How To Guides

  • Low Carb Beer Information

    With the increased popularity of low-carb diets, we’ve been getting many inquiries regarding low-carb beer-making. So we’ve taken a stab at putting together some of the pertinent facts brewers of low-carb beers ought to keep in mind. Here’s just about all we know…

    According to opinion research published by Ipsos Public Affairs on the web, over one-half of American adults believe that the carbohydrate count in vodka is “high” or “medium” and 55% believe this about tequila, even though neither vodka nor tequila contains any carbohydrates, nor does gin, rum or whiskey. The survey also found over two-thirds of adults falsely believing that fruit juice and regular soda are lower in carbohydrates than distilled spirits.

    The dieter must understand that carbs are not the same as calories. Starches and sugars are carbohydrates, alcohol is not, but all three contain calories. Therefore, making a low-gravity brew does not necessarily give you a low-carb beer. The carb count in your beer is more determined by process variables than by gravities. To understand why, we must first understand carbs: Carbs are essentially grain starches. In the mash tun, any starch absorbs increasing amounts of water (hydrates) and gradually expands as the ambient temperature increases from cold to warm to hot. Between 158 and 176°F (70 and 80°C) barley starch forms a viscous paste as it gelatinizes. This is important, because starches are more susceptible to enzymatic conversion after they have gelatinized. Starches thin out above 176°F (80°C), at which point they can leach unconverted into the wort, eventually causing a chill haze in the finished beer and contribute to the beer’s carb content. That’s why you should never let the mash temperature rise above 176°F (80°C)!

    Barley has about 60 to 65% starch by weight. Before these complex carbohydrates can be metabolized (fermented) by brewers yeast, however, they need to be broken down by mash enzymes into chunks of two molecules (maltose) or just one molecule (glucose). These sugars are then extracted into the wort. In standard barley wort, maltose makes up about half of all wort sugars, while straight glucose makes up no more than one-tenth of all sugars. The remaining 40 percent of sugars are too complex to be fermentable by most yeast and tend to remain in the beer as residual sweetness ... and thus “carbs”! The objective for the low-carb brewer, therefore, is to make a “non-standard” wort, and to do this requires the conversion in the mash of as many starches as possible into fermentable sugars and as few starches as possible into unfermentable sugars.

    To accomplish this, first note the connection between enzyme activity and temperature ranges:

    Starch converting mash enzymes are also called diastatic enzymes. There are two types of diastatic enzymes, á-amylase and â-amylase. The enzyme á-amylase breaks starch molecules into complex, mostly unfermentable sugars, while the enzyme â-amylase breaks both starches and complex sugars into simple, fermentable sugars. The enzyme á-amylase (the complex-sugar maker) starts to show activity at around 140° F (60° C), reaches its peak performance at around 162° F (72° C), and virtually ceases all activity at around 176° F (80° C). The enzyme â-amylase (the simple-sugar maker), by contrast, starts to show activity at around 104° F (40° C), reaches its peak performance at around 149° F (65° C), and virtually ceases activity at around 158° F (70° C).

    From these temperature values follow three logical requirements for a low-carb beer:

    1. We want to keep the mash as close to the optimum â-amylase temperature of 149° F (65° C) as possible so that we produce almost exclusively simple, fermentable sugars. We recommend a saccharification rest at this temperature of at least 45 minutes.
    2. Because, at a mash temperature of 149° F (65° C), á-amylase is still 13°F (7°C) below its peak performance, but is already within its active range, we can INCREASE the amount of starch conversion into simple sugars (and thus DECREASE the amount of carbs in the finished beer) by the adding an Alpha Amylase preparation to the mash.
    3. After the saccharification rest, move the mash as quickly as possible past 158° F (70° C), when â-amylase enzymes stop working, to a mash-out temperature of roughly 172°F (78° C), when á-amylase enzymes slow down .

    To understand the eventual amount of carbs in your beer we must finally understand the metabolism of the yeast. The amount of carbs in your finished beer is influenced by the type of yeast you use. Here is how that logic works for the carb-conscious set:

    Ales: Ale yeast ferments monosaccharides (glucose) and disaccharides (mostly maltose and some melibiose) up to roughly 50% of the starches that are naturally in the grain.
    Lagers: Lager yeasts ferment monosaccharides and disaccharides as well as some trisaccharides (maltotriose and raffinose) for an additional roughly 5% of the original carbs in the grain. Trisaccharides are oligosaccharides (complex sugars) that contain three linked monosaccharides.

    Conclusion: If you want to make a really low-carb beer, mash primarily for â-amylase activity, rest thoroughly, raise the temperature to the mash-out quickly past the peak á-amylase temperature, sparge fast, make sure you leave the unconverted starches in the spent grain instead of leaching them into the wort, and use of an Alpha Amylase preparation in the mash.

