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Old 07-05-2013, 12:27 PM   #1
Jacktar
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Default Why age in carboy?

I've been playing around with fruit wines lately. Most of the recipes say to rack to the carboy and leave it for months before bottling. Is this really necessary? Can I just bottle after a few weeks when the fermentation is over and it's been stabilized? Why such a long time in the carboy? Is it about clarity? Does a strawberry wine take that long to clear? I know my cider was clear in a couple weeks but even that recipe calls for a year of aging.


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Old 07-05-2013, 01:08 PM   #2
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Three weeks is way to early in my own opinion. I have a kiwi strawberry wine that I have started about 2 weeks ago and it's not even close to being ready.

I have heard about bottle ageing but... The wine is usually around 3-4 months old before they bottle it.


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Old 07-05-2013, 09:42 PM   #3
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There are more than a few reasons to let the wine clear in a carboy before bottling. First, so that it's clear. Some wines will drop a ton of lees over the first few months (especially dandelion), so letting it sit in a carboy and racking off when lees are 1/4" thick or any at all after 60 days means not having a boatload of sediment crap in the bottle. If you don't mind lots of "floaters", then that's not so important.

Another thing that keeping the wine in a carboy (and topped up) will do is allow it to degas. C02 is produced during fermentation, and is held in the wine for quite a while. Allowing the wine to degas naturally, by allowing time for the c02 to come out of the airlock means no chance for the bottles to explode or the corks to pop off when the wine warms or otherwise temperature changes in the area where you store your wine.

Other benefits include a better flavor (from not having the lees in the wine when you bottle), a smoother wine, and no bottle bombs from possibly an incomplete fermentation.
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Old 07-05-2013, 11:31 PM   #4
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These are 1 gallon test batches Yooper. I don't plan on giving them away as gifts so clarity isn't as important as what I.d like in 5 gallons of the stuff. If I get the gist of what the wine will taste like I might invest the time in proper aging and a larger batch. As long as I stabilize properly I should be ok with the corks staying in. I guess I'll have to degas like with a wine kit if I do this the quick way.
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Old 07-10-2013, 04:18 AM   #5
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it really should be bulk aged, it allows for the lees to settle. Wine is not something you want to rush into bottles like beer. It needs to go through a process before bottling. Knowing when your wine is ready to bottle takes experience but for a general rule of thumb at the very minimum I would say 4-5 months for reds and maybe a bit less for whites. It also depends on weather or not you are using a filtration system. Good luck, making good wine can be difficult and time consuming.


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