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Which Stags Leap Instructions to Use

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Jose' Miller

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One of my kits say to put in primary for 5-7 days and when SG gets to 1.010 or less rack into secondary fermentor to finish until fermentation is complete. My other kit says to leave it in the primary for 14 days then rack when dry. Which one should I go by? Thanks!
 

Johnd

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One of my kits say to put in primary for 5-7 days and when SG gets to 1.010 or less rack into secondary fermentor to finish until fermentation is complete. My other kit says to leave it in the primary for 14 days then rack when dry. Which one should I go by? Thanks!
You'll be successful with either, or somewhere in between. The reality is, that we rack out of open topped fermenters and into vessels that allow us to limit air exposure some time near or at the end of alcoholic fermentation. Make the transfer when it suits you, but make sure to keep tabs on your SG readings. Personally, to avoid having a very active fermentation going in a carboy and possible overflow issues, I tend to the lower end of the SG spectrum, 1.000 or less, which is pretty much what the 14 days of waiting will get you, at or near the end of fermentation.

The time references are often so misleading, as we all have different fermenting climates and situations to deal with. Warmer temps speed things along, while lower temps slow things down. I've seen fermentations finished in under 4 days at 75F +, and others take as long as a month at 58 F. Haven't done a SLM in a while, so i don't know if you have skins with it or not, but if it does, the longer the wine is in contact with those skins, the more thorough your extraction will be, so that could be a consideration as well.
 

Jose' Miller

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Okay, that makes sense. I do have the skins with it as well. Thank you for the advice.
 

colorado_wade

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I just put the stags leap merlot into secondary, and it doesn't say anything about topping up until like step 5. There is quite a bit of head space in the carboy due to the loss oak powder in primary. Do you guys top it up at this point, or because it is still releasing gas, is it ok to wait to top up?
 

Jose' Miller

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I just put the stags leap merlot into secondary, and it doesn't say anything about topping up until like step 5. There is quite a bit of head space in the carboy due to the loss oak powder in primary. Do you guys top it up at this point, or because it is still releasing gas, is it ok to wait to top up?
Mine has a great deal of head space too. The instructions say not to top it up because it will be fine for the amount of time prior to bottling (instructions time) however I sure am nervous about it.... Maybe someone who has made these prior will be able to shed some light on the issue? Great question!......
 

sour_grapes

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I don't understand any argument against topping it up. Sure, it will be fine for less than a week, but any longer than that, why not top up? You are going to drink the wine you top up with eventually, right? It's not like it is thrown away.
 

colorado_wade

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I totally agree sour_grapes, but my only question is that maybe putting a completely fermented, aged commercial wine into a still fermenting wine would somehow change the character of the wine, or affect the final fermenting. Appreciate any feedback on this, because it is really making me nervous.
 

sour_grapes

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Sorry, I missed that you were asking about before it is done fermenting. No, you should wait until it is finished. If you have it under airlock during that time frame, there is no danger of ruining the wine by oxidation. When the fermentation peters out, and especially when you rack it again, you should top off at that time.
 

Doug’s wines

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The instructions say there’s no need to top up, so I didn’t. Wine tastes good. I racked it to bulk a few weeks ago and topped up at that time. I think if you plan to bulk age then top up whenever you want, but if you plan to bottle at the point of kit instruction ending, then no need to. That said, I have always felt with kits that a little air is ok and maybe even a little bennificial.
 
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