Primary fermentation in a bucket

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Mr_S_Jerusalem

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So this may seem like a dumb question, and actually everyone else no doubt has it but frankly it bugs me lol,

But every time I'm racking out of primary into secondary I'm losing like half a bottle of wine, so by the time I'm coming to bottling I've got like 5 bottles and a bit left over, unless I've topped up with some juice or something.

And I don't want to top up with water because, well then I lose flavour and alcohol right?

I don't really like doing any of that because frankly it's just diluting everything. Also I don't like topping up with some other wine, because then the wine I've just made will taste different right?

So anyway

Is there anything wrong with the primary being a 2 gallon bucket (or glass demijohn if I can find one) if I'm only fermenting 1 gallon of wine? Because then I can just put a half bottle more stuff in there, then when I come to racking it into the secondary I've got the full 6 bottles right? (maybe with a tiny bit of sediment)

Or, is there a way to work out how to make the wine slightly higher alcohol to account for having to add a pint of juice? Like would that be 1% higher? maybe even 2% ?


Basically I'm not happy with the loss at the end lol.
 

Cheyne_brewer

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With fruit wine from scratch I use a plastic bucket and a straining bag to contain the fruit and give it a bloomin' good squeeze out to recover as much must as possible when transferring to secondary and aim to have some excess to cover losses . I mark the gallon on my demijons, you will have quite a lot of space above the shoulder with 6 bottles worth of must. Don't forget fermentation will continue in secondary.

If you really want to top up the secondary I recommend a decent supermarket grape juice. I used Asda's Don Simon (I think...) Spanish red grape juice in my last blackberry wine which ferments very well straight out of the carton and contributes fermentible sugar, a vinous body & flavour not just volume. Home brew juice concentrates seem way too expensive for what you get. You may end up with more abv not less this way!

Paul.
 

Mr_S_Jerusalem

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Ah yes so that's my issue, I don't want to top up the secondary after the second racking, but I always end up with less than 6 bottles worth.

So I figure if I make slightly more than a gallon to begin with, then I can do the standard ferment for 7 days on the pulp, then strain and transfer to a 2 gallon bucket instead of a 1 gallon demijohn, then I will have more liquid once I rack that off the sediment into a clean demijohn when it comes to the end of fermentation.
Then there's no top up right?
 

Chippy_Tea

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When you rack from the first DJ to the second top it up to the base of the neck with water, the amount you will change the ABV or flavour will be negligible and i would be very surprised if you could tell the difference (i have been doing this for years)
 

Mr_S_Jerusalem

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Its funny, I'm not sure I ever actually tried with just water as a top up. It always seemed totally illogical to want to dilute it.

Imma give it a go in my next brew for a change lol

Cheers
 
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Chippy_Tea

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How long have you been brewing wine for?
I started this thread in 2013 and was making this wine before then, have a look at the thread below then look at the second video where you can see the point he tops up after degassing.

 

Mr_S_Jerusalem

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Yes he seems to top up the first demijohn after he has left it a couple of days. Then he leaves it to ferment and racks it into a new one. However he seems to have nearly completely filled his second demijohn even though he had about an inch of sediment on the bottom of the first demijohn. He then degasses it and leaves it but he does not mention topping it up again.
But what would he do if the amount of liquid in the second demijohn was several inches lower than the level he manages to get it to? You are saying he tops that up with water?
 

Chippy_Tea

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I haven't watched those videos for a while so here is my method.

Fill the DJ to the shoulder only for primary fermentation this leaves plenty of room for degassing especially if you use a drill and wand as I do, rack to second add stabiliser, degas add fining and top up.
I have used apple juice to top up in the past but occasionally they start fermentating again which isn't good.
 
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