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Transfered too much lees

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Nickgrafton

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I am making my first ever wine. I used muscadines off of my vine to make a 5 gallon batch. I let sit in primary with fruit in a strainer bag for 8 days. S.g was 1.000 when I racked into secondary carboy. The thing is I wasn't really thinking about what I was doing. I stirred the primary real good before racking. Once I filled the carboy I had about 1/2 gallon of lees left in my primary. But only after a couple days I have probably another 1/2 gallon worth or more in the bottom of my secondary. It has been in the secondary for 4 days now. How long can I let this good wine sit on the sediment before I really need to get it off. I don't want to over oxidize but I also don't want the lees to ruin the wine.
Thanks for any help.
 

JohnT

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Well, It all depends. You could opt to go with a "sur lee" method where the wine has extended exposure to the lees. This will (among other things) make for a more pronounced yeast flavor in the finished product. If you do want this, you need to be diligent about stirring the wine.

I, personally, like to remove the dead yeast as soon as the "sediment layer" forms. I have found that this greatly reduces the chance of H2S issues.
 

mennyg19

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I wonder if one extra racking will over oxidize your wine. I racked twice in 3 days to get off some lees that i pulled up. Didnt bother my wine too much
 

Nickgrafton

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I think that's what I'm going to do. I was trying to wait a few days until my dublin winery muscadine wine came in so I could top up with. But maybe i just need to go buy a red asap to get my wine off of the sediment.
 

Nickgrafton

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I would really like to keep it at the 5 gallon mark since that is the carboy size I have
 

Scooter68

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I doubt that you will over oxidize a wine with one more racking. If it's a concern try to get the racking tube to the bottom of the new carboy to avoid splashing. In the long term if one person racks 6 times over 6 months and someone else racks 5 times over 6 months, will anyone know the difference?
 

Spikedlemon

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How long were you intending to leave in secondary?
If it's only a couple weeks - don't sweat it. Let it settle and rack it off next time.
 

Nickgrafton

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I was planning on leaving it in secondary for 3 weeks before racking again for clearing.
 

Whitehrs

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I am new, but I would let the sediment settle for a week or two. I have had the same, and the sediment was just starting to settle. Once it settles more it will go to the bottom more. You should see this happen pretty quickly. once it is settled well, maybe below 1/4 or an 1/8. then rack it being very careful to leave the lees. You may even filter it. but if you wait you will probably recover more of the original recipe/wine batch, and less top off.
 

garymc

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You have it off the skins and seeds. At 1.000 it still has a very short distance to go. I'd let it settle for a few more days while it finishes. If you rack it again too soon, you'll just be transferring a bunch of yeast again. After the transfer from bucket to carboy, I usually let it sit for 2 or 3 weeks and rack. But if you're worried about the amount of lees you transferred, you could rack it after a few days. Then your Duplin could be used to top it up.

I typed the above before the picture. That layer will settle some in a few days and become thinner. When you rack, leave some wine with that stuff and pour off or siphon off the remainder into a tall, narrow bottle or jug like a 1.5 liter wine bottle or half gallon jug and let it settle in that. You can then in a few weeks remove the wine from the sediment in the bottle.
 
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Nickgrafton

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So what I'm understanding is that this sediment should not spoil my whole batch in just a matter of a week or two. I think that was my main concern.
 

Spikedlemon

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So what I'm understanding is that this sediment should not spoil my whole batch in just a matter of a week or two. I think that was my main concern.
Correct. You're fine for a couple weeks.

For reference: local shop that sells juice buckets outlines their process to fully ferment the bucket in a carboy for 4 weeks before transferring.

I have started wines on the lees of others (implying that the lees are now ~10 days old by the time they start the second batch) and racked to secondary ~two weeks later.
 

drainsurgeon

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My local wine shop does the same. They will brew kits (for a price) and will some times leave the wine in the primary through step 2 and rack right before stabilizing in step 3. That's usually a 3 week period. Apparently no problem doing it or they would have to eat the kit.
 

Scooter68

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The risk of using the lees of previous batches is that any off flavors or elements such as stray seeds etc in the lees could negatively affect the new wine batch. And if the other batch goes awry during aging or develops some off flavors, you new wine may be primed to do the same. Certainly not saying it a bad idea but it does have some risks.
 
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