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winemanden

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Hi everyone,

so my Rhubarb wine is going well but I’m having issues clearing it. The recipe I used did not call for Pectolase before fermentation so I’m guessing this is why I’m still here waiting for clarity. I’ve racked three times and the last one I added Pectolase but three weeks later I still have a misty wine. Any thing else I can do?
Photo attached shows the Rhubarb demijohn on the left hand side. Right hand side is an elderberry I made a month or so after the rhubarb. This is clearing faster.
View attachment 63901
Just out of curiosity, was that a White Elderberry, or just juice from Red Elders?
 

oxocube

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Just out of curiosity, was that a White Elderberry, or just juice from Red Elders?
I mean elderflower, sorry. I’ve also realised this is a US thread, I’m over in the UK, London 👋🏻 Hi everyone.
 

Rice_Guy

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This is a world wide thread, which just has lots of US members
I mean elderflower, sorry. I’ve also realised this is a US thread, I’m over in the UK, London 👋🏻 Hi everyone.
it is interesting learning about Brazilian juba berries and how to improvise making wine with things one finds in a musulum dominant culture and even that Korean dogwood has fermentable berries so I could plant one here in zone 5 to have flowers and something to ferment (if anyone is listening, I find Korean dogwood also collects Japanese beetles)
 

JustJoe

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I have made a number of batches of rhubarb wine as well as a lot of other wines and the rhubarb is always the slowest to clear. It takes three rackings at least before it's clear.
 

winemanden

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If it tastes OK shove it at the back of the cupboard and forget about it for a while. Time and patience are your friends in this hobby.
 
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winemaker81

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I second the "get rid of the air space" advice. Air is your enemy -- a large air space can produce oxidation -- basically the same thing as rust on steel, and just as undesired.

For top up? For rhubarb and elderflower, find a good tasting but relatively neutral white wine.

Alternately, put the wine in smaller containers. I'm guessing your containers are 4 liters? Get 3 liter bottles (if you can) and put the excess wine in smaller bottles so there is no head space in them, either. [it's probably easier to use a white wine to top the jugs]

For future reference, plan your batch so that instead of 4 liters, your first racking produces 6 liters. Put the extra in smaller bottles and top up the large container after each racking.

It appears the majority of the forum membership is North American, but we have members from all around the world. I find it interesting to correspond with diverse folk.
 

winemaker81

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Speaking of top-up, I currently have 5 wines in production, batches ranging from 5 to 15 gallons. Yesterday a friend helped me rack my 55 liter barrel. In addition to needing top-up for the barrel, we had to perform quality control checks on all carboys ... e.g., tasting ....

I lacked top-up wine, as the barrel has been the biggest consumer of my excess. It's been topped up with everything else I have.

Previously I purchased a few bottles of a tasty red-blend (my wines are Merlot, Zinfandel, Malbec/Merlot/Zinfandel blend, and Pinot Noir), and used the blend to top up all containers. The barrel needed the most, the carboys needed a few ounces each.

Don't be shy about blending when required. A small amount of a compatible wine will not affect flavor that much, and it's important to maintain low head space.

Consider that Bordeaux, one of the yardsticks for wine quality, is (to the best of my knowledge) all blends.
 

AcreageWine

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I am working on my first batch of Rhubarb wine, just racked from primary. Do any of you degas before racking to the carboy? I did not and I am now wondering if I should have?
 

JustJoe

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I have never degassed rhubarb wine but it is always at least 6 months from end of fermentation to bottling. That eliminates the need for degassing.
 

winemaker81

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Degassing is a controversial subject. It's not necessary, but kit vendors specify the practice as the wine clears faster with CO2 gone. I started stirring non-kit wines to clear them faster -- once the wine is clear I won't rack it again until bottling, or every 3+ months.

This raises an interesting question -- does quicker removal of suspended sediment have any positive effect upon the wine? Or do the negatives of prolonged contact with sediment occur when it has accumulated at the bottom of the container?
 

Chuck E

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Degassing is a controversial subject. It's not necessary, but kit vendors specify the practice as the wine clears faster with CO2 gone. I started stirring non-kit wines to clear them faster -- once the wine is clear I won't rack it again until bottling, or every 3+ months.

