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Advice on when to 1st rack

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simon

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Hi there, I am currently fermenting my first ever strawberry wine and it is nearing completion of the secondary fermentation.

It's been fermenting for a total of 3 weeks and was transferred to a glass demijon (1 gallon) after 5 days. The starting gravity was 1086, was transferred into secondary at 1020 and is now at 992.
It's throwing a bubble through the airlock every 20 seconds and there are visible signs of tiny bubbles around the neck of the demijon.

There is a firm sedement at the bottom of the demijon of about 1/4 inch, yet there is a haze above that of about 3 inches. The rest of the wine is showing signs of clearing.

So, the hydrometer is saying it's stopped, i.e. stuck at 992, the wine is telling me it's still going, i.e. bubbling. If I rack now I'd have to take the 3 inches of haze with the wine, otherwise I'll lose too much.

So I guess my question is should I rack now and take the haze with it, or wait longer to see if the bubbling stops and the haze clears into a firmer sediment?

Thanks in advance

Simon
 

Green Mountains

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First off, welcome aboard.

By the info you give it sounds like it's been in secondary for just over two weeks. It seems like it's going just fine. I'd leave it under airlock and let more sediment fall out. The bubbling that you're getting is probably CO2. The strawberry that I've made was pretty gassy.

Give it time and see if that hazy layer drops out. If not in a few weeks rack it again and probably the action of the racking will mix things up and help that layer drop out.
 

Tom

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Darrens right. Its just gassing. Since its dry you can go down two different roads.
1. add meta, sorbate and clearing agents and let it clear
2. add meta, sorbate and f-pac and/or backsweeten then add clearing agents.
 

simon

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Thanks for both your quick responses, feels nice to have somebody to talk to!

I do intend to sweeten, but had planned to do on the last racking, adding sulphite/sorbate at the same time.

I think my dilemma is whether to give it more time for the sediment to form before the 1st racking as you read differing opinions about how quickly to get it off the lees.

It sounds liket he consenus here is to leave it a bit longer before 1st racking to give haze a chance to clear more. I think then the best approach is to give it a further week and review then. This would leave me at 4 weeks total fermentation (1 week primary, 3 weeks secondary).
 

Tom

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I hope you are not planning on bottling that soon. Fruit wines will take longer and require multiple rackings to clear.
Some bottle @ 3 months. I go at least 6 months.

Since this is only 1 gallon and its your 1st I understand that you want to bottle asap.

Now if you like it make 6 gallons next time. I feel its alot of work for maybe 4 bottles. You will have alot of sediment.
 

simon

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So I'm anticipating around 3 rackings, with the last one being the addition of final sweetening, although will obviously if it needs more then so be it...

Rough plan would be to leave it around 4 weeks between rackings. So my anticipated timeline would be 1st rack - August, 2nd rack - September, 3rd Rack October, with a view to bottle at beginning November.

This is just a rough timescale in my mind, if it takes longer then it takes longer, it won't be drunk until at least next summer.
 

simon

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Should have mentioned previously, it a first time go to learn some lessons for a big batch of blackberry, some pear and some elderberry for later in the year. As strawberries are available early it seemed like a good choice to learn a few lessons for I committed to a bigger quantity...
 
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Lurker

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For a first wine, it is always more difficult to wait. On my first I did not wait long enough. You must try to be patient. Go out and buy a similar wine and drink it very slowly. When you finish that wine, buy another. Give your wine no less than 6 months, a year is best. You'll appreciate it better. It will be better. :b
 

winemaker_3352

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It sounds gassy - my strawberry wine was very gassy as well - when it is done degassing - more sediment will fall out. CO2 keeps particles suspended in you wine.

If it has only been 2 weeks - i would wait another week or two - and rack - possibly even splash rack to push some CO2 out if it is still bubbling.

at that time - add k-meta and sorbate - wait a few days and backsweeten.
 

Venster

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How spooky- I was going to post exactly same question. No need to now... And if you don't mind me hijacking the thread I have a question ..

My readings give 14.4 % alcohol- is this too high or normal for a fruit wine?
 

simon

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So is the concensus to leave it a while for the CO2 to release before first racking?
 

winemaker_3352

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I would - now if it has been 3-4 weeks and still bubbling away - and you have half inch to and inch sediment - splash rack - and let it go.
 

simon

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Thanks to your previous advice I waited about 10 days extra before racking. I racked last night for the first time, adding one Camden tablet to my gallon.
I definately made one mistake, and sucked up some sediment from the original jar (There was a lot!). When I looked at it this morning there were the odd Strawberry bits floating around at the top of the jar. I'm wondering, the next time I rack should I just pass through a fine sieve?
Still loads of sediment in it...
 

Tom

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Did you add clearing agent yet? If not do it and degass. then wait 3-4 weeks after adding before you rack. The biggest thing is do not rack to often w/ fruit wines. Rather wait longer so the sediment becomes firm. This may take months.
 

simon

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I didn't add clearing agent Tom, I was hoping not to and allow wine to clear naturally. It's going to get left for a long time now, so I think I'd rather see how it clears first. However I forget to say that I did degass it when I racked it last night.
 

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