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David Violante

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So.... I have noticed that the wine in a majority of my carboys has become more opaque. I fermented the wine in the last couple years, went through normal processes including racking and sulfiting, and have just been working on exercising patience. They had been clear enough to shine a light into and have 'some' pass through to the other side, and also be able to see the bottom of the carboy which has had a very small dusting of fine lees. Now, light doesn't penetrate at all that I can tell. I've dusted the glass, tried different flashlights and even a laser thermometer that I use when checking fermentation temperatures. Zippo. The only change I can think of that I made is an environmental one. For the past month I've closed the door to the room to keep it at ~58F when it had been closer to 66F. I'm tempted to rack them but don't want to disturb them until I bottle. I have not yet tasted / smelled the wine, but that's next. I thought it best to first elicit the thoughts, experience, and wisdom of this group.
 
I noticed the same thing in one jug just this morning, cloudy, and I naturally thought WTF. I was planning to bottle it this week so I smelled and tasted. It was fine - no off odors or taste. Replaced airlock, gave a shake, bubbles galore. More bubbles than I expected for 7 months in bulk. My thought was maybe it started fermenting though I hadn't done any back sweetening. I don't know what else it can be?!
 
For the first month in the carboy, every couple of days give the carboy a quick right-left jerk. If there is sediment adhering to the side, this will dislodge it and it will drop.

Unless you have gross lees or a very heavy sediment buildup, I would not rack.

Can you post pictures?
 
Mint started last June. Early last week it was clear. Now it's cloudy, ring of bubbles, activity in airlock.
If the SG is below 1.000, it's unlikely to be fermentation. Has the wine warmed up recently? Dissolved CO2 might emit with a bit of warmth, and it stirred sediment. Did you degas?

I can't imagine mint will have pectin or protein. Any sediment? If so, rack off the lees. Racking will drive out CO2.

If it was clear, it will clear again. Give it a week after racking to see what happens.

@David Violante, post pictures.
 
If the SG is below 1.000, it's unlikely to be fermentation. Has the wine warmed up recently? Dissolved CO2 might emit with a bit of warmth, and it stirred sediment. Did you degas?

I can't imagine mint will have pectin or protein. Any sediment? If so, rack off the lees. Racking will drive out CO2.

If it was clear, it will clear again. Give it a week after racking to see what happens.

@David Violante, post pictures.
I didn't check SG. Yesterday I was more concerned about smell and taste.

Temp has been a more or less constant 58F for months and I know lower temps are conducive to holding on to even more CO2. From experience I know off gassing can mimic fermentation. And yeah, I agree, racking is probably the way to go...and getting the SG. Bottling other wines was my priority yesterday.
 
For the first month in the carboy, every couple of days give the carboy a quick right-left jerk. If there is sediment adhering to the side, this will dislodge it and it will drop.

Unless you have gross lees or a very heavy sediment buildup, I would not rack.

Can you post pictures?
Years ago I made my "Carboy Sluer" for just this purpose. I used lazy susan hardware from Home Depot and two pieces of scrap 3/4" manufactured wood shelves, cut to about 8" squares. I screwed the lazy susan hardware between the two pieces of wood and had my "Sluer." It made performing the action described by Bryan above much easier. The hardware is inexpensive and I plan to make 4 or 5 more of them and keep them under the carboys during the early stages of clearing. It works like a charm.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Everbil...able-with-400-lb-Load-Rating-49548/203661089?
 
These first ones are a Steuben that I made this past year. It is pretty clear, you can see the light go through and reflect off the wall behind the carboy. Also, you can see the light from the laser pointer at the face of the glass on the right and on the wall to the left.

IMG_2443.jpgIMG_2439.jpg

In this one, the same light is up against the glass and it goes no further through the wine. It is a Bordeaux I made last year.

IMG_2440.jpg

These are ones I made last year also, and although the light doesn't penetrate like the Steuben, a laser light seems to go about 2" or so in before being lost. There is no reflection on the back wall either.

IMG_2445.jpgIMG_2444.jpg
 
@David Violante
Interesting about the Bordeaux. Did you use any clarification? My wild grape was so dark the laser never did penetrate through even when cleared. It just disappears with little to no back scattering. The one you have looks cloudy.

I do have carboys that have glass that looks like it was chemically etched on the inside. That would surely mess with your ability to judge clarity.

I have also started swirling them around while clearing as I have had lees deposited on the sides of the glass that then slough off into the wine when I rack to bottle.
 
