Tag Archives: fermentation

Secondary Fermentation–A Quick Update

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Not wine yet. It looks more like runny peanut butter. Yum!

Chardonnay anyone? At this point the primary fermentation is done and the unfinished wine is transferred from the primary fermenting tank to the carboy (that’s a fun word isn’t it? It’s just a big jug). I first tested the specific gravity with my hydrometer. It’s supposed to read less than 1.010 before you can start the next phase. My sample read about 1.000 so it was fine. Specific gravity is a measure of the density of a liquid. The more alcohol, the lower the reading, so you can tell about the progress of the fermentation by the specific gravity. End of science lesson. You can read more about the hydrometer by clicking the link at the bottom of this post.

This step is simple, you just transfer the wanna-be wine from one container to the next, leaving behind the heavy sludge at the bottom of the primary fermenting tank. This is made up of dead yeast cells and the oak wood chips that you put in during the primary fermentation.

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Yeast sludge and oak chips at the bottom of the primary fermentation tank

You don’t need to add any chemicals or anything at this point. I put an airlock in the top and let it sit at around 72 degrees Fahrenheit for two weeks. Yawn, boring. The next steps get a little more exciting.

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We Have Fermentation!

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My wife and I just started a new batch of Chardonnay from a Wine Expert kit.  The primary fermenting tank is sitting in our living room and the whole place smells like baking bread from the yeast doing its thing. In the picture you can see the bubbles of carbon dioxide that are given off by the fermentation. There are several stages involved in wine making starting with the primary fermentation, which in the case of this white will be about a week. Next the wine is transferred to a carboy for a couple of weeks to finish fermenting. Finally, the wine goes through a stabilization and clearing process. In only about six weeks, if I don’t screw something up, we’ll have twenty-seven bottles of excellent wine for the cellar. I’ll update as we go from stage to stage.

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