Winemaking (rec.crafts.winemaking) Discussion of the process, recipes, tips, techniques and general exchange of lore on the process, methods and history of wine making. Includes traditional grape wines, sparkling wines & champagnes.

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Old 06-04-2004, 09:56 PM
Ben Rotter
 
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Default Disgorging, and brine composition

Oberon,

The lowest freezing temperature (of a little lower than -20 C / -4 F)
for a brine (NaCl) solution occurs with a brine concentration of about
23% (w/w). So you could aim for that. Disgorgement is often, however,
conducted in brine solutions at -15 C (5 F), which corresponds to a
brine concentration of both 17 and 25%.

Based on that, I'd recommend staying within the range 15-25% brine
solution. A solution of 20% would be ideal. This would require 200 g/l
salt or 1.7 lbs/US gal. Using 1.5 lbs salt per US gal. would be fine.

HTH,
Ben


What I haven't been able to find in any reference is any mention of the
ventured into a discussion of salt/water ratios. Not being a chemist, I
have only the layman's knowledge that water with sufficient dissolved solids
will remain liquid at a temperature below the freezing point. And I must
assume that the ice I'll be purchasing at the local convenience store will
be a decent amount cooler than, say, 30f, so that it'll be able to bring my
brine solution enough below freezing to do it's trick and freeze the
champaign in the necks of my bottles. But it would give me a great deal of
piece of mind to be able to find someone, somewhere, who could say "I've
used a brine solution of 4 lbs salt in 4 gallons of water. Added 10 lbs of
ice, and it worked great!"


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Old 07-04-2004, 07:01 PM
Doug
 
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Default Disgorging, and brine composition

Ken -
The ice/brine mixture is the same sort of thing used for making
ice-cream at home. You want the ice as cold as you can get it, and a
whole bunch of rock salt. I don't think it hurts to have too much
salt - it just doesn't dissolve. I've also seen comments lately that
calcium chloride works better than regular salt, as the freezing point
of the CaCl solution is lower than that for brine. Where I live
(Minnesota), this stuff is readily available as a product to melt ice
off sidewalks in the winter time.

I tried using this approach, but just couldn't seem to get the
whole mess cold enough for long enough to freeze the wine/sediment in
the neck of the bottles. I finally gave up and just rigged up a
little rack to hold six bottles (neck down) in the freezer. I find
that if the crown cap on the bottle is in contact with the wire
shelving in the freezer, the neck of the bottle will start to freeze
in about 3 to 4 hours.

The only downside to this is that if you forget the bottles in
the freezer, they will freeze solid, and the crown cap may be forced
off (resulting in loss of the Champagne, and quite a mess in the
freezer). So you want to set a timer or something. Other than that,
though, this worked just great. Six bottles at a time was a
manageable number; it took me about a week to work through the
double-batch (about 5 cases) I made this winter. I even have a case
or two left, amazingly enough.

Best of luck. I'm sure you'll get the hang of it after a few tries.
I made a few spectacular messes (mostly in the kitchen) before I
really had the thing down, but it was fun, and (when done right) very
satisfying.


Doug
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Old 08-04-2004, 05:54 AM
Oberon
 
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Default Disgorging, and brine composition

Thanks for all the responses, I really appreciate all the facts and
practical knowledge people have offered up. I've now made the attempt, but
like Doug I found that 40f champaign bottles immersed ~2 inches into a 20f
brine solution (the coldest I could get the brine solution to go) for up to
10 hours just don't freeze at all. On the other hand, I got a lot of things
done around the house after I figured out that the one hour freezing time
listed in Morse's 'Making Mead' was a fantasy. :-/

I've located a local supply house that sells a 10lb block of dry ice
(~-100f) for just under $20US. Given that I hate making multiple trips, I
spent half that amount on ice (I only needed to use half of it, but I had no
way of knowing that when I set out to the local Food King for ice) in my
first attempt, so I consider the cost well within reason. I'm fairly
confident that I can get the brine to drop a few more degrees using portions
of the dry ice block. And I spoke at length about the hazards of dry ice to
the shop worker who fielded my call, and feel fairly confident that I won't
be freezing off any limbs while working with this material. ;-)

I'll take pains to perfect my disgorging gear before the next try, as I
found that I could only use 12 of the 15 bottle holes in my rack, due to the
fact that my tray for resting the necks on doesn't have the surface area to
support all 15 bottles. So I live and learn in more than one way...