    And there you have it...

  • Basic Winemaking from Grapes or Fresh Fruit

    - Prepare and clean all equipment, inspect for cracks or damage. Sterilize with sulfite solution. Drain well. Sulfite solution: 1 oz dissolved in ½ gallon water.
    - Prepare fruit, grapes or concentrates according to recipe.
    Check specific gravity: average starting gravity should be 1.080-1.095 (increase with sugar, decrease with water)
    Check acid: fruit wines 0.50 tartaric
    White wines 0.70-0.75 tartaric
    Red wines 0.60-0.65 tartaric
    To increase acid, use acid blend. To decrease acid, use water and sugar, or calcium carbonate. If water and sugar is used, correct hydrometer before proceeding with recipe.
    Pectic enzyme: helps clear white wines, aids in extracting the most color and flavor of all wines.
    Yeast nutrient: gives yeast a boost. Use as directed.
    Tannin: adds astringency to red wines. Use as needed.
    Campden Tabs: Fresh fruit: add 1-2 tabs per gallon 24 hours prior to adding yeast. For all wines, use ½ tab per gallon at first racking, ¼ tab per gallon at each additional racking, 1 tab per gallon at final racking.
    Yeast: 1 pkg. for 1-5 gallons, for larger quantities, make a yeast starter. Rehydrate in a little warm (not hot) water just prior to use. Yeast Starter: either follow directions of yeast starter culture, or make orange juice starter.
    Bring 1 cup of orange juice and 3 cups of water to boil. Cool, add 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient. Put into starter bottle, add yeast, and attach fermentation lock. Activate for 1-2 days. Add to must.
    - Fermentation lock: fill half way with sulfite solution.
    - Clearing agents: use 30 days after fermentation is complete or 2 weeks prior to bottling. Follow directions for use. If using a kit wine, follow directions given.
    - Bottling: soak corks 24-48 hours prior to bottling in cool, boiled water. Make sure corks are fully submerged in water. Drain, then soak for 10-30 minutes in sulfite solution. Insert into bottles using corker. Keep bottles upright for 48 hours after bottling, then lay down for storage. Let age a minimum of 3 months before drinking. Wines made from grapes will vary in the amount of bottle aging time needed for maturation.
    - Wine Filters: adds the final finishing touch. Aids in faster maturing of wine, eliminate sediment in bottles.

  • Using Your Hydrometer

    Using your Hydrometer

    A hydrometer is a precision instrument used to measure the density of a liquid.  When placed in any liquid, the hydrometer will sink until the weight of the displaced liquid equals the weight of the hydrometer. This means that it will float deeper into a liquid of low density than it will sink into a liquid of high density. This density is described as the liquids' specific gravity, or SG. Sugar solutions are denser (meaning they have a greater SG) and alcohol solutions are less dense (meaning they have a lower SG).

    Our hydrometers are calibrated at 60°F using pure water, which has an SG of 1.000.

    Knowing how to use your hydrometer will allow you to calculate several things about your beer and wine: the potential alcohol, how quickly the fermentation is proceeding, and when fermentation is finished. To measure specific gravity:

    • Add a sample of the beer or wine to be tested in a test jar or cylinder. Try to avoid gathering foam as you pour the sample —bubbles make it difficult to read the hydrometer scale.
    • Insert the hydrometer into the jar and twirl it gently with your fingers to shake off any bubbles that might cling to it.
    • When the hydrometer has come to rest, read the SG from the bottom of the meniscus. The meniscus is the surface of the liquid that climbs up the stem of the hydrometer. Read the value across the flat liquid surface, before it touches the hydrometer.
    • Adjust the hydrometer reading based on temperature of the liquid. Use this table calculate the corrected SG.

    Temperature Correction Table

    Degrees Farenheight Degrees Celsius Correction Factor
    50 10 -0.005
    60 15.5 0.000
    70 21 +0.001
    77 25 +0.002
    84 29 +0.003
    95 35 +0.005
    105 40.5 +0.007

    If your sample is 84°F and your gravity reading is 1.095, the table shows that you have to add 0.003 to correct your reading. The corrected SG is 1.098.

    What if your reading is between values?  Lets say your sample is 74o F.  The temperature value is between the range of 70-77, so we approximate using the range.  If you have a reading of 70-73o F, add .001 to your actual hydrometer reading.  If the reading is 74-77o F, add .002. 

    Calculating Alcohol by Volume (ABV)

    While our hydrometers may have a scale to calculate ABV, the best method is to use your calculated starting and finished gravity (SG and FG) to determine the actual ABV%.  The equation is:

    (Corrected starting gravity - corrected finished gravity) X 133 = ABV%

    Example: SG=1.100, FG=1.000   ABV = (1.100-1.000) X 133 = 13.3% ABV  

    Keep your readings in a journal.  When you can look up a series of SG measurements, you'll know immediately whether a wine fermented quickly or slowly, or if your beer finished with a higher SG than intended, and you'll be able to use that information to make better beer and wine.


