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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > How often do you guys/gals rack?
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Old 11-26-2008, 01:39 PM   #1
KENfromMI
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Default How often do you guys/gals rack?

Anyone on here that makes wine without kits? If so how often do you rack the wine when bulk aging? Guy at the store said I'm racking it too much but when it is still dropping sediment and clearing I thought that was a good idea, Ken

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Old 11-26-2008, 01:48 PM   #2
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Everytime you rack you risk oxidation, however you also rack to help clear and refine the wine. So you can rack as many times as you feel is needed to get the desired results. Most wine makers I know rack on average 3 times.

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Old 11-26-2008, 01:53 PM   #3
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It really depends. Some wines drop a ton of lees, some don't. Blackberry, for example, seems like it drops a ton of lees. Cherry, not so much.

What I do is rack at every 30-45 days each time there are lees 1/4 inch thick. I have a rhubarb wine in the carboy that I think I've only racked once or twice, since it cleared right away and isn't dropping lees. (It's from this spring). I have some wines that probably could be racked, since I haven't racked anything at all since about August, and I would guess that there are a couple that have a bit of lees.

A little lees won't hurt- but you don't want to leave the wine long term on thick lees. That will give you some off-flavors.

One thing you asked is how often we rack when bulk aging. Well, the answer is never if it's bulk aging. Aging is for when the wine is completely done, and just in the carboy aging instead of in the bottle aging. If it's still dropping lees, or not clear, it's not bulk aging.

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Old 11-26-2008, 04:13 PM   #4
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I ferment in a plastic primary and then rack to a secondary. After the wine or mead ferments to dryness (usually about 2-3 more weeks) I rack once more and begin bulk aging. That's usually it but if there are a lot of additional lees (seldom), I may rack once more. If I plan to bulk age in an oak barrel, there's also an additional racking.

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Old 11-27-2008, 01:54 PM   #5
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Yooper, I actually said that wrong, I leave my juice in the carboys for a year before bottling. I guess what I meant was over that year what is a reasonable amount of rackings,also a question for Tapias if you read this, what exactly does oxidation taste like? what type of flavor does it give the wine? I'm not sure if I ever tasted oxidized wine or if I have I havent realized I screwed it up, Ken

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Old 11-27-2008, 02:35 PM   #6
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Oxidized mead tastes like a really NASTY cardboard-like flavour with a little nasty, soggy Wheaties thrown in. The actual taste of cardboard would be a step up in flavour from oxidized mead. Regards, GF.

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Old 11-27-2008, 02:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KENfromMI View Post
what exactly does oxidation taste like? what type of flavor does it give the wine?
If you'd like to experience oxidation, drink most of a bottle of wine, recork it, and then allow it to sit on the counter for a week and try it again. Or put it back in the fridge for a couple of weeks and try it.
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Old 11-27-2008, 03:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KENfromMI View Post
Yooper, I actually said that wrong, I leave my juice in the carboys for a year before bottling. I guess what I meant was over that year what is a reasonable amount of rackings,also a question for Tapias if you read this, what exactly does oxidation taste like? what type of flavor does it give the wine? I'm not sure if I ever tasted oxidized wine or if I have I havent realized I screwed it up, Ken
Once it's in the carboy aging, I don't rack it. It's basically all done, just aging. I might rack it once or twice, maybe even three times for something like blackberry wine, but only if lees are dropping and it needs it. By then, it's clear and all finished up. After that, I don't rack it until I rack it to a bottling bucket.
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Old 11-29-2008, 12:12 AM   #9
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So while bulk aging, is it normal practice to leave an airlock on, or to cap/cork instead?

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Old 11-29-2008, 04:51 AM   #10
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It doesn't really matter - the fermentaion is complete. Hopefully there's no residual CO2 and no bubble activity. I usually put on an airlock and cap it so the vodka doesn't evaporate. You can see the red airlock caps in this photo:

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