Saturday, March 1, 2008

Cranberry 2008 #4--First Racking

Oh dear, look at the date. It's been awhile since I've updated you with my efforts. Had a little minor computer hard drive problem--it crashed. A lesson learned about storing your life on a computer, it costs a lot of money to get it back after a hard drive crash! Could of bought a new computer by the time it was over. Oh well, I can at least take comfort in the fact that by fixing the old one, I'm reducing my carbon footprint. Although given that I'm sick of snow, a little global warming sounds like a good idea at the moment!

Anyway, back to the wine...

About 3 weeks after completion of fermentation, both batches had dropped a pretty good layer of lees (these are the solids--yeast cells, fruit solids, seeds, etc--that drop out of the wine as it clears). The cranberry-banana had dropped significantly more and was much clearer than the cranberry-grape. I decided to rack off the lees to avoid any possible off-tastes from autolysis of the dead yeast cells. Each carboy was racked into a new sanitized carboy with 1/8 tsp of k meta and I used the extra bottles of cranberry-banana to top off the carboys.

Some observations:
1) the Cranberry-banana is much clearer (and tastes more like pure cranberry). It is just slightly translucent at this point.
2) Neither wine gave off much CO2 when I tried to degas.
3) The cranberry-grape is very pleasant tasting with a distinctive grape aftertaste. Perhaps a better balance of the cranberry tartness and the grapey flavor--time will tell!
4) Interestingly, within a week of racking, the cranberry-grape had dropped another good layer of lees. The picture below highlights this new lees layer and the difference in clearing rates.

Some lessons learned:
1) Adding bananas to a wine really DOES help a wine clear faster.
2) Niagra grape juice can make a good blending component for fruit wines.
3) Hand pressing really helps degas a wine!

a Wine Student

Prior Cranberry 2008 posts:
Starting the Body Experiment
Fermentation Almost Done
Racked the Cranberry-Grape
Racked the Cranberry-Banana

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