After the first rack

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So, I have a rhubarb wine that I racked from primary to secondary on 5/31. It looks kinda translucent (but not see-through) and I'm a little torn between racking it a second time to clear it, or letting it continue to clear on it's own without a second rack.

Anyone have any thoughts or ways I should determine that for myself?

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Jim Welch

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While I’ve never made a rhubarb wine it appears to me you have a bit too much ullage or headspace in that gallon jug. Might help to top off well into the neck with something, even boiled water.l if nothing better.
 
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Racking doesn't clear the wine -- it moves the wine off sediment. At this point, it doesn't appear to need racking.

What is the SG (specific gravity)? I assume it's done fermenting, but it's best to confirm.

I agree with Jim, I'd top the container up more. A light tasting white wine will do.

After that, patience. Give the wine a month or 2 to see what it does. If it's not clearing on its own, you may need a fining agent like Dual Fine (kieselsol & chitosan), bentonite, or Sparkaloid.
 
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While I’ve never made a rhubarb wine it appears to me you have a bit too much ullage or headspace in that gallon jug. Might help to top off well into the neck with something, even boiled water.l if nothing better.
Yeah, I'm painfully aware of that. I've been thinking of topping it off with some cheap white plonk.

Racking doesn't clear the wine -- it moves the wine off sediment. At this point, it doesn't appear to need racking.
Oh. TIL, thanks.

What is the SG (specific gravity)? I assume it's done fermenting, but it's best to confirm.
Last time I checked I think it may have been 0.995 or so

I agree with Jim, I'd top the container up more. A light tasting white wine will do.
Maybe a cheap white?

After that, patience. Give the wine a month or 2 to see what it does. If it's not clearing on its own, you may need a fining agent like Dual Fine (kieselsol & chitosan), bentonite, or Sparkaloid.
Yeah, I've thought about that. I'd like to try and avoid those if possible. But you're right, it may prove to be necessary.
 
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Maybe a cheap white?
As long as you'd drink it and enjoy it, it's fine.

Yeah, I've thought about that. I'd like to try and avoid those if possible. But you're right, it may prove to be necessary.
Keep in mind that Mother Nature and Dionysus are in charge, not you. ;)

Another thought is pectic enzyme. I wouldn't expect rhubarb to contain pectin, but 1/2 to 1 tsp pectic enyzme may do the trick.
 
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How far should I top it up?
It depends on the shape of the container and if the wine is actively degassing.

If the wine is actively degassing because there is a bit of fermentation left or within a few weeks of the end of fermentation, you can leave more space, especially if there is fermentation. Else if the wine gets excited you'll be cleaning crud out of the airlock.

If the container has a short neck, you'll need to top up higher to avoid excess head space. Generally I agree with Jim's 1", but realistically for your container you're probably fine with 2" to 3".

It also depends on how long you are bulk aging. For a few months? A larger head space may be fine. For a year+? Less is better.
 
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It depends on the shape of the container and if the wine is actively degassing.

If the wine is actively degassing because there is a bit of fermentation left or within a few weeks of the end of fermentation, you can leave more space, especially if there is fermentation. Else if the wine gets excited you'll be cleaning crud out of the airlock.

If the container has a short neck, you'll need to top up higher to avoid excess head space. Generally I agree with Jim's 1", but realistically for your container you're probably fine with 2" to 3
So 2-3" below the stopper?

It also depends on how long you are bulk aging. For a few months? A larger head space may be fine. For a year+? Less is better.
I'm planning bottling as soon as it clears tbh.
 
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So 2-3" below the stopper?
Yes

I'm planning bottling as soon as it clears tbh.
Don't be in too much of a hurry to bottle. You said you don't plan to use fining agents, so it's likely you'll get sediment in the bottle if you don't give the wine sufficient time. It can look perfectly clear yet may drop sediment.
 

BigDaveK

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Don't be in too much of a hurry to bottle. You said you don't plan to use fining agents, so it's likely you'll get sediment in the bottle if you don't give the wine sufficient time. It can look perfectly clear yet may drop sediment.
@amateur_brewer_1 this is excellent advice!!
I bottled my first strawberry wine after 4 months. Absolutely positively perfectly crystal clear...and a month later I had a little sediment in the bottles. Lesson learned.
 

Jonboy6692.ja

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So, I have a rhubarb wine that I racked from primary to secondary on 5/31. It looks kinda translucent (but not see-through) and I'm a little torn between racking it a second time to clear it, or letting it continue to clear on it's own without a second rack.

Anyone have any thoughts or ways I should determine that for myself?

View attachment 89977
Let it clear on its own. Rack it next when the fermentation stops, then every 3 months after that. I've made rhubarb wine for decades.
 

ChuckD

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Let it clear on its own. Rack it next when the fermentation stops, then every 3 months after that. I've made rhubarb wine for decades.
a lot of us would (and have) argue that the every three months is not a hard and fast rule. I rack into the secondary then again at three to four months. If it had cleared by that time I probably won’t rack again until the one-year mark, at which time I will decide on bottling or more aging.
 

Jonboy6692.ja

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a lot of us would (and have) argue that the every three months is not a hard and fast rule. I rack into the secondary then again at three to four months. If it had cleared by that time I probably won’t rack again until the one-year mark, at which time I will decide on bottling or more aging.
Three to four months U supp ou se us not much difference. I've made wine since 1972. I would not argue.
 

ChuckD

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Three to four months U supp ou se us not much difference. I've made wine since 1972. I would not argue.
I guess my point was “don’t stress about timetables”. Once it’s off the gross lees and cleared you can age for a long time without racking again. Some will go a year or more without racking. There are some interesting posts here about purposely leaving it on the lees and regularly mixing them back into the wine for an extended period of time. I think it’s called Sur Lee Aging… I haven’t tried it yet.

ETA- that method is for grape wines I believe. I don’t remember reading about it for fruit wines but who knows.
 

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