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Old 10-26-2012, 12:38 AM   #1
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Default Racking Wine to Secondary

This is my first wine kit, so excuse my nooby-ness. I started a wine kit last weekend, and according to the instructions, I should be racking into secondary on Sunday. The only thing that is concerning is that it is still actively fermenting. Should I rack to secondary on Sunday regardless of how much it's fermenting or should I wait for fermentation to slow down?


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Old 10-26-2012, 12:47 AM   #2
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Go ahead and rack it :-) it will continue fermenting in the secondary!


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Old 10-26-2012, 12:53 AM   #3
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With the first racking all you're trying to do is get the wine off the gross lees (dead yeast at the bottom) to prevent any of the spent yeast from giving your wine an off-flavor. I traditionally use a hydrometer to determine when to rack but 1-2 weeks is a pretty common time to transfer to the secondary. Just leave enough head space in the secondary to allow the fermentation to complete.
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Old 10-26-2012, 04:51 PM   #4
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I'd actually say there's no harm in waiting a bit longer; the kit instructions tend to rush things so they can advertise 'ready to drink in 30 days' or whatever.
You're not going to have any issues with the lees before primary has finished. (autolysis, which is what you're trying to avoid by racking, takes many months). If anything, its more satisfying to let the worst of the yeast drop out a little before racking.
Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm surprised to see people recommending you follow kit instructions on HBT!

A rule of thumb in winemaking is: if in doubt, its better to wait
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Old 10-26-2012, 08:32 PM   #5
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The kits I have made had me stir the primary and transfer everything, lees included, to carboy. But then again, I do not know what all kits say to do.

The point of transferring from primary on a certain day, or certain SG range, has to do with where that kit is in the fermentation process. Typically start out aerobic and finish anaerobic. Just a helpful guide.

I would recommend you follow the instructions provided with your kit...they usually give a day approximation and always provide a S.G. stage for action to take place. As long as you are within the recommended hydrometer range you are usually quite fine. The day count can be impacted by temperature, etc., though I do recommend staying wirhin recommended temp range. As you gain more experience you will be able to make experienced decisions about what to do and when.
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Old 10-27-2012, 03:29 PM   #6
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Yes perhaps I should have mentioned, if you're using a plastic container for primary and are racking into a sealed glass carboy for secondary, then that'd be a reason to rack earlier rather than later.
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Old 10-27-2012, 05:41 PM   #7
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All the wine kits I've done say something like, 'Rack in 5 days or when the SG gets to under .996. If the SG is not under .996, then don't rack yet' or something to that effect.

Wait until fermentation is at the SG recommended in the instructions for the best results.

If they don't say, wait until the SG is 1.010 or under before racking.
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Old 10-27-2012, 11:58 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Peppers16 View Post
...
Someone will correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm surprised to see people recommending you follow kit instructions on HBT!

A rule of thumb in winemaking is: if in doubt, its better to wait
You are wrong, as we routinly advise newbies to "follow the directions to a T".

Other than time, follow the instructions!
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Old 10-28-2012, 01:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DoctorCAD

You are wrong, as we routinly advise newbies to "follow the directions to a T".

Other than time, follow the instructions!
When I first started, wine kit directions did not fail me! I still think back to them from time to time.
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Old 10-28-2012, 05:47 PM   #10
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Thank for all the help everyone. I checked on it today and the gravity was 1.005, which was below the minimum of 1.010 to transfer, so I went ahead and racked to secondary. Thanks for all the input everyone.


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