WineXpert Eclipse Stag Leap Merlot Extended Maceration

Discussion in 'Kit Winemaking' started by dmguptill, Dec 27, 2018.

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  1. Dec 25, 2019 #41

    jgmann67

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    Checked on the Merlot this morning after my coffee.

    The SG is 1.02(ish). Still a little ways to go. The basement temps are really nice for a slow fermentation. The instructions on the eclipse kits say to leave it be for 14 days, the check SG, rack and dose.

    Still haven’t decided whether I should leave it on the skins another 2-3 weeks after that. But no matter what I do, my fermonsters aren’t making a good seal... the decision might be made for me.
     
  2. Dec 25, 2019 #42

    Lwrightjs

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    Do you actually need to worry about the seal while it's fermenting and off gassing?
     
  3. Dec 25, 2019 #43

    jgmann67

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    Not really. But if I’m doing an EM, I prefer a good seal.
     
  4. Dec 25, 2019 #44

    Swedeman

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    Why is that? I keep mine in a Fermonster for +8 weeks without any issues...
     
  5. Dec 26, 2019 #45

    jgmann67

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    I’m not sure. I pulled the o-ring and cleaned it, but I can’t seem to get any pressure.
     
  6. Dec 26, 2019 #46

    joeswine

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    This wine is delightful young , really.
     
  7. Dec 27, 2019 #47

    cmason1957

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    I agree with you Joe, but with some age on it. Oh my goodness does it get good. I almost think this may be the best kit wine I have ever made.
     
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  8. Dec 27, 2019 #48

    Albert Shephard

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    Good morning folks I bought a Merlot kit from Midwest Brewery and put it in the fermenter went through the process of the fermentation I'm still in the fermentation even though all the fermentation is done I was told to leave it in my Barrel sorry my bucket for 4 to 6 weeks and let it age well I've been doing that and I've been trying a little sip here and there every week and it just tastes sour and bitter I don't taste a wine flavor at all
     
  9. Dec 27, 2019 #49

    cmason1957

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    Whoever suggested that you leave it in a bucket for 4 to 6 weeks doesn't make wine the way I do, maybe it's better, but who knows. Making it in the way you indicated you were told will lead to an oxidized wine, more than likely.

    I rack to a carboy after it is done fermenting (the SG drops below 1.000 and stays the same for three or so days). and put an airlock on the carboy to minimize exposure to air. Rack again after a week or so, then maybe three weeks, then every three months, until I am ready to bottle. I add Potassium metabisulphite (1/4 tsp ? five or 6 gallons of wine) at first rack and then every three months or so to help prevent oxidation.

    It isn't unheard of for new wine to taste somewhat sour and bitter.
     
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  10. Dec 27, 2019 #50

    jgmann67

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    At this point, your wine is full of CO2. It will mask the wine's fruit flavor with a biting, zingy taste. Don't worry, you're a long way from home and shouldn't expect your wine to taste "finished" for a while.

    Did you buy the kit being discussed in this thread (the WE Eclipse Stags Leap Merlot) or was it a different one?

    If you did this kit:

    You're being told to leave the wine in your primary fermenter for a little extended maceration (giving your wine additional exposure to the skins to extract more tannin, color and grapey goodness from them). And, you can do an EM with a wine like this for as long as 9 weeks. But, I wouldn't recommend doing a long EM in a fermentation bucket for fear that the wine will get too much exposure to the air. I use a fermonster. Others use a big mouth bubbler. There are bunch of options out there.

    If you're bent on doing a 4-6 week EM, and you're sure your fermentation is complete, I'd dose it with the potassium metabisulfite and seal the bucket up (snap the lid down and install an airlock).

    Also, once you're done with your EM, consider letting your wine age in a carboy for 6-12 months. As time goes by, and your wine is completely degassed, you'll find that it tastes more like it should. DO NOT bottle your wine until you're absolutely sure it is degassed, completely clear and tastes like you think it should.

