Fermenter's Corner :) (OT)

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Roughster

Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Topic Author's Original Post - Apr 7, 2013 - 06:45pm PT
I couldn't resist the Siren's Call anymore. I broke down and bought my glass and today was the maiden voyage into Fermentation at the home scale level (Biotechnology scale is my specialty :) )

The journey started with the grunt work: sanitization: Lots of work that shed some light to dealing with multiple 5+ gallon containers in a standard house kitchen:
Credit: Roughster

The next step was with my beautiful assistant winemaker in the backyard to pick the fruit:
Credit: Roughster

Next up zesting, no pith!!! Actually took a bit more time and effort than expected.
Credit: Roughster

The final product of a lot of effort!
Credit: Roughster

Next up juicing 30 oranges! Was faster than expected.
Credit: Roughster

Time to cook! It's actually a lot harder to boil about 4 gallons of water than you think unless you are set up for it! I had 4 pots going. If you are wondering why bananas? It is for extra started yeast nutrients.
Credit: Roughster

Once you get 4 gallons of water / zest / 10 lbs of sugar boiled up, you got to cool it down yo! Into the all available sinks!
Credit: Roughster

Once cooled, combined into a single 6 gallon glass carboy:
Credit: Roughster

Next up some additives:
Credit: Roughster

After about 6 hours on Pectic Enzyme. Next up will be yeast! and 14 days of fermentation!
Credit: Roughster

I am anxious to see how it turns out!
Roughster

Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 7, 2013 - 06:46pm PT
Jesus, my computer auto corrects the pics orientation but ST does not. Grrr....
Ricky D

Trad climber
Sierra Westside
Apr 7, 2013 - 06:47pm PT
Are you sure it hasn't already started fermenting - looks like it knocked yer sh#t sideways and you've only just started.
Roughster

Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 7, 2013 - 06:51pm PT
Yeah, I was wondering about that, but I think the pectic enzyme is what causes the semi-clarification / sedimentation. That is actually its job. It has another 6 hours sitting, then I'll add the yeast. No bubbling as of yet so I think we are good. I'll stir and add yeast and if I don't see bubbles I will be concerned!
GuapoVino

Trad climber
Apr 7, 2013 - 08:06pm PT
Very cool roughster. What exactly is that you're making? I like experimentation. If I did my math right you're starting off at about 32%-33% brix (percent sugar) so whatever it is it's going to have a very high alcohol content. It's been a long time since I've been around that stuff but I think Montrachet has a hard time with sugar concentrations above 24%. I can't remember if it's the osmotic pressure from the high sugar or if the alcohol level during fermentation gets too high. You may wind up with a stuck fermentation. Best to have something on hand ready to go that can un-stuck it.
bob

climber
Apr 7, 2013 - 08:19pm PT
Nice!

I like the sour ferments. I just got into this kimchi and have a german kraut (green w/caraway) and purple/green ready in no time. Fuzzy yums.
Credit: bob
TheTye

Trad climber
Sacramento CA
Apr 7, 2013 - 09:57pm PT
Nice!

All my friends do beer... but I don't think I've got the knack for it. ..
I do Kraut, Kim Chi and Kombucha.... and fermented pickles of all sorts.
They all seem way less complicated than beer/mead/wine

Need to find something with alcohol to throw into the mix....

So... what will that end up being?
Roughster

Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 7, 2013 - 10:43pm PT
I just read out the specific gravity at 1.095 which roughly equated to 22.70 Brix which is on the high side but well within the stated range for Montrachet. The volume is closer to 6 gallons due to bananna "juice" and orange juice on top of the water.

This should be interesting! I will take the spg tomorrow and see what if any change occurs. I am doing orange wine for a reason aka I have the fruit in my backyard. After this learning experience I will be on to grape varietals!

This batch should end up being a high alcohol / sweet true orange wine. I tasted it tonight and so far so good!
adatesman

climber
philadelphia, pa
Apr 8, 2013 - 06:05am PT
No chance of fermenting already if you boiled everything. Good call on the bananas. Raisins work well too, plus have some unfermentables to add some body to the finished product (most fruits ferment to dryness). The DAP will help greatly with the needed nitrogen, and FYI there are other nutrients available that supply not only nitrogen but also the other trace elements the yeast need.

BTW, I trust you left the bentonite in the pic out for now?

Oh, and careful with montrachet yeast... It sometimes likes to throw gobs of hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) that not only will stink up your house but can be difficult to scrub from the finished wine.


Hah! Forgot the two most important things!!

1. Awesome!

And...

2. Yer Gunna Die!

:-)
Roughster

Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 8, 2013 - 07:37am PT
Hey Adatesman :)

Bentonite is still on the counter, I was told to wait till the final rack for the last bit of clarifying by a guy I trust, but the store clerk said to use it after the first rack. What's your thoughts on that?

