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Newbee questions

Hi everyone,

I just started my first batch of wine and have a couple of questions - real basic stuff I am sure.

I got the deluxe wine-making kit from NB and have to say I think it is great, and at a very good price compared to the local stores. For my first wine kit I bought Eclipse Cabernet Sauvignon. The top-of-the line with skins was chosen largely because of some comments I read here and the BrewTV Wine Not video.

Question 1: Included in the kit are bubbler air locks - http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/bubb … -lock.html - and the wife and I are in disagreement on whether or not to keep the red cap on it during fermentation. On or off - which is right?

Question 2: The instructions for the wine kit says to add more sulphite if you want to age your wine more than six months. Are they saying you should drink it all in six months if you don’t add more sulphite? I will probably add more because I plan to take a couple of years to drink all of any variety I make. I already have a Liebfraumilch kit waiting to be made and plan to do more varieties. Can’t stop after one or two can I? :slight_smile:

Question 3: How long does the sanitizing solution keep working? The kit comes with some LD Carlson Easy-Clean http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/easy-clean.html. I have my tools in a ice chest with enough solution to cover them but wonder how long it will keep working.

Question 4: Would anyone recommend using pre-used corks? I can get them locally very cheap but wonder if they would seal well.

Thanks in advance for the help. I have already gotten good advice here by reading existing posts.
Jim

Hi Jim. Glad to hear you are enjoying winemaking so far.

  1. I would leave the red cap on. It is designed to let the gas out, but keep fruit flies from coming in. Not a big deal if left off though.

  2. Sulphite: I would tend to add a little more. This kit is made for years of aging and it will help to slow down oxidation. At the same time, not adding it will not be detrimental. You would still be able to age it just fine.

  3. I actually am not familiar with that sanitizer. The one I use only lasts about 12 hours. On the other hand something like Star San can be kept around much longer.

  4. I would never recomend pre-used corks. And for a kit of this calibre, I would usually go for synthetic cork myself. I find they protect the wine better over the very long term. Any wine I plan to age 3+ years I go in this direction.

You chose just about the best wine kit on the market with the Lodi Ranch Cab. Give it lots of time, and don’t rush through the process.

Mike

Thanks a lot Mike. I will have to find out about the life of this sanitizer… !

According to the NB write-up, that’s not a sanitizer, it’s a cleaner. You should clean equipment, then sanitize it. For a sanitizer, I would recommend the following:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/wine ... lfite.html

It’s sulfite, just like the stuff you add to the wine, but mixed with water according to the instructions it make a great sanitizer. It will last in a sealed container for months, and you simply rinse with it or spray it on your equipment (so the surfaces are totally wet), then put it back in a bottle till the next use. No need to rinse.

Note though that it is appropriate for wine making, but isn’t effective with beer due to the higher beer pH.

According to the NB write-up, that’s not a sanitizer, it’s a cleaner. You should clean equipment, then sanitize it. For a sanitizer, I would recommend the following:

http://www.northernbrewer.com/shop/wine ... lfite.html

It’s sulfite, just like the stuff you add to the wine, but mixed with water according to the instructions it make a great sanitizer. It will last in a sealed container for months, and you simply rinse with it or spray it on your equipment (so the surfaces are totally wet), then put it back in a bottle till the next use. No need to rinse.

Note though that it is appropriate for wine making, but isn’t effective with beer due to the higher beer pH.

double post

According to the NB write-up, that’s not a sanitizer, it’s a cleaner. [/quote]

Great… :frowning:

So… what happens to the wine if the vessel and tools are not sanitized? Is there anything I can do to try to save the batch?

The chance of an infection in clean equipment is pretty low, so it is very unlikely that this batch is ruined. If you do enough batches though, at some point the odds will mean you’ll get an infection even with low odds. Using sanitizer will take it from pretty low to statistically non-existent. I’ve been making beer and wine for over ten years now, being careful but not fanatical about sanitation, and have never had an infection except for 3 or 4 cases (out of at least a dozen and a half times) when I’ve added raw fruit to beer in the fermentor.

Don’t worry about it unless you see signs of problems (like a non-yeast white film on the top, or something like that). Chances are the wine is fine. Remember, people made wine for many centuries before sanitizers existed.

True that. Whew, that is reasurring. Everything was very clean - being all new - and I did clean it well. Thanks very much. Going to stop by the local store on the way home and get some Star-San and sanitize my tools. Jim

They also backsweetend wine with mercury for many centuries. :wink:

They also backsweetend wine with mercury for many centuries. :wink: [/quote]
And sealed amphoras with lead-lined plugs, and bittered beers with poisonous swamp plants. But drinking that was positively healthy compared to drinking the available water of the day.

Mmmm…water born parasites. Why would you even want to live past 32 amyway?

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