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Sediment in secondary fermenter (glass carboys)

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jay2020

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Hi I'm new to all this.

I racked my peach wine (left) off of the primary fermenter (bucket) into the secondary fermenter (glass carboy with airlock) about a week ago.
I racked the blackberry (right) from primary to secondary just earlier today.

Both seem to have a large amount of sediment at the bottom. I was expecting maybe half an inch to an inch. These are both about 2.5 inches.

Did I do something wrong? When I rack again (kit says in "three weeks to several months", whatever that means.) am I supposed to leave these two inches at the bottom? I.e. not rack down to the bottom two inches?

Not sure if you can tell from the pics with the lighting, I can post more.

peach-and-blackberry-wines-sep-2020.JPG

Thank you for any help!
 

salcoco

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rack off of these lees waiting to long can give you off odors
 

Johnd

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Yup, get rid of those gross lees within a few days, 2-3 days is a pretty standard time. Your lees are pretty fluffy, so you'll be losing a lot of volume. Put the lees in a different vessel and stick them in the fridge for a few days, it'll help them compact and you may be able to siphon off some more good wine. When you separate the good wine from the lees, you'll need to be paying attention to the head space in your storage vessels, too much air in there will cause your wine to oxidize. Vessels should be filled to about 3/4" below the bottom of the stopper.

If you start with about 1.5 gallons of must, you should be able to get 1 gallon of finished wine, depending upon the fruit. Sizing your batches to meet your vessel supply takes a little finesse, but you'll get the hang of it. Rule of thumb is that you'll end up with about 65% - 70% of the original must volume unless you have a really messy fruit. So starting with 1.5 gallons * .65 = .975 gallons, or 1.5 gallons * .70 = 1.05 gallons. Again, just a rule of thumb, and it's always better to have a little extra than not enough to stay topped up...............
 
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Chuck E

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Yes, unfortunately, you want to leave the sediment behind. On the first rack off of the gross lees, I am not too concerned about getting some sediment into the next carboy. Another thing to do, is dump the sediment into a mason jar and put that in the fridge. It will settle further and you will get a little more wine out it.
 

jay2020

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Thank you all!

Vessels should be filled to about 3/4" below the bottom of the stopper.
I only have 1 gallon carboys. Once I rack this off, there will not be enough to fill a 1 gallon carboy, let alone within 3/4" of the stopper. What can I do?

I could add water but that would be A LOT of water.

Or I could mix the two and have a peach+blackberry wine?

Confused and frustrated.

EDIT I just ordered a bunch of marbles, but they won't be here until tuesday :( Live and learn I guess.
 
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Chuck E

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Thank you all!
I only have 1 gallon carboys. Once I rack this off, there will not be enough to fill a 1 gallon carboy, let alone within 3/4" of the stopper. What can I do?
I could add water but that would be A LOT of water.
Or I could mix the two and have a peach+blackberry wine?
Confused and frustrated.
EDIT I just ordered a bunch of marbles, but they won't be here until tuesday :( Live and learn I guess.
At this point you can use whatever you can find. Half-gallon juice containers will work. DO NOT DILUTE with water, you'll lose the flavor.
 

Scooter68

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If you have a city/municpal recycling center nearby pay them a visit and look for glass containers. I have found all of the following that had screw tops that match 1 gallon/4 liter glass containers/carboys: 1/2 gallon, 1.5 liter, quart, 16 oz & 12 oz. Using a combination of these sizes you should be able to rack your wine and put a standard screw lid/bung with an airlock on it. Kombucha* (sp?) 'tea' comes in glass container 16 oz I believe.


*(The above is NOT and endorsement of Kombucha tea consumption) :s
 
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winemaker81

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All advice so far is spot on.

I pour the sludge into tall wine bottles -- they typically fit better in the fridge and it's easier to pour the wine off the settled lees. You may not recover much wine from the lees ... or you may recover far more than expected. Last time I racked a 54 liter barrel, I filled a 1.5 liter bottle with the ugliest sludge. A week later, it settled to an inch. I was very surprised, but not unpleased!

What is the SG of each? If fermentation is complete (SG below 0.998) and you have room, place both jugs in the fridge, wait a week, then siphon off the lees without letting the wine warm up.

You can combine the wines, but I'd bench test that first -- pour a small amount of each into a glass and taste.

IMO @Scooter68's advice regarding getting smaller containers is a better choice. If the space was less, I'd recommend topping with a similar tasting (hard to do with peach and blackberry) or mild tasting wine, but you'll need a lot of topup wine.
 

jay2020

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Can I remove the airlocks for a short time and use a racking cane to get a sample so I can get a brix reading?
 

G259

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When I first started, I was extremely concerned with air exposure. Hours and hours is a concern, minutes is not, particularly if it is still fermenting, as the CO2 will protect it. Limiting air exposure to the minimum is the best course however.
 
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