  • Wine & Must Additions

    Sugar Additions

    Add table sugar to increase the specific gravity of juice. To calculate the amount needed, take an initial gravity reading. Subtract that from the specific gravity you wish to begin with. The difference will determine how much sugar to add. For example: the initial specific gravity is 1.068, and the desired gravity is 1.085; 1.085-1.065 = 0.02, so the gravity must increase by 0.02 degrees.

    Specific Gravity•Brix•Potential Alcohol

    Spec. Grav. **** Brix **** % Alcohol
    1.0393 ********** 10 ******** 5.57
    1.0434 ********** 11 ******** 6.33
    1.0475 ********** 12 ******** 6.90
    1.0515 ********** 13 ******** 7.48
    1.0556 ********** 14 ******** 8.05
    1.0594 ********** 15 ******** 8.63
    1.0639 ********** 16 ******** 9.20
    1.0680 ********** 17 ******** 9.78
    1.0723 ********** 18 ******** 10.35
    1.0769 ********** 19 ******** 10.93
    1.0814 ********** 20 ******** 11.50
    1.0859 ********** 21 ******** 12.08
    1.0903 ********** 22 ******** 12.65
    1.0949 ********** 23 ******** 13.23
    1.0994 ********** 24 ******** 13.80
    1.1041 ********** 25 ******** 14.38
    1.1086 ********** 26 ******** 14.95


    Most wine begins with a specific gravity of 1.090-1.095 (Brix 22-23). Add 40-60 parts per million (ppm) of sodium or potassium metabisulphite to prevent spoilage. Stir well. Add yeast 24 hours later. Sulfites also help prevent spoilage and browning. Sufficient protection is attained with 50 ppm. Use either 1 Campden tab per gallon (1 Campden tab = 50 ppm) or use a solution of 1 oz dissolved in ½ gallon of water. 2 tablespoons of this solution equals 1 Campden tab.

    General Guidelines

     Use 12-15 pounds of fresh grapes per gallon.
     Ferment red wine on the skins for about one week before pressing.
     Press red grapes immediately after crushing to make a blush wine.
     Rack off the sediment within one week of the end of fermentation.
     Add 20-30 ppm sulfite at each racking to prevent spoilage.
     To reduce acidity, add up to 10% water (mixed with 2.7 lbs. of sugar) to the must.
     Cold stabilize wine before bottling to reduce acid and prevent tartaric acid crystal formation. Chill at 32º for two weeks, then bottle. Can be done on both red and white wines.

  • Sulphite Facts

    Sulphite Facts
    Potassium Metabisulphite is a stable source of sulfur dioxide in winemaking. The use of sulfur compounds is not a recent innovation. The great Dutch shipping empire popularized the use of sulfur in the 16th century by refusing to ship any wines not treated. They insisted on sulphites because sulphite treated wines were the only ones that survived a long sea voyage without turning into vinegar.

    Sulphites work by releasing free sulfur dioxide, which inhibits yeast, mold and bacteria. It does this in two ways: one, it kills some of the organisms outright, and two, it blocks the surviving organisms ability to reproduce. If your winemaking equipment is physically clean and you've rinsed it with a sulphite solution, nothing will grow on it.

    Sulphites are also added directly to wine after fermentation, to help prevent oxidation. Oxidation in wine follows the same pattern that you see in the cut edge of an apple—the wine turns brown and takes on a flat 'cardboard' taste. Sulfur binds with the oxygen in the wine and prevents this damage.

    Many people worry that they may be allergic to sulphites. True sulphite allergies are very rare. It's more likely that they have a histamine reaction to red wine, or that they have been over exposed to sulphites in the past. In the 1970's restaurants would douse their salad bars with 2000 PPM (parts per million) sulphite solutions in order to keep the produce fresh. Mixing with food acids, such as dressings or vinegar, would cause the salad to release clouds of sulphite gas, provoking unpleasant reactions.

    Some facts that might clear up any misunderstanding about sulphites:

    Sulphites are a recognized food additive. Their use is controlled by the federal government.
    All commercially available wines in the province of British Columbia contain sulphites, even those labeled 'Kosher' or 'Organic. The legally allowable amount is 70 PPM.
    Nearly all dried fruits and meats contain sulphites. Raisins, for instance, have up to 250 PPM.
    The amount of sulphite provided with kits will result in a level of between 35 and 50 PPM in a finished wine.
    Sulphites are produced by all grape based wines naturally during fermentation, up to a level of about 10 PPM. Even with no addition of outside sulphites, wines will still contain them.
    The upshot of sulphite use is this: without sulphites you'd have to be very careful to keep all of your equipment sanitary and you'd still have to drink your wine quickly, before it spoiled, probably within one or two months. If you have any more questions about sulphites, please call us here at Beer and Wine Hobby. We'll be glad to answer them.


