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Degas Prior to Racking

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RickD

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I'm planning my first batch. Blackberry (1 gal), from frozen berries. The idea of trying to efficiently degas in a one gallon jug does not appeal to me. However, I've seen one process that I like:

1. Transfer the finished must to a bucket lined with a mesh bag;
2. Strain using the mesh bag (I only have "250 micron");
3. To the filtered must, add K-meta, K-sorbate, and Bentonite;
4. Degas with wine whip (it's what I have);
5. Rack.

Will this process yield good results?
 

Rembee

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If you are planning to ferment on the berries then you would do better fermenting in a 2 gallon bucket for your primary fermentation with the mesh bag and a lid with air lock or a damp towel to cover with. In the beginning stages of fermentation the yeast need some O2 in order to increase the population of the colony. Once the SG reaches 1.040 or less you can then squeeze the juice from the straining bag, discard the berries and rack over to a 1 gallon glass carboy and place it under an airlock. The CO2 gasses in the wine will displace any O2 and create a seal until further racking/aging is down.
 
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Rembee

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This 2nd stage of fermentation I consider it to be the clarification stage where the wine is allowed to clear, drop out lees and age. I usually let it sit in the clarification stage for at least a month before I preform the 2nd rack into a 1 gallon pitcher or the 2 gallon bucket where I then degas. Then I rack back into a clean 1 gallon carboy and place it back under an airlock.
 

Ajmassa

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I'm planning my first batch. Blackberry (1 gal), from frozen berries. The idea of trying to efficiently degas in a one gallon jug does not appeal to me. However, I've seen one process that I like:

1. Transfer the finished must to a bucket lined with a mesh bag;
2. Strain using the mesh bag (I only have "250 micron");
3. To the filtered must, add K-meta, K-sorbate, and Bentonite;
4. Degas with wine whip (it's what I have);
5. Rack.

Will this process yield good results?
to separate the solids the mesh bag method works well for small batches. i’ve done it where i did the whole ferment with a mesh lined bucket. Then just simply removed the bag afterwards and squeezed the fruit before transferring to glass.
I don’t see any red flags in the process described. But the degassing seems unnecessary. Unless you plan on bottling super early i don’t believe there’s any need for it. Before it dissipates naturally the Co2 helps protect the wine.
 

RickD

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My primary is a 2 gal bucket.

to separate the solids the mesh bag method works well for small batches. i’ve done it where i did the whole ferment with a mesh lined bucket. Then just simply removed the bag afterwards and squeezed the fruit before transferring to glass.
I don’t see any red flags in the process described. But the degassing seems unnecessary. Unless you plan on bottling super early i don’t believe there’s any need for it. Before it dissipates naturally the Co2 helps protect the wine.
Thanks, Ajmassa! Bottling "super early" is precisely my goal!
 

winemaker81

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I see a few issues with the process. Here's food for thought:

1. Ferment to whatever point you desire, e.g., I press between 1.020 and 1.000
2. Transfer the finished must to a bucket lined with a mesh bag
3. Strain using the mesh bag (I only have "250 micron")
4. Put in gallon jug with airlock and let fermentation complete
5. Add Bentonite;
6. Degas with wine whip (it's what I have)
7. Allow wine to settle, 7 to 14 days; rack carefully.
8. Let wine age as long as you intend.
9. Add K-meta and K-sorbate, backsweeten (fruits usually need this)
10. Bottle

As @Ajmassa said, for longer aging degassing is not necessary. However, I find the wine clears faster so there is a benefit.
 

Johnd

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I see a few issues with the process. Here's food for thought:

1. Ferment to whatever point you desire, e.g., I press between 1.020 and 1.000
2. Transfer the finished must to a bucket lined with a mesh bag
3. Strain using the mesh bag (I only have "250 micron")
4. Put in gallon jug with airlock and let fermentation complete
5. Add Bentonite;
6. Degas with wine whip (it's what I have)
7. Allow wine to settle, 7 to 14 days; rack carefully.
8. Let wine age as long as you intend.
9. Add K-meta and K-sorbate, backsweeten (fruits usually need this)
10. Bottle

As @Ajmassa said, for longer aging degassing is not necessary. However, I find the wine clears faster so there is a benefit.
I like your suggested process, only change I'd make personally would be to introduce the bentonite in the must prior to pitching yeast. Bentonite seems more effective when it is circulated through the fermenting must, though the dosage needed is higher pre fermentation than post.............FWIW Edited: had the dosage thing typed in backwards.
 

