Bottle aging vs. carboy

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JohnW

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I have 2 different sizes of carboys 23 litre and 11.5, when my wine is ready to bottle I rack it from the 23 litre carboy in to 15 bottles and the rest goes into a 11.5 litre carboy to age for at lest 6 months along with the 15 bottles! After 6 months I will bottle the 11.5 litre carboy and sample it along side of a bottle that I bottled 6 months before! and the bottled stuff tastes much better then the wine that came out of the 11.5 carboy. Wine kit company’s will confirm that bottles age faster then carboys.
I do the same thing, bottling some now and putting the remainder in a 3 gal carboy for later. To date I haven't done a side-by-side taste test of the two but now I'm going to have to give it a try. Thanks for the info.
 

Old Corker

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Chilled red wine, first had that in Spain two years ago and was surprisingly nice, broke with tradition but with the heat it worked
We have a small wine cooler we use as a serving fridge. It is two zone and I keep the red bottles at 55-57F and the whites at 46 (lowest it will go). I like my red wine with this slight chill over room temp. Although I won't turn down room temperature red wine :r
 

JeffA

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From what I have learned about bulk (carboy) aging vs bottle is that most home wine makers do not filter their wines, me included. You can look at a carboy all day long and think it is outstandingly clear. So you bottle it. Then you come back six or nine months later to get a bottle and share with your friends only to find out that you should have waited a little long to bottle because the is a bit of very fine sediment in the bottle. If you go ahead and age in a clean carboy for another six to twelve months. It will make a drastic difference in your finished wine. If you use an airlock on your bulk aging. Just make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn't dry out from vaporization. I also recommend changing it out with a clean airlock monthly. If you use a solid bung for your bulk aging. Just make sure your wine is no longer fermenting. Otherwise you risk popping the bung out and you not know it and most likely by the time you discover it. The wine is ruined. I usually use a combination. Keep an airlock on it for about three or four months (at least). Then switch to a solid bung.
 

Brian55

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From what I have learned about bulk (carboy) aging vs bottle is that most home wine makers do not filter their wines, me included. You can look at a carboy all day long and think it is outstandingly clear. So you bottle it. Then you come back six or nine months later to get a bottle and share with your friends only to find out that you should have waited a little long to bottle because the is a bit of very fine sediment in the bottle. If you go ahead and age in a clean carboy for another six to twelve months. It will make a drastic difference in your finished wine. If you use an airlock on your bulk aging. Just make sure to keep an eye on it so it doesn't dry out from vaporization. I also recommend changing it out with a clean airlock monthly. If you use a solid bung for your bulk aging. Just make sure your wine is no longer fermenting. Otherwise you risk popping the bung out and you not know it and most likely by the time you discover it. The wine is ruined. I usually use a combination. Keep an airlock on it for about three or four months (at least). Then switch to a solid bung.
This is the way: Silicone Stopper (Breathable) - Carboy | MoreWine
Item # FE479 and morewinewaking.com if the link doesn't work.
 

DizzyIzzy

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Non-winemaking friends are amazed at the amount of wine I make ... until I mention that if 1 bottle per week is opened, a 5 gallon carboy (2 cases) is consumed in less than 6 months. [I mention this off-n-on in the Beginners forum, as new winemakers may not have realized it yet.]

One friend said, "but I don't drink that much wine." My response was, "how much Scotch do you drink in a week?"

The light bulb turned on brightly at that moment, as he often has a shot or 2 of Scotch when arriving home after work. That carboy would last him 3-4 months if he was drinking wine ...

😋

I make 1 or 2 batches (5 US gallon) of white per year. For my needs, this seems to work out. I'm currently debating getting a Gewurztraminer frozen juice bucket, as I have less than 2 cases of white left, from 2018 and 2019. As @JohnW mentioned, storage is an issue, and at this moment so is bulk aging. I have to re-arrange my barrels to make space before doing anything new.
When the weather breaks I have hired a local Amish carpenter to build an extension onto my garage for winemaking storage. Think outside the box for additional storage space. LOL..................................DizzyIzzy
 

winemaker81

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One other thing that nobody mentioned between carboy versus bottle aging is that if you bottle your wine it will age faster then leaving it in the carboy! bigger volume in the carboy which takes more time to change its complexity, then in a smaller container like a bottle.
Smaller quantities are supposed to age faster.

Another thing to keep in mind is that not all wines need a year of aging. A lot of whites and lighter reds may be perfectly drinkable at 6 months. Besides, it's a personal choice when to drink a wine. If anyone likes a heavy red at 6 months? Cool. Enjoy it!

You can look at a carboy all day long and think it is outstandingly clear. So you bottle it. Then you come back six or nine months later to get a bottle and share with your friends only to find out that you should have waited a little long to bottle because the is a bit of very fine sediment in the bottle.
@JeffA is correct. This can does happen.

This is an area where there are many personal choices. Filtering, fining, and waiting are all valid choices, and each has its own pluses and minuses.

