How to Avoid Sucking up Sediment

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Wow - is that some kind of record for sediment!?
This was the last 1+ gallon in the fermenter, sludge and wine, so it looks like a lot. Normal is an inch or two, although as @Scooter68 said on the last page, 4" is not out of the question for some situation. Tomato wine is one of them.

Many moons ago I purchased juice, and it was apparently the last of the tank -- I lost 1/3 of a carboy to sediment.

FYI, regarding my site -- I do not do any advertising nor do I collect personal information. I've been recording things that happen as well as common replies, such as racking tips. We get a lot of questions regarding this so it makes sense to record my observations once and refer people to it.
 
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NO. WAY.
Did you start with elderberry soup? That's incredible!
Welcome to the Wacky World of Winemaking!!!

Those are real, unretouched photos. I've read that gross lees settles out within 24 to 72 hours of the end of fermentation, and this is proof that it happens. Putting it in the fridge at 38 F doesn't hurt, either!
 

balatonwine

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Some really great ideas here so far.

Here is my modest solution. Note: I do not rack from glass much these days that have much sediment at the bottom (glass for me is only the last container before bottling). But historically:

I get some Stainless wire, bend it a bit so part goes into the racking tube and some sticks out enough so that the part that sticks out keeps the tube end above the lees (my "perfect" bend is actually a bit complex, like a complex "U" paper clip shape, so the wire "grabs" the racking tube on one side to keep it from falling out of the tube and makes it semi adjustable up and down). A careful test insertion into the bottle can note any minor adjustment or more "bending" if needed if I need to extend to shorten the extension part that keeps the tube out of the lees, before the actual racking. I make the adjustments, then rack.

Hope this helps.
 

DaveMcC

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Yeah, this is a problem I am trying to solve also. My technique, in 6 gal carboys, is to use the tubing with the end visible up against the side of the glass so I can see where it is. I pump (using a transfer pump) and tilt to extract as much as I can before it is in danger of sucking up sediment. Fining and another racking after that will pretty much clears most all the sediment out of the wine for me. I have recently moved to the 110L stainless tanks, so a bit harder to judge where the sediment level is. Someone who comes up with a gadget to allow for variable sediment height and adjustments will get my money. I'm seeing some kind of U shaped attachment to either stainless canes or rigid tubing.
 

Rouyea

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* Like bigDave I have marks on the racking cane, some are marker and some are rings from colored silicone straws
* several of my racking canes are made out of PEX or 3/3 polyethylene (as in photo) which was bent after heating over a gas burner so that the shape is more of a “J” than traditional “L”. By being able to wedge the cane close to the side it becomes visible. The racking cane is made for that size carboy.
* there are wedge shape tools that will hold the racking cane where you put it. Almost as efficient is a spring clamp as in the photo that you can clip a racking cane to. Another alternative is hold the cane with a spring pinch clamp.
* I start all siphons with vacuum, this could even be a low vacuum as from a home vacuum cleaner (5” Hg)
* all racking is done on a slanted platform so the clear stuff is deeper
View attachment 86289
That is a great idea, I'm making me a tilted rack like yours.
 

WinoDon

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* Like bigDave I have marks on the racking cane, some are marker and some are rings from colored silicone straws
* several of my racking canes are made out of PEX or 3/3 polyethylene (as in photo) which was bent after heating over a gas burner so that the shape is more of a “J” than traditional “L”. By being able to wedge the cane close to the side it becomes visible. The racking cane is made for that size carboy.
* there are wedge shape tools that will hold the racking cane where you put it. Almost as efficient is a spring clamp as in the photo that you can clip a racking cane to. Another alternative is hold the cane with a spring pinch clamp.
* I start all siphons with vacuum, this could even be a low vacuum as from a home vacuum cleaner (5” Hg)
* all racking is done on a slanted platform so the clear stuff is deeper
View attachment 86289
gonna make me one of those platforms, thanks for the tip.
 

balatonwine

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It's also possible to purchase a piece that fits on the auto-siphon. The clip prevents dropping into a carboy and clips on the side of a primary.

