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Mohawk

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I made about a 6 gallon batch of rhubarb wine, It's my first attempt a wine making from raw materials.

I used 20 pounds frozen rhubarb, clean, shopped, frozen then thawed, mashed.
12 pounds of sugar
enough water to reach the rising part of a large carboy(5 or 7 gal I think)
1 packet wine yeast.

I started the batch about 4 weeks ago, I pulled a sample with a thief and it tastes extremely good. It's still fermenting a little. Because it is fermenting there is a little bit of a fizz in the wine I sampled which I actually enjoy.

I transferred the wine to a 2nd carboy to separate it from the solids.
The fermentation processes is going slow, I have to really look at the 1 way valve to see it moving.

my question is, when do I know it's safe to bottle without blowing up a bottle? Are there methods to test this?

Thanks
 

St Allie

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Hello Mohawk and welcome to the forum,

Rhubarb takes a long time to ferment out in my experience.. it also takes quite a bit of degassing before bottling.

do you have a hydrometer to test the specific gravity of your wine?

Allie
 

Mohawk

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Thank you:)

I do have hydrometer that came with my kit, is there a set number that shows where it should be at before bottling?
 

St Allie

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You'll be looking for the reading to be under 1.000.. and if the wine is very gassy it will make the hydrometer ride 'high' and throw the reading off.

often the airlock will still be producing bubbles.. even when the wine is finished.. due to really high c02 levels trapped in it. You are going to have to stir it!.. be gentle or you'll have a volcanic foam explosion. See whether it releases a lot of gas.. think shaking a bottle of coke.. ( ok you have been warned!)

hehhe

with rhubarb it starts to actually clear when it's finished fermenting..I can't see any pectic enzyme in your recipe, did you add any?

Allie
 

Mohawk

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Nope, I tried not adding anything extra so my first batch would be pretty simple.
then add stuff to future batches if I want to refine the recipe. :)

If it's no longer producing gas, or very little would I have to worry about the bottle exploding? Do you recommend I use pectic enzyme to clear it up? Will it mess with the flavor at all?
 

St Allie

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Pectic enzyme can be added after the ferment is finished as it doesn't work well in the presence of an active yeast fermentation..What it does is break down the pectin in the fruit, release juice, flavour and help clear the wine.

To dodge the exploding bottle scenario you add sorbate and sulphite when the fermentation is finished and backsweeten the wine to taste.. leave it to clear, then bottle when the wine is bright.

Allie
 

Wade E

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If its still fermenting then dont bottle as you could cause bodily harm due to exploding bottles and it would be a mess in the bottle from all the sediment once fermentation is done. You need to wait till fermentation is done and this is checked by verifying a stable sg reading a few days in a row. Once you have a stable wine add both sulfite and sorbate to prevent refermentation in the bottle. On another note, your wine most likely will not clear unless you degas the wine and that will remove that fizziness you like right now. If you want you can make a sparkling wine but that requires champagne bottles and gets more difficult. If you are interested in this post so and Ill refer you to the instructions on this.
 

Mohawk

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Yeah I don't mind the wine being cloudy, gives it some character. I just tested with the hydrometer and it was 1.1.

I may try transferring some wine to a 1g carboy, adding solfite and sorbate. I plan on bottling some wine into... not sure what the name is, but they are normally used for beer with a wire hinge and a ceramic/rubber topper.

Thanks for all the advice so far guys, this is been great!:)
 

Tom

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Yeah I don't mind the wine being cloudy, gives it some character. I just tested with the hydrometer and it was 1.1.
I may try transferring some wine to a 1g carboy, adding solfite and sorbate. I plan on bottling some wine into... not sure what the name is, but they are normally used for beer with a wire hinge and a ceramic/rubber topper.

Thanks for all the advice so far guys, this is been great!:)
I think you should look as to how to read the hydrometer. I doubt thats the correct reading. Please repost the right reading before you think of bottling.
 

Wade E

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Im guessing you meant 1.01 or even better 1.001. 1.1 would be more then where i usually start my wines. The bottle you are reffering to is a flip top or (Grolsh Style) Your wine can taste way better without all that sediment floating around in there as most of that is dead yeast but to each their own.
 

Mohawk

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Tested several times, refilled the thief several times. With water i got 1.000, with the wine I got 1.01 rather then 1.1 almost every time. Yeah I read it wrong, hehe.
 

Tom

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That's Much better #'s
I would still wait till it goes dry and clear before you bottle. You will see a much better tasting wine if you have Patience.
 

Mohawk

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I'll do that then, it tastes amazing right now, if you guys recommend waiting and it will taste better I'll follow the expert advice:) Thanks guys
 

Tom

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Cool.
reason I f you bottle so soon you will get "sparkling" wine and will not taste so good.
 

Wade E

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Sparkling wine can be good, I force carb some all the time but i let it clear first to get rid of that yeast taste.
 

Mohawk

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Yeah I enjoy the sparkle right now, but if it will taste better once it clears then I'll leave it be for now. I have a bottle that a distant family member made, I did notice it's pretty clear, I'll aim for that.
 

arcticsid

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Mohawk, I too added Pectin E to a batch after fermentation was done. After I mixed up the batch I realized I didn't have any, I added it after and it worked to remove some of the cloudiness. Can't tell you if it worked the same as if I would have added it in the begining, but it WILL work after fermentation.
 

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