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Tinwakr

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I started fermentation of a gallon of apple wine a week ago.IMG_0484.JPG

Now a week later the fermentation has slowed considerably, when do I rack into another container?
 

BernardSmith

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Hi Tinwakr - and welcome.
When do you rack? When the gravity drops to about 1.005. Two reasons for racking - one is to remove the wine from the gross lees and the other is to make sure that there is no head-room between the top of the wine and the bottom of the bung. Ensuring that the secondary is filled right up into the neck means that you are inhibiting oxidation: during active fermentation the yeast produce enough CO2 to blanket the wine and so prevent air getting at the fruit. After active fermentation ceases that blanket gets very thin and eventually disappears and the space is taken up with air - and air contains oxygen and oxygen is not good for wine at this stage.
 

Tinwakr

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I just racked into another gallon jug just to get oak chips off but wasn’t quite finished fermentation (I didn’t want the oak flavour to be overpowering).
Thus the lees was left behind as well. Need advice as to what to do from this point, top up with juice and add more yeast or will fermentation get going on its own again after topping off to within 1-1/2” from stopper?
 

G259

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Yes, I would top up and let the floating stuff drop out. Maybe give it a few gentle nudges (or small spin), to get that stuff off of the sides, and start to sink. Gentle, you don't want to stir up what has already sank.
 

G259

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If you still have an active fermentation, then no. What is the SG, do you have a hydrometer (they're cheap)?
 

G259

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High starting SG, and as long as you see fairly rapid airlock movement, I think you're good to go. Depending on where you finish, you'll have either a sweet wine, or one with high alcohol. That is,if the yeast can handle high alcohol, what kind was it?
 

Tinwakr

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High starting SG, and as long as you see fairly rapid airlock movement, I think you're good to go. Depending on where you finish, you'll have either a sweet wine, or one with high alcohol. That is,if the yeast can handle high alcohol, what kind was it?
1118
 

G259

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Oh yeah, that'll work. I once made an apple wine at 16-17% using EC-1118. Lol! It wasn't fine wine, but it was HOT! I suppose everyone goes through that. BTW, some good calculators for wine: winecalc and fermcalc, both free and down-loadable.
 

Tinwakr

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Oh yeah, that'll work. I once made an apple wine at 16-17% using EC-1118. Lol! It wasn't fine wine, but it was HOT! I suppose everyone goes through that. BTW, some good calculators for wine: winecalc and fermcalc, both free and down-loadable.
Thank you!
 

BernardSmith

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The other thing is that you want to add oak - when you do - only after the wine is in the secondary and you are monitoring the taste for the oak. The idea being that depending on the quantity of oak and the depth of toast and the amount of flavor you are seeking you may need to rack the wine off the oak after a week or two or three or... Adding oak to the primary reduces all control you have over the amount of oakiness the oak can impart - in part because normally you want to rack off the lees when gravity drops close to 1.005 or thereabouts and in part because the action of the yeast producing CO2 will blow off flavors that would otherwise remain in the secondary after active fermentation has ceased and in part because the alcohol in the secondary is better suited to extract flavors than the water in the primary, alcohol being a far better solvent than water.
 

Tinwakr

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The other thing is that you want to add oak - when you do - only after the wine is in the secondary and you are monitoring the taste for the oak. The idea being that depending on the quantity of oak and the depth of toast and the amount of flavor you are seeking you may need to rack the wine off the oak after a week or two or three or... Adding oak to the primary reduces all control you have over the amount of oakiness the oak can impart - in part because normally you want to rack off the lees when gravity drops close to 1.005 or thereabouts and in part because the action of the yeast producing CO2 will blow off flavors that would otherwise remain in the secondary after active fermentation has ceased and in part because the alcohol in the secondary is better suited to extract flavors than the water in the primary, alcohol being a far better solvent than water.
Thank you.

I am as green as green gets as far as wine making goes. I appreciate all advice here. Makes sense to do the flavouring at the second stage.
 

BernardSmith

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You are very welcome.
There is some truth in adding flavorings to the secondary but I think that really applies more if you might use the alcohol to extract flavors and if those flavors are not perhaps playing a central but a supporting role. I think you may want to ferment fruit in the primary although here too you MAY want to add some more of the fruit to the secondary. There is a perceptibly different flavor to fruit depending when you add them to the mix,
 

Sean

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Started a batch of hard apple cider yesterday. Got 6L of apple juice from the store yesterday. I only sweetened to 1.070 though. Intend to ferment until dry then put in some fliptops and carbonate.

I didnt realise that the sugar was using to sweeten had some sweetner in it. So will have to see what does. Hopefully it wont ruin the batch.
 

Tinwakr

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I didn’t add any acid blend or tannins, are they required and when can they be added?
 

BernardSmith

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Others may have a different opinion but acid blend you want to add only if your wines need additional acidity to give the wine some more zing. Yeast really does not need any acidity to ferment. Quite the opposite - too much acidity stresses the yeast. So best to add any acidity after fermentation has ended. pH is sorta kinda critical for preservation. The lower the pH (within reason) the more shelf life your wine will have and the longer it can age (and the less K-meta you need to add to inhibit oxidation) but taste has little to do with pH . pH is a measure of the strength of the acids in the wine. You can have a lot of strong acids or a little and the pH would be the same. There is another metric that wine makers use and that is TA or titratable acidity - and that is a measure of the amount of acids in solution. Now you can measure this with a kit and generally speaking most wines taste better when the TA is around 6g/L But your taste buds are a good tool for this too. Does your wine have enough of that zinginess to make it "sparkle" or does it taste dull? Like salt, you should only add acidity if your wine really needs it.
Tannins are like gluten in bread (I think), they provide the structure, the form, the richness of a wine. If a fruit is not known to be high in tannin, I would add some. I add tannin to the primary. Tannins are the mouth drying quality that some fruits have. Unripe persimmons have tannins by the bushel, as do green bananas, and chestnuts (and chestnuts are one source of tannin).
 

DKing

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I would like others' opinion on this:
I am new to wine making and did a 2 gallon batch of apple wine from homemade cider (a tree in our yard). Sweetened with combo of sugar, brown sugar and honey.
Hydro reading SG 1.120 (28 brix)
Lalvin EC-1118 yeast.
I also really wanted to go with no chemicals etc. Unfortunately I boiled my cider to kill natural yeast which caused a release of pectin. So I had a cloud issue. I did not use fining agents. When all said and done, I used potassium sorbate then back sweetened with a bit of honey and sugar. After bottling and letting it sit for a month, I opened a bottle to taste about 1 oz. It was better than expected. I refrigerated the rest of the bottle and left on a business trip for a week. When I came back it had cleared completely. I had a beautiful golden elixer... And it was delicious. I then refrigerated all the other bottles, let them clear then rebottled because of all the sediment.
My question are: Is this a legitimate way to clear wine? Would this work for other wines? Was I just lucky? Any other comments would be great too.
 

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