Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Punching the Cap (Part 2)

My blog article of March 16 provided information about punching down the cap (especially when making wine from one of our wine kits that has crushed grape skins or from fresh fruit of any kind). This blog article is a follow-up on that winemaking article and offers some hints for punching down the cap.

First, when starting a new batch of wine be sure and use a primary fermenter which is large enough for your batch. Keep in mind that when you are punching down the cap that you will be inserting a spoon or other stirring device into the must and then agitating it. If you are making one of our Cellar Craft or WinExpert wine kits which contain crushed grape skins you need a fermenter large enough to contain the 6 gallons of juice, the stirring device you will use and a 2 liter bag of crushed grape skins and still provide enough head space for the fermentation of the wine.

You can use a variety of utensils to punch down the cap. Examples would be spoons (solid or slotted) made of stainless steel or PVC plastic. Break up the cap and stir the cap down into the must until the cap is totally broken up and everything is moist.

Punch down the cap the first time right after you pitch your yeast. This will aerate the must and incorporate the yeast into the must. Fermentation will begin shortly and the carbon dioxide bubbles will cause suspended matter to be pushed to the surface which will form the cap. Punch the cap down at least three times (more is better) per day to keep the broken up and moist.

When fermentation begins to slow because the supply of sugar is decreasing the solid matter present in your wine must will sink rather than float (there is no longer enough carbon dioxide gas to push the solids to the surface).

BlueStem Winery is a full-service wine making and brewing supply outlet located in northeast Iowa and on the web. Although BlueStem Winery is a licensed winery our store offers both beer brewing and wine making supplies, brewing equipment, our own line of brewing kits known as BlueStems Best and wine kits from both WinExpert and Cellar Craft. We offer beer brewing equipment, beer ingredients and everything else you need for home brewing. Our website features shipping for only $8.95 to anywhere in the lower 48 United States for any quantity of beer kits, brewing supplies and wine making supplies you may wish to order. We can help you make great home brew beer or assist you in wine making at home.

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