Racking

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BigDaveK

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So, the yeast neeeds oxygen in the first stage..... should the primary fermentation be stired everyday? This need for oxygen rules out using jugs with narrow necks for the primary fermentation; is that correct?
Current practice is to stir a couple times a day. I actually stir rather vigorously, releasing CO2 and incorporating oxygen, hopefully.

Rules out jugs? Not necessarily. I don't really know how much oxygen yeast need. I believe it's mostly needed while they're multiplying. Many wine makers over the years went straight to an airlocked vessel with, apparently, no problems. Personally, I know the open (but cloth covered) vessel works so I'll continue to do that until I have reason not to.
 
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BigDaveK

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You suggest adding kmeta; would you mind to expand on that as I don't even know what it is. Should I be adding kmeta now or do you leave that for the last time yoy rack it. If you use kmeta, but want the finished product to be clearer still, can you add more?
Kmeta is short for potassium metabisulfite. It's a sanitizer, stabilizer, anti-oxidant. It's added when fermentation is done. No, it's not used for clearing a wine. Time is the best way to clear a wine - 6 months (or a bit less) usually does it. Sometimes the wine may need help clearing depending on the original ingredients.

Do you really really need it? Many wouldn't make wine without it. Some try to reduce chemicals and do successfully make wine without it. There are those sensitive to it who get headaches. I know this is a terrible answer but do some research and decide for yourself.
 
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BigDaveK

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What FUN!! After reading everyone's comments last night I decided to transfer rather than racking at this time. My reasoning was this could be a dry run, a time to explore using the equipment new to me and a time to settle some of the issues I will face when I do rack. I learned a lot and made notes - especially notes of things I have to address before racking.
I thought everything went well enough, I have more questions (further down). And I had a blast doing this .... no drinking involved. just a sign of how small my world has become.
What saved my hide last night was the transferring from an Imperial gallon to a US gallon. The difference between the two ensured the brew in the second gallon to be just shy of reaching the level of the neck narrowing so I added 2 Tablespoons of mango juice....... am hoping I did not entirely blow it.
Also, when the liquid was transferred, there was a layer of cream coloured ???? stuck to the bottom of the first gallon jug; my guess is it was settled yeast. I decided not to transfer that into the new jug.... probably a mistake. (It really was like watered down cement and was hard to clean out of that jug).
So today, the new jug is again at 73/74 degrees F and the 'burping' has dropped from once every 6 seconds to once/minute.
Anyone care to comment? I'd appreciate your take on the situation and on how you would have handled the situation. I'm here to learn so feel free to point out the absolute worst mistakes I made.
As for my questions.... sanitation.... Do you have to wait for the sanitizer (I used Star San Sanitizer) to air dry completely before you use the measuring cup or whatever? I know the article has to be kept wet with the sanitizer for a number of minutes, but last night not all of the equipment air dried completely (raining hard) and I was impatient to get started.
Another thing, should I have used some of the fluid to break up the sediment at the bottom of the jug and then transferred it?
Should I be adding something to the present brew to help it re-activate? Some kind of syrup?
You've asked a lot of good questions. A little more experience will make things fall into place.

You didn't do anything wrong. Wine making is VERY forgiving. Generally the yeast will continue doing their job until they run out of food or the amount of alcohol kills them. I say "generally" because sometimes the process stops (called a stuck fermentation) for some reason. And there are many reason. Too little food or nutrients, too much food, temperature, or because it's Tuesday to name a few.

No, when using Star San items don't have to air dry.

I give my primary a little stir and pour it through a brew bag and into another bucket to get rid of the big pieces. Then I transfer to an airlocked secondary. We usually adjust the recipe to make a little more wine. The excess goes into a smaller container with an airlock and is used for topping up later.

Your fermentation may not need anything to "re-activate" it. Take an SG reading. That will tell you what's going on. Close to 1.000 or below and it's probably done. Much above 1.000 for a couple days, there may be an issue.

Yes, it IS fun!
 
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After reading everyone's comments last night I decided to transfer rather than racking at this time.
Racking is often considered siphoning, but it's transferring wine from one container to another by means that may include siphoning, pumping, or pouring.

I added 2 Tablespoons of mango juice....... am hoping I did not entirely blow it.
Adding anything containing sugar will probably lead to a renewed fermentation. If you're referring to flavor? Blending is a time honored tradition in winemaking!

Also, when the liquid was transferred, there was a layer of cream coloured ???? stuck to the bottom of the first gallon jug; my guess is it was settled yeast.
The thick sludge is a mixture of fruit solids and yeast hulls. You want to leave it behind.

So today, the new jug is again at 73/74 degrees F and the 'burping' has dropped from once every 6 seconds to once/minute.
The bubbles indicate activity, which can include fermentation and degassing (fermentation done, but wine continues to emit dissolved CO2). Generally speaking, bubbling doesn't provide useful information. In conjunction with other things, such as a hydrometer reading, it can indicate fermentation is continuing, or (if the SG is low enough) that the wine is degassing.

Do you have to wait for the sanitizer (I used Star San Sanitizer) to air dry completely before you use the measuring cup or whatever?
No rinse sanitizers such as Star San and K-meta solution are exactly that -- no rinse. Just shake off the excess. Note that other sanitizers do require rinsing -- if you try a different one, read the package!

