Visual signs its ready to be racked

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PCasey

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Hi, I'm brewing some wine made from welche's concentrait. I'm not going to use a secondary and so my batch will go strait to bottling. I don't want to bottle it to early. What are the visual signs that I should look for in the wine that will tell me its time to bottle?

Many people say if one bubble out of the air lock per min is good, but I think that only applies to a five gallon batch. I have a couple of test batches going on right now (1 gallon and under). Am I just going to let them sit until there are no more bubbles breaking the surface of the wort?
 

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I agree with HB99- there aren't really any good visual signs to know when fermentation is completely done. Airlock activity is NOT a good gauge of how much fermentation is left- I've never counted airlock bubbles, and don't plan on starting now. Check the SG with a hydrometer. If it's done, that's the only way to know for sure.
 
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PCasey

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I agree with HB99- there aren't really any good visual signs to know when fermentation is completely done. Airlock activity is NOT a good gauge of how much fermentation is left- I've never counted airlock bubbles, and don't plan on starting now. Check the SG with a hydrometer. If it's done, that's the only way to know for sure.
you say that, but I have no idea what I'm looking at when I read the Hydrometer or what those numbers mean. I'm also paranoid about opening up my carboys and exposing it to the air.
 

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Considering taking a hydrometer reading is fundamental in brewing beer or making wine, it is really something you need to know how to do. There is a lot of information here on how to read one and it's really not that difficult. Just do a search on the site. But I have to agree with the others. You can only tell if the fermentation is done by checking to see if you have reached your final gravity.
 

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you say that, but I have no idea what I'm looking at when I read the Hydrometer or what those numbers mean. I'm also paranoid about opening up my carboys and exposing it to the air.
I understand that- you definitely have to be sanitary. All you do is sanitize a turkey baster, and then fill a hydrometer test jar. Close the carboy back up, and then put the hydrometer in the jar. Read the level that it is at, and then drink the sample. That's it. That's the only way to tell if it's truly done.

I'd be more paranoid about bottling a batch that may not be finished and will blow up the bottle, or shoot out the cork, then worry about opening the carboy for a reading.
 
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PCasey

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Considering taking a hydrometer reading is fundamental in brewing beer or making wine, it is really something you need to know how to do. There is a lot of information here on how to read one and it's really not that difficult. Just do a search on the site. But I have to agree with the others. You can only tell if the fermentation is done by checking to see if you have reached your final gravity.
I did a search and all I seem to be getting is how to read a hydrometer. I know how to read one, I just have no idea what those numbers mean. How do I know what my final gravity will be?
 

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For wine, 1.000 or lower. For beer, take the the digits after the decimal point of your starting gravity, say .060, and multiply them by 0.25 and add the 1 back to get your final gravity, in this case, 1.015.
 

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It depends on the original starting gravity (OG) and the type of yeast you used, but generally a wine will ferment dry as ericd said. I'd expect it to be in the .990-.994 range.

If you started with a higher SG, though, it may finish a bit higher. A good way to know if it's done is to check it today. Then, check it next week. If it's exactly the same, it's probably done.

That wine is hard to really see through- but it'll also be pretty clear when it's finished fermenting. Since you aren't racking it, just bottling right away, you will want to make sure it's clear and finished. What I would do is rack it to a carboy or jug (I have several Carlo Rossi jugs for this) and wait a month, then bottle.

Why don't you want to rack to a secondary? That would get it off the dead yeast and allow it to finish up and clear.
 
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Why don't you want to rack to a secondary? That would get it off the dead yeast and allow it to finish up and clear.
I don't have a second carboy. They are all in use right now. I took a reading today the gravity is 1.030 I don't know what it was at the beginning because I took a reading when it was still boiling which was around 1.120 its been fermenting for five weeks now. I'm actually really happy how its turning out to be. It sweet with a nice zany twang of alcohol.
Its cousin (part of the wort that was too big to fit in the pot so I moved it to a smaller pot and gave it a separate carboy) is turning out to be god awful.

One more question, How often should I take a reading? Once a week?
 

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Well, 1.120 is pretty high for an OG. What kind of yeast did you use? I try to keep my wines at 1.100 or under. I like the Welch's at 1.085 or so. You're not finished, though, not at 1.030. I'd wait a couple of weeks and check it again.

If this finishes at .990, you're looking at 17% ABV. That's why I asked what kind of yeast you used. If you used champagne yeast, for example, you can expect it to go that low. If you used a different yeast, like cotes des blanc, it might finish at 1.010 (about 14%).
 

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Is it just me? I rack my wine multiple times to clear while I'm bulk aging, sometimes for a year before bottling. I would think you will end up with alot of yeast in your bottles no matter how careful you are. In my opinion if you want to make wine you need more carboys, Ken
 

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Is it just me? I rack my wine multiple times to clear while I'm bulk aging, sometimes for a year before bottling. I would think you will end up with alot of yeast in your bottles no matter how careful you are. In my opinion if you want to make wine you need more carboys, Ken
Oh, I agree with you. My wines are in a carboy for at least a year, and racked multiple times. In this case, though, the OP is asking about being able to tell when the Welch's is done. I've made Welch's wines before, and they aren't bad at all! The advice I've been giving is based on the OP's desire to bottle, not on the best winemaking techniques.
 

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PCasey -

You posted...

...I took a reading when it was still boiling which was around 1.120...
A hydrometer is calibrated to be accurate when measuring liquids that are at a temperature of 60 degrees F.

If you measured a heated sample, as opposed to a sample that had once BEEN heated, then the numbers will be WAY off.

Unless, of course, you took a temperature reading of the sample, as you measured it, and then did the math to correct the numbers.

Pogo
 
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PCasey

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PCasey -

You posted...



A hydrometer is calibrated to be accurate when measuring liquids that are at a temperature of 60 degrees F.

If you measured a heated sample, as opposed to a sample that had once BEEN heated, then the numbers will be WAY off.
no I realize that. Liquids are less dense when they are heated.

How often should I check the gravity?
 

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I usually check the gravity once a week, unless I see a significant change in airlock activity, then I'll test again, but I'm still a newb, I don't know what the vets here would recommend.

I paste a sticky-note on the primary with specs of the batch on it. If I started the batch on a Tuesday, then every Tuesday I draw out a sample and test the gravity, log results to the sticky-note, then drink the sample.

Once the readings are consistently near 1.000 or below, the fermentation is finished, and gravity testing is no longer needed.

So far, my fermentations have been finished after 4 weeks, and sometimes even two!

Pogo
 
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PCasey

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So far, my fermentations have been finished after 4 weeks, and sometimes even two!

Pogo
My current batch right now is in its 6th week of fermentation. With plenty of CO2 still being released. It only started to slow down in the past week that why I posted this thread.
 

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PCasey -

Don't confuse de-gassing with fermentation.

Once your SG has two identical near zero, or below, readings after several days or especially even a week apart, it is essentially done fermenting.

Any airlock activity after that is just co2 escaping.

Pogo
 

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You'd also want to make sure your sample is fully degassed because rising bubbles can throw off the reading. Spinning the hydrometer in the sample a few times ought to do it.
 
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