Friday night / Saturday morning (in the cool evening/morning hours) I'll
make my second foray into disgorgement. Wish me luck!


--
Cheers,
Ken


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Old 08-04-2004, 12:59 PM
John F
 
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Default Disgorging, and brine composition

Oberon,

I've been making sparkling for several years and this is my non-scientific
method which has worked well for me.
Several friends use the "inverted bottle in the freezer" method but I find
that it takes too long to freeze the bottles.
First, I chill cases of inverted bottles in the refrigerator overnight.
When I am ready to degorge I make up the brine
solution with rock salt and ice(crushed works best). I use rock salt made
for making ice cream which I get at Wal-mart.
Five pounds costs a few bucks if I remember. I make up the brine solution
(following the directions on the rock salt)
in a small one gallon, plastic, insulated Coleman jug alternating 3 inch
layers of crushed ice and 1/2 inch layers of salt.
The key for me is to let the ice/salt mixture sit for about an hour and get
really cold before starting. During this hour I gather
the necessary supplies, sterilize the stoppers, etc. Then, one bottle is
shoved down into the ice/salt mixture and the neck
will freeze in about 3 minutes. I pull that bottle out when frozen, stick
another one in and while the second one is freezing
I rinse off the brine solution, degorge, pour in the dosage, and cap it.
That takes a few minutes and the second bottle is
ready to degorge. The whole process is a one man assembly line and I can
degorge a case in less than an hour.



"Oberon" wrote in message
...
Thanks for all the responses, I really appreciate all the facts and
practical knowledge people have offered up. I've now made the attempt,

but
like Doug I found that 40f champaign bottles immersed ~2 inches into a 20f
brine solution (the coldest I could get the brine solution to go) for up

to
10 hours just don't freeze at all. On the other hand, I got a lot of

things
done around the house after I figured out that the one hour freezing time
listed in Morse's 'Making Mead' was a fantasy. :-/

I've located a local supply house that sells a 10lb block of dry ice
(~-100f) for just under $20US. Given that I hate making multiple trips, I
spent half that amount on ice (I only needed to use half of it, but I had

no
way of knowing that when I set out to the local Food King for ice) in my
first attempt, so I consider the cost well within reason. I'm fairly
confident that I can get the brine to drop a few more degrees using

portions
of the dry ice block. And I spoke at length about the hazards of dry ice

to
the shop worker who fielded my call, and feel fairly confident that I

won't
be freezing off any limbs while working with this material. ;-)

I'll take pains to perfect my disgorging gear before the next try, as I
found that I could only use 12 of the 15 bottle holes in my rack, due to

the
fact that my tray for resting the necks on doesn't have the surface area

to
support all 15 bottles. So I live and learn in more than one way...

Friday night / Saturday morning (in the cool evening/morning hours) I'll
make my second foray into disgorgement. Wish me luck!


--
Cheers,
Ken






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Old 08-04-2004, 03:30 PM
Clyde Gill
 
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Default Disgorging, and brine composition


Any tips from those who have managed this franky rather daunting task for
the home winemaker will be greatly appreciated!


Been reading this thread with great interest, Ken. We are just now
about to bottl our first sparkling wine, so we've yet to embark on
this 'daunting task'.

The salt and ice trick was how we intended to go about disgorging, but
I've been wondering lately if a bed of dry ice pellets might be more
effective?!

clyde


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