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Eckythump 03-30-2012 03:33 PM

Purpose of secondary for wine?
 
On the beer side of this site, there is fair amount on controversy over a long primary (3-6 weeks) vs a shorter primary (5-10 days) and a secondary.

Lots of recipes for wine say to leave it in a secondary for a year, and then bottle. Why does wine require so much longer to condition than beer? Can anyone chime in on bottle conditioning wine (that is, doing a primary for a month, then bottling and leaving for a year)?

Yooper 03-30-2012 04:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Eckythump (Post 3945776)
On the beer side of this site, there is fair amount on controversy over a long primary (3-6 weeks) vs a shorter primary (5-10 days) and a secondary.

Lots of recipes for wine say to leave it in a secondary for a year, and then bottle. Why does wine require so much longer to condition than beer? Can anyone chime in on bottle conditioning wine (that is, doing a primary for a month, then bottling and leaving for a year)?

Well, it doesn't really take THAT much longer to "condition", except for the higher alcohol content and the tannins (if using oak and the like) to mellow. The reason it's in a secondary for a long time, usually racked a couple of times, is so that the wine is clear when you go to bottle it. Keeping it in a carboy as the lees fall and then racking off of the lees after 60 days or so means a nice clear wine.

You could bottle as soon as it's done fermenting, if you don't mind three inches of sediment in the bottles. That sediment causes off flavors as the yeast breaks down, so that's why the wine is racked off of the sediment after a period of time.

paraordnance 03-30-2012 04:21 PM

Secondary in wine is for aging. During that process wine clears, complex flavors meld together, and wine slowly degases itself. The reason why it takes longer is due to alcohol content. The higher the latter the longer it needs to age. Same as a beer. You normally would bulk age 10 % ABV imperial stout or doppelbock or any other high gravity beer for 4-5 months or more where 4-5% beers can be ready to consume in 1 month

khiddy 04-05-2012 06:01 AM

Is it possible to cold-crash the carboy and rack off to another carboy to speed things along a bit? I have the space in a fridge to do so, but would it work?

Yooper 04-05-2012 03:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by khiddy (Post 3964631)
Is it possible to cold-crash the carboy and rack off to another carboy to speed things along a bit? I have the space in a fridge to do so, but would it work?

Yes, "cold stabilization" is used often but it's generally used to drop out excess tartaric acid as wine diamonds (crystals). It won't speed up aging, as wine ages faster at room temperature, but some good things happen with cold stabilization. Yeast will fall out, the wine will clear, and as mentioned excess tartaric acid will form crystals and fall out.

summersolstice 04-05-2012 07:50 PM

Some would argue that there's not much difference in bulk and bottle aging but I think that a long (one year+) bulk aging helps bring the flavors together much better. There's also less temperature fluctuation in bulk batches compared to bottles. I have some mead that's been bulk aging for almost three years, but mainly because I've been too lazy to bottle it. :-)


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