When are Reds clear?

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drainsurgeon

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I usually go by time and the amount of lee's in the bottom of the carboy, but how do you really tell when a red wine has cleared enough to bottle. I've taken small samples (right after first racking) and they look the same as a sample when the wine is SUPPOSED to be ready to bottle. I can't really tell if a wine that dark has truly cleared. Is there a trick to it?
 

AZMDTed

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I don't know of any tricks to be sure. They say you can shine a flashlight through it and if you see the beam then there's still particles floating that will fall. But I can't get a flashlight strong enough to look through a carboy of red.

If it's a kit and it didn't have a grape pack there won't be much fallout and I'd say a month after completion you'd probably be safe. If it does have a grape pack then I'll still see a dusting on the bottom of a carboy 2-3 months after the kit timeline is complete.

Then there's still the issue of wine crystals which seem to precipitate from reds even when they are otherwise clear. Not sure what to do about them or if letting the carboy sit through a cold spell will cause them to drop once and for all.
 

Scooter68

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A lot may have to with how clear you want it. You can wait it out and finish it with a filter to polish the clarity. I've been using a simple Harris gravity filter on my wines that were almost perfect and it made them sparkle *. BUT if your wine is truly hazy, it's going to take a very fine filter or fining product to get rid of it....or again wait it out.
 

Floandgary

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Much if not all depends on what you start with. Kits and juice buckets will usually have a minimum amount of lees which will settle out within a couple of months (degass too!!). You would have to account for any F-pac's, oak, or anything else you might add during fermentation. Starting with fresh crush grapes or fruits will entail some pectic haze which may require a clearing agent. I've had heavy Reds still settling as long as 9 months in the carboy. NO TRICKS involved ,,, simply knowledge of the processes. If you don't have to chew it, drinking it shouldn't be a problem! LOL
 

heatherd

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@drainsurgeon

I have the same issue. I thief a sample to a wine glass to hold up to the light, but they are so dark it's impossible to tell.

I go by age for the most part, which is six months of bulk-aging.

The good news is that, if we can't tell in a wine glass, neither can anyone else!
 

AZMDTed

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@drainsurgeon


The good news is that, if we can't tell in a wine glass, neither can anyone else!
Unfortunately, it's very easy to tell in the last glass of a bottle with sediment when it's left all over the bottom of the glass. Six months should definitely get most of the sediment dropped out though.
 
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AZMDTed, I also agree with you. We just finished bottling 52 bottles of Blueberry wine. I tilt the carboy to get the last bottle out of it & label that last bottle "home use" because even after 9 plus months in the carboys, & racking every 3, there is still some fine Lee's left. We don't mind drinking it, but I certainly don't want to give to friends. Roy
 

Scooter68

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AZMDTed, I also agree with you. We just finished bottling 52 bottles of Blueberry wine. I tilt the carboy to get the last bottle out of it & label that last bottle "home use" because even after 9 plus months in the carboys, & racking every 3, there is still some fine Lee's left. We don't mind drinking it, but I certainly don't want to give to friends. Roy
At first I wondered why you would have any lees in blueberry after 9+ months... Then I saw the quantity. Yeah that much could still have enough for that last bottle to catch something. That is one thing a bout blueberries, Blackberries and Black Raspberries, they clear nicely with little to no help needed.
 

drainsurgeon

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You can put some in a clear wine glass & hold it up to a light. First few months it's usually cloudy, after 9 ish it's much clearer. Roy
That's the problem Roy. I can't see through the glass even if 1/4 full and tilted. For cab's, trinity red and Shiraz that I make, they are all too dark for me to tell. Maybe I DO need glasses after 61 years LOL! :HB

(I thought the Dr. meant new WINE glasses!)
 

vacuumpumpman

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I would assume after 9 months of vacuum racking you should be perfectly clear
 
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I agree Steve, our wines are vacuum racked at least 4 times. Some are very dark but clear. Drain Surgeon, try holding a good flashlight next to the glass & see if that helps. At 69 I only need/require Wine Glasses! With a powerful light you should be able to tell clear vrs cloudy, even without eye glasses. LOL. Roy
 

drainsurgeon

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I agree Steve, our wines are vacuum racked at least 4 times. Some are very dark but clear. Drain Surgeon, try holding a good flashlight next to the glass & see if that helps. At 69 I only need/require Wine Glasses! With a powerful light you should be able to tell clear vrs cloudy, even without eye glasses. LOL. Roy
I just started a Shiraz 3 days ago so I'll give it a try Roy!
 
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