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Old 12-16-2011, 08:56 PM   #1
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Default Potassium sorbate In wine?

Hello all, I'm new to wine making but beginning to get a handle on it (I think). I was wondering about the use of Potassium sorbate in wine making. I know that it is used to kill yeast to stop fermentation. However I have noticed that non of the recipes on here seem to use it. Was wondering why? Also was wondering If I should be using it on my batch on must I have going now.
I'm just looking for insight and helpful hints.

Thanks

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Old 12-16-2011, 10:39 PM   #2
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Hello all, I'm new to wine making but beginning to get a handle on it (I think). I was wondering about the use of Potassium sorbate in wine making. I know that it is used to kill yeast to stop fermentation. However I have noticed that non of the recipes on here seem to use it. Was wondering why? Also was wondering If I should be using it on my batch on must I have going now.
I'm just looking for insight and helpful hints.

Thanks
Potassium sorbate doesn't kill wine yeast. It inhibits reproduction of yeast, though. What that means is, in an active fermentation where the yeast are already done reproducing, it will do nothing. But once fermentation is done, and the wine is clear, and less yeast are in suspension, sorbate may help to stabilize the wine so that further reproduction can't take place when the wine is sweetened.

Since I don't like sweet wines as a rule, I almost never use sorbate. It also does impart a taste, although slight, so my preference is to not use it unless I absolutely need to.
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Old 12-17-2011, 09:06 PM   #3
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That's grate information thank you. Now I have another question then. It might seem like a dumb one, but I bought a bucket of pre mashed and desteamed grapes. I started with a SG of 1.092 and am told to rack it when it reaches 0.990(ish). So it will still be fermenting after the racking correct? Do I just let it run its course and I get what I get at the end (the SG that is)?

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Old 12-17-2011, 09:25 PM   #4
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That's grate information thank you. Now I have another question then. It might seem like a dumb one, but I bought a bucket of pre mashed and desteamed grapes. I started with a SG of 1.092 and am told to rack it when it reaches 0.990(ish). So it will still be fermenting after the racking correct? Do I just let it run its course and I get what I get at the end (the SG that is)?

Thanks
It won't go any lower than .990. But I usually rack at 1.010-1.020, so it IS still fermenting when it is racked the first time.

You'll have lots of sediment for several months, so you'll do several rackings over the course of the wine's time in the fermenter. Each time you have lees of 1/4" thick, or any lees after 60 days, you'll rack and top off.

Since campden tablets (sulfite) are an antioxidant, it's good to try to keep a sulfite level at 50 ppm to avoid oxidation especially during racking. If you don't have an S02 meter (I don't), you can guestimate the amount and use 1 campden tablet, crushed and dissolved, per gallon at every other racking.
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Old 12-18-2011, 12:31 AM   #5
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What's the reason behind racking when its still fermenting?

Should I've adding the campden tablets before or after racking?

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Old 12-23-2011, 03:13 PM   #6
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Most home winemakers use two types of fermentors, "a primary" and "a secondary". The primary is usually a bucket type vessel. It handles rapid ferments better, is easier to clean, is easier to manage fruit solids, and gives some exposure to oxygen. The secondary fermentor is usually a large bottle; it is suited for slower and finishing ferments. Oxygen exposure is limited in the secondary.

I start my wines in a primary and they will be in there for somewhere around 4-8 days depending on the wine, yeast, and temperature. When the SG gets around 1.020, I will rack it to the secondary to finish fermenting. Some fruits and their seeds can impart a bitter flavor to the wine if they are left in there too long. Letting your wine sit on the gross lees (the pile of sludge at the bottom of the bucket) for too long can also impart off flavors. Moving your wine to the secondary while it is still fermenting will put your wine under airlock and keep it safe for the last stages of the ferment.

Normally your recipe will start with campden tablets, so no, I wouldn't add more at this stage. You will need to add some (along with sorbate) if you plan to back sweeten the wine and you may want to add some if you plan to age the wine bulk or in bottle. If you're making a kit wine, the juice in the bag already has the campden ingredients in it for you.

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Old 12-23-2011, 03:39 PM   #7
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The reason for racking while still fermenting is that the fermentation gives off CO2 gas and a layer of that on top of the must is helpful to prevent spoilage.

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Old 12-23-2011, 05:30 PM   #8
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Hi i'm new to the whole wine making process. I've purchased a 64oz. container of Welch's Concord grape juice that I want to use as a starter. Do you or anyone you might know can give me a few pointers on how to begin?

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Old 12-24-2011, 05:57 AM   #9
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Hi i'm new to the whole wine making process. I've purchased a 64oz. container of Welch's Concord grape juice that I want to use as a starter. Do you or anyone you might know can give me a few pointers on how to begin?
There are some recipes here that use Welch's Concord juice, just do a search for them although the more common starting point is the frozen concentrate. However, if you want to ask further about this, it's better to start a new thread rather than change the subject on this one.
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Old 12-24-2011, 08:15 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by Captive
Most home winemakers use two types of fermentors, "a primary" and "a secondary". The primary is usually a bucket type vessel. It handles rapid ferments better, is easier to clean, is easier to manage fruit solids, and gives some exposure to oxygen. The secondary fermentor is usually a large bottle; it is suited for slower and finishing ferments. Oxygen exposure is limited in the secondary.

I start my wines in a primary and they will be in there for somewhere around 4-8 days depending on the wine, yeast, and temperature. When the SG gets around 1.020, I will rack it to the secondary to finish fermenting. Some fruits and their seeds can impart a bitter flavor to the wine if they are left in there too long. Letting your wine sit on the gross lees (the pile of sludge at the bottom of the bucket) for too long can also impart off flavors. Moving your wine to the secondary while it is still fermenting will put your wine under airlock and keep it safe for the last stages of the ferment.

Normally your recipe will start with campden tablets, so no, I wouldn't add more at this stage. You will need to add some (along with sorbate) if you plan to back sweeten the wine and you may want to add some if you plan to age the wine bulk or in bottle. If you're making a kit wine, the juice in the bag already has the campden ingredients in it for you.
I'm making the wine from Must I got from the local wine store. It came in the plastic pail and I just did my first racking into glass after 12days with a SG of 1.002 it's not doing anything now.

I don't plan on back sweetening it so I dont think I want to add sorbate. Yooper had told me sorbate can add a taste to it, so I don't think I want to add anything If don't have to too it. This is my fist batch of Must I have ever done and I want to keep it "simple" and basic to see how it turns out before I start "mucking around".

I'm going to add Camden tablets on the next racking, do I dads them before of after the racking? Or dose it not matter?

Thanks for the info and input
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