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Bulk Aging - do I bother with clarifying agents

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milant

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I apologize for starting yet another bulk aging thread, but I couldn't easily find the answer to my question. I've made about half a dozen wine batches by now, but I have bottle aged them all. I'm starting an Eclipse Merlot kit with grape skins and I figure I may bulk age this one.

My question is simple - should I add the clarifying agent? Or should I just leave it after adding sorbate and k-meta and let gravity take care of the rest. I know it's complicated question that involves many factors, but all other things being equal, how long can I expect it would take for wine to clear (and degas) naturally.

Thanks!!!
 

dcbrown73

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It's all about what you want. You may just want to give it a try and see if you like the outcome. Sometimes trial and error is required to find what you're most comfortable with.

Some only add bentonite, others use both bentonite and the chitosan. Some choose to use nothing but father time.

I prefer to use both the benontie and chitosan and then bulk age my whites at least six months and my reds at least 9-12 months prior to bottling.

If you use nothing, you are more likely to have sediment drop in the bottle. I would like to hear from someone who used nothing on a white wine. Did you end up with sediment dropping? Did you end up having to filter the white?

Also, do you plan on filtering? Some filter whites, but not reds. I use both as noted and so far haven't had any requirements to filter. Even my white wines are crystal clear with no sediment without filtering when I use both and bulk age for at least six months.
 
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cmason1957

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If it were me (and this is what I did on the last many kits I have done), I wouldn't add the sorbate at all, but I would add the clarifying agent(s). But, I wouldn't add those until about 5 months or so in.

This is a Merlot kit, so it will ferment dry and no f-Pac for backsweetening, so no need for Potassium Sorbate. I don't think the clarifying agents strip much of anything out.
 

DiscoStu

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I bulk age all my wines 6 months to a year. I never use clarifying agents either. I also rack my wines every when ever there enough lees. The only time I ever had problems with anything was blending wines right before bottling. And some type of haze developing within a week. (Pectin maybe). Sorbate prevents fermentation. I rack sorbate k meta sweeten. Let sit a month then bottle.
Degassing is a different story I bulk aged a BlackBerry wine for a year and still had to degas it before bottling.
 

StBlGT

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Degassing is a must when doing a kit. If you don't, you will 100% have a gassy wine. Also, like the above poster stated, leave out the potassium sorbate.....you're not backsweetening. If it were me and not going to use clearing agents, i would at least use the bentonite.....leave out everything else (clearing agent wise....not talking kmeta).
 
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dcbrown73

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I agree about the sorbate. If you ferment dry(0.992 or thereabouts) and do not back sweeten. Definitely do not add the sorbate. It adds a somewhat funky flavor to the wine.

If you do back sweeten; you will need it, but it sort of blends in with the sweetness which helps cover it up.
 
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