This raises an interesting question -- does quicker removal of suspended sediment have any positive effect upon the wine? Or do the negatives of prolonged contact with sediment occur when it has accumulated at the bottom of the container?
I always get the wine off the gross lees pretty quick. I have left some white wine on the fine lees for a few months. This is a French technique (sur le lees?).
 

BernardSmith

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Truth is I am no microbiologist but autolysis needs a very large volume of wine to create the kinds of pressure needed to rupture dead yeast cells and then requires a great deal of time on the lees with this enormous pressure to have any impact on flavors. I guess if you are making a thousand gallons of wine in each batch and you are allowing the wine to age for months and months on the lees you may need to monitor what is going on towards the bottom of your tanks. If you are making five or six gallons of wine then concern about autolysis might not really be a good reason to lose any sleep.
 

winemaker81

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I couldn't remember the correct spelling so I had to look it up -- it's "sur lie", the technique of "letting white wine rest on fine lees for up to a year to improve flavor and mouth feel". I found references that stated the wine should be aged sur lie for anything from 3 to 24 months, the most common being 8 to 12 months.

This may be one of those "everyone has an opinion" and/or "every wine is different" situations. I haven't tried it myself.

Gross lees contains fruit solids and should be removed (relatively) quickly. One reference said that during fermentation, the wine should be stirred at least every 2 to 3 days, as when the gross lees sits, it decomposes, which can produce hydrogen sulfide.

I was taught to stir daily during fermentation to break up the cap, but it makes sense to stir up the gross lees as well.

OTOH, the fine lees is yeast cells which apparently do not cause the problems gross lees do. Interesting factoid -- the proteins released bind with tannin and smooth out the wine. This works great for white wine, but is the reason why the technique normally isn't used for red wines, as the tannin provide structure and aging ability.

I learn something new every week on this forum, whether it's something someone write or something that spurs me to research a topic I'd not have otherwise done.
 

Johnd

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I think the contact with the suspended particles is of much less concern than the exposure to oxygen that comes with the degassing operation.
Depends upon how you degas. If you do it in carboys with a vacuum pump, there's no exposure to oxygen....... Whipping with a drill mounted device is another story.........
 

winemaker81

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I think the contact with the suspended particles is of much less concern than the exposure to oxygen that comes with the degassing operation.
This point has been raised before, but I don't believe it is valid:

1) I've had 5 year old kit wines that showed no evidence of suffering from ill effects from stirring. There was no oxidation, and if the batch had been larger, they'd have aged longer. [wines stop aging when they hit the intestinal tract.]

2) Stirring causes the wine to emit a lot of CO2. Once in the carboy (post stirring) my experience is the wine is still emitting CO2. The wine appears to be insulated from O2 as it is during active fermentation.

My experience is that this is a non-issue. However, if someone can point out a scientific study on the subject, I'd love to read it. Someone actually testing O2 levels would provide a believable answer.

My opinion is just that -- if anyone doesn't want to stir their wine -- don't. Do what you are comfortable with.
 

JustJoe

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This point has been raised before, but I don't believe it is valid:

1) I've had 5 year old kit wines that showed no evidence of suffering from ill effects from stirring. There was no oxidation, and if the batch had been larger, they'd have aged longer. [wines stop aging when they hit the intestinal tract.]

2) Stirring causes the wine to emit a lot of CO2. Once in the carboy (post stirring) my experience is the wine is still emitting CO2. The wine appears to be insulated from O2 as it is during active fermentation.

My experience is that this is a non-issue. However, if someone can point out a scientific study on the subject, I'd love to read it. Someone actually testing O2 levels would provide a believable answer.

My opinion is just that -- if anyone doesn't want to stir their wine -- don't. Do what you are comfortable with.
I agree with you. I don't think either action represents a real risk. I just think the possibility of a negative effect is greater from oxygen than from the suspended particles. But it's not much of a risk in either case and both issues take care of themselves with aging..
 

winemaker81

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I agree with you. I don't think either action represents a real risk. I just think the possibility of a negative effect is greater from oxygen than from the suspended particles. But it's not much of a risk in either case and both issues take care of themselves with aging..
I don't believe suspended particles are a real risk -- it's just a point of idle curiosity. I raised the point as someone might have seen a study regarding it. I love reading stuff like that.
 
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