why am I having such a hard time removing sediment?

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crabjoe

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I had what looked like crystal clear wine sitting on a tiny bed of sediment so I racked it. I remember that when it go to the bottom, I pick up a hair of sediment. I didn't think it was much at all. In fact, I had to add almost 2 cups of a store bought wine to top it off after the racking.

Here's what I did notice during the racking, as the wine was coming up the racking cane and into the hose, I saw what I thought was strange. The wine was clear, until it hit the hose. Once it it the hose, it looked cloudy. And when it was in the new carboy, not only was it not clear, the color was almost like like I had made country time lemonade... That bright yellow.

It the past 2 days, the sediments been settling again and the wine is clearing, My issue now is that the sediment is so loose, any movement of the bottle will start suspending it back into the wine. Today, when I tried to back sweeten with some simple syrup, 3/4 of the carboy had sediment suspended in it again. Sure it's settling again, but it's so loose, I'm not sure how I can rack it again without transferring a lot of sediment.

Anyone have any ideas on what I can do to get a clear carboy of wine without any sediment in it? If I just let it sit, will the sediment eventually get so compacted, that I can rack without having to worry about sucking up sediment again? BTW, how long does it usually take to get the sediment to compact down? Should I be worried about causing off flavors because it's sitting in the sediment?

I do have a 1 micron filter. should I just filter it for now to get most of the sediment out,or will that not make much different? I ask because when I filtered beer through it, It didn't seem to have done much. It ended up being a tad more clear but not by much.

Thank you!
 

tradowsk

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Fine sediment (fine lees) like that shouldn't cause off flavors. You can age for months on that (sur lie) to add certain flavors.

The sediment is likely too fine to compact well on its own, so I would suggest adding some fining agent. It will bind the sediment together to make it easier to leave behind. Superkleer is my go-to but you could use sparkelloid or even egg whites. Don't use bentonite at this stage, it will make more of a mess than it will solve.

You could also put the carboy in the fridge for a few day cold crash to try to get the sediment to drop out quicker
 

NorCal

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I find with time, the sediment is less likely to be kicked up. Give it 3-6 months. I’ll also rack from the top down, so there is less opportunity to suck sediment into the racking.
 

tradowsk

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A trick I learned from a local winemaker is to put a stopper under one side of the carboy so it sits at an angle. The sediment will collect in a corner of the bottom instead over over the whole surface.
 

crabjoe

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I find with time, the sediment is less likely to be kicked up. Give it 3-6 months. I’ll also rack from the top down, so there is less opportunity to suck sediment into the racking.
I was thinking it might be a time thing, but being new to this, I don't seem have the patiences... And it's partly because I keep reading that you have to get the wine off this sediment so it doesn't pick up off flavors and partly because I see pics of carboys full of wine that's crystal clear.
 

crabjoe

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A trick I learned from a local winemaker is to put a stopper under one side of the carboy so it sits at an angle. The sediment will collect in a corner of the bottom instead over over the whole surface.

I actually have my carboy sitting on an angle to try and get the sediment to collect to one side. I'm not sure if that's going to work. I say this because the sediment is so loose, any disturbance in the wine causes some to kick up.

I've tried bentonite and sparkolloid. Both clear the wine, but there's enough loose sediment that, well... just wants to be suspended with any turbulence in the wine.

Will filtering the wine with a 1 micron filter solve this issue?
 

Scooter68

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I've used bentonite during aging early and late in the again with ZERO problems - mess etc. Just give it time to settle well. Bentonite is a challenge to hydrate but normally it should work well if you add it to warm water slowly while stirring well AND let it set overnight , AND shake the container well before adding to the wine. (Yeah, English teachers would kill me for using "And" twice in one sentence.)

Also does your racking cane have a cover on the tip? (Usually black plastic) That cover can help defuse the vacuum that pulls up the sediment.
Additionally fine sediment can also collect on the sides of the carboy. Not unusual for me to see it sliding off and into the wine as the level falls.

If you age the wine 12 months at least with racking every 3 months, you can always do a filtering at the last racking to help remove any elusive particles.
 

chicken

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I have never used bentonite or other fining agents, so I can't comment on that. But I do agree with what others have said about just giving it time. There's no hurry to rack it again just yet. Keep it topped up, and add sulfite if you haven't already, make sure the airlock doesn't run dry, and wait at least 2-3 months.

