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Is my bulk aging technique ok?

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NFLDer

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I just want some opinion/advice on my bulk aging. After going through the normal kits steps and get to the point where it advises to bottle, I pour 1/4 TSP of dissolved K-Bisulfite into into the bottom of the new carboy then filter & rack into the fresh carboy.
I do another degassing with a wine whip then put a vacuum on the wine with a vacu-vin and ball valve I have set for about a week until the wine stops bubbling while being vacuumed; then put it away for 6 months, adding a little more vacuum monthly.


Is it a good idea to bulk age the wine under vacuum like this, am I adding enough K-Bisulfite and should I add any more before I bottle?

The vacuum device I made doesn't appear to leak air in as I've tested it by opening a little after a month and it's still under vacuum but I put a few more pumps on to be safe.
 

Johnd

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I just want some opinion/advice on my bulk aging. After going through the normal kits steps and get to the point where it advises to bottle, I pour 1/4 TSP of dissolved K-Bisulfite into into the bottom of the new carboy then filter & rack into the fresh carboy.
I do another degassing with a wine whip then put a vacuum on the wine with a vacu-vin and ball valve I have set for about a week until the wine stops bubbling while being vacuumed; then put it away for 6 months, adding a little more vacuum monthly.


Is it a good idea to bulk age the wine under vacuum like this, am I adding enough K-Bisulfite and should I add any more before I bottle?

The vacuum device I made doesn't appear to leak air in as I've tested it by opening a little after a month and it's still under vacuum but I put a few more pumps on to be safe.
Once you do your initial whip/vacuum and are in a carboy with KMS, pretty much a racking every 90 days (if you have sediment) and another dose of KMS is sufficient. Just KMS if you have no sediment. Sounds like you're planning on bulk aging over 6 months, that combined with your initial whip/degas should take care of the co2. My minimum is 9 months, but normally go 12. My kits are gas and sediment free without using any fining agents or filtering, FWIW.

It's best to test for SO2 before bottling, if you don't have the ability to do that, add some fraction of a 1/4 tsp based upon how long it's been since your last addition.
 
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NFLDer

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Thanks for the advice. I haven't gotten any sediment since my initial rack, so I should add another does of 1/4 tsp every 90days?
I haven't tested for SO2 before but I'm looking into it. I have read that the wine will start to have an off taste after a certain concentration of KMS has built up in the wine, have you ever experienced this?
 

Johnd

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Thanks for the advice. I haven't gotten any sediment since my initial rack, so I should add another does of 1/4 tsp every 90days?
I haven't tested for SO2 before but I'm looking into it. I have read that the wine will start to have an off taste after a certain concentration of KMS has built up in the wine, have you ever experienced this?
I've never gotten in trouble with 1/4 tsp per 6 gallons every 3 months, my wines typically get 4 doses before bottling.
 

JohnT

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Let me ask...

What are you trying to achieve with bulk aging??

If you are trying to age/mellow the wine, then I would advise against aging under a vacuum. While a great technique for degassing, you do lose the benefit of micro oxidation by placing your wine under a perfect hermetic seal.

Not all oxygen is evil. Microscopic amounts of O2 over an extended period is beneficial to the softening one normally expects during extended aging.
I believe that the tiniest amount will seep through a standard airlock.

Also, I would recommend that you rack only when you need to. If you need to aerate your wine or remove an obvious layer of sediment, then rack. Otherwise, leave the poor wine alone.

I agree on adding a dose of k-meta as the others suggest
 

Smok1

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I just want some opinion/advice on my bulk aging. After going through the normal kits steps and get to the point where it advises to bottle, I pour 1/4 TSP of dissolved K-Bisulfite into into the bottom of the new carboy then filter & rack into the fresh carboy.
I do another degassing with a wine whip then put a vacuum on the wine with a vacu-vin and ball valve I have set for about a week until the wine stops bubbling while being vacuumed; then put it away for 6 months, adding a little more vacuum monthly.


Is it a good idea to bulk age the wine under vacuum like this, am I adding enough K-Bisulfite and should I add any more before I bottle?

