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When is it time to bulk age?

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skyfire322

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So I need a wee bit of clarification (no pun intended) on bulk aging and when it actually happens in the process because I'm just a wee bit confused.

After primary, you obviously rack into the carboy and during that time, you de-gas and clarify. In the kit instructions I received, it said after the wine is clear, to rack back into the bucket or another carboy then bottle.

I *assume* that instead of going straight to bottling after the second racking, you let it sit for an extended period of time?
 

Smok1

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So I need a wee bit of clarification (no pun intended) on bulk aging and when it actually happens in the process because I'm just a wee bit confused.

After primary, you obviously rack into the carboy and during that time, you de-gas and clarify. In the kit instructions I received, it said after the wine is clear, to rack back into the bucket or another carboy then bottle.

I *assume* that instead of going straight to bottling after the second racking, you let it sit for an extended period of time?
After its done fermenting i add kmeta and sometimes the clarifiers depending on the wine, ussually i dont add the sorbate unless i know im gonna backsweeten later, i let sit for a few weeks, rack it, top it off add 1/4 tsp kmeta per 5 gallons, put a airlock on and put it in the dungeon for 3 months. Then do it again rack, top up 1/4 tsp kmeta, 3 months in carboy with airlock or ventable bung
 
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Johnd

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So I need a wee bit of clarification (no pun intended) on bulk aging and when it actually happens in the process because I'm just a wee bit confused.

After primary, you obviously rack into the carboy and during that time, you de-gas and clarify. In the kit instructions I received, it said after the wine is clear, to rack back into the bucket or another carboy then bottle.

I *assume* that instead of going straight to bottling after the second racking, you let it sit for an extended period of time?
You are correct in your assumption. Instead of racking off of the sediment and bottling, rack to a clean carboy and begin your bulk aging. You will need to add sulfite (1/4 tsp / 6 gallons) every three months, so your first addition during bulk aging is 3 months after your initial dose, and so on.

As smok1 indicated, some folks choose to skip the use of clearing agents, in favor of gravity and time, which I also do. You may also skip sorbate if your wine is dry. Sulfite should be used.
 

skyfire322

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I'll be racking tonight! Will it matter if kmeta (campden) or NA meta is used? I've got both, but I was curious since the kit came with a big bag of NA meta, but no instructions on when to use it.
 

Johnd

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I'll be racking tonight! Will it matter if kmeta (campden) or NA meta is used? I've got both, but I was curious since the kit came with a big bag of NA meta, but no instructions on when to use it.
Yes, it will matter. ONLY use potassium metabisulfite in your wine, doesn't matter if you use the granulated form or the tablet form, just don't put sodium metabisulfite in your wine. The Na form is fine for sanitizing, but will add a funky, salty taste to your wine.
 

skyfire322

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Got everything racked, and it's happily soaking in the oaky goodness!!! There really isn't any need to degas before bulk aging, correct?
 

jburtner

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Hi. I would degass as soon as you realistically can because co2 suspended in the wine will also keep sediment suspended. If you have vacuum capability then it's much easier to degas quickly.

Cheers!
-johann
 

Ajmassa

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Hi. I would degass as soon as you realistically can because co2 suspended in the wine will also keep sediment suspended. If you have vacuum capability then it's much easier to degas quickly.

Cheers!
-johann

9 ways to skin a cat. I'm sure that degassing can help the aging process, but some sediment suspended a little longer is not a huge deal for me. (It also matters how long you intend to age. My suggestion is based on aging for as long as the wine needs it)
But the question from @skyfire332 was "is degassing absolutely necessary?"-which it is not. Father Time takes care of it. For the purpose of keeping things from getting complicated, I suggest letting it be. ---unless there is an absurd amount of Co2 that's noticible. But I never noticed any negative effect from letting it happen naturally.
I don't even check for co2 in grape or juice wine until a couple rackings into bulk. And by then it's usually gone. Though I will degas before adding clearing agents when instructions call for it in kits sometimes. --I never even thought to degas manually until I bought my first kit.
Basically you can do whatever you want. If you do not remove co2 it just makes the aging process a little longer is all.
 

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