When you lift the carboy to place it at the right height for racking, you will probably disturb some of the sediment, but don't worry too much about it (Sometimes I'll put it where it needs to be, and then leave it for a couple hours or so to let things settle a bit before I rack). When you rack the wine, don't put the end of the racking cane all the way down to the bottom. I usually start with it maybe halfway down, and move it lower later on. With practice, it gets easier to hover just above the sediment. Despite your best efforts, you'll still pick up some sediment, but that's OK. Each time you rack the wine, you leave more of it behind.

If your wine isn't clear yet, that doesn't mean you're doing anything wrong. It's just that this takes time. We age our wine at least 12 months before bottling. It gets easier to be patient after you've made several batches. We always have some that that is aging in carboys, some that is aging in bottles, and some that we are drinking right now.
 

FunkedOut

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...Additionally fine sediment can also collect on the sides of the carboy. Not unusual for me to see it sliding off and into the wine as the level falls....
A fine tip I picked up reading a lot is to spin the carboy back and forth without lifting it. This not only releases the sediment from the sides of the carboy, but slides the sediment at the bottom of the carboy down away from the walls and punt.
Works really well, you just need to leave some time for that released sediment to settle and compact again.
 

crabjoe

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Just remember, I am new to this. I only started my wine making journey a month ago...

1. It seems, I have a problem waiting.. It seems so strange to me that I need to wait months and months to do this.

2. My kit wine (Miracle Wine) gets super clear. I did use bentonite at 1st then sparkolloid in the secondary. My issue with it is that any movement, the sediment jumps up into the wine again. I've racked it twice.. 1st from the primary to the secondary, and that was when I realized how easily the sediment could be suspended again. While it was in the secondary was when I used the sparkolloid, to settle it again and it worked quick. When I racked it again to get it off the sediment, which looked like white sand, I felt I barley picked up any sediment. I was wrong.. Because it was super cloudy from the racking and in a couple days, most of it had settled. I am shocked to see a centimeter of sediment at the bottom. It's actually in two layer. 1st layer is around a centimeter, then there's about a 1/2 centimeter of what looks like fluff on top. A close look at this sediment looks like mostly translucent dry yeast. Basically cylinder shaped and about the same size as what comes out of a dry yeast package. Being it's one of those 4 week kits, I'd like to just bottle it, but I'm afraid I'll end up with a ton of sediment. I need some additional equipment, but I think I'm going to try and just filter this to see what happens. My problem with the filter is that it's setup for keg to keg transfer with CO2.

3. I've got a Pinot Grigio that's been brewing for a month. I added bentonite during primary fermentation. When I moved it to it's secondary, there was a nice heavy layer of sediment at the bottom of the bucket ... I used it to start some SP. What I find odd about this, compared to the kit, is that it's super cloudy. The kit, even with just the bentonite was never this cloudy. It's had been sitting for weeks in the secondary and barely anything settled. So I racked and added sparkolloid. Not sure if that was the eight thing to do, but that's what I did. I guess I'll see what happens, if anything, in the next few days.

4. Skeeter Pee - It was done fermenting weeks ago, but I left it in the primary because I don't want to rack it without leaving behind some sediment. It looked like there was a white cloud in a sea of yellow... I added some bentonite and it dropped that cloud within in hours. But the cloud doesn't seem to want to compact itself. It's as if the cloud took over the bottom gallon of the big mouth bubber. The rest is still super hazy and you can't see through it. Not sure if I should add sparkolloid to it now or rack then add the sparkolloid. The only reason I haven't racked it into a carboy is because I don't want to lose a gallon. Could the problem be that I haven't degassed it yet? Should I try degassing it then letting it settle again, or should I rack what I can, taking the loss, then degass?

5. Apple wine.. Been in the carboy for a month and there's almost no sediment. It's as hazy as can be, so I added some pectic enzyme to it today, but I think I goofed. I heated water in the microwave to boil it, then added the enzyme to it to desolve before I added it to the carboy.. I didn't realize I couldn't use hot water..

BTW, My Fontana Cabernet Sauvignon kit arrived. Another 4 week kit. It looks like I'll finally be starting a red wine this week... Being that I'm not a red drinker, I think this one I can keep my has off of...
 

Scooter68

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The key element is PATIENCE
It is without a doubt the hardest thing for many/most new wine makers. I am Still working on that.


Picked up another hobby or two, have a lot on my plate since I've retired (Just the opposite of what I expected) and so it's easier to wait on things. Of course I do have about 100 bottles of wine on the rack so those 6 batches aging don't have to be rushed.

