So I've been a bit lax in my blogging of the experiment due to a family emergency, but I have been progressing according to schedule on the wine front.
On Days 2 and 3, I left the control batch and Tim batch alone as the instructions indicate. Fermentation was not foamy, as I usually see with Winexperts kits, but lots of movement and little bubbles. The Jack batch I had to stir daily, and remove the cheesecloth closure and attach an airlock at the end of Day 2, which I did.
Due to circumstances beyond my control, I did not manage to rack the Tim batch into a carboy on Day 5. However, Tim mentions in his article regarding the extended time frame that his Day 5 transfer to the secondary is arbitrary, so I decided it would be okay to transfer both the Control batch and the Tim batch to the secondary on Day 7.
On Day 7, the specific gravity (SG) of the control was 0.996, and the Tim batch was 0.997. High time to get those wines to the secondary! Interestingly enough, the Tim batch filled up more of its carboy than the control batch. This leads me to believe that the 23L marking on my primary is incorrect. To compensate for this inconsistency, I've decided to top up all the wines with water, something I don't normally do. However, Tim Vandergrift, who is involved with the making of the wine kits, says they make them 4% stronger than necessary, so that topping up with water is alright.
As for the Jack batch, the SG was at 0.998 on Day 7, so I began to add my room temperature one gallon of reserve must at a rate of 1 quart every 15 minutes.
Beyond that, there hasn't been a lot of activity in the experiment. I will be beginning to degas, stabilize and clear the control batch in a couple days, and 5 days later, begin the same on the Time batch. For the Jack batch, I don't have to do anything until Day 28. This means a lot more contact with the gross lees, and the oak is all still in there, although chips usually give up their flavor very quickly.
The Tim and the Control batch visually look the same at this point, but the Jack Keller deviates dramatically. It's got foam on top, and is a much more murky color--and thus lighter in color--than the other two, which are very inky. The picture below doesn't quite illustrate the difference, but one wouldn't think they were the same wine started at the same time.
More to report in a couple days as I begin degassing.