Clearing wine in secondary fermenter?

Discussion in 'General Wine Making Forum' started by kuziwk, Jan 16, 2018.

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  1. Jan 16, 2018 #1

    kuziwk

    kuziwk

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    Does anyone also clear their wines in the secondary fermentor?..so essentially one would degas their wine after secondary fermentation and add the clearing agents remixing the lees...than rack after 4 to 5 days or so In hopes to minimize the racking required and thus saving more wine. It seems that alot of sediment drops after the first few days of clearing especially if placed in a cold environment. Would this impose any off flavors? Im intending to leave the wine in the secondary and there is a good 1/2" of sediment/lees already. The total time in the secondary would not be much more than two weeks...this of course allocates for the 4 to 5 days to drop heavy sediment during clearing. I should also mention there is the odd grape skin leftover from the primary that i sucked up, not alot but a few floaters when i shine a flash light.
     
  2. Jan 16, 2018 #2

    vernsgal

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    Personally, I like to get my wine off the gross lees asap.I have found that leaving the wine on the lees have given an off taste to my wine.So I would say at your stage to rack. For clearing, I wait 10-14 days after adding clearing agents, then rack. If not using clearing agents, I rack when I see about 1/2 inch or more of lees and rack again as more settles to that amount,usually a few months if no clearing agents used,depending on wine.

    If you rack you will probably leave the floaters behind and if a few do make it through, they usually settle during clearing
     
  3. Jan 16, 2018 #3

    kuziwk

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    Hmm im not sure the lees that the wine is sitting on is considered secondary though. What would it be considered? I thought gross lees waa primarily the bits and peices of grapeskins and seeds and/or stems.
     
  4. Jan 16, 2018 #4

    bkisel

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    The WE kits I've been doing have instructions for doing like you say except the wine sits for two weeks in a carboy (that is not topped off so has head space below the neck). I see absolutely no issues with what you're proposing so long as you lock down that secondary for the four days - even considering the head space. Much beyond 4 days and the amount of head space, even locked down, in the secondary bucket would bother me.
     
  5. Jan 16, 2018 #5

    kuziwk

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    Yeah ive got an air lock going. There isba decent amount of headspace since i racked poorly and wasted some wine. Right now its filled with natural co2 in the secondary from fermentation but after i degas ill either top up or fill it with CO2. I have one of those soda streams and i like to go give a wine bottle a few pumps of co2 if its going to sit for a few days. Im sure the same would work on the carboy provided i have the airlock on tight.
     
  6. Jan 16, 2018 #6

    bkisel

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    I suspect that in spite of your degassing the wine would still have enough CO2 to give off for the 4 days so as not to worry about the head space. Again, at least some WE kits have you clearing for two weeks in a carboy not having been topped off. The RJS kits I do on the other hand have instructions to do much like @vernsgal posted above.
     
  7. Jan 16, 2018 #7

    Donatelo

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    After racking off the gross lees into a carboy, you could top it up with a like style of wine. As little head space as 1" to 2".
     
  8. Jan 16, 2018 #8

    kuziwk

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    Likely yeah, ill try not to degas as long i suppose since ill need to bulk age for a bit due to the fact i have no wine bottles left. Im filtering aswell which seems to degas even more. The instructions actually say to complete in the secondary fermentor for 10 days, they even said you can leave it an extra week after which you degass and add in the clearing agents than let it sit until day 42 all on the lees leftover from secondary. Why they suggest that makes me nervous though especially since i have a few floaters. I highly suspect that mine will be done secondary easily after a week since my primary fermentation went very quick and it had a SG of around 1 when i racked into the carboy after 7 days. So i can clear the wine at that point and wait a few days...ill even put in a cooler place than rack after a few more days out of the secondary.

    @Donatelo i will be topping off with similar wine but because i wasted some wine ill likely need a good 4 bottles. Also i wont be buying carmenere to top off it will be a cheaper cab sav lol. At the end of the day i doubt it will change the taste much at all. On a side note i got 31 bottles out of my last carboy on another batch and it was probably at least 3" from the bung...so basically right before it touches the narrow neck....not to shabby.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  9. Jan 16, 2018 #9

    vernsgal

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    That's exactly what gross lees are. I consider when you rack from you're primary you're racking into your secondary. I've read that some wine makers leave the lees in for longer periods of time to create different flavors to their wines but that it's done with with the finer lees.I think it's called sur lie aging?
     
  10. Jan 16, 2018 #10

    kuziwk

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    yeah ive done some reading on sur lie aging, not typically what im after. Yes so i racked from primary into the secondary but the instructions basically said to stir everyday in the primary until you are ready to rack. In essence alot of the lees did not get alot of time to settle before i racked into the secondary, i also wasted some wine in the process in an attempt to leave as much of the sediment as i could. All this stems from not using the mesh bag with the solids and the difficulty i had trying to rack from the solid seeds and skins. I should have just dumped all the wine in the carboy even with the sediment and racked again in a few days. There is really no solids at the bottom and just a few floating grape skins in the middle of the wine. I would suspect that the few solids there are that are floating would be preserved by the alcohol by the time secondary is complete and waiting a few days for the bulk of the sediment post de-gassing and clearing to drop out. Thats what im hoping to do anyways to save an extra rack from secondary and into a clearing vessel as in my experience which is limited, a large amount of sediment drops within the first few days of degassing and adding the clearing agents.

