To Stir or Not To Stir?

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Arctic Contributor
Oct 26, 2008
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I'm still confused on this. I have seen many recipes that say "stir daily", etc.

I have seen others that say don't, or don't mention it either way.

So when and why, or why not?

I always thought get it fermenting and leave it alone then rack into the secondary, leaving the lees behind.

Obviously, if it was stirred everyday, the lees that would normally settle to the bottom are continually resuspended. If you were using fruit, then by pressing down the cap you would be essentially stirring it. But if you started with juice doesn't seem like there would be any need to stir it at all.

Seems to me, by doing this method, it would be in the secondary that the lees would settle out.

Please advise.

Personally (as primarily a kit maker), I do not stir unless there is something floating on the must surface. Then I just stir gently to turn it under or mix it in or whatever.

I'm still confused on this. I have seen many recipes that say "stir daily", etc.

I have seen others that say don't, or don't mention it either way.

So when and why, or why not?

Seems pretty simple: If the recipe calls for stir daily, then stir daily.
You are supposed to stir the top half ,leaving the sediment alone. At least that is what some recipes say. I usually punch down the bag and dont really stir it.
Troy I recently bottled some black raspberry that is to die for!! I will have trouble staying out of it for any length of time lol. Good luck on your raspberry batch, Steve
I agree Bart, but I was trying to understand the "why" behind it to have a better idea of the reasons behind it.

Just because a recipe or instructions say to do something, doesn't "NECESSARILY" make it correct. I asked about this because I have heard so many different opinions regarding this (stirring) during the primary.

Since I joined this group, I have heard alot of opinions on the way, "my grandpa did it", etc. Some of these methods and ways would be shunned at nowadays because of the new knowledge we have. Some may be the secret to success.

It doesn't mean the old ways won't work, but the hope in this forum is that everyone who asks can enjoy the successes of their labors.

I suppose if you are making wine with whole fruit/pulp.. then stirring, adds oxygen for the yeast and keeps the cap from going moldy. Usually recipes only call for stirring in the primary.

Though stirring all the lees through the wine regularly, as long as it is still fermenting.. is supposed to add extra 'body' to the wine. Possibly this is the reasoning behind the variations in the recipes. It depends on what the original winemaker wanted, in their finished recipe/wines.. We are often using other peoples recipes, without being given the background, as to why they choose the methods they do.

just my thoughts

You hit it on the head Allie (as usual). Use your own methods and record everything. if it is lousy dont try that again. If it is awesome make alot more.
Stirring will help get thenyeast back into suspension and also get O2 into your wine to help fermentation finish. This is a major reason that wines dont finish fermenting dry.
If you are pulp fermenting in a primary stirring is one of they key
issues for success.
Punching down the cap and stirring makes sure that all pulp is thoroughly mixed through the juice. By doing this all flavor, acid, sugars etc that are still in the fruit will dissolve better. Another pro is that oxygen will be introduced into the juice that helps fermentation in the first stages.
Also by stirring all parts of the fruit will be exposed to the little bit of alcohol that is formed and that will also help dissolve tannins etc in the fruit. More than that it will expose any bacteria etc to the alcohol being formed and that helps preventing spoiling.

When making wine from pure juice from fruit for a certain amount all the above is valid, as there will be solids into the must.

When making wine from pure, clear store bought juice things are different. There will be just fine lees and yeast at the bottom of the vessel.
With stirring you will only mix the sediment a bit.
Just look at a juice ferementing. Look at all the bubbles rising: that is natural stirring. So in a pure clear juice it might help a bit but I personally never bother.

With kits, sometimes I stir; sometimes I don't. I see a little burst of increased activity after I stir, but I'm not sure it produces any different results in the end. All my dry wines ferment down to .992 with or without stirring.