  • Malolactic Fermentation and Your Wine

    Malolactic Fermentation and Your Wine
    What is Malolactic Fermentation?
    'Malolactic fermentation' (ML) describes a fermentation by bacteria (leuconostoc oenos) that are able to convert malic acid from grapes into lactic acid. It occurs alongside, and in addition to regular fermentation, and can be desirable for two reasons:
    Reducing excess acidity. By converting the relatively harsh tasting malic acid into the softer lactic, ML softens the flavour of the wine.
    Adding complexity. In addition to converting the acid, malolactic bacteria can add a component of 'buttery' flavour (diacetyl), along with more complex flavours and aromas.
    Uncontrolled ML is very undesirable. The same bacteria responsible for reducing acidity are responsible for the production of sauerkraut, whose flavours and aromas are not what you would expect in a fine wine. In addition, if malolactic bacteria work in the presence of potassium sorbate (a preservative in kit wines and some commercial wines) it will produce geraniol, a compound that smells like a cross between ripe salmon and rotting geraniums.
    Which wines should get malolactic fermentation?
    Generally, only wines made from grapes get malolactic treatment. There are two reasons for this, the first being that the bacteria needs a small amount of grape pulp and solids to get a foothold in the wine. Second, it is only really the top quality wines that merit malolactic treatment, and these are most often sold in the form of grapes.
    Wines made from concentrate are generally unsuitable for malolactic treatment. Not only are the acidity levels usually balanced toward the low side for early drinking, the levels of solids in concentrate are virtually nil. In addition, some concentrates may have small amounts of sorbate in them, causing geraniol problems.
    The treatment criteria for wines are as follows:
    The wine should be one where complexity is desired over fruitiness. ML tends to emphasize fermentation aromas and flavors and reduce the fresh fruity flavors of a wine. If this doesn't suit your palate, you should reconsider treatment.
    The wine must have an alcohol level below 14%. Malolactic bacteria are not especially alcohol tolerant, and a wine with a higher alcohol content will not support it.
    The wine must have a pH of 3.3 or greater. If you don't know what the pH is, it will be necessary to have it tested before attempting malolactic inoculation.
    The wine must have some grape pulp or yeast sediment to promote the growth of the bacteria. If it is clear, MLF will be very difficult to start.
    What form does the malolactic bacteria come in?
    There are two main types of malolactic culture available, refrigerated liquid culture, and freeze dried powder. They are both perfectly good choices for inoculating your grapes. They both have to be kept refrigerated at all times.
    They both come with instructions for use, which, while fine for inoculation in a laboratory setting, are somewhat confusing for the home user.
    What are some of the dangers of malolactic fermentation?
    In addition to transforming malic acid into lactic, leuconostoc oenos also transforms citric acid into acetic acid, which is the acid that gives vinegar it's distinctive flavor. This usually isn't a problem, unless the must has been treated with citric acid.
    Also, because it reduces fruity flavors, there are few white wines that will benefit from ML, and some reds are best left fruity as well.
    Because ML fermentation can cause the pH of the wine to rise, it may make it more susceptible to other forms of bacterial infection. You may need to adjust sulphite levels to compensate.
    Partial ML, or ongoing malolactic fermentation in a wine that is to be bottled can cause the wine to carbonate (become fizzy), break the bottle with CO2 pressure, push out the cork, and spoil the flavour. You must be certain that ML is complete and/or arrested before bottling (see below).
    How do I go about starting a malolactic fermentation?
    Assuming you have purchased good quality grapes, you have tested the acid and pH, and are confident that going through ML will produce a better wine for you, the first step is to obtain a malolactic bacterial culture.
    If you are only inoculating 23 litres of wine, you don't have to make a starter culture with either the freeze dried or liquid cultures. With the liquid culture package, when the grapes are almost finished fermentation (below) simply match the temperature of the package with the temperature of the grapes (it should be 20-25°Celsius) and add it. Within two to three weeks the ML will be well under way, and should be complete within two months.
    With the freeze-dried culture it is necessary to make a sterile suspension and rehydrate the bacteria. For two grams of culture, prepare 25 ml of distilled water at 25-30° Celsius in a sanitised cup and sprinkle the culture on top. After 15 minutes, stir with a sanitised spoon and add to your fermenting must. Again it is important that the wort be below 5°Brix, so as not to slow the ML.
    If you are inoculating more than 23 litres, you should purchase the culture about two weeks before your wine is nearly fermented dry, to allow time to make a starter culture. Judging the point when your wine will be two weeks away from dryness may seem difficult on first blush, but a good rule of thumb would be to purchase the culture the week before you receive your grapes.
    A culture from liquid is prepared thus: obtain 2½ litres of fresh grape juice. Choose a grape juice with less than 15 PPM of SO2, and with less than 20°Brix of sugar content. If you can't find an available juice with these characteristics, it is possible to change the pH and sugar content of a less suitable juice by either diluting with water or adding a pH adjuster. Ask your retailer for advice. Make sure you use only grape juice: apple juice or grape concentrate is not suitable.
    Add about 1 gram of yeast energizer to the juice. This will help speed cell growth. Ensure the juice is between 20-25°C and inoculate with a package of malolactic friendly yeast (Epernay is ideal) and allow to sit for 2 days, and inoculate with liquid malolactic culture and maintain a temperature of 20-25°C.
    After 12 days the culture will be ready. 2½ litres is sufficient for 120 litres of wine. If you have more than 120 litres, you can culture up the amount you need by simply adding your starter culture to larger amounts of suitable juice. You will need approximately ½ litre for every 23 litres of wine.
    When is malolactic fermentation finished?
    If the wine is kept at relatively warm temperatures (above 20°C) the fermentation will be complete within two months. The only way to monitor this is through the use of a malolactic chromatography test kit. The test takes about 24 hours to conduct.
    Once you are satisfied that your ML is finished, you can stabilize your wine by adding sulphites to the level of approximately 50 PPM. This will prevent the re-growth of any leuconostoc bacteria, and will prevent oxidation. It is a good idea to test the pH and acidity of your wine at this point as well. Because ML can cause the pH to rise, you may need to adjust it. Space doesn't permit a full discussion of pH and wine quality, but several winemaking books contain good sections on pH or you can ask your retailer for advice.


