What happens if you don't bother syphoning?

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I typically use 1.25 tsp yeast, 1 tsp nutrient, 1 tsp pectolase and 1 tsp bentonite per 5L.

While that clears the wine, at the same time it is an additional cost and everywhere I look says drinking cloudy wine won't have any bad effects, health-wise.

So what would happen if I just didn't put any pectolase or bentonite in and when fermentation finishes, instead of syphoning it, I just shake the demijohn up and drink it straight like that? I know I'd be drinking dead yeast, but what if I did?

I was thinking if I did that and shook the demijohn before pouring a glass of wine, it would always at least be the same cloudiness throughout drinking it.

I suppose the real question is, are we only clearing wines for the visual effect? Is it literally 100% a visual thing? Can you get away with drinking dead yeast if you don't mind it? Imagine the wine you could salvage by doing this, where nothing would go to waste!

Right now I am drinking the last 15% of a 2x syphoned demijohn and it's simply because I didn't want to throw it away. I gave it a shake first and it's cloudy... but maybe it's only as cloudy as a non-syphoned demijohn would be?

I am all about utilizing the most wine I can and cutting costs as much as I can. I don't even care if it's got bits of dead yeast to be honest. Perhaps shaking it enough would break down the bits and make the wine smooth anyway. The wine that goes to waste due to syphoning just irritates me.

I have never made wine without using pectolase and bentonite, but if clearing isn't an issue, then I wouldn't use those items and thus, wouldn't be drinking them in any non-syphoned wine.
 
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not sure why you always use bentonite. I use pectin enzyme at primary to help break down fruit.

if after secondary 1 month if haze I might use bentonite and more pectin enzyme but not usually. time. usually settles everything clear.

the gross lees and residue after primary is drinkeable but that's kind of prison swill in my mind. you could try to filter it if you really were desperate. but wouldn't taste good.

use pectin enzyme in primary but id use bentonite later only if necessary
 
not sure why you always use bentonite. I use pectin enzyme at primary to help break down fruit.

if after secondary 1 month if haze I might use bentonite and more pectin enzyme but not usually. time. usually settles everything clear.

the gross lees and residue after primary is drinkeable but that's kind of prison swill in my mind. you could try to filter it if you really were desperate. but wouldn't taste good.

use pectin enzyme in primary but id use bentonite later only if necessary
Most kits I have made include bentonite in primary. I believe it's supposed to help the lees settle out faster and more compactly.
 
I suppose the real question is, are we only clearing wines for the visual effect?
Expanding on @ChuckD's comment -- gross lees are fruit solids, which supposedly drop within 24-72 hours of the end of fermentation. Fine lees are dead yeast cells, which can take months to drop, or possibly never.

You want the gross lees out, as the fruit solids decompose and are likely to produce off aromas and flavors.

Fine lees typically don't matter, and are used in techniques such as sur lie and battonage.

Pectic enzyme breaks down the fruit so more color, flavor, aroma, and body are extracted.

Most kits I have made include bentonite in primary. I believe it's supposed to help the lees settle out faster and more compactly.
That is true, although IIRC, bentonite was originally added to kits to eliminate protein haze in whites. It fulfills multiple purposes.


@Grape Expectations, loss of volume during winemaking is perfectly normal, and it cannot be avoided. However, the loss can be reduced. I wrote a post detailing the steps I use to minimize volume loss:

https://wine.bkfazekas.com/reducing-wine-loss/
 
Are you talking about the gross lees from primary fermentation or sediment from secondary? If the former, I would definitely syphon off. If the atter, you might notice a difference in mouth feel and possibly a difference in taste. I typically rack off the gross lees from the primary and then rack at least twice afterwards. The second racking from secondary usually has very little sediment.
 
the gross lees and residue after primary is drinkeable but that's kind of prison swill in my mind. you could try to filter it if you really were desperate. but wouldn't taste good.
If the ferment is healthy, I have found that the gross lees at the end of primary (maybe 5-7 days after pitching yeast) is quite tasty if you add a little sugar, and optionally some cream. It is fruit solids/flavor, some dead yeast cells, and alcohol. Nothing nasty in there. In my opinion, if it tastes nasty at that point there was something unhealthy about your ferment. Getting the nutrient types, amount, and timing right is essential to a healthy ferment.

