. The filter you show though would need attachments, correct?
I see it looks like the filter in this: http://eckraus.com/FLT210.html? I may buy that or one of the motorized models (though if I fail completely at this I may not ever again need a motorized filter)
Do you have a preferred cleanser by the way? My beginner kit came with C-Brite, which I have to rinse. I’m almost out (as I am of the ‘oh, it touched the side of the sink - sanitize again!’ type), so I bought Iodophor btf sanitizer, which is no rinse. I think it will do well as the only ‘con’ is stains plastic and I don’t really care what my tubing looks like.
I don’t think it matters; I have used a large handstrainer for support with a standard, circular coffee filter (not Melita shape). I think coffee filters are coarser than some lab filter paper, which were too slow and too small for my operation.
You can use cheesecloth, doubled or folded over, also in a large hand strainer. Depends on how fine you need to filter. It would be best if you could minimize aeration during the process, too.
If you rack the wine properly you probably won’t need to filter it at all. A lot of people prefer to use a siphon, but I prefer “splash racking”, which is simply pouring from one carboy to another…with a careful pour you can pour off the clear wine while leaving the lees on the bottom. The sloping shoulders of the carboy are designed to facilitate this. Carboys are heavy, unless you’re fairly strong I’d recommend the 3-gallon size rather than 5 or 6 gallon. Splash racking should not be overdone as it does oxidize the wine. A little oxidation is a good thing, a lot is not. Generally only two rackings are required, three at the most.
If the wine is still cloudy after racking, it can be fined using egg whites or a bentonite slurry (I prefer the bentonite). For cleaning carboys, I’ve found that a handful of scouring sand with a quart or two of water works best, followed by sterilizing with a potassium metabisulphite solution.
Don’t know if it will help you particularly, but if you’re interested the following links are to a 5-part series on home grape growing & winemaking that I wrote last year. Part 4 may be of special interest.