RickD

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I truly appreciate all the suggestions! But, to be clear and as I originally stated, the idea of trying to efficiently degas in a one gallon jug simply does not appeal to me. Admittedly, I may soon learn otherwise.
 

Scooter68

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A caution about your planned bottling early. You are going to be bottling a wine that changes dramatically between 3-4 months time and 9 months time. Unless you plan to just take a whack at how much to back-sweeten or not to back-sweeten at all,. (If you are NOT going to back-sweeten then don't add sorbate at all.) Bottling a blackberry wine early can lead to a wine that is too dry, lacks flavor or is too sweet. Just my personal experience from doing fruit wines only, early bottling leads to regrets later on. A wine aged in bulk can be adjusted for sweetness just before bottling after the sharp edges of a new wine are gone. BUT once bottled you have to accept that the wine "Is what it is" from then on.
I started wine batch 49 last week and with 2 exceptions everyone has been a fruit wine (non-Grape) ALL of them changed dramatically as they aged. I have never regretted waiting longer to bottle but I have regretted those that I bottled too early as I couldn't adjust them after that. (Re-bottling is NOT a reasonable option in my book.)
 

Johnd

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I truly appreciate all the suggestions! But, to be clear and as I originally stated, the idea of trying to efficiently degas in a one gallon jug simply does not appeal to me. Admittedly, I may soon learn otherwise.
I lost sight of that in the reading of the post. An easy way to degas a gallons glass jug without beating the hell out of it with a whip and drill:

Buy a Vacuvin Wine Saver (https://www.amazon.com/Original-Vacu-Vin-Vacuum-Stoppers/dp/B000GA3KCE ) if you don't already own one, they're great for preserving open wines for a few days. The Vacuvin stopper will fit over the cylindrical tube opening inside of a universal carboy bung, with a little effort, slide it down on there tight. Put the bung into the opening of the gallon glass jug of wine and pump it. The vacuum inside the jug will cause CO2 to be released from the wine. You can do a lot of pumping at one time, or just leave it under vacuum and pump a few times a day, or a combination of both, it will degas the wine.
 

Ajmassa

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Excellent! Thanks! I wonder if a #6.5 stopper could be drilled to accept one of these: Amazon.com: Vacu Vin Wine Saver Vacuum Stoppers Set of 4 – Grey: Wine Bottle Stoppers: Kitchen & Dining ?
sure can. and depending on the stoppers (they vary slightly from different manufacturers) you can get them to fit around the nipple inside the universal style bungs too. (or just use different hose pieces to make it work like the one on the far right)
I use these sometimes as a temporary way to remove the o2 from the headspace until i find time to rack to proper sized vessel. But works just as well to degas too.

**pro tip courtesy of @Johnd - before drilling out a rubber bung stick it in the freezer for a while. The soft rubber can be a pain to drill81C3441A-9BB4-482A-8784-1C4F7697312D.jpeg
 

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1d10t

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For some reason when I looked at the title and saw "degas" I wondered what Edgar Degas had to do with wine making. Now that I'm always going to make that connection I thought I'd inflict it on others. Feel free to add me to you ignore list. :p
 

RickD

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(or just use different hose pieces to make it work like the one on the far right)
Ingenious. I am so gonna try this! This way I don't have to dedicate a stopper. I have a spare airlock that I can cut a nipple from. I "know a guy" that has no problem giving away 1-2" samples of by-the-foot tubing.

Does the Vacu-stopper give a visual clue that it has lost vacuum?
 
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Johnd

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Ingenious. I am so gonna try this! This way I don't have to dedicate a stopper. I have a spare airlock that I can cut a nipple from. I "know a guy" that has no problem giving away 1-2" samples of by-the-foot tubing.

Does the Vacu-stopper give a visual clue that it has lost vacuum?
No visual clue, but when you push the nipple in the middle to the side, you can clearly hear a hiss as the vacuum is broken. If you don't hear the hiss, enough CO2 has come out of solution since the last pumping to equalize the pressure. Simply pump up another vacuum. Once wine is degassed, I've had this Vacuvin stopper / universal bung arrangement hold vacuums for months.
 

winemaker81

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Once wine is degassed, I've had this Vacuvin stopper / universal bung arrangement hold vacuums for months.
Interesting -- I find that my Vacu-Vin keeps a vacuum in a bottle for only about a week.

However, my stoppers are very old, so I'm going to purchase new ones as it's likely the material has degraded with time. Looking at Amazon, it appears the design of the stopper has changed a bit, but the pump itself looks the same. Which is cool, as mine still works.
 

RickD

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