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Bulk aging vs. Bottle aging

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Mschooley53

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Can someone tell me which is the preferred method of aging?

I am brewing some Apfelwein and I read to let it age for at least a couple months. Can I just let me primary sit for these months and then bottle?
 

mikewatkins727

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Every several months you should rack the wine off any lees present.

There is some questions about bulk vs bottle aging. IMHO bulk is better, the wine is less susceptible to temperature swings and heat being in a larger volume.
 

Mschooley53

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Every several months you should rack the wine off any lees present.

There is some questions about bulk vs bottle aging. IMHO bulk is better, the wine is less susceptible to temperature swings and heat being in a larger volume.
So all I need to do is leave it in an air locked carboy and rack off the lees until I'm ready to bottle?

Do I need to add any sulfites when I'm racking?
 

Scooter68

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Yes, Airlock and rack off the lees before bottling. If you are going to be back-sweetening it you will also need to stabilize it and that would probably be the last thing you do before you back-sweeten.

The advantage to bulk aging is that IF anything happens to the wine to cause you to either dump it (Very RARE) or want to adjust the flavor in some way, you can readily do that to the wine with no wasted corks, labels etc. Once you bottle it, most folks don't want to undo that to adjust the wine.

I currently have about 5 bottles of Applewine that have flakes on the bottom of them because I rushed it when it wasn't truly clear or ready for bottling. Interestingly that batch was also in 2 other 4 liter carboys and those have no issues. All from the same batch but somewhere along the way something changed and that one carboy contained something that wasn't quite ready to drop out.... until after I bottled it. (About 7-8 months into aging.)
 
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JohnT

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Yup, what he said, but I would also add that you should be sure to top up your carboy after each racking.
 

Floandgary

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The advantage of bulk (carboy) aging is the ready access to the entire batch for regular rack-overs, flavor adjustments, degassing, etc.,etc. Some prefer to see the fruits of their efforts in bottles and racked. Any taste or sediment issues can be addressed upon uncorking and using the decanter or maybe a 1 gallon carboy to accommodate adjustments at drinking time!
 

Scooter68

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I was searching for this recently myself and came across this article, a good read.

https://winemakermag.com/58-aging-your-kit-wine-kits
The article ignore or forgets one major point or shall I say they gloss over it. Clearing is one of the major parts of aging the wine. Some wines will take several months to clear and that's all part of the aging process.

Secondly while they mention it, as the wine ages its character changes and a wine that you might have felt needed sweetening at 3 months might need nothing at 12 months. Once you bottle it you have pretty much sealed it away "AS IS" with no chance to adjust it or correct any deficiencies it may have or develop as it ages further.

Rapid bottling is fine for rapid consumption. Especially if the additives or contents of the wine are not stable and prone to changing the flavor negatively over time. That's one of the drawbacks to adding sorbate to wine - in the long term sorbate can impart a detectable flavor that increases over time. SO by bulk aging between 9-12 months BEFORE stabilizing with K-meta and Sorbate, you reduce the potential impact on the flavor of your wine. That's assuming you are going to back-sweeten your wine.

And finally - Big commercial wineries are now moving toward wines that are shipped to store immediately after bottling with no aging time in the bottle other than the time in transit, on the store shelf and on the consumers shelf. Long term aging of wine seems to be a fading concept in some parts of the wine making industry.
 
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