    An example below:

    Primary Fermentation= Total 8 days and SG 1.0
    Secondary Fermentation (racked to new carboy)= Day 8-15 (hoping to be complete on day 15)
    De-gass and clearing (in same carboy as secondary)= Day 15-18
    Clearing (rack into new carboy)=Day 18-42

    Sorry im probably just overthinking this as its not rocket science,i just dont want to mess up my first premium kit that i've ever done. I did two cheap costco kits (the 7L concentrates) before this, they turned out well...The second turned out the best since i added in a couple tablespoons of wine tannin in the clearing and aging stage and cracked pepper during primary fermentation.
     
  11. Jan 16, 2018 #11

    bkisel

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    Is this a kit you're doing?
     
  12. Jan 16, 2018 #12

    kuziwk

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    Yeah it is with the genuwine grapeskin packs. The wine kit place i bought it from, she told me she perferrs to dump everything in the primary....i wont be doing that again ill be using the mesh.

    Excuse my brevity as its hard to type on my phone.
     
  13. Jan 16, 2018 #13

    vernsgal

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    What kit are you doing? I'm not aware of one that has you stir primary daily until racking.
     
  14. Jan 16, 2018 #14

    kuziwk

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    Its the cellar craft showcase. If i were to guess i would say my secondary has about 1/2" of lees at the bottom.
     
  15. Jan 16, 2018 #15

    vernsgal

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    ok. I see what happened maybe. You didn't put your grapeskins in the mesh bag so while stirring every day, it didn't allow for them to settle.No worries. If you
    have now racked to your secondary and have added the enzyme pouch, just allow it to sit until day 20 as per instructions' Everything should settle (do not stir)
    When you get to day 20, rack carefully and continue with the degassing and clearing. While it sits until (I think it's day 42 ) if any *floaters were still in it it will settle in this time.
    Just follow instructions and you should be fine
     
  16. Jan 16, 2018 #16

    kuziwk

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    Yeah so the big question is if i should clear and degass in the secondary a few days before i rack again out of the secondary. This way alot of the sediment will drop out in a few days. The end result would be to minimize more racking down the road and waste less wine since i wasted more than i felt should have already. The downside is im mixing in the already settled lees in the secondary and leaving it for a few more days to settle out. The instructions say to do this and basically leave it until day 42 in that same secondary fermenter. Which is strange considering they tell you to mix the must daily prior to racking to secondary this would allow more lees in the secondary than if not stirring the must. The instructions are very misleading.

    I just read the RJS premier wine kit which i understand is in the same league as the cellar craft showcase and they basically say to complete secondary fermentation than rack again in another carboy for clearing...than obviously rack again whenever it hits day 42.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  17. Jan 16, 2018 #17

    vernsgal

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    Are you at the date yet to add clearing agents? what's your SG? I pulled up the instructions for your wine,just so I'm sure on things, and it does say you can allow it to sit up to a week longer if needed for wine to reach appropriate SG.I would let it sit a while longer then rack to your pail to degas.(*I also find it easier to add clearing agents before racking back to carboy)Watch your days though. It hasn't been treated with potassium metabisulphite so you don't want to go too long.
    If you're really worried about losing more wine with the extra racking, you could always add the potassium metabisulphite ,( BUT only if your wine has gone dry! Check your SG 1st.)and allow it to sit a week or more before the racking and degassing and clearing stage.(if you do decide this route, add the potassium metabisulphite to some of your wine and mix before putting in carboy.)
    I still would advise against Degassing and adding clearing agents while it's sitting on that much gross lees.
     
  18. Jan 16, 2018 #18

    vernsgal

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    I think the part that kinda threw a bit of extras in is that you didn't use the bag and if you had you wouldn't have the amount of gross lees that you do.It's not hard to fix, it's just a shame you lost the amount of wine you did.
    If your wine is dry and at the stage where you were to add the potassium metabisulphite, do so now. Then allow it to sit and lees to settle .Then Rack into you're primary pail, degass, add clearing agents, rack back to carboy and allow to sit for 2 weeks.

    If your wine is not at SG yet allow it to go dry, then wait til SG is below .998 and stays the same for 3 consecutive days, then rack and continue with instructions at degassing stage.

    Or rack into primary and continue with degassing instructions.

    You have to do an extra racking because of the loose grapeskins
     
  19. Jan 16, 2018 #19

    kuziwk

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    Alright thanks, yeah its unfortunate but the extra racking will lose more wine but at least i wont ruin the whole batch as it would if i had an off taste from the lees. I hope adding in a good 4 bottles back to top off will not throw off the taste noticeable as im not prepared to spend $30-$40 a bottle to get carmenere to top it off...it will be a cheap cab sav that i use. Yeah taxes in Canada suck, lol thus the need to make my own wine.
     
  20. Jan 16, 2018 #20

    vernsgal

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    oh a fellow Canadian. Me too. I'm in BC ,where are you?
     

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