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I have made bottles of red wine from grape juice kits before with great results.

However, I am pretty lazy and if it's possible to avoid cleaning/sterilising/filling/corking 30 bottles on brew day then I would love to do so.

I have a couple of top-tap King Kegs I use for real ale brewing, along with a couple of cheap bottom-tap barrels.

Is it possible to make decent red wine in kegs rather than bottles? I assume bottom-tap would be easier as I don't want to carbonate it.

What should I watch out for when trying this?

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    You could use some of those collapsible water bottles. This would give you something similar to the boxed wines where as you use it, the bag gets smaller. This prevents air from getting introduced into the wine and you can dispose of it rather than having to clean it afterwards (nice feature for lazy brewers). – Steve Jan 21 '15 at 16:37
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It's absolutely possible to do so. The main thing you have to watch out for is oxidation.

A bottle of wine, once opened, is going to be consumed fast enough for oxidation to not be a problem. A cask/barrel will not (unless you're a true champ at drinking wine). The trick is to introduce an inert atmosphere above the wine as it's dispensed at low enough pressure to not dissolve too much of the gas in the wine. Wineries using this practice during aging employ very-low-pressure nitrogen gas systems (see some examples here). Nitrogen's not really accessible to most homebrewers, so you'd have to make do with a CO2 setup at low pressures to do the same thing.

With bottom-tap kegs, you could try either running an existing CO2 regulator as low as it can go, or using something like a cask-breather, typically used for preventing oxidation when serving cask or real-ale style.

With the top-tap kegs, you'd have to see how much pressure you need to dispense. If it's too high, you might pick up carbonation in your wine. So this might not be a great option.

Hope that helps out a bit.

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  • Is CO2 just as good as Nitrogen for this? Why would one pick one over the other? – Landon Dec 28 '15 at 19:15
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I've successfully made wine in corny kegs and had the wine keep for many years. I use Nitrogen to pressurize the keg, which doesn't dissolve into the beer and provides an inert atmosphere.

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  • What is the difference between Nitrogen and CO2 in this context for kegs? They are both inert (no oxygen). Why does everybody use Nitrogen? – Landon Dec 28 '15 at 19:14
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    I said it in the answer - because Nitrogen is much less soluble than CO2 - only use CO2 if you want fizzy wine. – mdma Dec 30 '15 at 10:05
  • Ok, got it. Aside from the higher carbonation of CO2, is there any other difference? Is the quality/safety of the wine itself the same? Will it degrade in any manner the wine if it sits on CO2 for a year or so? My interest is to have a small CO2 keg to top off my bigger barrels; the wine isn't consumed right then, so the fizziness would dissipate naturally. – Landon Dec 30 '15 at 18:25

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