As humans sometimes we’re just waiting for that magical moment when the fog lifts, the skies clear and all things seem settle into place. My dandelion wine had been comfortably living inside the carboy, bubbling away for over a month and a half when one day Bernard sent me a message saying only:
And because I always have fermenting at the forefront of my brain, I knew he was talking about the wine – it had finally separated and cleared. I’ve read that other fermenters deem this magical moment illusive, sudden and hard to time as each batch decides when it’s ready to do it’s thing. This was the moment I was waiting for to start Part #3 – although it took me two weeks to get around to picking up a siphoning tube…
The sweet thing about fermenting is that at all points in the process you can stop and take a taste test to see where you’re at, and thankfully time is often on your side. With tube finally acquired I was ready to rack it on over to the next carboy!
|Getting gravity on my side for racking (be sure to lift with your legs!)|
Once everything was in place (again: helpful if you have a partner in crime for heavy/awkward lifting and shuffling of the carboy) I trepidatiously removed the air-lock and inserted my siphoning tube – being sure to keep it off the bottom of the carboy where the lees had settled. The bonus when you go to siphon your brew is you get a little mouthful – the wine was still pretty carbonated and had more of a floral, orangey, beer taste, but was surprisingly tasty!
Remember to watch your tube in the first carboy as it empties to ensure you’re not sucking up the lees. Although these dead yeasts/deposits/bacteria can be left in, or added to obtain a certain flavour to brews, they also risk causing a bitter or herbaceous wine with, well, floaty bits. Lees will collect each time you rack, don’t be afraid they’re absolutely drinkable and have some great proteins and stabilizers for your wine, but eliminating the masses can help give you a clearer, better tasting bevvy.
|Gelatinous layer of lees in the bottom of the carboy.|
The agitation of being siphoned into the new carboy was enough to stir up some more carbonation and effectively started my wine bubbling away once again. The waiting game of secondary fermentation begins…