View attachment 86364

Very, very cool. Similar to my end of tube bent wire design, only the wire goes into the tube, not outside. And costs only a few cents in wire. Do not pay more..... :cool:
 
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Very, very cool. Similar to my end of tube bent wire design, only the wire goes into the tube, not outside. And costs only a few cents in wire. Do not pay more.....
DIY can be a lot cheaper. On the plus side, I can slide the plastic piece up and down on the auto-siphon very easily to change the height.

Our first winter in our house, the water head on the well froze. Our builder was kind enough to loan a small quartz heater, which defrosted the unit within an hour. He suggested putting a 40 watt bulb inside the housing, as the heat it produced would keep the inside of the housing (hollow cylinder of concrete with heavy concrete lid) above freezing.

I purchased a pig tail (bulb socket on a short cord ending with 120 v plug). The concrete pad the well head is on is not 100% even, nor is the bottom of the housing. I lifted the housing up and slid the pig tail wire underneath, in a gap so the housing is not crushing the wire. Then took a piece of stiff wire and made a loop in each end, and bent it as 120 degrees. The bulb socket went in one loop (inside the housing), the wire rested on the edge of the housing, and on the outside the plug is in the other loop, keeping it above the dirt. The lid goes on top, and it's heavy enough that it's not moving. When the temperature drops below freezing I run an extension cord from the garage and plug it in.

This has been in place for 26 years ... I have to change the bulb every 6 or 7 years and have a box of incandescent 60 W bulb.
 

balatonwine

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Our first winter in our house, the water head on the well froze. Our builder was kind enough to loan a small quartz heater, which defrosted the unit within an hour. He suggested putting a 40 watt bulb inside the housing, as the heat it produced would keep the inside of the housing (hollow cylinder of concrete with heavy concrete lid) above freezing.

I purchased a pig tail (bulb socket on a short cord ending with 120 v plug). The concrete pad the well head is on is not 100% even, nor is the bottom of the housing. I lifted the housing up and slid the pig tail wire underneath, in a gap so the housing is not crushing the wire. Then took a piece of stiff wire and made a loop in each end, and bent it as 120 degrees. The bulb socket went in one loop (inside the housing), the wire rested on the edge of the housing, and on the outside the plug is in the other loop, keeping it above the dirt. The lid goes on top, and it's heavy enough that it's not moving. When the temperature drops below freezing I run an extension cord from the garage and plug it in.

This has been in place for 26 years ... I have to change the bulb every 6 or 7 years and have a box of incandescent 60 W bulb.

Good grief. Had similar issues years ago. My solution was to install heater coil and a thermostat. We have not had to heat the pipes the last few years. Thank you global warming?????? :eek:
 

amorgan

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Some really great ideas here so far.

Here is my modest solution. Note: I do not rack from glass much these days that have much sediment at the bottom (glass for me is only the last container before bottling). But historically:

I get some Stainless wire, bend it a bit so part goes into the racking tube and some sticks out enough so that the part that sticks out keeps the tube end above the lees (my "perfect" bend is actually a bit complex, like a complex "U" paper clip shape, so the wire "grabs" the racking tube on one side to keep it from falling out of the tube and makes it semi adjustable up and down). A careful test insertion into the bottle can note any minor adjustment or more "bending" if needed if I need to extend to shorten the extension part that keeps the tube out of the lees, before the actual racking. I make the adjustments, then rack.

Hope this helps.
I really like this idea! You wouldn't happen to have a photo of your wire/bends would you?
 

Chuck E

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I use this flexible, white, plastic piece on all my racking canes. You push the tapered end into the carboy and it stays put at what ever level you want.
I don't remember where I got them, perhaps MoreWine...
 

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bstnh1

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Wow! All this effort to avoid sucking up a little sediment! It's really not a problem for me. I usually rack a minimum of 2 or 3 times after degassing and fining and in the end there is no sediment to worry about. I have never had visible sediment or cloudiness in a bottle, no matter how old.
 

Khristyjeff

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Wow! All this effort to avoid sucking up a little sediment! It's really not a problem for me. I usually rack a minimum of 2 or 3 times after degassing and fining and in the end there is no sediment to worry about. I have never had visible sediment or cloudiness in a bottle, no matter how old.
Just curious. Do you allow your racking cane to rest on the bottom when you transfer?
 

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