What is "layered" on top of my wine?

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detlion1643

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So I started an apple pie wine a while ago. It was as simple as apple juice, sugar, and apple pie spice. A little energizer and nutrient with the yeast and all was good. It took a little a couple of months to go from 1.08ish to dry (under 1.000). An extra yeast packet and a little more nutrient about a month in helped to finish it. It sat dry for about a week or so before I racked it. The day before racking I added sorbate and campden tabs.

I added 5 cups of sugar and and 2 1/2 tsps of apple pie spice to my secondary. I then racked on top of this and stirred/degassed the racked wine. The airlock was bubbling away for a little bit of time (from the released gas), but then after a week or so I was looking at how it was clearing and noticed something.

It looks like there is a layer of liquid or something on top of the wine. The liquid looks like a layer of water, it just sits there, even after a swirl of the carboy. Is the wine still good or is it compromised at this point. The airlocks never ran dry and the only time it was exposed was during racking. I didn't splash it either.

The picture isn't the greatest, but I hope it helps in showing it.

IMG_20170719_172834.jpg
 
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Smok1

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Not sure what that is but i personally wouldnt drink a fruit wine that took a couple of months to ferment, i know alot of people do and to each there own but fermentation is a time where bacteria and wild yeast among other stuff can flourish given the right ingredients, ive never had a fruit wine fermentation last longer than 2 weeks and i sulphite it immediatly after its done. Most fruit is fast fermenting and takes 4-5 days primary and 3-4 in secondary.Is the top layer slimy in any way? How does it smell/taste? Is it possible the sugar isnt mixed in enough?
 
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detlion1643

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I'm not sure how it tastes, I fear taking off the airlock because of oxidation. There is a very thin layer of sugar at the bottom of the carboy that didn't get mixed in when racking/back sweetening.
 

Smok1

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You can take the airlock off, it will be fine for a few minutes as long as shes topped up. Smell it, if it smells ok put some in a wine glass and taste it. Maybe its the sugar seperated
 
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Julie

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A long ferment won't harm your wine, I had an apple that took about two months to ferment and it turned out very good. It looks like it is just sediment, Apple has some stringy sediment to it. Leave it settle, then rack it.
 

detlion1643

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The stringy stuff in the wine is apple pie spice. The spice clumps together and drops to the bottom or floats on top.

What I was trying to get at is that looking at the wine from a side view seems to show a thin layer of water (or something else) sitting on top of the wine. It's already clear and the spice is settled, so the plan was to hopefully bottle this weekend. That means racking to a bottling bucket and then bottling. Lots of air exposure. I already doused with campden to rack into the pictures carboy.

I guess I'm just anxious and overly cautious about oxidation issues...
 

Kraffty

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If it were mine I wouldn't be close to bottling it based solely on the photo. Might considersome fining agents. Mike
 

sour_grapes

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What I was trying to get at is that looking at the wine from a side view seems to show a thin layer of water (or something else) sitting on top of the wine.
I could be wrong, but I don't think there is an actual layer of less-golden liquid sitting on top of your wine. I think you may be just seeing the edge of the meniscus.
 

Julie

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I won't be in such a hurry to bottle, Apple wine needs some time for the full flavor to come out.
 

BernardSmith

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I wonder if what you are seeing is the wine clearing. Wine clears from the top down as gravity helps various particles - fruit , yeast and the like - drop out of suspension. I would expect that the clearer "layer" gets larger as time progresses.
 

detlion1643

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All very interesting. The reason for bringing up the bottling is that I can read through it so it's very clear. I'll just let it sit and see if anything happens in the next week...
 

stickman

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Note the swirl effect in the top couple of inches. What it looks like to me is light refraction due to different sugar concentrations. The carboy needs to be well mixed to ensure the remaining sugar at the bottom is dissolved and contents fully dispersed.
 

Mismost

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I think you are just looking at light....it is lighter at the top because the light is moving through less wine....darker as you go deeper because the light has more wine to go through.
 

stickman

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I'm not sure how it tastes, I fear taking off the airlock because of oxidation. There is a very thin layer of sugar at the bottom of the carboy that didn't get mixed in when racking/back sweetening.
It is definitely not mixed enough if you have a layer of undissolved sugar at the bottom.
 

drainsurgeon

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I agree with Kraffty and think you should wait a few months before bottling. The wine should be perfectly clear first.

Apple wine can be a little tricky to clear because of pectin haze. I've made two batches and had to add a second dose of pectic enzyme (to both) to get them to clear. Also make sure that your wine is at least 70 degrees when de-gasssing. Once warm you need to whip it good with a drill. I whip mine for at least 5 min. You can also give it TIME to de-gass on it's own. My last batch was 9 months in the carboy before bottling. Your wine will not clear properly with gas. Be patient and good luck.
 

detlion1643

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Thanks for the replies. The original picture was dark, I admit that. It is very clear, I am just waiting for the spices to drop (the spices clumped up and are slowly dropping). My original concern wasn't the lighter color top couple of inches. I don't think I explained it right. If you look at the bubbles that are there, it looks like there is a centimeter high layer of water clear liquid that is to the right/left of the bubbles and goes overtop of them as well. My fear the whole time has been oxidation. For this reason I don't want to open it up. I don't know, maybe someone in the thread earlier was right, about it being normal and just a part of the vessel where liquid meets the sides... I'm still learning around here and it's all quite fun!
 
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