But gross lees shouldn't be left in the wine. As @winemaker81 and @Sailor323 said, they can cause off flavors as they decompose. So after a while, they will have off flavors. So you should definitely rack off of gross lees at the end of primary fermentation.
 
If you were served a cloudy wine in a bar or a restaurant, would you accept it?
It's your choice, I know, but if you would not, why would you why would you want your own wine to be cloudy?
When I do the final racking before bottling, I leave 1 to 2 bottles-worth in the carboy, bottling the larger portion first. Then I bottle the remainder, since if there's a bit of sediment, I can live with it. Those bottles are drunk first, and by me. I don't generally serve them to anyone other than my sons or a few select people who understand the situation. Generally speaking, I agree with your POV.

I use fining agents included in kits, but don't generally fine non-kit wines unless I have a need. The initial results of my K&C Test indicate that K&C introduce a small amount of bitterness in the flavor and reduce the nose, so I'm less likely to use that particular combination. I'm not ruling it out, as I may have a need, even if it's rare.


@Grape Expectations -- most wines clear with time, so fining agents are not normally required. However, some wines may take 6-12 months to clear. If you are bulk aging your wines long enough, they'll clear 99% of the time.

While I answered your specific questions, there's a lot more to the subject, e.g., will the wine clear and how to fining agents affect that? What is necessary or unnecessary? What actions should the winemaker take, based upon the answers to these questions? Hopefully you're getting enough information to make a good decision for yourself.
 
Here's 2 more cents for you...

I always use pectic enzyme. Breaks down cell walls, reduces/eliminates pectin haze. And being a country wine maker I've discovered just about everything has some pectin, even flowers.

I very rarely use fining agents. I've read there's the potential to strip out some flavor and color so that's good enough for me. I don't have a problem with waiting.

Nothing wrong with eating dead yeast. Boatload of B vitamins, some protein too. Ever hear of Marmite?
 
Here's 2 more cents for you...

I always use pectic enzyme. Breaks down cell walls, reduces/eliminates pectin haze. And being a country wine maker I've discovered just about everything has some pectin, even flowers.

I very rarely use fining agents. I've read there's the potential to strip out some flavor and color so that's good enough for me. I don't have a problem with waiting.

Nothing wrong with eating dead yeast. Boatload of B vitamins, some protein too. Ever hear of Marmite?
I like Marmite on toast for breakfast. I quite like German Wheat beer which they shake before pouring, but Wine I like clear.
If you enter cloudy wine, in a competition, it will be marked down.
In all things though, it's your choice!

Hook Norton Brewery, a few miles from where I live, used to send their spent yeast to make Marmite. If you were a home beer brewer, NO WAY would they let you have any of their yeast.
 
There was only one comment on taste, and for me that is the biggest reason, so I thought I wold come and bat it to death. I taste all the way through the process and you can get a decent idea of how the wine will taste out of primary, but it is always yeasty. Once the wine clears you get the brighter notes. The fruit is cleaner and more forward. Everything is crisper.

I have 2 wines that I made chemical free that still have not cleared 8 months later. They are the least favorite that I have made. I am going to give them one more effort to clear them before they get recycled, but with the solids suspended the only way I can describe them is off tasting.

If it aint broke, don't fix it.
 
I have 2 wines that I made chemical free that still have not cleared 8 months later. They are the least favorite that I have made. I am going to give them one more effort to clear them before they get recycled, but with the solids suspended the only way I can describe them is off tasting.
That's interesting about the two wines.
I've read in multiple places that over-cooking/too-much-heat can cause clearing issues. I made 2 butternut squash wines last year within 24 hours of each other. Identical except for squash prep. The simmered version was crystal clear within a couple months. The roasted version is still cloudy and the flavor is inferior to the simmered version. Live and learn.
 

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