Can we discuss degassing?

Discussion in 'Beginners Wine Making Forum' started by Lornahdune, Mar 7, 2014.

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  1. Mar 7, 2014 #1

    Lornahdune

    Lornahdune

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    Still in newbie-land. I have 4-5 containers of various fruit and mazer mead going at this time. All are in their secondary fermenters getting close to clearing and bottling. However, as I read through all the posts, I constantly see references to degassing the wine. But this step is not in my recipes. I have never made wine from grapes, only fruit or honey.

    1. what is it and how do you de-gas? (be polite, now boys!) :)

    2. does my fruit wine need to be de-gassed?

    3. Best time to do it?

    4. am I spelling it right? :)
     
  2. Mar 7, 2014 #2

    kevinlfifer

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    Depends on how big of a hurry your in. Time will de-gas any wine. In my experience sweeter wines are slower to de-gas. If you decide to de-gas don't over do it and whip in air/O2 (I did that as a newbie). If there is substantial CO2 it will not clear until the CO2 dissipates. As the C)2 is being released tiny bubbles grab tiny particles and keep them in suspension. As the CO2 depletes, these particles will eventually make their way to the bottom and stay there. Whipping out the CO2 just speeds up that process.
     
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  3. Mar 7, 2014 #3

    BernardSmith

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    When yeast ferment sugar the by-product is carbon dioxide (CO2). In fact about half the molecular weight of the sugar is transformed into alcohol and half is converted into this gas. In other words, whether you realize this or not what you have in the early months after pitching the yeast is a carbonated drink.

    If you pitch the yeast and ferment your wine in a large mouthed bucket then much of that CO2 dissipates into the air but a great deal is absorbed by the liquid and so when you rack the wine from your primary into a carboy that you seal with a bubbler then the gas slowly leaves. If you are willing to allow the wine to age long enough and you rack the wine every two or three months (always adding some K-meta to ensure that there is enough sulfur dioxide in the wine to prevent oxidation and spoilage) and if you splash rack - that is allow the wine to run down the inside wall of the carboy you are racking into) then more and more of the gas held in the wine will be expelled.
    If , however, you want to speed up the time between the end of fermentation and bottling you need to use mechanical means to remove the gas. That can be by using a drill and a plastic whip to agitate the wine. It can be by using a hand or electrical pump to pull a vacuum and so suck out the gas. It can be increasing the temperature of the wine (slightly) to say 70 degrees and thereby inhibiting the wine's ability to hold the gas (cold liquid can store more CO2 than liquid at higher temperatures).
    Another method might be to add sanitized oak chips or (very clean and sanitized) stainless steel screws to encourage the absorbed gas to nucleate (form large bubbles on the rough surface of those materials. Nucleation allows the gas to be more easily expelled (but you need to watch that the mouth of the carboy does not act like the barrel of a gun and create a volcano of wine that leaves with the gas. (So one way is to remove several inches of the wine from your carboy before nucleating or indeed before creating a vacuum. Or you might simply (and very carefully) vibrate or shake and agitate the wine in the carboy (like shaking a can of soda) - perhaps by placing the carboy on top of a washing machine (very risky) or dryer... Or you might use a mixture of all these techniques to degas the wine.
     
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  4. Mar 7, 2014 #4

    Scott

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    Many ways to spell it!!

    Dang Bernard you type faster than me <G>
     
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  5. Mar 7, 2014 #5

    olusteebus

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    Here is what I have done. I degass shortly after fermentation has ended and before I clear. The traditional way (other than ageing at least 4 or 5 months) is to stir vigorously until the small fizzy bubbles cease and only larger, less fizzy bubbbles are produced.

    It is important that the wine is about 70 to 75 degrees F.


    That takes a lot of stirring.

    As stated above, any wine needs degassing as fermentation produces co2 ( carbonation) which will blow the cork out and is not pleasant to drink.

    I use a brake bleeder that I got from harbor freight. It is a squeeze type tool that creates a vacuum. With a tube from a stopper with a hole, I connect to the tool. I pump it until about 20 or 25 and let it stay there until it goes way down. I repeat that until it stops making the small, fizzy bubbles.

    If you have a vacuum machine for racking (such as an Allinone or other pump) you can vacuum splash rack.

    I splash rack and use a brake bleeder. Google brake bleeder winemakingtalk.

