Cloudy after back sweetening

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Digger

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I made my first batch of dragons blood, exactly by the instructions provided. All went well, the wine cleared up amazing after a week. I racked and back sweetened with 4.5 cups of sugar (6 gallon batch). I stirred it for a couple of minutes with my drill attached whip. I tasted it and it was good so I transferred it back into a 6 gallon carboy. It’s been 3 days now and it’s still cloudy and it looks like sugar on the bottom? Did I not stir it up good enough? How can I tell if it’s sugar or just other sediment at the bottom? Should I rerack and stir more or just leave it to see if it clears? The first picture is the sediment at the bottom and the second is the cloudy wine
 

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Val-the-Brew-Gal

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I made my first batch of dragons blood, exactly by the instructions provided. All went well, the wine cleared up amazing after a week. I racked and back sweetened with 4.5 cups of sugar (6 gallon batch). I stirred it for a couple of minutes with my drill attached whip. I tasted it and it was good so I transferred it back into a 6 gallon carboy. It’s been 3 days now and it’s still cloudy and it looks like sugar on the bottom? Did I not stir it up good enough? How can I tell if it’s sugar or just other sediment at the bottom? Should I rerack and stir more or just leave it to see if it clears? The first picture is the sediment at the bottom and the second is the cloudy wine
I personally think it's sugar in the bottom, at least from the pic. So I'm just going to make sure I understand completely though...

Before backsweetening, when the wine was clear, you racked off the sediment before adding the sugar, correct?

I personally always add the sugar before letting it clear. My steps at the end of fermentation are to rack off the lees, treat with Potassium Metabsulfite and Potassium Sorbate, add sugar to backsweeten and add clearing agent all right away. My exact steps are:

I use a vacuum pump so I rack off the lees, add the chemicals and rack again, add the sugar and rack again, rack again if the sugar hasn't dissolved, rack adding the first part of the SuperKleer, wait an hour-ish and rack adding the second half of the SuperKleer. It's usually clear within a couple days.

My point is that I usually have to rack twice to get the sugar to dissolve, even with racking under vacuum. That's why I think it's sugar in the bottom of your carboy. If it were me, I would rack again and use your racking cane to gently stir the sugar at the bottom as you do so. You can gently swirl the receiving carboy multiple times during the rack too to keep the sugar from settling on the bottom again.
 

Johnd

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Hard to tell exactly what is in the bottom, but it's gotta be either lees or sugar. If you accidentally transferred some lees in the racking (happens all the time), the good news is that it'll clear up again. Sugar isn't usually very difficult to dissolve, but if it is indeed sugar, then you need to work on getting it dissolved into the wine, and this too will clear up.

If you keep stirring and just can't get the stuff in the bottom to dissolve, it's probably lees.

Either way, you're on a good trajectory.
 

cmason1957

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If you have a long handled plastic spoon, you might try inserting the non-spoon end and stirring with that, it should reach down to the bottom and that might help you stir it some. As a side note, I always add the sugar to the bottom of the receiving carboy and rack onto it, once I have about a gallon or so in the receiving carboy, I give it a good shake to help it all dissolve and integrate throughout.
 

Digger

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Thanks for the replies. Yes I racked off the lees before adding sugar in my fermentation bucket. Stirred for a few minutes and then racked to 6 gallon carboy that I’m in now. I’m about to racked it back into fermentation bucket and stir for longer. Should I add more sparkolloid? Will that hurt anything?
 

Val-the-Brew-Gal

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Thanks for the replies. Yes I racked off the lees before adding sugar in my fermentation bucket. Stirred for a few minutes and then racked to 6 gallon carboy that I’m in now. I’m about to racked it back into fermentation bucket and stir for longer. Should I add more sparkolloid? Will that hurt anything?
I personally wouldn't add more finings just yet. Give it a day or two after you stir it to see if the sugar is really dissolved and then decide on adding more Sparkolloid if it's not clearing. I would go with SuperKlerr or Dualfine instead though if you have it instead of Sparkolloid.
 

Digger

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I don’t have anything else than sparkolloid .I stirred it for a good 10 minutes with a drill and wisk/degasser And back into the 6 gallon carboy. Guess I’ll give it some time
 

Rocky

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@Digger, am I understanding that you added the sugar directly to the wine without making a simple syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water + heat to dissolve the sugar)? In the future, I suggest you back sweeten with this method. The heat completely dissolves the sugar into a clear solution. In your case, you would have needed 2.25 cups of water (18 oz.) which would have had little negative effect on your 6 gallon batch.
 

