Rice hulls: usage and dosing

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BarrelMonkey

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I had a negative experience with my first experience of using rice hulls to try and increase press yields, and @winemaker81 commented in another thread that he found no such issue. So rather than derail either of those earlier threads I thought I'd ask: do you use rice hulls? What dose do you use, and what was your experience?

How much to add? - I figured as follows. Must solids are about 20-25% total weight, so in my case (1/3T grapes) that's 130-165lb in round numbers. I pressed out over 4 loads, so for each pressing that's 32-42lb. Recommended dose of rice hulls is 1/100 by weight, so that's 0.3-0.4lb per pressing. I added them in layers between loading buckets of grapes into the (#30 basket) press. Since it was my first time doing this, I may have overshot a little (maybe up to 0.5lb?) but I don't think any more than that. The resulting wine had a distinctive grassy taste (my wife called it 'hamster cage', though as far as I know neither of us has ever owned such a beast). That flavor was not present in my other press loads (which omitted the rice hulls) so it wasn't a feature of the base wine/fruit.

For the record, these were the rice hulls that I bought. And I originally miscalculated how much I would need, so if anyone has a suggested use for 4lb rice hulls I'm all ears!
 
Good idea to make this a separate thread.

Based upon your description, you may have used way too much.

For the grapes I had last year (19 lugs, 684 lbs) I figured the maximum I'd need was 8.5 pounds of rice hulls, and purchased 10 lbs through my LHBS. Better to have a bit too much.

I have a #40 basket press, and sprinkled what seemed like a lot of hulls between additions of pomace. Going with what seemed liked a lot, I used less than 3 pounds of hulls. Probably closer to 2 pounds -- I have a LOT left.

When done pressing, the cake was dry. I mean DRY. I had to break it up to get it off the press, unlike the usual "let's make a mess of grape skins all over the place". I thought I used a lot, and yet had 80% left over.

Nope -- I have no idea if I did it right or not, but my results were great.
 
That "hamster cage" description description is enough. I will never ever use rice hulls. I'd rather have a lower yield. Many thanks.

I had a negative experience with my first experience of using rice hulls to try and increase press yields, and @winemaker81 commented in another thread that he found no such issue. So rather than derail either of those earlier threads I thought I'd ask: do you use rice hulls? What dose do you use, and what was your experience?

How much to add? - I figured as follows. Must solids are about 20-25% total weight, so in my case (1/3T grapes) that's 130-165lb in round numbers. I pressed out over 4 loads, so for each pressing that's 32-42lb. Recommended dose of rice hulls is 1/100 by weight, so that's 0.3-0.4lb per pressing. I added them in layers between loading buckets of grapes into the (#30 basket) press. Since it was my first time doing this, I may have overshot a little (maybe up to 0.5lb?) but I don't think any more than that. The resulting wine had a distinctive grassy taste (my wife called it 'hamster cage', though as far as I know neither of us has ever owned such a beast). That flavor was not present in my other press loads (which omitted the rice hulls) so it wasn't a feature of the base wine/fruit.

For the record, these were the rice hulls that I bought. And I originally miscalculated how much I would need, so if anyone has a suggested use for 4lb rice hulls I'm all ears!
 
I have been using rice hulls in my pressing this year. I bought them from a local home brew store. I got 15 lbs of hulls and have used roughly 5 lbs to press close to 700 lbs of both red and white grapes. I haven't measured, rather sprinkled the hulls over the grapes until I couldn't see any grapes.

More specifically, this evening we were pressing Traminette fermented on the skins - about 250 lbs and Marquette - 138 lbs. I got yield of nearly 20 gallons for the Tram and about 10 for the Marquette. I haven't noticed any off smells or off taste.
 
Thannks for the feedback! It seems like I used about the same as @winemaker81 (I would have been at ~2lb rice hulls for 667lb grapes if I'd continued) and less than @VinesnBines, so maybe it depends on the source of the rice hulls. I certainly didn't add enough that I 'couldn't see any grapes' - it was more of a sprinkling after each bucket of grapes was added. Maybe 3 layers of rice hulls in between 4 loads of grapes.

I'm going to be racking off gross lees tomorrow so I'll be sure to sample and report on how it's tasting. Fingers crossed...
 
There are two kinds of rice hulls. Hulls from white rice have a woody flavor and I could see descriptors as wood shavings. White rice hulls will also contain noticeable dust. Hulls from parboiled rice have been steeped in water, pressure cooked, dried and have a cleaner flavor, slight woody, as well as reduced dust.
As with all wine ingredients have you tasted the lot you are dealing with? If it is an issue you WILL taste it on the 100% ingredient. ,,, Making wine is cooking.

If I wanted to reduce flavor I would steep the hulls, drain and dry in the sun. ,, Looking at press efficiency it feels like mixing the cake improves press efficiency more than adding hulls/ fiber to a large press. Pulling press cake apart I would see efficiency by putting a shovel full in the press as a drainage layer then adding crushed grape on top, the bottom always has free juice.
 
