To The Lees

Discussion in 'Country Fruit Winemaking' started by Yeasty Boy, Aug 20, 2018.

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  1. Yeasty Boy

    Yeasty Boy SecFerm Supporting Member

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    This is my first batch of wine so I only know what I have read in books. I started a 5 gallon batch of Gooseberry wine and after it got to SG 1.01 I Racked it from the bucket fermenter to a Carboy and got about 3 inches of wine sediment (lees I think is the proper term) on the bottom. I have read that you don't want the wine to touch that for long so after a week i racked it into another carboy. After a couple weeks it looks like the same thing, as you can see in the pictures there is another couple inches of lees.
    Do I rack again or is that too much activity for it?
    The stuff bubbles like a fresh poured soda and I think I am addicted to wine making now.
     

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  2. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Old Enough to know better but....

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    Where is the SG now? By this time your fermentation should be complete. (Sg does not change for 3 days straight)
    That's the point where you do the first rack from carboy to carboy when you've aused a fermentation bucket. As far as how much is too much.... After fermentation is done I may do two rackings in the first month if the lees quantity warrant it. The first would be when fermentation is completed (The SG is below 1.000 and doesn't change for 3 days). Then a second racking, if needed in about two to 3 weeks. THEN you want to be patient and let it go about 3 months between rackings and K-Meta addition.
    So it Racking might look like this:
    From Primary fermentation bucket at 1.010 into carboy
    From Carboy to Carboy when SG is below 1.000 and stays there for 3 days ADD K-META at this time (1/4 tsp Per 5 gallons)
    Rack again in 2-3 weeks if sufficient lees are in evidence. (Wait on this for at least 2-3 weeks to let them settle and compact) Do NOT add more K-meta at this time.
    Rack again every 3 months counting from the first rack at the end of fermentation AND add K-meta at each of those rackings.

    At the end of 12 months start planning if you are going to backsweeten and then bottle.
    If you ARE going to backsweeten then add both K-meta and Potassium Sorbate at that 12 month racking. Wait one week and then do your backsweetening.
    If you ARE NOT going to backsweeten leave off the Potassium Sorbate on that 12 month racking. Wait one week and bottle.
     
  3. Yeasty Boy

    Yeasty Boy SecFerm Supporting Member

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    Thanks Scooter, didn't realize I would need to keep it in a Carboy for a year. I thought i could bottle after 2-3 months or at least 30 days after it stopped bubbling. I have a lot to learn.
     
  4. meadmaker1

    meadmaker1 Member Supporting Member

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    If you are truly addicted you will purchase more carboys and be busy with what's next and 12 months will sneak up on you.
     
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  5. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Old Enough to know better but....

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    The little bubbling you are seeing is more than likely CO2 off gassing. That can go on quite a while. There are at least 3 ways to deal with it. (You don't want in in the wine when you bottle it.+)
    1) Age your wine a full year at least and 99 times out of a 100 the gas will dissipate on it's own,.
    2) Use a very popular tool called an All-in-One pump. It uses a vacuum to pull wine from one container to another and that process alone will remove a lot of the gas. Or you can use that too just to pull a vacuum on the wine in a carboy to de-gas it.
    3) Resort to a drill and a long stemmed stirring tool to whip the wine and 'break free' the gas. Takes some time and honestly, I prefer to let time do it for me.

    So that's one more new thing to learn about. As I said if you are going to age your wines the full recommend time of at least a year, then most times you won't have to worry about that.

    By the way - Yes, you can bottle the wine sooner than a year. The difference though is pretty amazing. A new wine, not aged well will be sharp on the tongue, but drinkable. An Aged wine, is a treat for the palate.

    There are many facets that contribute to the taste of the wine but if you intend to make this a serious hobby, you will learn about those soon enough.
     
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  6. Yeasty Boy

    Yeasty Boy SecFerm Supporting Member

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    My wife may threaten to leave or kill me until she gets to drinks some of it. I can see myself running out of places to stash my carboys. But I like the way you think and will probably find a new wine to make every month. Thanks!
     
  7. Scooter68

    Scooter68 Old Enough to know better but....

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    Does your wife make cookies? Do you get in trouble for taking a dip of cookie dough? If so then tell her that trying to drink the wine right now is like eating cookie dough but imagine that the cookie doe has a lot of vinegar in it - not quite tasty.

    So if she really is asking about it tell her you can let her test it but she has to write down all her taste impressions and then do the same thing again in 3 months and then at 9 or 12 months. That way you are letting her know that she can try it... but chance are she isn't going to be all that happy with it......YET.
     
  8. meadmaker1

    meadmaker1 Member Supporting Member

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    You need a quick batch of dragons blood or skeeter pee to get her on board.
     
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  9. Yeasty Boy

    Yeasty Boy SecFerm Supporting Member

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    Ok, where do I find the recipe and by 'quick' how fast can we get her tipsy... lol!
     
  10. Yeasty Boy

    Yeasty Boy SecFerm Supporting Member

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    Found it! Now I'm a junkie
     
  11. Stressbaby

    Stressbaby Just a Member Supporting Member

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    You don't have to wait 12 months. A wine like this could be ready much sooner. Get the All in One wine pump and vacuum rack it 2-3 times and it will degas.

    As to your original question, you probably had pulp (gross lees) the first time. Usually gross lees are the color of the fruit. That picture looks more like fine lees which consist of dead yeast, although that is a pretty thick layer. Fine lees are more white to cream colored, silky looking or powdery, and it is usually not dangerous to leave the wine on fine lees, some winemakers do it deliberately. When I get a layer that thick I get spooked and generally rack.
     

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