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Acast285

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I am currently a month into my first rack and all of the lees have settled down to the bottom of my carboy, but it looks like I have an awful lot and I am afraid it may displace my wine too much.

Do you think I should give it one more good stir to remove a ton of tiny air bubbles and allow the lees to settle in a more compacted manner?

Should I rack off the top and try squeezing the wine out of the mass of lees that I have?

Or do I just chock the lees/trapped wine as a loss and learn from my mistakes?

Most of the lees are from plums, but it is a plum and muscadine wine

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FTC Wines

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Acast, your carboy looks just like my Cranberry Wine that I racked a few weeks ago. Not a mistake, this happens. My Mango was the same, started with 15 gallons, ended with10. So I'd leave it in the carboy for say 2 weeks total, not sure when you put it in carboy, then rack. If you want to recover the max amount of wine you can transfer some of the cloudy stuff on top of the harder Lee's, but you'll have to rack again in a few more weeks. Looks like if rack it all off you'll have about 3 gals left of clear wine. Roy
 

JohnT

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+ 1 on what FTC said..

It looks like you have a lot of head space in that carboy. assuming that fermentation is complete, I would top it off and give it another 2 weeks before racking.
 

BernardSmith

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What I would do is rack the wine from above the lees (the sediment) and then transfer the lees into a smaller vessel (or vessels) and place them in your fridge. Don't try to extract more liquid from them by pressing or squeezing. Just let them stand and after a few days you will see that the liquid in the lees will separate from the solids and you can then rack that liquid into your carboy. Why this happens I do not know but I think that the smaller surface area of a smaller carboy (or jug) means that the lees now exert more pounds per square inch of pressure and so force out more of the liquid from the bottom. That , or the cold in the fridge helps further flocculate the yeast and so the lees are more packed - again forcing out the liquid. But my guess is that after a few days you will find that you have another few pints of wine that you can add to the carboy
 

Acast285

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Thanks for all of the input guys!

If I am left with 3 gallons of wine, does this mean I need to purchase a 3 gallon carboy or should I dilute with water? As you can see in the pics, its some pretty concentrated stuff, a flashlight will only shine a couple of inches into it.
 

NorCal

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When making 5 gallon carboy quantities, buy four 1 gallon jugs and a dozen tops. They really come in handy.
 

Mismost

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Thanks for all of the input guys!

If I am left with 3 gallons of wine, does this mean I need to purchase a 3 gallon carboy or should I dilute with water? As you can see in the pics, its some pretty concentrated stuff, a flashlight will only shine a couple of inches into it.

do not dilute it....then we will talking about fixing a thin flavorless wine!

Plum will drop lees FOREVER...don't get in a hurry to bottle. I have several bottles of plum that were crystal clear, you could read the paper through them, FG was stable for months, it was very dry...I bottled....now I have plum wine snow globes!
 

Scooter68

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1) You started it right and while you can invest in a 3 gallon carboy, I'd just find some empty 1 gallon or 4 liter carboys at the recycling center and use those. It gives you the opportunity to create 3 different types of wine from one batch by adjusting the sweetness of each one before bottling time.
2) The idea of pressing the lees is fine for the first racking only. After that it's more pain than the value of the wine you may recover. Pressing, squeezing etc will push more lees into that batch but hey, you are going to be waiting for several months anyway, what a few more weeks for that on additional racking going to hurt?
3) Adding water doesn't have to mean your wine will be watered down IF your starting lbs per gallon was high enough. Some recipes plan for that additional water anyway OR if you are a complete do it yourself on the recipe, plan in the additional amount of water when you figure your lbs/gallon numbers. That way you don't have to go looking for some sort of complementing wine to top off with (not to mention the few extra $$ that will add to your costs plus you aren't cheapening your wine by adding some cheap wine to your good stuff.) By adding additional fruit to your wine at first, you can keep your wine 100% whatever fruit you are using and know that is a true flavor in the wine.
 

Acast285

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1) You started it right and while you can invest in a 3 gallon carboy, I'd just find some empty 1 gallon or 4 liter carboys at the recycling center and use those. It gives you the opportunity to create 3 different types of wine from one batch by adjusting the sweetness of each one before bottling time.
2) The idea of pressing the lees is fine for the first racking only. After that it's more pain than the value of the wine you may recover. Pressing, squeezing etc will push more lees into that batch but hey, you are going to be waiting for several months anyway, what a few more weeks for that on additional racking going to hurt?
3) Adding water doesn't have to mean your wine will be watered down IF your starting lbs per gallon was high enough. Some recipes plan for that additional water anyway OR if you are a complete do it yourself on the recipe, plan in the additional amount of water when you figure your lbs/gallon numbers. That way you don't have to go looking for some sort of complementing wine to top off with (not to mention the few extra $$ that will add to your costs plus you aren't cheapening your wine by adding some cheap wine to your good stuff.) By adding additional fruit to your wine at first, you can keep your wine 100% whatever fruit you are using and know that is a true flavor in the wine.
I made a 6 gallon batch with 16 lbs of muscadines, 20 lbs of plums, and 2 lbs of cranberries (hence the color). I'm guessing that with that amount of lees I'll probably come out with about 4 gallons of wine. This is also my first rack from fermentation bucket into secondary fermentation carboy and has been sitting for around 45 days.

So my next step is to siphon into a newly purchased 3 gal carboy, put remainder in 1 gal carboy(s), and then either strain the remaining lees or put into another small carboy into the fridge for more settling?

I'm thinking that it would probably be best to wait to dilute, after i can taste it. is it possible to wait to long to dilute if i decide to do so?

thanks for all of the suggestions!
 

Scooter68

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No, you can dilute at any time BUT keep track of the ABV and make sure the dilution doesn't lower it below about 11%.
As to settling the lees in the fridge - should be fine. Whatever you recover from the lees that way can be used to top off as much as possible. Your quantities of fruit are not especially high (lbs/gal) so water dilutions may not be a great idea IF you can avoid them.
Depending on how you do the racking you may find a significant difference between the wine in the 3 gallon carboy and the 1 gallon carboy. It's likely that your racking cane will pull up some lees even with careful handling of the cane so the pH and clarity of the two containers may vary depending on which one gets the bottom of that current carboy.
 

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