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Which S.G. ?!

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hector

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Hi there !

As far as I know , we'd better keep the Wine in the Primary until the fermentation subsides and then

we should transfer it to the Secondary because at this point the Wine is in danger of oxidation .

I'd like to know , at which S.G. would you prefer to do that .

1.050 , 1.030 or 1.010 ?!

Hector
 

Tom

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depends,
fruit wines 1.015
dry wines lower or let it go dry
 

winemaker_3352

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depends,
fruit wines 1.015
dry wines lower or let it go dry

You would let it go dry in the primary? I thought that i read that is not wise as the fermentation reaches closer to dry less CO2 is being produced which means less protection from O2.
 

Julie

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You would let it go dry in the primary? I thought that i read that is not wise as the fermentation reaches closer to dry less CO2 is being produced which means less protection from O2.
If you make sure your wine fills the carboy, then protection from o2 shouldn't be an issue, would it?
 

winemaker_3352

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If you make sure your wine fills the carboy, then protection from o2 shouldn't be an issue, would it?

Right - but this was talking about transferring from primary to secondary - at what SG to transfer.

Unless i misunderstood - i thought Tom was saying to let it go dry in primary before racking to secondary. Which this could lead to O2 exposure.

In the secondary you are right - if you fill it up past the shoulder of the carboy - you will be protected from O2 contamination.
 

BobF

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Right - but this was talking about transferring from primary to secondary - at what SG to transfer.

Unless i misunderstood - i thought Tom was saying to let it go dry in primary before racking to secondary. Which this could lead to O2 exposure.

In the secondary you are right - if you fill it up past the shoulder of the carboy - you will be protected from O2 contamination.
I wouldn't leave it dry in the primary for any length of time, there should be enough outgassing of co2 at the end of ferment to protect your wine.

I don't measure against a target SG for when to xfer to secondary. When the primary subsides substantially, I xfer.
 

hector

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Jack Keller says :

" Today the accepted practice is to keep the wine in the primary until the vigorous fermentation subsides. This normally occurs at around specific gravity 1.010. As the vigorous fermentation subsides, the production of carbon dioxide slows considerably and oxygen is able to migrate down through it to the surface of the wine. Free sulfur dioxide still protects much of the surface wine from absorbing oxygen, but sulfur dioxide is a gas and slowly escapes the wine. The intermolecular spaces vacated by the sulfur dioxide are filled either with carbon dioxide rising through the wine or by oxygen scavenged from the atmosphere by the wine -- a natural ocurrance. So, as the vigorous fermentation subsides, the wine becomes more vulnerable to oxygen uptake. This is the best time to transfer the wine to secondary."

Hector
 

Dugger

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There are many variables to consider to provide an answer to when to transfer; potential oxidation is only one of them.
Is this a kit wine or a fruit/grape wine? Kit wines differ by brand as to whether fermentation is done completely in the bucket or transferred at about 1.010 - your directions will tell you. If it is a fruit/grape wine you may want to get it off the gross lees in a timely manner - I have not made a fruit wine yet so leave it to others to more fully explain this.
Is it a white or red wine? Whites are more susceptible to oxidation and not as forgiving as reds when it comes to CO2 protection.
Are you adding oak and what kind of oak? If you only oak in the bucket you may want it there longer to get the benefit of the oak. Oak dust is messy to transfer; chips or cubes are easier.
Are there other additives, such as grapeskin packs, berries, flowers that may need longer exposure in the bucket?
If you do the complete fermentation in the bucket, I would suggest doing it under a tight lid and airlock - I usually do the first week under loose lid and the second week under tight lid.
 

winemaker_3352

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Yeah - and that is basically what i do - it is usually about 4-5 days in the primary - then go to secondary.
 

