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Bulk aging vs. bottle aging

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Are there any major differences? Are there pros and cons for each?

From my recollection of geometry (and the results of my google search :h), it would seem that bulk aging reduces the surface area of the wine exposed to air (i.e. a 6-gal carboy with a 1.75" diameter ~ 2.41 sq.in. versus 30 bottles with 0.75" diameters ~ 13.25 sq.in. total. All are approximations.).

Does anyone have any experience or opinions on this?

Thanks in advance!

Cody
 

gonzo46307

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The larger volume of liquid is less likely to experience temperature changes vs. smaller bottles. If you have a temp controlled environment to store your wine, it probably won't make a difference. There's also an issue with de-gassing, bulk aging for a year will release more gas then bottling right away, unless you vacuum de-gas.

I'm still a noob, so, the more seasoned experts might have a better explanation.

Peace,
Bob.
 
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.).

Does anyone have any experience or opinions on this?
i have both. anyhow, facts are that it will allow for more racking of sediment and when it is bottled-it each bottle will be closer to uniform in taste. now my opinion is that the flavor will be better due to more total melding of taste, very little air and allowing more of the bad stuff to settle out.

only problem with it is that you will need that carboy eventually or have to buy more and if something goes wrong, such as dropping it, all the wine is lost.

when we moved, we bulk aged 20 gallons of wine for 8 months. just bottled it 4 weeks ago and put the last half bottle in the frig. (common practice for us). tasted much better than when we backsweetened. in fact, it seemed some of the small off-flavor had totally vanished.
 

Wade E

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There are a few things that get done during bulk aging that cant be done while in wine bottles. 1 main thing is the additional clearing instead of filtering or getting a dusting on the bottles. Another is teh size of the batch with unstable temps as its much more difficult to change the temp on 6 gallons of wine vrs. 750 ml. Another thing is the devlopement of the wine. While aging, small molecule chains eventually form long chains making a wine more complex and the bigger the batch is the longer the chain can get giving your wine more depth.
 

Mike

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How significant are any differences between the final product bulk aged vs. bottle conditioned? Would they even be noticeable to anyone but a sommelier?
 

Luc

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I never bulk age. I always want my carboys free as soon as possible.

However I once read the following similarity.
Imagine a swimming pool in the sun in the summer. Jump in and the water may be chilly.
Now next to the swimming pool there is a small puddle filled with the same water. Put your foot in and it is warm.
I imagine anyone of us has experienced something like this in their life.

Now compare this to bottle aging (the small puddle) and bulk aging (the swimming pool). The temperature changes will be much larger in the bottle as in bulk.

However.........
There is always a however.

The changes might not be as significant as you think. In fact when comparing the bottle to a one gallon size carboy, there will be very few differences. A one gallon batch is just to small.

Now when discussing 30 gallon or more in bulk there might be differences.

I think the only time you would notice the differences is when you would make 1 6 gallon batch. Split it up and let one half bulk age and the other bottle age....

Now there is an experiment worth trying.......

Luc
 

Tom

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If you are just starting to drink wine then no. If you been drinking for a while YES. There is s big difference when you have a nice clear glass of wine compared to one rushed and not cleared. The taste will be noticeable.
 

Mike

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I age my wine in my basement which is stone and, thus, the temperature holds basically constant. So I don't think that would have much effect. And since I basically make red wine exclusively, clearing (if we're talking about visual clearing) would be a moot point. Like Luc, I don't want to keep a carboy idle for an extended period of time, plus the idea of something happening to the entire 6 gallons rather than a single bottle scares me. If the effect is minimal at best, I think I'll bottle condition.
 

Wade E

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Here is 1 more thing to consider! Wine will age faster in bottles vrs. bulk. If youre trying to get the wine aged to drink earlier the bottle will get it there faster as smaller amounts will change temp faster making the wine breath through the cork and get small amounts of 02. On the downside of this youre wine will age faster and and go bad quicker. You make the choice as to what fits you best.
 

Mike

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As an impatient person, that sounds like a benefit!
 
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Here is 1 more thing to consider! Wine will age faster in bottles vrs. bulk. If youre trying to get the wine aged to drink earlier the bottle will get it there faster as smaller amounts will change temp faster making the wine breath through the cork and get small amounts of 02. On the downside of this youre wine will age faster and and go bad quicker.
true, except the part about through the cork. no air goes through. it goes around and is squeezed out when you put it in the corker and push it in. the corker literally squashes some of the cork's cells and trapped air inside it escapes. a cork is too dense to allow o2 through it. ever notice the dark stains in paths on the side of the cork? it's pressure changes due to temp changes that move the cork in and out. that movement allows for some o2 to sneak between the cork and glass. this creates those stains.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17542613
read "cork scientists"
http://www.wine-pages.com/features/amorim-cork.htm

just a little cork lesson there. :D
 

Wade E

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Okay we can quote stuff all day as I just looked at three sites saying that 02 is poulled through the corks along with linera pull through the glass/cok joint and this argument has been going as long as plastic vrs. glass carboys. Either way wine expands and air does mange to get in and out somehow more or less depending on the structuarl integrity of the cork. Good articles though and thanks for sharing. The funny thing is I found contradicting info from the same person as one of your links! :)

http://www.corkfacts.com/publications/2007jun21pge02.html
http://www.zagat.com/Blog/Detail.aspx?SCID=42&BLGID=8214
http://www.rosehillwinecellars.com/3rsV2/extra.php?id=39
 

gonzo46307

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It's all on the internet...it's gotta be true!!!

:)

Peace,
Bob
 
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The funny thing is I found contradicting info from the same person as one of your links! :)
what was that?

also, the wine-press article is more up to date than the articles you've posted. to add to that, asking a wine maker which is better won't give any solid evidense on anything. they just don't have the proper equipment to tell which stopper is better. i'm not posting on "bulk aging," but bottle aging and stoppers.

A quality cork is a great stopper and probably best. it just breathes "non-atmospheric" oxygen and oxygen from glass/cork interface movement.

bulk aging is probably better, then using a quality cork and finally storing it in a cooler (50~60 F'ish degree constant) room/cellar.
 

Wade E

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Originally Posted by Wade E View Post
The funny thing is I found contradicting info from the same person as one of your links!

what was that?

Just saying that you posted a link from someone from this Cork making company which gave contradicting info to the post I did from the same company he works for. Also one of my links is actually this months article. Its like any argument though as if looking for a specific answer most of the time you can prove what you are looking for either way and choose to go with the one you prefer. I believe that if wine only breathed just that little bit through the sides and just the air contained n the cork then we wouldnt have so many bad wines out there that were stored for fairly short periods. I also know that there are many possibilities for the failure of the wines. The war will go on! :) Just out of curiosity, do you believe water carboys are 02 permeable?
 

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