I just bottled 9 gallons of wine and it generated 43 bottles of wine. AFTER doing that, I realize that I don't drink enough wine in two nights to drink it all before it starts to get old.
I realize I should just get better at drinking But an alternate idea occurred to me. Could I bottle wine in beer bottles? Using the reusable bottles and a hand capper. Alternately, if the caps aren't good enough for some reason (metal cap contacting the wine?) I could use corks instead.
beer bottles with new metal caps will work fine. The wine won't be in contact with the caps as they rest. However, corks allow the wine to breath and improve over time so this may effect the aging quality of whatever you brew.
I might be misunderstanding something here, but why is it that you want to drink it fresh?
I ask because typically wine has to age before it is drinkable. My dad made a chianti-style wine from a kit a few times, and let me tell you, even in that case it was true.
The only alcoholic drink with a shelf life that I know of is fairly well-hopped and dry-hopped styles including I.P.A.s and double I.P.A.s, with the exception of wines that don't age particularly well, and even in those cases, a period of aging is still required, though the shelf life might only be two to three years.
EDIT: I may have misunderstood. Did you mean to say that you can't drink a bottle of wine in two nights, and that you want a smaller bottle size, but you are still aging the wine? If so, Daniel's point about metal caps not allowing respiration with the outside applies. I would look for something with a cork. I wonder if you could use an appropriately sized cork in a beer bottle?
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At some point i transfer my wine into 1 gallon applecider vinegar bottles and put an airlock on them. Thats as far as my bottling goes. 1 gallon goes into the fridge at a time. It may stay there for weeks or months, but ill pour a drink as i want. The last gallon will be more aged than the first.
I get concerned about pressure since i dont kill the yeast before bottling. So i cap the frigerated bottle with saran wrap and a rubber band.
This whole setup is easier/less work than bottling. If i get sediment on bottom, its less bothersome than had it been in a smaller bottle.
Yes, Wayne's got the idea. I just want a single serving wine container. I'll bottle it after it's been sitting in carboys for 4-8 months (per the directions). But then I guess it's supposed to age for 6 months in the bottle for the best flavor.
I didn't realize the wine breathes through the cork. I thought corked bottles are supposed to be stored on their sides to keep the corks from drying out. Do they still breath through the wet cork?
If so, I guess bottle caps wouldn't work. I believe I can find a cork that fits a beer bottle. I suppose I'd then have to store the beer bottles on their side?
Yes. The corks allow it to breathe,but stay wet to keep from shrinking. I see no problems with capping it though, except for the pressure that can build up. I just want a good drinkable wine. Not out to win an award. Although my storage method allows for ample aging.
Awesome, thanks Wayne! I figure I don't expect to produce a wine that is any better than store bought screw-top varieties so I guess I'm fine to cap them. Plus then I can stand them up and store them in boxes. Maybe I'll cork some as an experiment and do a taste test in a year...
I'm not worried about the pressure since they've been "still" for a couple carboy racks. I hope that if I rack it few times without waking the yeast back up, I'm good to bottle without worry.
Disclaimer: I live in a small country that produces a lot of wine. If you traipse down to your local wine merchant and look at the offerings from down under, you won't see a cork in any of them -- not even the spendy bottles. Our winemakers (and the Aussies) stopped using corks entirely over a decade ago. The industry did lots of research, both into the chemistry of wine and the psychology of consumers, and found that corks are more of a detriment to the stability of the product...especially when export markets were at stake. The whole matter of bottle aging is mostly a guessing game, and it's not always much of an improvement. With screw caps, the blend at bottling time is tuned to make a wine that's drinkable now and will stay that way because there's no gas exchange going on.
The other effect is that now an entire ecosystem, the cork oak savannas of Spain and Portugal, is being bulldozed because the demand for cork has gone down so much in recent years. So do your part and put in a cork floor or something.