Wine thief some off into a glass. Some from various parts of your carboy. Use that to determine clarity. I have found most red wines to be to dark to make any decisions from the carboy.

Also, when in doubt, you can seldom go wrong with waiting. This is a procrastinators best hobby.
 
These first ones are a Steuben that I made this past year. It is pretty clear, you can see the light go through and reflect off the wall behind the carboy. Also, you can see the light from the laser pointer at the face of the glass on the right and on the wall to the left.

View attachment 99062View attachment 99063

In this one, the same light is up against the glass and it goes no further through the wine. It is a Bordeaux I made last year.

View attachment 99064

These are ones I made last year also, and although the light doesn't penetrate like the Steuben, a laser light seems to go about 2" or so in before being lost. There is no reflection on the back wall either.

View attachment 99065View attachment 99066
Is that white foam of some sort around the collar of the last photo? Also, I noticed you are using a universal bung. They look like a small cup. I have never been able to get that style to stay put in the carboy. They always seem to slip up even though I completely dry out the inside of the glass neck. What’s the secret.
 
@David Violante, take a look at my 2020 Meritage Plus in the glass. I get periodic calls from black holes, asking for advice on how to trap light. ;)

I'm using a small LED flashlight, and getting zero light penetration. Different from a laser, but it's a good point.

meritage-plus.jpg

I used Scottzyme Color Pro on the grapes, and get zero light penetration in the glass. You're getting a few inches in a carboy? Dude ... eat your heart out!

You know I'm just razzing you. 🤣

IMO you've got great extraction from the fruit, and what you're seeing is fine. If anything, it's superior to most commercial wines. I see some haziness in the one photo at the bottom of the carboy, but overall, it looks good.
 
David, my first thought was proteins comming out because you are holding at a reduced temp. Was this a white? The normal answer then is fine with a tannin to pull it out. ?and bentonite

BigDave sure looks like active fermentation with suspended yeast.
Mint wine. Strong tea made with fresh mint from the garden.

Checked my notes. This was my longest and most problematic fermentation. Started with 71B, stuck at 1.055. Added ec1118, stuck again at 1.045. Had a pear wine in primary (using 71B) so I added a cup and fermentation started right up. This was before I knew about kill factor. It finished at 1.002 a couple months ago and this morning it was .998. I wonder if there's something in that particular mint that yeast doesn't like? It's "sweet mint" and after a search I found 3 different scientific names for it, so I don't know for sure what it is.
 
@David Violante
Interesting about the Bordeaux. Did you use any clarification? My wild grape was so dark the laser never did penetrate through even when cleared. It just disappears with little to no back scattering. The one you have looks cloudy.

I do have carboys that have glass that looks like it was chemically etched on the inside. That would surely mess with your ability to judge clarity.

I have also started swirling them around while clearing as I have had lees deposited on the sides of the glass that then slough off into the wine when I rack to bottle.
Great thoughts here… I looked through my notes and didn’t use any clarification. The carboys are also all clear glass with no etching. I do like the idea of swirling them when they settle prior to racking. I’m going to have to do that in the next runs.
 
Is that white foam of some sort around the collar of the last photo? Also, I noticed you are using a universal bung. They look like a small cup. I have never been able to get that style to stay put in the carboy. They always seem to slip up even though I completely dry out the inside of the glass neck. What’s the secret.
Uhhhh… I think it’s just some dried sediment I haven’t cleaned off. Bad form on my part. In terms of the bung, I has a hard time seating it, but dried it and held it in place until it didn’t move. I really like using the silicone ‘breathable’ ones, I didn’t have an extra one though.
 
@David Violante, take a look at my 2020 Meritage Plus in the glass. I get periodic calls from black holes, asking for advice on how to trap light. ;)

I'm using a small LED flashlight, and getting zero light penetration. Different from a laser, but it's a good point.

I used Scottzyme Color Pro on the grapes, and get zero light penetration in the glass. You're getting a few inches in a carboy? Dude ... eat your heart out!

You know I'm just razzing you. 🤣

IMO you've got great extraction from the fruit, and what you're seeing is fine. If anything, it's superior to most commercial wines. I see some haziness in the one photo at the bottom of the carboy, but overall, it looks good.

Bryan - thank you... and I appreciate the razzing... I'm going to rack/bottle a few this weekend, I'll post how it goes and how they taste. I appreciate all the feedback and thoughts from everyone!
 
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