There are two kinds of rice hulls. Hulls from white rice have a woody flavor and I could see descriptors as wood shavings. White rice hulls will also contain noticeable dust. Hulls from parboiled rice have been steeped in water, pressure cooked, dried and have a cleaner flavor, slight woody, as well as reduced dust.
As with all wine ingredients have you tasted the lot you are dealing with? If it is an issue you WILL taste it on the 100% ingredient. ,,, Making wine is cooking.

If I wanted to reduce flavor I would steep the hulls, drain and dry in the sun. ,, Looking at press efficiency it feels like mixing the cake improves press efficiency more than adding hulls/ fiber to a large press. Pulling press cake apart I would see efficiency by putting a shovel full in the press as a drainage layer then adding crushed grape on top, the bottom always has free juice.

Now why should we believe what you have to say about the characteristics of rice? 😂
 
We buy rice hulls from Presque Isle. Seem pretty neutral. Been using them for years.

The way we do it is to load three or four inches of must into the press. Cover that with an half inch to an inch of hulls. Lather, rinse, repeat. then put the blocks on and press.

We no longer make a second wine. So we tend to press relatively hard. The pomace is pretty dry. We pull the basket and place a large trash bag under the base and pick it apart with our hands. It is a good idea to wear gloves for this task or have a fresh bottle of GoJo on the sink.

When pressed hard, the fractions become increasingly tannic and bitter. Some are unusable. Depending on the residual sugar, even some of those can be used to mute any "uncharacteristic of the varietal" sweetness.

Depending on the variety and how hard we press, we get total wine yields between eleven and a half and fourteen and a half pounds per gallon.

A friend who makes wine from juice takes some of the skins.
 
The way we do it is to load three or four inches of must into the press. Cover that with an half inch to an inch of hulls. Lather, rinse, repeat. then put the blocks on and press.
You don't need that much rice hulls. We used a double handful between layers in a #40 press (40 cm internal diameter).

The cake came out bone dry:

vidal-cake-01.jpg

I used a shovel to toss the chunks into the woods, and the cake separated into layers on minimal rice hulls.

vidal-cake-02.jpg
 
A friend who makes wine from juice takes some of the skins.
Does your friend take the skins containing hulls or does he try to get the layers without hulls? When I plan to reuse the skins I don't use hulls. I expect though the hulls would not impart any flavor in the wine.

The white pressing was about 200 lbs of Traminette with hulls; yield 19 gallons. The Tram was fomented on the skins for 17 days.

The red is a Marquette blend of 148 lbs. The yield was not so good. Just 10 gallons. Though the Marquette is a much smaller berry and not so juicy.
 

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Didn't read every post and don't use rice hulls in vintning but have many times in the mash while brewing. I ALWAYS well rinse the rice hulls before using because there is a lot of "stuff" in them. Try rinsing some in a colander and see the discolored run off! I would never use unrinsed rice hulls in any wine ever. Not even sure if Id use rinsed ones. In brewing, the wort still is to be boiled after using the hulls and I use a RIMS mash system so there is a natural filtering process that keeps most all of the dirt out. Yes I said dirt because that is what it looks like when being rinsed!
 
Does your friend take the skins containing hulls or does he try to get the layers without hulls? When I plan to reuse the skins I don't use hulls. I expect though the hulls would not impart any flavor in the wine.

The white pressing was about 200 lbs of Traminette with hulls; yield 19 gallons. The Tram was fomented on the skins for 17 days.

The red is a Marquette blend of 148 lbs. The yield was not so good. Just 10 gallons. Though the Marquette is a much smaller berry and not so juicy.
Unknown. I'll ask him in a couple of weeks when he arrives to get this years pomace.
 
Does your friend take the skins containing hulls or does he try to get the layers without hulls? When I plan to reuse the skins I don't use hulls. I expect though the hulls would not impart any flavor in the wine.
I wouldn't use rice hulls if I was going to use the pomace for a second purpose, like adding to another wine. The value of rice hulls is increasing the output, and when adding to another wine, I don't press hard anyway. From my own experimentation, a second run wine from hard pressed pomace is a lot like adult Kool-Aid.

When pressing the second wine? Then I'd use the rice hulls.
 
I wouldn't use rice hulls if I was going to use the pomace for a second purpose, like adding to another wine. The value of rice hulls is increasing the output, and when adding to another wine, I don't press hard anyway. From my own experimentation, a second run wine from hard pressed pomace is a lot like adult Kool-Aid.

When pressing the second wine? Then I'd use the rice hulls.
Yes. Kool-Aid. And not nearly as good as the stuff the kids get.

We don't press hard if we intend making a a second wine. We are at capacity with our storage. We can't justify making a second wine. This year. Who know's down the road.

As far as leaving rice hulls in, my friend makes that decision. I've made second wines from pomace with and without the hulls. There isn't a noticeable difference. But, others may have a more sensitive palate than I do.
 
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