  • Using Your Buon Vino Filter

    Filtering can render wine instantly clear. Filtration can remove yeast, bacteria, and grape debris from the wine, making it more stable. Stable wines are less likely to change their appearance or taste with time. By removing yeast or bacteria that could referment the sugars, the amount of SO2 and other chemical preservatives can be reduced.

    Filtering works by removing small particles from wine. If your wine is young (less than two months old) or very cloudy, a filter will clog too quickly to clear any of the wine. The large particles in a young or cloudy wine block the filter pads, causing the pressure inside the filter plates to rise. This in turn causes the wine to spray out the sides of the filter and puts stress on the pump and hoses.

    You can only filter a wine that is almost clear already. This cannot be overstressed.

    Before you use a filter on your wine it should have been racked at least twice and should have also been fined. Anything less and you could wind up simply clogging an expensive set of filter pads and setting yourself up to spray the walls with wine. Filtering is literally the last thing you should do to your wine, just before you bottle it. If you are putting the wine in bulk storage and not bottling it, you shouldn't filter. Just rack the wine into clean containers and store it until bottling time.

    Also, you need to make sure that your wine is properly sulphited before it goes through the filter. The pump that the filter uses can introduce oxygen into the wine. Having the correct level of sulphite will prevent this oxygen from damaging the flavour and colour of the wine. You should have 50 parts per million (PPM) of potassium metabisulphite before filtering. This amounts to 3 grams per 23 litres (½ tsp. per 5 gal.).

    Which pads to use
    Choosing the right pads will ensure that you get the right kind of filtration for your wine. The wrong kind of pads will leave your wine cloudy or clog too quickly.

    Number 1 pads remove large particles but you won't notice a significant change in your wine. They could be used on young wines at racking to remove heavy sediment but this isn't a good idea. Any particles that are large enough to be caught by the pads are likely to foul the pump, blocking it and making an overhaul necessary. For removing particles that size, it's best to wait and rack the wine as it clears itself or to use a fining agent.

    Number 2 pads are the workhorse of the Buon Vino filter. They remove haze-causing particles from red and white wine without stripping too much colour and flavour. After a wine has been put through these it will show a significant change in clarity and brightness. These pads are the ones you should be using for most of your wines, and the only ones to use on your red wine. Depending on the clarity of the wine being filtered, they will do 46 litres (10 gal.) or even 92 litres (20 gal.). You must use these pads first if you intend to use the number 3 pads.

    Number 3 pads are for finer filtering. One pass through the pads will remove 80% of the yeast cells in the wine and two passes will reduce the yeast population to the point where further fermentation is unlikely. They will leave the wine as clear and bright as water. Used improperly, however, they can also leave the wine tasting much like water. These pads are so fine that they are capable of removing colour and flavour compounds from the wine. If you are starting with a delicately flavoured wine it can wind up almost under-flavoured, stripped of its character. And red wine can be stripped pink. Number 3 pads are used mainly on wines that contain residual sugar. With fine filtration to remove the yeast cells, wine makers can reduce the amount of chemicals needed to stabilize the sweet wine.