    Here is some info on splash racking

    www.google.com/search?q=how+to+spla....winemakingtalk.com&safe=off&biw=1366&bih=635

    Here is some info on the all in one. A great tool or you can hobble one together yourself for a little less money (not a lot as the cost is in the pump.)

    http://www.allinonewinepump.com/

    You can spell it degas, de-gas, ungas, or un-gas. There may be other options. (just kidding, we do that here)
     
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2014
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  6. Mar 7, 2014 #6

    peaches9324

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    if you have a drill, the drill mounted whip is relatively inexpensive and saves your arm from a lot of work
     
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  7. Mar 7, 2014 #7

    seth8530

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    Typically, I just let time take care of any gas issues that my wine might have. I typically intend on aging my wine for 18 months+ so I do not need to hurry the process. I also believe that letting the gas escape gradually over time helps protect the wine.
     
  8. Mar 8, 2014 #8

    Wiz

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    Lornadune, living in Costa Rica, I made fruit wines for several years. I found that if you don't bulk age them that they will continue to throw out lees. I also found out that after bulk aging for 6 months that the wine will degass itself. After 6 months, I bottle.
     
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  9. Mar 8, 2014 #9

    Lornahdune

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    Thank you all for this great information! Everyone's take on it is a little bit different. I like the science/chemistry behind it. (Thanks Kevin and Bernard)
    I had read that we had to be careful not to introduce extra oxygen into the must. And then the concept of degassing seemed to contradict that principal, as how do you whip something without incorporating air at the same time?
    Is there proper way to determine when the degassing is completed? Or just wing it by looking at the size/quality of the bubbles?
    -l
     
  10. Mar 8, 2014 #10

    peaches9324

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    [​IMG]as you can see the whip has a stopper attached to it to prevent any air from entering but I agree with time I try not to use this but it is always nice to have n your toolbox
     
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  11. Mar 8, 2014 #11

    cmason1957

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    One way to decide if you are done degassing or not, is to put a quantity into the test jar you measure your SG in (after sanitizing it, if course). Sanitize your hand, put it over the top of the tester and shake a bit. When you remove your hand, listen for a sound. If you hear much of one, you are not done yet.
     
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  12. Mar 8, 2014 #12

    Turock

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    If you think you are degassing in order to bottle, then you are ignoring the importance of bulk aging. Getting all the sediment and any unwanted volatile esters to drop out gives your wine stability. To degass a kit is one thing. To degass fruit and grape wine and meads is a waste of time and puts the wine at risk of oxidation, when it REALLY needs time to bulk age to drop out these unstable sediments. So you degass it----it STILL needs to bulk age to drop all the sediment that it can. And in 1 year's time, the wine degasses on its own--so why are you degassing?

    You are also trying to evaluate a young wine for backsweetening and that's a pretty tall task. It's quite impossible to balance the acids with sugar in a wine that is so young that the flavor profile hasn't come around yet.

    Also, when backsweetening you need to use sorbate and sorbate won't work on cloudy wine. Our wines spend plenty of time in bulk aging--and when they are refigerated, they're still clear as a bell.

    Everyone here seems to be so intent on degassing--I really don't get it. You're ignoring all the benefits that bulk aging brings to your wines.
     
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  13. Mar 9, 2014 #13

    jethro

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    Okay, so wine should be bulk-aged for a year or longer after it goes into the carboy. That way, degassing is done naturally, through the airlock, and is not an extra step that you need to perform before bottling. Thank you for taking time to explain that, Turock.
     
  14. Mar 9, 2014 #14

    Turock

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    The online UC Davis course in oenology explains bulk aging in the same way. So if you bulk age your wines, you're doing what this winemaking course teaches you to do without having to PAY for the knowledge!

    That's right, jethro. It is a totally unnecessary step unless you are making a kit or an early drinking wine like skeeter pee. Once you start bulk aging, you'll be real surprised how much better the flavors are and you aren't fighting sediment issues. It's kind of amazing how even micro-sediments will cloud up a wine that was bottled when it SEEMED to be perfectly clear. You put it in the refigerator or ship it to someone and it clouds back up. This is because ALL the sediment wasn't out of it yet.

    When you first start in this hobby, you're over-anxious to taste your wines and you start bottling things too early. Then you just keep on doing this because no one explained bulk aging to you. This is why you have to up your production--buy more carboys-- so that you can have wines to drink while your other wines spend time bulk aging. Don't rush---you do a good job making the wine, then you don't get the advantage of that good winemaking practice because you're drinking them too young. Young wines taste BAD---compared to how they taste when all the flavors come forward thru aging.
     
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  15. Mar 9, 2014 #15

    farmer

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    I agree 100% . Thank you Turock for explaining it to the masses.
     
