homebrew wine kit: week 3 update

So it’s the last week or so of the wine kit. For the past 12 days, the young Chardonnay has been sitting in the most even-temperatured part of the house, which, as it turns out, is on top of our skate sharpener between stacks of books. The glamour of winemaking, folks.

Today was all about degassing the wine, aka chasing away any CO2 that was trying to hang around after fermentation. I would eventually like to make fizz, but not this batch.

I cranked up the light on most of these pictures- and it really is that yellow! I’m a little worried, but there are a few more clarifying steps yet.

So here’ s the secondary fermentation vessel as I found it after the 12 day slumber. We’d kept it in a box to shield it from light.

 

Before anything, I had to take a specific gravity reading to make sure there weren’t residual sugars. The kit said anything under 0.995 is good to go, and after the hydrometer had stopped dancing around in the test tube, my final reading was 0.990. We have a dry wine, at the very least.

Finally getting the hang of using a siphon. So here’s the primary fermentation vessel, slowly filling with the wine. I had to be careful not to vacuum up the lees on the bottom of the jug- the purpose of this step (called racking) is to remove particulates with each transfer.

A look down the mouth of the jug at the silty lees. They always remind me of the soft sand in Hawaii.

One of two additives during this process. Potassium metabisulphite gets the CO2 to express itself from the wine. Also, not to be confused with the sodium metabisulphite that comes with the kit. That there is part of the sanitizing routine, and would likely make the wine taste…not…good.

The other additive is kieselsol, aka silicon dioxide. It’s used to remove bitter compounds, and will work in concert with the chitosan I’ll be adding in the next few days.

Stir, stir, stir!

After some vigorous mixing, the lid, bung, and airlock go back in. I’m going to stir the wine a few times a day for the next two days before the final additives go in, and then it’s left to fully clear for about a week.

See you in a few days!

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