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Discussion in 'Beginners Wine Making Forum' started by MBurly31, Dec 9, 2019.

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  1. Dec 9, 2019 #1

    MBurly31

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    Hey Everyone!

    This is my first day on here and my first batch of wine. I know the best way to get answers is to expirement and record for the next time but I'm a little stumped.

    I added the yeast Friday(12-6) at 6pm and this morning(12-9) it already down 1.030. Should I rack it even though its before the recommended 5-7 days?

    Thanks!!!
     
  2. Dec 9, 2019 #2

    sour_grapes

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    No need to rack yet. First of all, forget about time -- it is the SG that counts. Second, I wouldn't rack until you are below 1.010, and personally I would wait until you are at 1.000 to 1.005.

    These are general comments. You may get a better response if you were to let us know what kind of wine you are making, and what the initial SG was?
     
  3. Dec 9, 2019 #3

    MBurly31

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    Thanks for the quick response!

    I'm making a fruit wine(mixed berries), and the initial SG was 1.085. It is still in the primary fermenter bucket. I was under the impression that I would want to rack at 1.030 and then rack another time when it's closer to 1.000 or 1.010.

    So your saying keep it in the bucket until it's close 1.000?
     
  4. Dec 9, 2019 #4

    cmason1957

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    There is no need to rack twice and if you do, you will probably harm your fermentation. You only need to rack at around 1.010 or even 1.000. It can stay in the primary fermentation bucket that entire time. Active fermentation gives off lots of CO2 which helps to prevent your wine from oxidation, that's the oxygen getting to the wine causing issues.
     
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  5. Dec 9, 2019 #5

    Scooter68

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    Use both the SG reading AND the amount of foaming activity to guide you. If the SG is 1.010 but there is still a significant amount of foaming going on.... racking will produce a mess. Normally I won't rack at any SG if the foaming is occurring - 1/4"or more of foam. Even then the racking process can re-invigorate the yeast and cause a sudden, albeit short term burst of foaming and again you end up with lost wine and a mess. if the surface of the wine is not covered with foam (Just little 'islands' of foam floating about) and the SG is 1.010 or lower then rack but pay attention as you do so. You may even need to leave an inch of space in the broad part of the carboy until things settle down. That's why it's always handy to keep around some extra small glass containers of various sizes like 12, 16, 20, 32, 64 oz bottles that you can put extra wine into temporarily. (Airlock those small containers just like the carboy.)
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2019
  6. Dec 9, 2019 #6

    MBurly31

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    Oh wow, thanks! So I'm going to leave it longer and then rack when it get closer to 1.010. Should I take a reading after week or so and then bottle when its below 1.000? Or should i add potassium metabisulfate to make sure any remaining yeast is dead? Sorry for all of the random questions but no one near does this
     
  7. Dec 9, 2019 #7

    MBurly31

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    And do I siphon everything into the carboy or leave the bottom inch in the bucket?
     
  8. Dec 9, 2019 #8

    cmason1957

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    I always siphon everything, I know some folks who try not to get the lees on that first racking, but I figure it fell out once, it will fall out again and I don't have to top up, until after fermentation is complete.
     
  9. Dec 9, 2019 #9

    MBurly31

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  10. Dec 9, 2019 #10

    sour_grapes

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    Whereas I do try to leave the sludge behind. Ask 10 winemakers, get 11 answers....

    Oh, if you do choose to leave sludge behind, you can glop it into a mason jar, and put it in the fridge. It will settle out, and you can easily pour off the clear wine from the top.
     
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  11. Dec 9, 2019 #11

    BernardSmith

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    Here's the thing: if you rack too soon you are removing a great deal of the yeast biomass.. That may not be a problem if you leave behind enough viable yeast cells but racking means that you are essentially removing much of the yeast. That is not a big issue if the wine is already close to 1.000 and you are planning on aging the wine for a few months before you rack a second time, but if the active fermentation has not ceased then you may be stalling the activity..
     
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  12. Dec 9, 2019 #12

    MBurly31

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    Ohh ya that makes a lot of sense. I'm just going off of videos and some online research but the conversation with you guys makes a lot more sense. So I should rack when it's much closer to 1.000. Is there a general rule for how long to leave it in there before bottling? If it's already at 1.000 then the fermentation is done, so am I just waiting on clarity?
     