    If you're new to winemaking, I'd suggest following the directions more closely until you get the hang of the process. You won't need the potassium sorbate if you fermented your wine down to zero. Also, a lot of people (myself included) don't use the clarifiers and let time do the work to clear the wine.The directions for the Eclipse reds say to give your wine two weeks in the primary, then check to see if your fermentation is complete.

    If you're not doing this kit and it did NOT come with skins, then someone is definitely steering you wrong - rack your wine off the lees as soon as your fermentation is complete. Dose with potassium metabisulfite, degas and age your wine till it's completely degassed, clear and tastes like it should.
     
    Last edited: Dec 27, 2019
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  11. Dec 28, 2019 #51

    Steve Wargo

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    For those having issues with their fermenters not sealing correctly. Try using plumbers tape on the threads, if it's a screw-on type. Same for the gallon jugs used for long-term storage/aging.

    Drink wine, love women, don't get the two confused
     
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  12. Dec 29, 2019 #52

    WINEBAYOU

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    Hello all. Thought I'd share a few things...

    Starting out, doing several batches at a time, I tried following the instructions to a "T", racking into the carboy after 7-10 days. I ended up with several carboys foaming out overnight and that is NOT fun at all, especially when it goes underneath you wood flooring or carpet.

    Some of the kits I was doing had oak chips and grape skins but did not come with a muslin bag to use so I learned the hard way that adding them loose in the primary can make racking quite difficult. I spent a fair amount of time using a colander and screen on those batches.

    Next, I tried adding the oak to the carboy after racking and that also contributed to the foaming problems. Finally, I talked to George (RIP) at FineVineWines in Dallas who helped me understand what I was doing wrong and sold me some muslin bags. He also explained that it's good to occasionally wring out the bag of skins and oak into the must.

    After that I started leaving everything in the primary (buckets) for about a month. I've left some batches in the primary longer, up to about 6 weeks, and never had any problems with oxidation. I would take the lid off and stir the top down about once per week just to make sure the was no mold developing or anything.

    Over the next year I had done about a hundred or so batches. During that time I spent a lot of time trying to figure out the whole clearing thing. I spent a lot of time on filtering with various degrees of success. Made a mess of the kitchen a couple times when the filter would clog and spray all over the place. Turns out that it's true what they say, you should not try to filter wine that hasn't cleared. The only answer seemed to be more time.

    Eventually, I graduated to using 300L tanks for my primary then racking to carboys. I would carefully pump 10 or 12 batches from the tank into carboys adding the stabilizers and fining agents to each individually, mixing and waiting in between steps as per instructions.

    Screenshot_20191229-094144_Gallery.jpg

    I would put the carboys on the shelf side by side and I started noticing that they didn't all clear at the same rate. Naturally, the last one out would have more sediment as I was trying to get the last of the wine from the tank, but that didn't mean it would be the last to clear. Some carboys would clear in a week while others took two or three weeks or even longer. I started researching online and I ran across the All-In-One vacuum pump. I called and talked to Steve, the owner, about it and we discussed a little bit about degassing. I had only used a whip and drill up to that point and that was more toward the end of the process prior to bottling. I hadn't really thought of it as having anything to do with the clearing process. Steve explained that by using vacuum to rack the wine you were able to degas as you rack. I ordered one and tried it and right away I noticed a difference.

    I got back on the phone with Steve and he told me he had another thing called a "head space eliminator" for $12 each so I ordered a few to try. It's a rubber bung with a one-way suction port and a rubber bulb which serves to indicate that the seal is good.

    20191229_094409.jpg

    I first tried them on some finished batches to see how much gas was in them. I was amazed to see the wine appear to boil as the vacuum built up. Then I watched it continue to do so hours on some. I had about 80 carboys on the shelf at the time and over the next few days I worked my way through all of them. Only a few of them did not bubble up profusely. I ordered a bunch more of them and started leaving them on the carboys to reduce the air in the head space.

    Next, I started using them to completely degas the wine upon the first racking. That's when I saw the most dramatic affect. In fact, some carboys would clear overnight while others, even from the same tank, still took a little longer but typically not more than a week. Since then I've been using the vacuum pump this way on several hundred more batches and it has made life a lot easier for me.
     
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