    Setting up the Buon Vino for filtering
    1. Sanitize all the surfaces that will come in contact with your wine. Remove the filter plates from the machine and dip them in a sulphite solution (or even better, fill a trigger spray bottle with your sulphite solution and use it to spray everything). Run sulphite solution through the hoses and the pump motor. Then rinse the sulphites off and out of everything. Return the plates to the machine, making sure the semicircular tabs are on top and aligned with each other.
    2. Prepare your pads by making up the following solution in a shallow sanitized pan. To one litre of cold water add one gram (1/8 tsp.) of potassium metabisulphite and 3.5 g (one tsp.) of citric acid. If you don't have citric acid use two teaspoons of lemon juice. Dip each pad in this solution and hold it under for three seconds to allow it to saturate. This will remove the 'cardboard' taste from the pads and sanitize them. It's important not to use too much sulphite--it could get transferred into the wine.
    3. Put the pads into the machine. The rough, uneven side of the pads faces the motor. The holes in the pads should line up with the holes in the plates.
    4. Once the pads are in and lined up you can gently tighten the threaded screw in the centre of the plate. This screw should only be hand-tight. If you use a wrench on it you will accomplish two things: One, you'll damage the plate-frame unit. Two, you'll void your warranty. Remember, it will leak a small amount anyway, so over-tightening it won't help.
    5. Make sure all of the hoses are in place and tight. The intake hose attaches to the right side of the machine as it faces away from you. The transfer hose goes from the left hand side of the motor into the lower left corner of the plate assembly. The outlet hose attaches to the top right hand side of the plate assembly.
    6. The next step is to put the legs under the plate assembly into a sanitized shallow pan or bowl large enough to extend under the pads and plates. This will catch the wine that leaks which you can save and re-filter. After your drip pan is in place, run 23 litres (5 gal.) of cold water through the machine. This will wash any cardboard dust off the pads and remove the remaining traces of sulphite and citric acid. Check the machine for leaks, and empty the drip pan. Your Buon Vino is now ready to use.
    Filtering your wine
    1. Dip the intake tube into the wine to be filtered. If there is any sediment in the container you should attach a ½-inch syphon rod (with an orange syphon tip) to the end of the intake hose. This will prevent sediment from getting into the pads and clogging them prematurely.
    2. The wine being filtered should be higher than your Buon Vino so the wine can flow downhill. The filter should be higher than the destination container, again, so the wine can flow downhill. This will allow you to take advantage of the natural syphoning that happens when liquid flows downhill, which will reduce the amount of work that the pump motor has to do.
    3. The first ½ litre of liquid that comes out of the filter will be the last of the fresh water you used to rinse the pads. Keep a small container handy to catch and discard this. When the wine starts to come out, quickly change the outlet hose to your receiving vessel.
    4. If you are filtering more than one kind of wine you don't necessarily have to change the pads for each batch. If the pressure gauge shows that the pads aren't yet plugged (see below) you can continue to filter your next batch of wine on the same set of pads. A good rule of thumb for consecutive filtering is this: filter light whites first, then heavier whites, then light reds, then heavy reds.

    For SuperJet and 10 Plate Filter
    Reading the Pressure Gauge
    The pressure gauge screwed into the plate assembly is there to tell you when the pads have become too clogged to filter any more wine. When you are running water through the filter, the gauge will usually not show any pressure. When you are using the number one or number two pads, the pressure will gradually rise from one or 2 p.s.i. to 18-20 p.s.i.. When it reaches this level, the pads cannot pass any more wine and need to be changed. When you are using number three pads you have to watch the gauge carefully. Immediately after wine begins to flow out of the filter, make a note of the pressure reading on the gauge. It should read between 5 and 10 p.s.i. As wine passes through the pads, the gauge reading will rise. When it goes 10 p.s.i. past the original reading it is time to change the pads. (i.e., Starting pressure of 6 p.s.i. rises to 16 p.s.i.) It's important to watch the gauge carefully. If the pressure rises too high, the wine can burst through the pads and go through unfiltered. Excessive back pressure can also damage the pump motor.


