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First kit--rack early, or leave for the full 14 days?

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DIYer

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I just checked the SG on my bucket (WE Vintner's Reserve Gewurztraminer) and the SG is down to 0.990. It's been 10 days since I pitched the yeast, and it's in a fermenter (small fridge) at 65F covered with muslin. Should I leave it there for another 4 days (the full 14 days the instructions call for), or go ahead and rack to secondary? If I leave it, should I replace the muslin with a bucket lid, since fermentation is complete? It's going really well so far, and I don't want to spoil it!
 

sour_grapes

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You are in good shape -- you are in no danger of spoiling it.

It is your choice, but my preference would be to rack it to the carboy. The instructions are not really relevant at this point, and the 14-day period suggested is some sort of, I dunno, safe average. Trust your hydrometer to tell you what to do, not your calendar.

For a white wine, especially, there is little to be gained by leaving it in the bucket longer. (For a red, you might get a little more skin contact time, but that is not relevant for your situation.)
 

DIYer

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Thanks, sourgrapes. Racking is what I was leaning toward, but wanted to double-check with more experienced folks. :)

Second question: The kit instructions say to rack, add k-meta and sorbate, degas, and add kieselsol. Then rest for 24 hours before adding the reserve pack and chitosan.

My question/confusion is about the clearing agents and sorbate. Every thing I have read on sorbate says not to add it until the wine is clear. That's not going to be the case right after the first racking, before the clearing agents have been added and done their work, so...????
 

cmason1957

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Thanks, sourgrapes. Racking is what I was leaning toward, but wanted to double-check with more experienced folks. :)

Second question: The kit instructions say to rack, add k-meta and sorbate, degas, and add kieselsol. Then rest for 24 hours before adding the reserve pack and chitosan.

My question/confusion is about the clearing agents and sorbate. Every thing I have read on sorbate says not to add it until the wine is clear. That's not going to be the case right after the first racking, before the clearing agents have been added and done their work, so...????
You are correct about what the instructions say and I find that idea just wrong. I would rack, add K-Meta. Let sit for a bit, like a month or more. Then try to degas your wine. I was never able to fully degas manually or with a wine whip. Maybe I gave up to soon. If this wine kit does not come with an flavoring pack to be added after the wine is clear, I would leave the sorbate out completely. If it does, I would make sure the wine is completely degassed, add the sorbate, wait a day or two, add the F-pack, wait a day or two (longer is just fine), then finally add the kieselsol, wait the hour or more, then add the chitosan. I'm sure the directions the kit manufacturers give you work with their product, but in my opinion, it teaches a bad lesson. I feel sorbate works best with less yeast in the mix.
 

DIYer

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Thanks, cmason1957. I was thinking of leaving out the sorbate for now, but following the rest of the steps (racking, adding k-meta, degassing, add the first clearing agent (kieselsol), and letting it sit until it is cleared (a few days, or maybe a few weeks, if necessary). Then rack again and pick up with the kit instructions: add the sorbate (with more k-meta, as I understand sorbate needs the k-meta), the f-pack (this kit does have one, and I added half at the beginning, saving the other half for back sweetening after fermentation), and finally the second clearing agent (chitosan).

**Or is there a reason for adding the kieselsol and chitosan close together? The kit instructions have them being added a day apart. If they should be together, it seems like I should add them both after degassing, then wait for clearing, then do the sorbate/f-pack...**

^^^ Ignore that last bit. I did some googling and found that yes, they should be added close together (kieselsol first, then chitosan). So I think my way forward is just waiting to add the sorbate and f-pack until after all the clearing is done (using both kieselsol and chitosan).
 
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DIYer

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I always add the clearing agents after the F-pack, in case the F-pack clouds the wine back up again. Which I have had happen.
Good point. And good thing I didn't get around to racking last night like I'd planned.
 

LouisCKpasteur

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It is a good point and brings to mind something related - the removal of 500 ml or whatever the instructions call for to make room for the f-pack with the idea of using it for top-offs later. Anyone else find this suspect for reasons similiar to what Cmason dilineated above? Seems like it would cloud the wine too, which is why I've never done it and used a similiar wine either kit or store-bought to top off.
 

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