I am using 5 gal. plastic water bottles purchased new from Target as plastic fermenters. I have had several batches of wine (strawberry/symphony) and just strawberry with a “metallic” twang taste. I have racked off the sediment and was wondering if it was a plastic taste from the water bottles. I noticed that you and other companies do not carry plastic 5 gal “carboys”.
It is just my nature to try and pinch pennies whenever possible. I was just wondering if my penny pinching is hurting my wine making.
Good Morning Don,
Using a plastic container for fermenting your wine is of no issue at all, just so long as the plastic is food-grade. I’m sure that the water carboys you purchased will work fine as plastic fermenters.
Also just to let you know, we have recently started to carry plastic carboys. We have 3 and 6 gallon sizes. These carboys are made from the same type of plastic used to make 2 liter soda pop bottles.
Going back to the metallic taste in your wine, this is normally caused by leaving the wine on the sediment for too long, particularly after the yeast have ran out of sugars to consume. The yeast will continue their ravaging consumption by eating the dead yeast cells that lay at the bottom. The metallic taste is actually the unique enzymes the yeast will produce to breakdown these dead cells. This is a process called autolysis.
To prevent this from happening in the future you should rack your wine in a timely fashion. Usually this means moving the wine off the sediment sometime around the 5th day of fermentation into a clean secondary fermentation, something like the plastic carboys discussed earlier.
The wine should be racked off the sediment again after the fermentation has completed, and than finely one more time right before bottling. If you plan on aging your wine in carboys before bottling, an additional racking may be necessary.
Happy Wine Making,
Customer Service at E. C. Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.