  • Buon Vino Filter Trouble Shooting

    Buonvino Filter trouble shooting
    Trouble-Shooting Guide

    Most common questions or comments

    Q: Why Should I use "Buon Vino" Filter Pads?
    A: You should use Buon Vino Filter Pads because the micron sizes and consistency of Buon Vino Filter Pads have been designed to give optimal performance when used with Buon Vino wine filters. The flow rate of the pump is designed to work in conjunction with the Buon Vino Filter Pads to give you the best filtration possible. For more information, please visit the Filter Pads page here.
    Q: When and how do I lubricate the gears on the Mini Jet Pump?
    A: On rare occasion, if the Mini Jet has been run dry or has overheated, it may be necessary to lubricate the gears. For complete instructions, click here.
    Q: I have air going into my pump and my wine is foaming.
    A: There are 3 possibilities...
    1. The wine is very young and carbon dioxide (CO2) is present. The pump will release this gas simply due to the action of the pump. Release of CO2 from the wine is a good thing; most kits recommend agitating the wine to help release this gas.
    2. You have removed the port fitting (black connector on the intake of the pump). We recommend that this fitting should not be removed. If you have done so make sure that the O ring has not been crimped and that it is fully inserted into the intake hole of the pump.
    3. The intake hose is vinyl and can expand. Cut approximately 1/2 inch to 1 inch off the end of the hose and re-insert the hose. This will create a better seal at that point and not allow any air intake.
    Q: Wine is leaking too much out of the pads.
    A: 1. Please read the sheet that is supplied with the filter on suggestions and recommendations.
    2. If you did not rack your wine and you have sediment at the bottom you may be drawing up some of the sediment and clogging the pads quickly. Rack your wine before filtering.
    3. Identify the style and density of the wine you are making. Each batch is different and can also clear at different times. Red wines, due to the colour, are much harder to identify. Never start filtering with the hose at the bottom of the carboy. Insert your hose about half way and gradually force it towards the bottom of the carboy. Do not allow the line to empty. This will make the pump run dry, potentially damaging your pump.
    4. What type of wine are you making? Some wines clear faster than others and some types are heavier, especially reds. If you are making a heavy red wine you may need to filter with the #1 pad which is coarser. Please read the Suggestions and Recommendations sheet supplied with the product.
    5. Lubricate your tightening bolts at the thread with petroleum jelly or food grade grease. This gives better ability for the hand wheels to tighten down on the filter area.
    Q. I need a new motor. The back fan is not turning and my pump is not working.
    A. This is a problem which most users of the Mini Jet will not encounter. It is caused by a gear inside the pump becoming stuck due to
    failure to flush out the pump properly after the last filtering session,
    oak chips becoming trapped between the gears, or
    allowing the pump to run dry.
    This problem is identified by a buzzing sound coming from the motor, but your fan at the rear of the unit is not turning.

    Contact your store of purchase or Buon Vino Manufacturing for assistance in correcting this problem. Although the above problem is not difficult to fix, please do not start taking the pump apart before being made fully aware of the proper procedures necessary to correct the malfunction. The procedure requires specific tools and the removal and re-insertion of parts in the correct order.


  • Buon Vino Superjet Trouble Shooting

    Trouble-Shooting Guide

    Most common questions or comments

    Q: Why Should I use "Buon Vino" Filter Pads?
    A: You should use Buon Vino Filter Pads because the micron sizes and consistency of Buon Vino Filter Pads have been designed to give optimal performance when used with Buon Vino wine filters. The flow rate of the pump is designed to work in conjunction with the Buon Vino Filter Pads to give you the best filtration possible. For more information, please visit the Filter Pads page here.
    Q: I have no prime from my pump.
    A: This particular pump works on a check-valve system. The check-valve is a functioning part of the pump and will deteriorate due to the acidity from the wine. It is easily replaced. By not allowing solid particulate like oak chips etc. to get into the pump your check-valve will last longer. This part will eventually need changing.
    Q: I need a new motor because I am not getting any suction.
    A: If your motor is running when you turn it on, you do not need a new motor. You need to replace your check-valve.
    Q: My gauge is not registering.
    A: Again, due to the acidity in wine the small plate that registers your pressure will deteriorate and you simply need to replace it. Unscrew the gauge to remove it and replace it with the new one. Make sure you put Teflon tape on the threaded portion, to prevent any leaking.
    Q: I turn on my motor and it will not run.
    A: All our motors have thermal protectors built in. This works in the same manner as a fuse in your house. This part can also be replaced. Please contact the retailer that sold you the filter or Buon Vino Manufacturing directly.
    Q: I just put a new set of pads in my filter and my gauge shot up very quickly.
    A: Check to see if you have placed your pads and/or filter plates in the filter housing correctly.
    Identify the type of wine you are making to the grade of pad you are using. If your gauge rises quickly, this means that your pads are saturating quickly. You may need to filter with a coarser pad.

    Do not start filtering from the bottom of your container, especially if you have sediment. The pump could draw the sediment into the pads and quickly saturate them. Start filtering about half way down your container.

    The gauge increases in pressure proportionately to the saturation of the pads. The more saturated your pads get the more back pressure is created, therefore the higher the pressure on your gauge.


    Always flush out your pump well after use and avoid getting solids into your pump. This will make your check-valve last longer.
    Clean and dry off the whole machine prior to storage.
    Rack your wine prior to filtering.
    Lubricate your tightening screw with petroleum jelly or food grade grease. Keep the screw running freely.
    Avoid getting liquid on the motor section.

