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To rack or not to rack.

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DAB

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Initial fermentation (after crush) lasted nine whole days. We then pressed...it's been sitting for eight more days in an air-locked fermenter. Currently, there is 1 1/4 inches of lees on the bottom of the fermenter. So, realizing this must was in primary for a few days longer than "normal," do I rack it now, or rather, do I wait the full month before doing so?

Thoughts?

Thanks,
Newbie
 

Johnd

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Sounds like you’re still on gross lees, which we normally endeavor to leave behind 2 - 3 days after pressing.
 

Ajmassa

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Everyone’s got different protocol for how they like to rack. But if ya don’t have personal preferences yet- and just trying not to screw things up? (Most of us)
I always liked @salcoco ‘s “3-3-3” racking advice. Easy to remember or to reference when in doubt.

That’s 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months
After fermentation, pressed, racked into glass:
-3 days after initial pressing (off the gross lees)
-3 weeks after that
-3 month’s recurring after that

*not to follow religiously. But works great as a guideline
 

DAB

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Everyone’s got different protocol for how they like to rack. But if ya don’t have personal preferences yet- and just trying not to screw things up? (Most of us)
I always liked @salcoco ‘s “3-3-3” racking advice. Easy to remember or to reference when in doubt.

That’s 3 days, 3 weeks, 3 months
After fermentation, pressed, racked into glass:
-3 days after initial pressing (off the gross lees)
-3 weeks after that
-3 month’s recurring after that

*not to follow religiously. But works great as a guideline
Okay, to clarify...I don't have ANY preferences yet as this is the first batch.

So, using your model--I don't have any other--I should, straight away, rack the must off the 1 1/4 lees into a tertiary container. Then three weeks after that, I should then rack it again for a fourth time and at each and every three months into subsequent containers.

Thanks for the heads-up,
Newbie
 

Venatorscribe

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You can't go wrong with that plan. After you have done a few more batches and are feeling more confident then you can then start pushing the limits. There is merit in sitting it out longer and this latter technique is used in some boutique wineries. But maybe not at this stage. Key right now is to have fun and be proud of your resulting wine. Salut Craig
 

Ajmassa

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Yea you definitely wanna get off that heavy sediment now. After that you don’t HAVE to do anything other than every 3 months.
But after you pressed and went to glass—and the next racking a few days later, you’ll still have some sediment dropping out. If you see some significant sediment then it’s cool to rack off after 2-4 weeks. After that it’s just every few months. Usually a racking and addition of sulphites go hand and hand.
Here’s a reference for every step of the process. I call it my wine Bible. It’s not just a step by step- but also says WHY.
http://morewinemaking.com/public/pdf/wredw.pdf
 

NorCal

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The biggest criticism I hear about home winemakers, by commercial winemakers, is the wine is not clean. Musty, earthy, hydrogen sulfide type smells are produced in the latter stages of ferment / post ferment.

If I have great fruit, I’ll press the day after fermentation is complete and rack 24 hours later. Bad fruit, I’ll press below 1 brix and still rack after 24 hours.
 

DAB

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Okay, nine days after press I re-racked 15 gallons of must/wine. I must have missed the fact that most folks re-rack 1-2 days after pressing. I hope this doesn't screw me up!?!? Now, keep in mind, I "co-innoculated" the must five days after crush (which was actually 3 days after initial signs of fermentation--first cap) with MLF (Viniflora Oenos). The question remains; does the picture below depict "lees" on the bottom of the fermenter, a yeast cake or the MLF bacteria that has settled out and that should have instead been stirred up so as to do its MLF job?

FYI: SG at pressing was 1.000. PH 3.5 and Titratable Acidity Test yielded 8.25. Taste was, and still is as of today, thin and acidic.

Thoughts?
Newbie

IMG_3643.jpg
 
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Johnd

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Okay, nine days after press I re-recked 15 gallons of must/wine. I must have missed the fact that most re-rack 1-2 days after press. I hope this doesn't screw me up!?!? Keep in mind, I "co-innoculated" the must five days after crush (which was actually 3 days after initial signs of fermentation--first cap) with MLF (Viniflora Oenos). The question remains; does the picture below depict "lees" on the bottom of the fermenter, a yeast cake or the MLF bacteria that has settled out and that should have instead been stirred up so as to do its MLF job?

FYI: SG at pressing was 1.000. PH 3.5 and Titratable Acidity Test yielded 8.25. Taste was, and still is as of today, thin and acidic.

Thoughts?
Newbie

View attachment 49024
I see some sludgy yeast & lees in the bottom, , as well as some good wine with sediment still suspended in it, which is just fine for this stage of the game. Since your MLB was in there through AF, invading every part of your must, you transferred it with the free run wine, and in the pressed wine, so don't worry about that, just give it some time to finish its job. It's probably time to run a chromo in a week or two to see where you are with MLF.
 

DAB

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I see some sludgy yeast & lees in the bottom, , as well as some good wine with sediment still suspended in it, which is just fine for this stage of the game. Since your MLB was in there through AF, invading every part of your must, you transferred it with the free run wine, and in the pressed wine, so don't worry about that, just give it some time to finish its job. It's probably time to run a chromo in a week or two to see where you are with MLF.
Thank you, I genuinely appreciate all your suggestions and comments. I'm new to this hobby and thus have much to learn.

Many thanks,
Newbie
 

Venatorscribe

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Okay, nine days after press I re-racked 15 gallons of must/wine. I must have missed the fact that most folks re-rack 1-2 days after pressing. I hope this doesn't screw me up!?!? Now, keep in mind, I "co-innoculated" the must five days after crush (which was actually 3 days after initial signs of fermentation--first cap) with MLF (Viniflora Oenos). The question remains; does the picture below depict "lees" on the bottom of the fermenter, a yeast cake or the MLF bacteria that has settled out and that should have instead been stirred up so as to do its MLF job?

FYI: SG at pressing was 1.000. PH 3.5 and Titratable Acidity Test yielded 8.25. Taste was, and still is as of today, thin and acidic.

Thoughts?
Newbie

View attachment 49024
Don't panic. All looks ok. It is all what you think it is. Also MLF bacterium will always find something to cling to - mostly the side of your fermenting vessel. Just mooch along and think your way through each step and you'll come out the other end excited by what you have done and will be planning the next fermentation. Also keep really good notes.
 

mainshipfred

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If I stirred up the lees too much when racking and feel there is more good wine which I think you have. I'll lesave the heavy lees behind and put the cleaner stuff in a small container and place it in the frig for a day or 2. The heavy stuff will fall out pretty quickly and you can siphon the cleaner stuff off the top.
 
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