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Splitting a Kit into 2 Batches

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Cellar Vader

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Tonight I am starting my WE Eclipse OVZ. I am splitting this batch into two 3-gallon buckets, dividing the skin pack in two as well, and ferment them separately. (I plan to mix everything together initially, wait 24 hours for some extra sugars to leach out of the skin packs, and then split into two batches.)
I am fermenting these separately because the kit comes with the EC-1118 yeast, but I am substituting that with a BM4x4 and a RC-212. I wont be pitching until 24 hours later, though.
I will be adding 8 oz. of Zante Currants to each skin bag, and plan to do an Extended Maceration. On that note, will I perform the EM separately as well? Or should I combine the two 3-gal batches after fermentation is complete, and run out the EM in a single bucket after that?
For those of you with experience in splitting batches, am I on the right track? This is my first time in doing so, but have been bitten by the "Experimentation Bug" and I'm really looking forward to seeing the results.
Also, the kit did not come with any oak "sawdust" for the primary (but has cubes for the secondary.) shall I add a little tannin up-front? If so, how much.
 

salcoco

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I have found that adding 4 oz of dried elderberries for the full kit add some tannin in the front end that extends and adds to the final wine. some elderberry taste is there when young but fades after a year. oak added post fermentation is also a plus. I prefer Hungarian oak.
 

Cellar Vader

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@salcoco Thx. I have yet to play with the Elderbeery Flower additions, but expect to soon. I will be aging this for at least 18 mos, so sorry to hear that the taste fades so soon.
 

salcoco

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i am taking about dried elderberries not elderflowers. elderflowers are used for white wine and the flavor does not fade. elderberries in the quantity I mentioned provide tannin.
 

Swedeman

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On that note, will I perform the EM separately as well? Or should I combine the two 3-gal batches after fermentation is complete, and run out the EM in a single bucket after that?
What is the purpose of the experiment? To see the difference between BM4x4 and RC212? If so, how would you tell the difference if you combine them for the EM? Maybe, I have misunderstood what you are doing.
 

Cellar Vader

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I am looking for a different flavor profile than what my previous OVZ wound up with when I used the kit-supplied EC-1118. That one is 18 months now, and very good, but is lacking the flavors that I prefer.
These two yeast, as you know, emphasize different characteristics in the wine which I hope to achieve.
I didn’t want to pitch them at the same time, due to the competition and risk one overtaking the other.
 

Cellar Vader

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This is turning out to be a very informative experiment. The 3-gallon bucket with the BM4X4 is revealing much more fruit-forward taste and aromas than that of the 3-gallon bucket with the RC-212. The 212 (again) gave off that all too familiar sulfer smell after 2 days fermenting, but aerating that one helped significantly. I expect to knock it down with some splash racking after it's done fermenting. The taste is not fruity at all, and is more of a "earthy" smell. I know, still very young, and won't know for a long time what it does for the wine as a whole, but it is cool to see a difference between the two.
Incidentally, the 4X4 was a more aggressive fermentation than the 212, but both are 0.999 after 6 days.
 

Cellar Vader

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Following up on this thread: I racked each of these 2 batches off their gross lees and into a single bucket on Aug 29. At that time the SG was 0.996. I returned their skin bags to this bucket for a planned 6-week EM.
(Interesting to note, the lees from the 212 was almost twice the amount that was left from the 4x4.)
I added the kit-included 60g of French oak cubes at that time and left them for the next 6-weeks. I racked this into a 6-gal carboy on Oct. 13th and just took my first sniff/taste last night.
I have to say I am VERY pleased at how this is turning out. This has a spicy aroma that my previous Eclipse OVZ did not, as well a much more earthy/"ripe" flavor that my first kit lacked. That first kit was prepared per the kit instructions, and with EC-1116 yeast. I wonder if this is a result of the different yeasts I used this time, or the EM, or a combination of the two? At this point, I don't feel that it is lacking any tannin or oak, per se, so I did not add anything other than 1/4 tsp of Kmeta. This will sit for another 3 months and I will give it another taste at that time. TBC. :db
 

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I am really glad you posted this as I have been wanting to try this myself. One question - Once you racked the two batches back into a single bucket were you not concerned about oxygen remaining in the bucket? During fermentation the yeast produces enough CO2 that oxygen isn't an issue. Following fermentation I always thought you had to rack into a carboy and then top it off so that a minimal amount of oxygen remains in contact with the wine. I saw a youtube video where a guy did something similar but racked into a largemouth carboy.
 

Cellar Vader

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I am really glad you posted this as I have been wanting to try this myself. One question - Once you racked the two batches back into a single bucket were you not concerned about oxygen remaining in the bucket? During fermentation the yeast produces enough CO2 that oxygen isn't an issue. Following fermentation I always thought you had to rack into a carboy and then top it off so that a minimal amount of oxygen remains in contact with the wine. I saw a youtube video where a guy did something similar but racked into a largemouth carboy.
That’s a valid concern regarding oxygen exposure, but at the point that I combined these 2 batches they were giving off plenty of CO2 to keep the wine protected. Maybe I failed to mention that I placed the combined batch under lid & airlock at that time. That is very important at that stage.
Good luck with yours, and keep us posted!
 

JohnW

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Thanks Lord Vader! I didn't quite pick up on the fact that the SG was .996 when you combined them into a single bucket. I assume you added the sulfates when you racked into the carboy. Fyi - I recently used BM4X4 in a CC Showcase Amarone kit instead of the EC1118 they provided. Preliminary results are promising
 

Cellar Vader

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Thanks Lord Vader! I didn't quite pick up on the fact that the SG was .996 when you combined them into a single bucket. I assume you added the sulfates when you racked into the carboy. Fyi - I recently used BM4X4 in a CC Showcase Amarone kit instead of the EC1118 they provided. Preliminary results are promising
Yep, I hit it with 2 grams (about 1/3 tsp) of sulfite after I degassed. And funny, I have been eyeing that CC Showcase Amarone for a while now, and I plan to use the BM4x4 as well. By all means, let us know how that goes!
 

JohnW

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Yep, I hit it with 2 grams (about 1/3 tsp) of sulfite after I degassed. And funny, I have been eyeing that CC Showcase Amarone for a while now, and I plan to use the BM4x4 as well. By all means, let us know how that goes!
Will do. I had a taste this week when I was punching down the skins and was really impressed. I think it is going to be amazing. Per the directions it is supposed to be racked tomorrow but I plan to let it set with the skins for another week two before doing so.
 

Cellar Vader

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Will do. I had a taste this week when I was punching down the skins and was really impressed. I think it is going to be amazing. Per the directions it is supposed to be racked tomorrow but I plan to let it set with the skins for another week two before doing so.
If you have had a chance to read about extended macerations (EM) you should. I feel that it really made a difference with my Eclipse OVZ. I plan to do this with all of the skin-provided kits in the future.
 

JohnW

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Yep, I hit it with 2 grams (about 1/3 tsp) of sulfite after I degassed. And funny, I have been eyeing that CC Showcase Amarone for a while now, and I plan to use the BM4x4 as well. By all means, let us know how that goes!
I racked the CC Showcase Amarone today into a 3 gallon carboy and bottled the remainder (less a little for the winemaker 🍷). Although it is obviously very young it tastes great now - best kit wine I have tried to date. Hopefully I'm not forced to drink it all before it has time to age properly.
 
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