Digger

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@Rocky the instructions said add the sugar directly to the wine so that’s what I did. Dissolving it first does make sense and I’ll do that next time. This morning I checked it and it looks pretty much the same as yesterday before stirring so at this point, I’m going to assume it’s lees and let it clear out over some more time. I appreciate all the tips and feedback
 

KCCam

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I just add dry sugar like the instructions say. It does take a little stirring with the long handled spoon or swirling the wine when partly full as suggested by @cmason1957 above. I found if you just dump the sugar in it can clump together as a saturated solid lump on the bottom. The drill degassing tool will just make the wine move over the top of the sugar. You need to get right in there with a spoon. But you said you racked onto sugar in your primary, so then you can use the spoon end of the long-handled spoon - much better. @Rocky's suggestion is good too, I just haven't bothered. @Val-the-Brew-Gal sweetens before clearing, but I clear first so I can do my backsweetening bench trials with clear wine. As for more Sparkaloid, in can't hurt to add more, but I would wait a few days, as suggested. Having said that, my most recent Dragon Blood accidentally got stirred up after it was crystal clear. So then I added sugar and stirred it all up. It originally cleared perfectly in 2 days using DualFine. 4 days after stirring it up, it was still a bit cloudy, with almost no sediment. So yesterday I did a test by adding 1 teaspoon (I spelled that out because it is a very small dose) of Sparkaloid to the 6 gallons. Today it is perfectly clear again, with a nice layer of sediment.
 

hounddawg

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hum, everyone's different, personally i always add sugar just before i bottle, i use a carboy stirrer, it is a stainless steel rod, with 2 folding plastic wings at the bottom, the plastic wings are replaceable, it goes into a drill, i can dissolve sugar very quickly in my wine, check SG and taste as i go,when all suits me, i bottle right then and there,
Dawg
 

hounddawg

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@Digger, am I understanding that you added the sugar directly to the wine without making a simple syrup (2 parts sugar, 1 part water + heat to dissolve the sugar)? In the future, I suggest you back sweeten with this method. The heat completely dissolves the sugar into a clear solution. In your case, you would have needed 2.25 cups of water (18 oz.) which would have had little negative effect on your 6 gallon batch.
i've never used simple syrup, just dry sugar, and stir with a drill,
Dawg
 

Val-the-Brew-Gal

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Ok so an update 4 days later. In the pictures it looks pretty clear when I shine a flashlight on it. If you get close and focus on the light beam, you can still see all this stuff suspended in the wine
I often judge whether my wine is clear enough and ready to bottle by testing to see if I can clearly read a paper through it. Even when my wine looks beautifully clear, I can see what looks like suspended particles in a flashlight beam but I have never found that it causes sediment in the bottle. However, I do have a cheap little Vinbrite filter that I run my wine through before bottling, which gives it a nice polish and removes the stray bits of any remaining particles.
 

Val-the-Brew-Gal

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Well I finally bottled the wine after Running it through a vinbrite filter and very happy with the way it turned out. Already planning another batch after family started taking the bottles after trying it.
So glad that everything turned out great 😊 It looks awesome!

I really like my Vinbrite even though it can be a challenge to find filters at times. I bought 2 packs of 5 on Amazon a while back for $27. When I went to reorder, the price had gone up to $46! Thank goodness I found some on a homebrew site for a reasonable price.
 

DizzyIzzy

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I personally think it's sugar in the bottom, at least from the pic. So I'm just going to make sure I understand completely though...

Before backsweetening, when the wine was clear, you racked off the sediment before adding the sugar, correct?

I personally always add the sugar before letting it clear. My steps at the end of fermentation are to rack off the lees, treat with Potassium Metabsulfite and Potassium Sorbate, add sugar to backsweeten and add clearing agent all right away. My exact steps are:

I use a vacuum pump so I rack off the lees, add the chemicals and rack again, add the sugar and rack again, rack again if the sugar hasn't dissolved, rack adding the first part of the SuperKleer, wait an hour-ish and rack adding the second half of the SuperKleer. It's usually clear within a couple days.

My point is that I usually have to rack twice to get the sugar to dissolve, even with racking under vacuum. That's why I think it's sugar in the bottom of your carboy. If it were me, I would rack again and use your racking cane to gently stir the sugar at the bottom as you do so. You can gently swirl the receiving carboy multiple times during the rack too to keep the sugar from settling on the bottom again.
Val, wouldn't using simple syrup eliminate the issue of dissolving/not dissolving sugar? Your thoughts?................................Dizzy
 

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