The vacuum device I made doesn't appear to leak air in as I've tested it by opening a little after a month and it's still under vacuum but I put a few more pumps on to be safe.
Id be careful evacuating too much, im an Air Conditioning mechanic and i use a vac pump to evacuate ac linesets before charging with refrigerant, the main reason for this is refrigerant boils at atmospheric pressure so we need to bring the pressure below 30" hg (500microns to be exact) second reason is to boil off any moisture trapped inside the linest before it gets charged with refrigerant, yes, boil. Me and my daughter used my vac pump for a science experement one year, the purpose of the experement was to see if we could bring water to a boil without using any heat. Theory is the higher the altitude the lower the pressure the less heat you need to boil water. At sea level water boils at 212f, but at 2000ft it boils at 209f, this is due to a pressure drop, so we put a carboy in a vaccumm full of water and sure enough with an industrial vac pump you can easily boil off water at 72f (room tempature) in fact, rjs, winexpert use vac pumps to make there grape juice concentrate, by taking there grape juice, placed under a vaccum, will evaporate off the water, concentrating it. Now i do use a vac pump to rack and degas (carefully) but keep in mind if you can boil water with a vaccum you can definitly boil off your alchohal, in fact the alchohal will boil off much faster than water. You can tell if you degas with a vac pump, the initial small bubbles that create the foam on top are the co2 being pulled, then you will notice the bubbles start to get a bit larger, 1/4", this is the begining of alchohal boiling off, if you start seeing violent bubbling you have gone too far. I have watch people on youtube trying to teach people how to degas using a vac pump and leaving it on the carboy till it stops bubbling, believe me when i say this is not the right way to do it, i have 8 years of schooling and 2 red seal tickets and have alot of knowledge behind the science of evacuation for my trade, if you overuse your vac pump be prepared to lose alcohol.
 
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sour_grapes

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You can tell if you degas with a vac pump, the initial small bubbles that create the foam on top are the co2 being pulled, then you will notice the bubbles start to get a bit larger, 1/4", this is the begining of alchohal boiling off, if you start seeing violent bubbling you have gone too far.
Just curious: do you have any particular reason to make the correlations that you do between bubble size and content? Or is just your guess?

You do realize, I assume, that as the pressure decreases, the same amount of gas molecules makes a bigger bubble.
 

Johnd

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Id be careful evacuating too much, im an Air Conditioning mechanic and i use a vac pump to evacuate ac linesets before charging with refrigerant, the main reason for this is refrigerant boils at atmospheric pressure so we need to bring the pressure below 30" hg (500microns to be exact) second reason is to boil off any moisture trapped inside the linest before it gets charged with refrigerant, yes, boil. Me and my daughter used my vac pump for a science experement one year, the purpose of the experement was to see if we could bring water to a boil without using any heat. Theory is the higher the altitude the lower the pressure the less heat you need to boil water. At sea level water boils at 212f, but at 2000ft it boils at 209f, this is due to a pressure drop, so we put a carboy in a vaccumm full of water and sure enough with an industrial vac pump you can easily boil off water at 72f (room tempature) in fact, rjs, winexpert use vac pumps to make there grape juice concentrate, by taking there grape juice, placed under a vaccum, will evaporate off the water, concentrating it. Now i do use a vac pump to rack and degas (carefully) but keep in mind if you can boil water with a vaccum you can definitly boil off your alchohal, in fact the alchohal will boil off much faster than water. You can tell if you degas with a vac pump, the initial small bubbles that create the foam on top are the co2 being pulled, then you will notice the bubbles start to get a bit larger, 1/4", this is the begining of alchohal boiling off, if you start seeing violent bubbling you have gone too far. I have watch people on youtube trying to teach people how to degas using a vac pump and leaving it on the carboy till it stops bubbling, believe me when i say this is not the right way to do it, i have 8 years of schooling and 2 red seal tickets and have alot of knowledge behind the science of evacuation for my trade, if you overuse your vac pump be prepared to lose alcohol.
Tim Vandergrift, a winemaking professional, wrote an article on the topic of degassing with vacuums. His evaluation of "boiling off" alcohol is quite different from yours. You may wish to read his dissertation on vacuum degassing, it's a quite thorough and all encompassing evaluation of the process. The article is here:

https://winemakermag.com/537-operating-in-a-vacuum-wine-kits
 

deneed4spd

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I'm also a newbie soon to bulk age. So just to summarize.

After clearing is done, add 1/4 teaspoon k-meta to 6 gallons. My wine is decent clear so I'm not going to rack anymore. Just add 1/4 teaspoon k-meta every 3 months and stir with spoon? Do for 9-12 months.
 