Tom

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you will find some kits say to let it go dry. Some here (me) like to rack it @ 1.010.
Keep in mind I lay the lid on the fermentation bucket. When it reaches 1.020ish I snap ti and add airlock.
 

winemaker_3352

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you will find some kits say to let it go dry. Some here (me) like to rack it @ 1.010.
Keep in mind I lay the lid on the fermentation bucket. When it reaches 1.020ish I snap ti and add airlock.
Ahh - that makes more sense - see i just use a food grade bucket - put a light towel over it - so i have to transfer to secondary to add the air lock.
 

Luc

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I think I am going to give a lecture here.

The point is that you should know WHY you ferment in primary.

And that is not only for the foam that is forming.

Pulp fermenting is done to extract all kind of things from the skins and fruit flesh.
Things that are extracted are sugar, acid, color, flavor and tannin.

Now some things are extracted in water or juice.
Other things are extracted in alcohol.

So when you pulp ferment you try to extract as much goodies as possible. At first it is done by the juice and when fermentation starts the goodies are also extracted by the alcohol that is made by the yeast.

However.
Too long a pulp ferment will leach too much tannin in a wine.
That is a problem with for example elderberry wines, and off course some other wines.
So when you pulp ferment an elderberry wine and you do not press and transfer in 3 to 4 days your wine will be very tannic and needs to age a long time before it gets drinkable.

Too short a pulp ferment is easily demonstrated:
red grapes will make a blush wine when just pulp fermented for a short time.

So when to transfer to a secondary:
Any time afther the vigorous fermentation subsides (no foam anymore) and the winemaker seems fit.

There is however no upper limit.
There are french wines that are made by extended maceration.
Meaning that even if the wine is dry it is left in a primary soaking on the pulp for extracting more tannin, colour, flavor etc.
This is off course done with a lid on and an airlock.
The time this extended maceration is done varies from days to even a few months.

So shortening the answer:
Transferring from primary to secondary is done when the winemaker decides it is time to do so.

Remember each must is different, so has to be treated accordingly.

This is where the men are distinguished from the boys :D

Luc
 

BobF

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So when you pulp ferment an elderberry wine and you do not press and transfer in 3 to 4 days your wine will be very tannic and needs to age a long time before it gets drinkable.
As an example of variation, when I do elderberry, I place the berries inside a bag. I remove the bag after 3-4 days, but do not xfer until vigorous ferment subsides. THEN I xfer to the carboy and airlock.
 

jdeere5220

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I just set my lid on the bucket. I try to keep the temp between 65-70F, which means I use a brew belt until fermentation starts then I find I don't need it because fermentation produces a little heat.

After about 5 days I start to peek in and see how active it is, it's usually cranking away at this point (lots of bubbles, some foam, etc...). When it starts to slow down I start checking the SG every day. My SG readings seem to drop about 0.010 / per day or more, give or take depending on temp and yeast.

When I get a SG reading less than 1.010 I rack to the carboy. Sometimes it's still perking pretty good at that point, so I prefer to be down closer to 1.000 to prevent bubbling into the airlock.

If it's going really hard in the carboy when I first rack it I unplug my brew belt until it slows down, usually a day or two later, then plug it back in to make sure it ferments completely and to warm it up in preparation for degassing. My basement is usually only around 65F.

That's what's been working out for me. I make dry reds from kits exclusively, at least so far.
 

hector

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Too long a pulp ferment will leach too much tannin in a wine.
That is a problem with for example elderberry wines, and off course some other wines.
So when you pulp ferment an elderberry wine and you do not press and transfer in 3 to 4 days your wine will be very tannic and needs to age a long time before it gets drinkable.

Luc
You are completely right Luc !

BUT , There is a special Technique called " Delestage " which lets you pulp ferment for a relatively long time .

I don't know if you have ever heard of that .

It's a French Word , pronounced " day-leh-staj " and it means "Lightening" .

It is a fermentation and maceration technique used in red winemaking from grapes that gently extracts phenolic compounds by oxygenating the juice to produce a softer, less astringent wine exhibiting more fruit character.

It is a two-step “rack-and-return” process in which fermenting red wine juice is separated from the grape solids by racking and then returned to the fermenting vat to re-soak the solids. This step is then repeated daily.

Hector
 
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