Filtering and fining agents clear the wine, and it can be bottled in as little as 4 weeks in the case of low end kits. Yet each has side effects, e.g., bentonite can remove up to 15% color in red wines, so it's a trade off.

Giving the wine more time to clear mostly works, but some apparently clear wines will drop sediment in the bottle, even after a year+ of bulk aging. This is another trade off, e.g., no side effects vs chance of dropping sediment.

I'm not consistent in my approach to clearing wine. In 2019 I used a light dose of bentonite on all reds, which worked well and had no visible effect upon color. For the 2020, so far I haven't added any fining agents, other than kieselsol/chitosan on the 2nd run that developed H2S. When I rack the barrels just prior to the 2021 wines going in, I will evaluate sediment in the barrels, and decide if I need a fining agent in carboys before bottling. I'd like to no use a fining agent, but I'm keeping an open mind until I see my results.
 

JohnW

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@JeffA is correct. This can does happen.

This is an area where there are many personal choices. Filtering, fining, and waiting are all valid choices, and each has its own pluses and minuses.

Filtering and fining agents clear the wine, and it can be bottled in as little as 4 weeks in the case of low end kits. Yet each has side effects, e.g., bentonite can remove up to 15% color in red wines, so it's a trade off.

Giving the wine more time to clear mostly works, but some apparently clear wines will drop sediment in the bottle, even after a year+ of bulk aging. This is another trade off, e.g., no side effects vs chance of dropping sediment.

I'm not consistent in my approach to clearing wine. In 2019 I used a light dose of bentonite on all reds, which worked well and had no visible effect upon color. For the 2020, so far I haven't added any fining agents, other than kieselsol/chitosan on the 2nd run that developed H2S. When I rack the barrels just prior to the 2021 wines going in, I will evaluate sediment in the barrels, and decide if I need a fining agent in carboys before bottling. I'd like to no use a fining agent, but I'm keeping an open mind until I see my results.
For kit wines which provide bentonite, kieselsol and chitosan I still end up with some sediment, especially in the last couple of bottles. I generally look to see if there is any before I open it. If so I slowly pour the glasses so as to leave most of the sediment in the bottle with a little wine. If they do end up with some in their glass I tell them it is rich with antioxidants or some such thing.
 

WillShill

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When the weather breaks I have hired a local Amish carpenter to build an extension onto my garage for winemaking storage. Think outside the box for additional storage space. LOL..................................DizzyIzzy
I hope you level with your Amish carpenter as the purpose of your extension, with the fermenting of the devil’s buttermilk 😀
 

winemaker81

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For kit wines which provide bentonite, kieselsol and chitosan I still end up with some sediment, especially in the last couple of bottles. I generally look to see if there is any before I open it. If so I slowly pour the glasses so as to leave most of the sediment in the bottle with a little wine. If they do end up with some in their glass I tell them it is rich with antioxidants or some such thing.
Rack more carefully. The last couple of bottles of one of my batches lasted 7 years, with no sediment. 3 to 5 years without sediment is common for me.

My first racking from primary to secondary is dirty. My purpose is to get the wine off the gross lees without wasting too much.

The second racking is cleaner, targeting 99%. If I get a bit of sediment? Oh, well. Next racking will address that.

After that, my rackings are clean. I pour the light sludge into a bottle and refrigerate for a week, then pour off the sediment.
 
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Handy Turnip

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Yes, I follow a similar principle and haven't had any issue with any sediment in bottles (although I haven't any that are that old to be honest!). I play it really safe on later rackings to make it clean as possible, and then pour the excess into a big kilner jar which I then leave to settle for a week.
 

pillswoj

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My bigger red kits I tend to get sediment in the bottle after a couple of years, this is with bulk aging and racking for a year. I have been wondering if it is due to the higher iron content in my water but have not as of yet gotten around to doing a controlled experiment to verify.
 

DizzyIzzy

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I hope you level with your Amish carpenter as the purpose of your extension, with the fermenting of the devil’s buttermilk 😀
Actually, we have had a couple of wine tastings. He is definitely interested in learning. For Christmas I bought him a hydrometer.................DizzyIzzy
 

DizzyIzzy

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My bigger red kits I tend to get sediment in the bottle after a couple of years, this is with bulk aging and racking for a year. I have been wondering if it is due to the higher iron content in my water but have not as of yet gotten around to doing a controlled experiment to verify.
I have well water also which is why when a receipe calls for water I purchase bottled spring water from Walmart, thus no issues...................DizzyIzzy
 

JohnW

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I have well water also which is why when a receipe calls for water I purchase bottled spring water from Walmart, thus no issues...................DizzyIzzy
Even though we are on the county water supply I prefer to use bottled water. When I don't have it on hand I use the fridge filtered water. Not sure if it is any better but I feel better about it.
 

winemaker81

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My bigger red kits I tend to get sediment in the bottle after a couple of years, this is with bulk aging and racking for a year. I have been wondering if it is due to the higher iron content in my water but have not as of yet gotten around to doing a controlled experiment to verify.
Another possibility is tannin, as reds can drop tannins as they age.
 
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