Also, I am not going to do my reading yet since I started fermentation at 9PM last night, but there isn't any bubbling as of yet this morning that I can see which has me a bit concerned. I don't have any experience on when this should happen. Anyone out there have an educated guess on when I should start seeing heat production and bubbles (CO2 creation) from a time from start?
donini

Trad climber
Ouray, Colorado
Apr 8, 2013 - 07:39am PT
Good luck! You take the first sip.
Roughster

Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 8, 2013 - 07:47am PT
I tasted it last night and it actually tasted pretty good, strongly orange with not quite but close to cloyingly sweet. My wife couldn't resist trying it after I did and she agreed it wasn't bad.
Ghost

climber
A long way from where I started
Apr 8, 2013 - 07:47am PT
Anyone out there have an educated guess on when I should start seeing heat production and bubbles (CO2 creation) from a time from start?

If you just sprinkled the dry yeast onto the liquid, then it can take a couple of days. Once it gets going though, you may find yourself wishing you'd done the fermentation in something with more headroom than that carboy.
Roughster

Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 8, 2013 - 07:58am PT
Ghost, yeah I thought about using a blow-off instead of an airlock, so I will watch the level and if it creeps switch over to a blow-off. I also currently have it wrapped in towels in our master bath tub so if it does go ballistic, at least the mess will hopefully be mostly confined to an easily cleanable tub :)
GuapoVino

Trad climber
Apr 8, 2013 - 08:01am PT
OK. If you know how to measure specific gravity and all of that stuff then you have it under control. I thought you were using a "recipe" and didn't know how to measure anything. I did my calculations based on the 10# of cane sugar added to the 4 gallons mentioned above and then also guesstimated the additional sugar from the 30 oranges.

bob

climber
Apr 8, 2013 - 08:08am PT
Really good book on the subject of beers and fermentation.

"Sacred and Herbal Healing Beers: The Secrets of Ancient Fermentation." by Stephen Harrod Buhner

Opened my mind up quite a bit. He has many fine publications.

Bob J.
Roughster

Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 8, 2013 - 08:12am PT
Yeah I have been looking for a good book and devouring internet sources. I'll take a look at that one.

Here is the current "towel egg" in the bathtub. Right now it is open to air but covered with nylon mesh bag to prevent hopefully any airbone bombs from getting in. I plan on leaving it like this for 3-4 days, then putting on the air lock.

Credit: Roughster
Laine

Trad climber
Reno, NV
Apr 8, 2013 - 11:03am PT
Hey Roughster - have you considered making a wort chiller to cool your product? I made one from Home Depot out of copper coil for about $30. i can cool my wort down in about 5-10 minutes and reduce the chance of getting undesirables into the mix.

Let us know how it turns out.
Roughster

Sport climber
Vacaville, CA
Topic Author's Reply - Apr 9, 2013 - 07:27am PT
Only the faintest signs of fermentation (small formation of semi-solid layer on top), no bubbling at all. Getting nervous... :) I am not ready to panic yet since it hasn't been 72 hours... Can I just get a few bubbles to ease my mind?

Some known mistakes:
 Forgot to put in Campden tablets after boiling and let it sit.
 Didn't dissolve yeast in 100-105 degree water water before adding.
 Immediately airlocked after pitching yeast. Removed about 2 hours later.
 Having a hard time keeping the wort warm enough. Of course we get a cold snap over the last few days!
 Started with too much liquid / too big of batch. As previously mentioned, I feel I am a little close too the top of my 6 gallon carboy.

Some questions:
Is rocking the bottle to create a swirl daily a good or bad idea? Should I get a paddle and gently stir instead?
Day 2 SPG was 1.090 so the sugar came down a tad. Not sure if this means I am on track or just a product of pulling a sample and topping back off.

Looking forward to seeing it tonight after 48 hours. Hopefully I will see some action! If not, I might have to run down and get a yeast energizer kit.
GuapoVino

Trad climber
Apr 9, 2013 - 09:01am PT
Really no need to stir anything. Usually only red wines have any kind of manual stirring or punch down of the cap and usually that's just to keep the cap (solid material pushed to the top by rising CO2 bubbles) from drying out. Not punching down the cap creates a perfect environment for acetic bacteria to form (ethyle acetate - acetone).

Generall whites are chilled right after pressing and what little solid material in them is allowed to settle out and then the juice is racked off that. The more clear juice is what's fermented. Of course there are exceptions for certain types of wine. It looks like you are fermenting it with a lot of grape and babana pulp present so make sure that the solid materials don't get all pushed to the top by CO2 and start to dry out or it will smell like acetone. You will have to punch it down several times per day if that happens.

No problem putting an airlock on for fermentation. Whites usually have very little air contact during the process. Reds benefit for a lot of air contact at different steps, but it's a balancing act and an art to know how much.
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