Is my dandelion wine bad?

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Jlw9391

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This is my second year doing dandelion wine. It is about 2-3 weeks from being bottled up. We noticed today that the wine appears darker on the top maybe an inch or two of liquid on the top is a darker shade than the rest. Is this a sign it has gone bad or is this normal separation or something?
 
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Top with a light tasting white wine, e.g., Pinot Grigio. As stated above, that's way too much head space, which leads to oxidation.

You are not 2-3 weeks from bottling. Give it at least another month, maybe 3. Let the wine clear fully, which the photo indicates it hasn't. You will not regret being patient with the wine.
 

Jlw9391

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Top with a light tasting white wine, e.g., Pinot Grigio. As stated above, that's way too much head space, which leads to oxidation.

You are not 2-3 weeks from bottling. Give it at least another month, maybe 3. Let the wine clear fully, which the photo indicates it hasn't. You will not regret being patient with the wine.
The instructions I follow have it age in the bottle for 4-5months before drinking does it matter if it's in the carboy or the bottles?
 
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The instructions I follow have it age in the bottle for 4-5months before drinking does it matter if it's in the carboy or the bottles?
You want the wine to be clear, else you'll get sediment in the bottle. Generally speaking a bit of sediment is unsightly but doesn't cause any problems other than making an ugly glass of wine.

Wine goes through a lot of chemical changes in the first 4 to 12 months, and I've become a believer in letting wine bulk age longer as it produces more consistent bottles. Bottling too early may result in the bottles aging differently, so you get different results in different bottles.

Originally I was taught the 1-3-3 rule -- 1 week for fermentation, 3 weeks for clearing, and 3 months for bulk aging. While using your hydrometer instead of the calendar is a better choice, this old rule of thumb worked well before hydrometers became readily available. The take-away is that ~4 months was determined to be the minimum time before bottling. This was developed using practical experience over years, so it's a trustworthy value.

I make a variety of wine styles, from lighter reds, whites, and fruits that may be drinkable in 4 to 6 months, to heavy reds that may bulk age over a year and spend another year or 2 in the bottle.

Regardless of what time frames you choose, every few months open a bottle and record your impressions. Don't look at your old notes, just write new ones. After the wine has been in the bottle 1 year, read your notes from first to last. It's a great self-learning tool.
 
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Jlw9391

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You want the wine to be clear, else you'll get sediment in the bottle. Generally speaking a bit of sediment is unsightly but doesn't cause any problems other than making an ugly glass of wine.

Wine goes through a lot of chemical changes in the first 4 to 12 months, and I've become a believer in letting wine bulk age longer as it produces more consistent bottles. Bottling too early may result in the bottles aging differently, so you get different results in different bottles.

Originally I was taught the 1-3-3 rule -- 1 week for fermentation, 3 weeks for clearing, and 3 months for bulk aging. While using your hydrometer instead of the calendar is a better choice, this old rule of thumb worked well before hydrometers became readily available. The take-away is that ~4 months was developed determined to be the minimum time before bottling. This was developing using practical experience over years, so it's a trustworthy value.

I make a variety of wine styles, from lighter reds, whites, and fruits that may be drinkable in 4 to 6 months, to heavy reds that may bulk age over a year and spend another year or 2 in the bottle.

Regardless of what time frames you choose, every few months open a bottle and record your impressions. Don't look at your old notes, just write new ones. After the wine has been in the bottle 1 year, read your notes from first to last. It's a great self-learning tool.
I really appreciate this thank you. This is only my second year doing wine. My first dandelion wine seems to have less problems but I also did a much smaller batch so I'm definitely still learning. I appreciate your experience and willingness to help a noobie out.
 

Hazelemere

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This is my second year doing dandelion wine. It is about 2-3 weeks from being bottled up. We noticed today that the wine appears darker on the top maybe an inch or two of liquid on the top is a darker shade than the rest. Is this a sign it has gone bad or is this normal separation or something?
oxidation
 

BernardSmith

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Your photo shows gravity at work. Gravity is slowly pulling down yeast and other floral particulates towards the bottom and that will create lees which you will need to rack from before you can even think about bottling. It's not so much that the top is darker but that the body of this wine is almost opaque while the top few inches is beginning to clear nicely. The information you provided from the "recipe" you followed suggests some questionable ideas. Would you share your recipe: how much dandelion you used/gallon of must, how much sugar /gallon, how long you allowed the petals to macerate (3 days is about the maximum you want before the steeping draws out vegetative flavors), what yeast did you use?
 

GalleonsLap

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It smells fine. It just tastes very sweet.
If it tastes sweet, it probably isn't finished fermenting yet, but you would know if the airlock was still bubbling. It also wouldn't be settling if it was still fermenting. Could be a stuck fermentation too, if the yeast didn't have enough nutrients. What was the starting Brix? What is the current Brix?
 

BernardSmith

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Bubbling in the airlock is not a useful indicator for a seasoned wine maker. Could be ambient air pressure has changed or ambient room temperature has changed forcing gas that had saturated the liquid to be off gassed because at higher temperatures and or higher pressure the liquid cannot hold the same volume of gas. Could be that particulates are dropping out of solution and so the gas is nucleating and so will off gas and bubble through the airlock but the yeast may have long finished every last gram of sugar. In the opposite way, any tiny gap between bubbler and bung or bung and vessel will allow the gas to escape using less energy and so you won't see any bubble activity even although the yeast is burping out CO2 for all their worth. The only reasonably good indicator of yeast activity is the drop in gravity (density) as sugar is transformed into ethanol and CO2.
 

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