K-meta solution is produced by adding 2 to 3 Tbsp K-meta (Dave defined this above) and 1 Tbsp acid (tartaric, blend, etc) in 1 US gallon water.

should I have used some of the fluid to break up the sediment at the bottom of the jug and then transferred it?
Absolutely not! As mentioned above, it's fruit solids and yeast hulls, and all you accomplish is diluting your wine.

Should I be adding something to the present brew to help it re-activate? Some kind of syrup?
Monitor your SG over the next week -- it will probably ferment.
 

Jusatele

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As to a few of the questions I see
Q. loss because of racking, I have seen 2 methods used with people concerned about loss during racking and final product, one is to start with a predicted amount that will final out to the desired amount, the second is to increase concentration to account for the dilution of topping up with water. then 2 methods for those not concerned, 1 is to just deal with it and the second is use similar wines to top up
Q. Using a sugar included agent to top off, adding sugar before all yeast is removed or neutralized causes fermentation to go on longer
Q. break up sediment, we are trying to remove that sediment and the off flavors it can give the product we try never to upset that sediment, just leave it behind.

My method is to start 3 gallon batches in a 5 gallon fermenter, I predict loss and make extra wine to that amount so that when I rack off into a 3 gallon secondary it leaves behind the lees in a small amount of liquid. I figure that is just the cost of making a better wine. I also will capture just under a pint I use for testing and to sample and make predictions or adjustments. When I rack into storage I just use water to top off. Less than a cup.
Then when I bottle, I use liter bottles I never get an exact amount of bottles full, normally I have a half bottle left over. That is all mine for the work I have done. Age the wine and it is all over.
 

vinny

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This is just a side note. I just made a dandelion wine and there was very little volume added from the petals, and probably some loss due to the raisins absorbing liquid. I was an oz short of a full gallon total volume and a cup short of a full jug after racking. I racked off the gross lees ( the sediment after fermentation is complete, more yeast will fall out of suspension as wine clears, this is fine lees) and dumped all the sludge into a jar and put it in the fridge. A couple days later I had a thick slurry settled on the bottom of the jar with 3 inches of wine on top. I used a turkey baster to suck the wine off the lees and topped up my jug to juuuust shy of where I would have liked it to be.

So! You can recover some losses if your total volume is 1 full vessel transferred to another, or your batch was short.
 
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donna1630

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Hello, everyone! Looong time lurker and knowledge gatherer, but I'm making my first post here because I love rose petal wine!

I use organic food grade dried petals, and make a tea with them. You can bag them and put into primary for a few days, too.

For topping off, I've had success with aiming for a higher ABV, and when topping off is needed, I make more strong rose tea and top off with that. Helps decrease the ABV to reduce harshness, and adds more rose essence to the wine. If I've had to top off too much, I'll switch to a chardonnay or sauvignon blanc to keep the ABV reasonable. Back sweeten with pasteurized honey - it's easy to pasteurize it yourself - and you will have an incredible wine.
Thanks for your advice. Yeah, I have lots of organic petals. Last summer I picked mature roses and froze the petals; this year I've been drying the rose petals from buds just beginning to open. So I certainly have a lot of petals to use up so I can easily top up with a strong tea. Now I will start researching "back sweetening". Anything more you care to add as I have so much to learn and I love that.
My batch presently only 'burps' about once every 80 seconds and I wonder if it has is sufficient yeast to handle back sweetening.
 

vinny

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My batch presently only 'burps' about once every 80 seconds and I wonder if it has is sufficient yeast to handle back sweetening.
Yeast will fall out of suspension once all of the sugars have been converted to alcohol. They remain very much alive although inactive. Just waiting for more food. If you add sugar now fermentation will ramp back up. You could wait five months to backsweeten and the yeast would begin a second fermentation if you do not add something like sorbate to kill them.
 
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My batch presently only 'burps' about once every 80 seconds and I wonder if it has is sufficient yeast to handle back sweetening.
You have that backwards. If you have active yeast, adding sugar will produce a new fermentation. If the wine is outgassing ("burping"), it either has active fermentation or it's degassing. Either way, you're not close to bottling. Fermentation must be complete and the wine cannot be outgassing (degassing).

I'm going to use the "P" word, one you will read many times on this forum: Patience.

Give it another month and check the SG. At bottling time you will add potassium sorbate and potassium metabisulfite (K-meta), which act together as birth control for yeast -- they prevent yeast from reproducing. Then add sugar to taste, and bottle.
 

Clover

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Thanks for your advice. Yeah, I have lots of organic petals. Last summer I picked mature roses and froze the petals; this year I've been drying the rose petals from buds just beginning to open. So I certainly have a lot of petals to use up so I can easily top up with a strong tea. Now I will start researching "back sweetening". Anything more you care to add as I have so much to learn and I love that.
My batch presently only 'burps' about once every 80 seconds and I wonder if it has is sufficient yeast to handle back sweetening.
You will need to wait for the wine to completely clear before back sweetening. Once it is completely clear, as in it's been racked, likely 3 or 4 times, and there is no sediment after a few weeks, I usually stabilize, wait a week or so to make sure the yeast is dead, then back sweeten. If the yeast isn't dead before any sugars are added, it will begin to ferment again.

To decide if I'm going to use honey or sugar, I put a small sample in two glasses and add a drop of honey in one, and stir in a tiny bit of sugar in another. My taste buds make the decision of which I will use. Depending on the wine, you can use juice to sweeten, too. The only limitation is one's imagination. 😊
 

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