  • Chilean Grapes - Winemaking Instructions

    Chilean Grapes - Winemaking Instructions
    Red wine from Chilean Grapes

    1. Order (4) 18 lb. boxes of grapes for every 5 gallons of wine (general guideline). Your primary fermenter should be filled only about 2/3 full to allow for expansion during fermentation.
    2. Important – Chilean grapes have been heavily sulfited. When opening these boxes be sure to smell the grapes. If high sulfur content is still present, remove grapes and wash and air dry grapes prior to crushing.
    3. Prepare yeast starter (see instructions on back of page) 1-2 days prior to beginning fermentation. (Optional) or Use (1) package of quality RC212 wine yeast (or similar) and 1/2oz Yeast Nutrient for every (4) cases of grapes to insure a vigorous and clean fermentation. We do NOT recommend using Montrachet, Pasteur Red or GRE wine yeast due to the high risk of hydrogen sulfite, with Chilean grapes. Total volume prepared should be 3-5% of the anticipated volume of must.
    4. Crush grapes into primary, and test for sugar and acid content. Adjust (if necessary) to 0.65% acid by adding acid blend or water, and a specific gravity of 1.095 by adding sugar or water if necessary. Remove 80-90% of the stems (some should remain to contribute tannin).
    5. Add 1 ounce of potassium metabisulphite for each 350 lbs. (~20 boxes) of grape. Stir into must. *Note: All must adjustments should have been made by this time. If using pectic enzyme to increase juice extraction or Lallyzyme EX or OptiRED to improve color intensity add at this time.
    6. After 24 hours, check temperature of must. Adjust to 70-80°F. Add yeast and yeast nutrient. Cover fermenter with a plastic cover.
    7. Stir must twice daily, breaking cap. This helps extract the color from the skins, and also reduces the risk of spoilage. Keep the temperature of the must to about 75°F. Do not stir the wine 12 hours before racking.
    8. When the wine has the color and body desired, rack the free run (the juice produced without pressing) to secondary. Color guidelines are:
    12 hour fermentation: deep rose color
    48 hour fermentation: light red wine
    3 day fermentation: medium colored red wine
    5-6 day fermentation: deep red wine, like Chianti
    Your hydrometer will also guide you. When the specific gravity has fallen to about 1.045, the wine will be about a medium colored wine.
    9. If you are not making a second-run wine, press the grapes at this time to extract all the wine. Press lightly, if at all, if making a second run.
    10. Fill the secondary fermenter about 1/2 full. Attach a stopper and lock and continue to ferment. Ferment the remainder of the wine in carboys or other glass fermenters and use for topping up.
    11. Rack (1) day after pressing to remove sediment and avoid the possible build-up of hydrogen sulfite.
    12. Rack again in 10-12 days, to rack off the heavy sediment. Reattach locks. When fermentation becomes quiet and slow, top up to within 1” of stopper or bung.
    13. In approximately 3 weeks, when fermentation is complete, a Malolactic culture may be introduced if desired.
    14. In 1 – 2 months when malolactic fermentation is complete, rack and sulfite with 50 parts per million of potassium sulphite (Use Titrets Kit or Accuvin Malic Acid test kit to check that malolactic fermentation is complete) Top up.
    15. If oak is desired, add at this time. Let sit for 6 weeks or until desired oak is accomplished; Then rack, stabilize, and proceed to bottle (ensure that you have 75 – 80 PPM sulfite) or continue aging. (Check free SO2 with Accuvin Free SO2 Quick Test Kit or Titrets Test Kit.)
    16. Filtering prior to bottling will enhance the wine.

    Second-run (or false) wine

    1. Take the pomace from Step 9, either keep or return it to the primary fermenter. Add the same volume of water as wine drawn off. Also add (per gallon of water):
    * 2 lbs. sugar
    * 3 teaspoons acid blend
    * 1 teaspoon yeast nutrient
    * ¼ teaspoon tannin
    Yeast does not need to be added as the pulp still has plenty, so more is not needed.
    2. Stir twice daily for 5-7 days, again breaking up cap.
    3. When the specific gravity has fallen to 1.020-10, siphon to secondary, and proceed as for first run wine. After bottling, this wine will age faster, and therefore may be enjoyed sooner than the first wine.
    4. Yield will be 50% (or ½) of the first-run wine.

    Yeast Starter Instructions

    Bring 1 cup of orange juice and 3 cups of water to boil. Cool, add 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient. Put into starter bottle, add yeast, and attach fermentation lock. Activate for 1-2 days. Add to must.
    Sufficient for 10 gallons

Items 1 to 10 of 32 total

  1. 1
  2. 2
  3. 3
  4. 4