It’s been a while since my last post. I’ll try to post a little more regularly, but with both home and work things occupying much of my time, I don’t know how often I’ll be able to update.

Most commercial wine kits available are designed to produce 30 bottles of wine, using a standard 750ml bottle size. That works out to 23 litres. The kits come with varying amounts of juice concentrate. Some even come with 23 litres of unconcentrated juice. You will have to add enough water to the concentrate to make 23 litres when you begin your primary fermentation.

Your best bet is to measure out how much total liquid you’ll need before you start using your kit. Get 23 litres into your primary fermenter, and take a permanent marker and mark on the outside of the pail where that level is. Now, rather then getting out your kitchen measuring cups, and measuring out 1 litre 23 times, or half a litre 46 times, or 1 cup …well, you get the idea. That is tedious work, and prone to error. If you lose count, or don’t measure consistently, you’ll end up with a flawed result. All measurements contain a certain amount of error. There’s no way around that. All you can do is minimize the error. One way is to take fewer measurements. In this application, probably the easiest way is to fill you secondary fermenter (carboy) until you have roughly 2 inches of head space below the bung. That’s how much liquid you need. No other measurements necessary.

Once you’ve filled the carboy, transfer the water to your primary. You can pour the water from one to the other, or you can siphon it. I decided to use my siphon so I could find out roughly how long it takes to move that volume of liquid. It turns out with the size and length of hose that came in my kit, I’m looking at roughly 10 minutes.

The red thing on the lip of the pail is a hose clip. It keeps the hose in place so you don’t have to hold it yourself. The white thing will clamp the hose so you can control the speed, or completely stop the siphoning process.

As I said before, once you have your water transferred, mark the outside of the pail with a permanent marker. I was just about to do that when I turned the pail and saw….

Yes, those are indeed graduations already printed on the side of the pail that I wasn’t looking at. Make you you familiarize yourself with your equipment.

I mentioned at the beginning of the post that most commercial wine kits are made to produce 30 standard 750ml bottles. Some kits, like the ones for dessert wines or port are only made to produce half that amount. The same primary should be fine to use for those kits, but you will need a smaller carboy for those. Reason being is you want to minimize the exposed surface area while in the carboy. If you only fill the large carboy with half the liquid, you’ll have almost 380 square inches of surface area, versus only about 3 square inches if you fill it up to the neck.

More tips to come.