Sadly, as many more experienced wine makers have stated, those wine kit sales pitches are about half-true. YES you can have wine to drink in 4-6 weeks. NO it won't be near as good as a properly aged wine. You might get it cleared in that 4-6 weeks but that doesn't mean it won't drop out more sediment later on nor does that mean it will really be truly enjoyable.

As an excited new wine maker, (Started summer of 2015) I bottled my first wine at 4 months. Popped a cork less than a month later and I was proud of it...... until I opened a bottle of that same wine (Blueberry) at 12 months - a world of difference. It went from what I now know was "Drinkable" to truly "enjoyable." Unfortunately that batch of 1 gallon only one bottle got to be a 2 year old wine held in reserve to prove what others have said - a good wine takes time.
 

heatherd

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When that sediment issue happened to me in the past, its been because the wine still had co2. I would give it a good stir and then wait for it to clear.
 

Scooter68

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For that Skeeter Pee - Have you used Chitosan? Using it with Bentonite gives you both the + and - particle collection from the wine. I've had success using the two as a one-two punch in clearing some stubborn wines.

Here's an excerpt from the link at the bottom of my post:
1. Bentonite
  • negative charge
  • continuously effective
  • can be added at any stage
  • creates compact lees
  • be sure to mix thoroughly

Negatively-charged bentonite will attract and bind to positively-charged particulate matter such as dead yeast cells (lees). It is unique in that bentonite can be added before or after fermentation, and is especially effective when added prior to primary. The action of CO2 gasses produced by the yeast will continue to stir the bentonite during fermentation, and a buildup of lees will form in the bottom of your fermenter indicating the bentonite’s activity. Be sure to mix bentonite with warm water thoroughly – if it is poured directly into wine it will clump up and lose efficiency.

2. Chitosan

  • positive charge
  • very effective clarifying action
  • minimal impact on flavor and character
  • can be used in low-tannin environments
  • use with Kieselsol
  • be mindful of shellfish allergies
Chitosan is a positively-charged fining agent made of chitin, typically from the shells of crustaceans and other shelled microscopic sealife. It will attract proteins, yeast, polyphenols and other negatively-charged particles, and is especially effective when used with its partner Kieselsol (which has a negative charge). One excellent property of Chitosan is that it does not require tannins to work properly, allowing its use in white wines, ciders, meads, and more. Many experts say that Chitosan will not trigger shellfish allergies, especially if proper settling and racking takes place, but we advise caution.

https://www.winemakersdepot.com/Fining-Agents-Cheat-Sheet-W148.aspx
 

crabjoe

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When that sediment issue happened to me in the past, its been because the wine still had co2. I would give it a good stir and then wait for it to clear.
Thanks, but it's not CO2.. I had degassed with a whip, then the other day, I did it was a vacuum..
 

crabjoe

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For that Skeeter Pee - Have you used Chitosan? Using it with Bentonite gives you both the + and - particle collection from the wine. I've had success using the two as a one-two punch in clearing some stubborn wines.

https://www.winemakersdepot.com/Fining-Agents-Cheat-Sheet-W148.aspx
I'm getting myself confused because I've got 2 batches of SP going.. Had to look at my notes.

The one I started 1st, I've only done Sparkolloid because I went by direction. The 2nd one, I added Bentonite the other day. From my understand Bentonite/Sparkolloid does the +/- thing too. But I also read that Bentonite needed to be done 1st because it picks up the heavier stuff...

I think I'm going to try just straight up pectic enzyme.. Not mixed in water.. I think I'll try just putting in a few teaspoons.
 

cmason1957

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I don't think I would be so quick to dismissed the suggestion that it might be Co2. It is much harder to remove at this stage, a few weeks past fermentation than you might think.
 

utopia2

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Last year I had the same problem with my cab. I’ve only made wine a few times and thought I had done something wrong and was over thinking everything. I racked it after the first month and it still looked the same, almost like the sediment was all mixed in with the wine. My red wine was pink. But I added my sulfite to protect it, waited 3 months or so as it sat in the barn where winter cold help stabilize the wine. I racked it again and I was glad to see a clear wine. The cold help the proteins bind and settle.
 

kevinlfifer

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I plan on 6 months for clearing, minimum. I've stopped using any clearing agents.
 

crabjoe

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I don't think I would be so quick to dismissed the suggestion that it might be Co2. It is much harder to remove at this stage, a few weeks past fermentation than you might think.
Why would it be harder to remove CO2 at this stage? Isn't it just a matter of agitation or vacuum? I started with agitation then moved to vacuum...
 
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