  16. Mar 9, 2014 #16

    Droc

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    So if I bulk age my upcoming Chilean juice pails, do I need to keep them warmer or can they be stored in a basement? I have a kit right now bulk aging and it's in my basement (around 55 degrees or so), should I bring this upstairs? Also, if you let the sentiment drop during the bulk aging, does that eliminate the need for a dining agent like super kleer? I'm actually going to get some glass carboys today as all I have are better bottles and it seems like when I move them I stir up more sediment than I like.


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  17. Mar 9, 2014 #17

    Turock

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    Droc---55 degrees is a nice temp for storing wine---whether in the carboy or in the bottle. However, there ARE times when you want the wine to be warmer. An example of this---my winemaking buddy was complaining to me that our apple from 2012, which is still in the carboy, was VERY cloudy and not clearing. She had the carboy in the dark room, off the winery, that is unheated and very cold. So I told her to hit it with a dose of Lallzyme C-Max which is a pectic enzyme and see if that doesn't clear it. Well, it DID start to clear SOME but still painfully slow. So I told her to bring it out in the winery near the woodburner and see what happens. Well, it cleared PERFECTLY in a couple days!! So, depending on what you're trying to achieve, sometimes very cold temps can be your enemy.

    But if the wine is clear, or clearing, in 55 degrees then that's a great temp.

    To ask if bulk aging will always eliminate sediment--well, as with everything in this world---it depends. Our whites and fruit wines always get a dose of bentonite in the primary. So yeah--for us, the bulk aging usually is all we need. But just like the story on the apple--we had bentonited the primary but the wine was still cloudy until we hit it with the enzyme and then warmed it up a bit. But our reds ALWAYS clear well with ONLY bulk aging. In all our years of making wine, we've never had trouble clearing reds.

    When you move a carboy, you have to be real careful not to stir up the sediment. We have a number of carts that we use to move carboys around. It's easy to pick the carboy up and carefully set it on the cart--then move the cart where we need it. We have a used industrial equipment warehouse close to us where we bought these carts for $20.00 apiece. But it would be real easy to build yourself a couple of carts--you could even use a base kitchen cabinet that you buy in the big box stores and put some casters on it.

    It has been MANY years since we've used something like Super Kleer because the bentonite in the primary basically does most of the clearing work for us. And if you use Lallzyme C-Max instead of regular pectic enzyme, you'll have better success in clearing your wines.
     
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  18. Mar 9, 2014 #18

    Droc

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    I do normally use bentonite in my primary so the only thing I've used super kleer in so far is my dragon blood and a batch of apple wine. Good info to know. I'm trying to keep this as simple as possible and not add a lot of extra chemicals, regardless if they don't affect the wine, so I like the idea of bulk aging. And I'm glad you used the apple wine as an example because I'm currently dealing with that. Guess I'm going to have to bring that one upstairs and sit it near a heat vent.


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  19. Mar 10, 2014 #19

    Turock

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    My take on this is that if you have little or NO clearing after 6 months, then it's time to use clearing tactics. Very often, a dose of pectic enzyme will clear it. So I'd do that first--and get the wine warmer.

    I've always been puzzled by the fact that sometimes a wine resists clearing, even when you've used bentonite in the primary. But then something else I've seen is that you can have 1 carboy, out of the same primary, that doesn't want to clear. I'm sure this is due to getting too many lees from the vat over into the carboy. So it always pays not to be afraid to throw that stuff away--and not get any of the gunk from the bottom into the carboy because it's just a tough job getting the wine to clear up, if you DO. So there's probably a couple factors going on here.

    I would not have a problem using Super Kleer, if nothing else works. I sort of resist using that stuff on whites because it seems to give a golden color to the wine. But that's far better than having coudy wine.

    Like I said--look into using the Lallzyme C-Max. It's a more rapid de-pectinizer and is good on viscous musts. It also says that it is especially for rapid clarification. We've used Lallzyme for a number of years--and felt it gave us better clearing. Then they came out with the C-Max and we think it's even better for clarification. Morewine sells it, if you'd like to give it a try this year.

    We TRY to keep our winemaking simple, too. Too much complexity just gives you more factors to consider when things go South. So I'm with you on that one.
     
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  20. Mar 10, 2014 #20

    Lornahdune

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    What a great discussion. As I don't have much to add to this conversation, I'm just lurking and learning here. I tend to be a purist, so I will definitely be bulk-aging my creations. But that means I will have to up production and sit tight - as Turock suggests. Gotta have something to drink while I'm waiting for the rest.
    -l
     
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