Johnd

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I'm also a newbie soon to bulk age. So just to summarize.

After clearing is done, add 1/4 teaspoon k-meta to 6 gallons. My wine is decent clear so I'm not going to rack anymore. Just add 1/4 teaspoon k-meta every 3 months and stir with spoon? Do for 9-12 months.
Pretty failproof regimen if you can't actually measure your free sulfite. Over these months of bulk aging, you'll likely get some more deposits/sediment, rack if needed on one of your regularly scheduled sulfite addition instead of stirring the sediment back into your wine. If it's sediment free, of course, there's no need to rack.
 

Smok1

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Tim Vandergrift, a winemaking professional, wrote an article on the topic of degassing with vacuums. His evaluation of "boiling off" alcohol is quite different from yours. You may wish to read his dissertation on vacuum degassing, it's a quite thorough and all encompassing evaluation of the process. The article is here:

https://winemakermag.com/537-operating-in-a-vacuum-wine-kits
I read his section on whether goes the gas, he doesnt prove any scientific evidence otherwise, all he says is nope, it wont boil off the alcohal. He goes on to say yes you can boil off alcohal but dont be worries because the vacuum you will be able to develop cannot boil water. Well i know for a fact that my vac pump can absolutely boil water and ive watched youtube tutorials with people teaching winemakers with the exact same vac pump i own putting the carboy on a full vaccum until the bubbles stop. The bubbles stop only because as water boils it releases its heat energy, the tempature of the liquid decreases to the point that a deeper vaccum is needed to maintain a boil, at this point is the wine degassed? You bet, no doubt about it, degassed plus some, go grab a bottle of anhydrogenous ethyl alcohol 200 proof, put a cup in a 1 gallon carboy, bring your vaccuum pump to 29.99" hg and you see how fast it boils off. I own a industrail vac pump, ive done the science experement with my daughter for the science fair, i know for a fact it can boil off alcohal easily. Im sure you can search the web and find whatever you want to hear. Im not trying to stop anyone from using a vac pump as i use one myself. Just take caution.
 
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Smok1

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https://skunkpharmresearch.com/vacuum-purging-and-processing-tips/

My point exactly... took 2 seconds to google search that a vaccum pump will indeed evaporate the alcohal from the wine. Its physics. Cant be denied no matter what somone writes on the internet, as pressure drops boiling points decrease, because alchohal has a lower boiling point than water it will in fact boil off under vacum
 

Smok1

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If you own a vacuum pump that looks like this as i do, it is designed to pull a strong enough vacuum to evaporate h20 from a refrigeration system at 10 degrees. Im sure it would have no problem boiling alcohal off. During the tests ive done i can boil off 500ml of a 1 liter jar of alcohol before the evaporation process stops because as the alcohal boils it releases it energy causing the tempature of the alcohal to drop, as the tempature of the alcohal drops you need a deeper vaccuum to continue to boil. But this would not be the case in a 5 gallon carboy of wine, there is alot of heat energy to be used up in there and not alot of alcohol as compared to h20. The carboy would hold tempature long enough to evaporate a significant amount of the alcohol off given the chance and a deep enough vacum for a long period of time.

IMG_3338.PNG
 
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Smok1

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Just curious: do you have any particular reason to make the correlations that you do between bubble size and content? Or is just your guess?

You do realize, I assume, that as the pressure decreases, the same amount of gas molecules makes a bigger bubble.
I have no proof the size of the bubbles can define whether your boiling any particular item off, but i have boiled water in a vaccuum, and i have boiled alcohal in a vacuum, and i degass my wine with a vacuum. And i know when water is boiled under a vacuum it has large bubbles, looks like a boiling pot of water. When i boiled the alchohal, we used 200 proof for the experement, it boiled off in smaller bubbles, about 1/4" in size, and it evaporated quickly, much faster than water. I personally stop when the tiny bubbles that create foam on top and the bigger bubbles start to form is when i put the brakes on, just my personal method.
 

Smok1

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http://www.tarac.com.au/products/grape-juice-concentrate/

Heres another link showing that the grape juice concentrate we buy in our kits is concentrated by the use of low temp high vacuum evaporation process, most concentrates of anykind use a vaccum to evaporate the h20 because they risk less damage to the product by not having to heat it up, if a vacuum can evaporate water out of grape juice it would make it very hard hard to believe it couldnt boil off alcohal out of our wine.
 

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