  13. Dec 9, 2019 #13

    BernardSmith

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    The yeast completing the active fermentation (no more sugar left for the yeast to ferment is the very first stage in the process. The yeast will have created many compounds some of which are unpleasant to taste and smell and over weeks and months the yeast will transform those compounds into other compounds that we prefer and enjoy. Clarity is another aspect and for the wine to clear all the gas (CO2) that is currently saturating the liquid (half the weight of the fermentable sugar is converted into CO2 - half the weight) must escape and all the particulates that are in the wine must drop out of solution while particles still being produced (tannins, for example, acids (which may bind with the alcohol), must stop their production. Even when you bottle what looks like perfectly clear wine you will likely find that after 3 -6 months there will be silt in the bottles. The secret of wine making is patience. Wine making is not fast food. It's a living process and like all living processes it takes time.
     
  14. Dec 9, 2019 #14

    Scooter68

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    Hardest thing to learn is patience in wine making. If you will just take your time your wine will be clear, crisp and an enjoyable experience. If you rush - As Bernard stated there are a lot of initial elements to new wine that aren't really enjoyable.

    After your fermentation completes there are three things that need to happen:
    1) The residual CO2 needs be dissipated - normally that will happen naturally in about 6 months +/-
    2) The sediment needs to drop out - Again time will solve that mostly but there are additional steps - fining/clearing agents that can speed that along and in some cases help with stubborn haze. Since you are making a mixed berry wine it's entirely possible it will completely clear on it's own in 3-6 months.
    3) Those compounds Bernard talks about need to be modified or dissipate - again time is the great fixer of that in most cases.

    Note- that all three of those things often happen without any work on your part other than racking the wine every 3 months and adding some K-meta.

    Final thing - The last step before you bottle a berry or fruit wine (Other than Grape based wines) is to taste test it. It's very likely that the flavors will be very mild - and the cure is a little back-sweetening. Thing for you to do now is to read up on that process - it's simple and personally I prefer to do that final step within the last week or two before I bottle my wine. That lets all those compounds Bernard mention get out of the way for a good taste test.
     
  15. Dec 9, 2019 #15

    MBurly31

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    I gotcha, my biggest worry was racking it and leaving it too age and end fermenting more and ruining the batch. But it sounds like that's exactly what I need to do. Thanks!!!
     
  16. Dec 9, 2019 #16

    Scooter68

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    With a berry wine you are probably best off to let it ferment all the way down. (1.000 -.990) Then after aging you add back in the sweetness level that you need/want. Many folk who like a dry wine will still back sweeten just a little and that flavor will pop right out again. (I've had a fruit wine end at .992 and then back sweetened to .998 and it brought back the flavor - it doesn't always take a lot to do the job.)
     
  17. Dec 10, 2019 #17

    MBurly31

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    Perfect, that was my plan but I was going to move it twice..but not anymore, thanks!

    Should I leave the fruit in for the entire time it's in the primary fermenter...I've just read horror stories of fruit ruining the wine if its left in there.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2019
  18. Dec 10, 2019 #18

    Scooter68

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    Most ferments take less than two weeks so there should be no problem AND you want to extract all the flavor from that fruit so normally I leave the fruit in until I rack it into a carboy. Since you are making a mixed berry wine, there should not be a problem, some fruits seem to cause folks a problem like persimmons but you should fine.
     
  19. Dec 10, 2019 #19

    MBurly31

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    Thanks, I stirred it up this morning and checked the SG and it was already down to 1.015. Is there a thread on here with recipes? I have a few carbons but only 1 bucket so as soon as I rack I want to get another fruit wine going.
     
  20. Dec 10, 2019 #20

    Scooter68

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    There is a thread on here https://www.winemakingtalk.com/forums/recipes.2/

    Some folks may recommend recipes by Jack Keller but I have a few problems with them:
    1) His listed quantities of fruit are too low. Most times I would add about 70 more fruit - he might recommend 3 or 4 lbs and I would go with 6-7 lbs
    2) He recommends the use of raisins a lot to add body and many folks don't like the idea of adding an oxidized thing to a wine.
    3) His alcohol levels tend to run on the high side, which, with a fruit, will mask the flavor a lot.

    What variety of wine are you considering next?
     

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