Bulk Aging vs Bottles...

Bulk Aging vs Bottles...

Post by Brian Graha » Wed, 29 Aug 2001 12:09:26



I have read many articles in this news group where people
talk about Bulk aging in the carboy. But they have left me
with more questions than answers!

1. How much air gap can there be in the carboy?

   Normally a 23/25 litre batch will have quite a air-gap, say
   from just above the shoulder, depending on the number of times
   you have racked. Will this affect the aging. Should I top it
   up with something ? Should I rack into smaller carboys 15litre
   and fill to near the top.

2. Do I put a cork bung in, or just keep the air-lock topped up?

3. What is the ageing difference / speed of ageing between a carboy
   and a bottle? has any body got any experience ? ie. 1 batch split
   into 1 gallon carboys, and the rest bottles?

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Bulk Aging vs Bottles...

Post by Tom » Wed, 29 Aug 2001 12:35:08



Quote:
> I have read many articles in this news group where people
> talk about Bulk aging in the carboy. But they have left me
> with more questions than answers!

> 1. How much air gap can there be in the carboy?

Zero is optimum.

Quote:
>    Normally a 23/25 litre batch will have quite a air-gap, say
>    from just above the shoulder, depending on the number of times
>    you have racked. Will this affect the aging. Should I top it
>    up with something ? Should I rack into smaller carboys 15litre
>    and fill to near the top.

Yes, yes and yes.

Quote:
> 2. Do I put a cork bung in, or just keep the air-lock topped up?

Cork it tightly, but not so tightly that the cork doesn't give way before
the bottom of the carboy blows out if the storage space gets warmer for
awhile.  :-(

Airlocks allow air into the carboy when the temperature drops.  Not good.

Quote:
> 3. What is the aging difference / speed of aging between a carboy
>    and a bottle?

Carboys age more slowly than bottles.

Tom S

 
 
 

Bulk Aging vs Bottles...

Post by W. L. Eisenma » Wed, 29 Aug 2001 12:40:22



Quote:
> I have read many articles in this news group where people
> talk about Bulk aging in the carboy. But they have left me
> with more questions than answers!

> 1. How much air gap can there be in the carboy?

>    Normally a 23/25 litre batch will have quite a air-gap, say
>    from just above the shoulder, depending on the number of times
>    you have racked. Will this affect the aging. Should I top it
>    up with something ? Should I rack into smaller carboys 15litre
>    and fill to near the top.

> 2. Do I put a cork bung in, or just keep the air-lock topped up?

> 3. What is the ageing difference / speed of ageing between a carboy
>    and a bottle? has any body got any experience ? ie. 1 batch split
>    into 1 gallon carboys, and the rest bottles?

> Brian Graham                                   Systems Engineer
> NEC Australia Pty Ltd                   New Product Development

Hi Brian,

Bulk aging is done in  large containers in the presence of _small_
quantities of oxygen.  The oxygen reacts with many wine components.  New
materials are produced and some of these new materials enhance wine quality.
"Small" is the operative word here, and excessive head space _must be
avoided_.  50 ml is about right for a 23 liter carboy, and more than 100 ml
is excessive

After wine is bottled, oxygen is no longer available, and a different type
of aging begins to take place. Winemakers call these transformations
reduction reactions because they take place without oxygen.  (Contrary to
some home winemaking literature, an insignificant amount of air-oxygen
passes through the cork).  Reduction aging is responsible for the changes
that produce "bottle bouquet." This is the desirable bouquet that develops
after a wine has been in the bottle for some time.

Bulk and bottle aging do different things to wine, but both types of aging
are important for producing quality wine.

Regards,
lum

 
 
 

Bulk Aging vs Bottles...

Post by LG11 » Wed, 29 Aug 2001 23:52:02


What do you use to top off your carboys on successive rackings?  Can I use a
similar wine, like add some zinfandel.  If I do that, what is the chance of
re-starting a fermentation as the new wine likely has some additional sugar.
If I do that, will I then get a re-growth of yeast, resulting in wine that I
have to re-rack?  I'm reluctant to just top off with water each time, as I'm
sure I'm diluting the flavor.

Lee

 
 
 

Bulk Aging vs Bottles...

Post by W. L. Eisenma » Thu, 30 Aug 2001 00:27:47



Quote:
> What do you use to top off your carboys on successive rackings?  Can I use
a
> similar wine, like add some zinfandel.  If I do that, what is the chance
of
> re-starting a fermentation as the new wine likely has some additional
sugar.
> If I do that, will I then get a re-growth of yeast, resulting in wine that
I
> have to re-rack?  I'm reluctant to just top off with water each time, as
I'm
> sure I'm diluting the flavor.

> Lee

Hi Lee,

1.Top up with the same wine.  Some wine is lost each time wine is racked, so
10 to 15 percent
of extra wine should be made specifically for topping up containers.  Store
the extra wine in 5-gallon,
1-gallon or 1.5-liter containers, and use the wine from the smaller
containers first.

2. Add any available DRY wine to fill the headspace. Most red wines are not
significantly affected by
small additions of other wines.  Even white wine can be used, and sometimes
a small white wine addition
will actually improve the red color.  Of course, red wines cannot be used to
top up white wines, so keep
the Cabernet out of the Chardonnay.

3. Top up with a DRY commercial wine of the same type.  A bottle or two will
often eliminate the
headspace, and small additions of commercial wine often improves homemade
wine.  The major
disadvantage here is the cost of the commercial wine.

4. Use inert gases such as nitrogen or argon to fill the head space. This
technique works well with
large stainless steel tanks, but it is more difficult to apply to some small
containers.  Carbon dioxide gas
must be used with care because it is quickly absorbed into the wine and
produces effervescence.  A little
spritz in white wine may be fine, but it is seldom appreciated in red table
wines.  The cost of the storage
container, regulator and gas is often prohibitive for small producers.

5. Add clean, sanitized, glass marbles to the storage container to bring up
the wine level. This
method is easy to apply, but it has disadvantages.  If the containers are
moved, the marbles roll around
and dislodge sediment.  Sediment becomes trapped under the marbles, and the
trapped sediment makes
racking more difficult.

6. Add water. The disadvantages here are a small change in acidity and some
flavor dilution.
However, small additions of water may not be noticeable, and water is always
available.

7. Add enough food-grade mineral oil to produce a six***th inch thick layer
on top of the wine.
Oil is not very suitable for long term storage, but it can prevent wine
oxidation for several weeks.  Olive
oil has been used for this purpose for hundreds of years, so it is the
traditional material.  But, olive oil
may leave some residual smell, and it is expensive.  Oil should be
considered an emergency treatment.
It makes a big mess in wine containers, and cleaning up the residue requires
much work.

Professionals use the first method, and they always make extra wine just for
"topping up" their wine storage containers.  They acquire a large
assortment of different size carboys, jugs and bottles so the right size
wine storage container is always
available.  Most home winemakers prefer a combination of the first two
methods, but in an emergency,
any method should be considered because any reasonable way of eliminating
headspace is preferable to
oxidized wine.

Regards,
lum

 
 
 

Bulk Aging vs Bottles...

Post by Frank Cerron » Fri, 31 Aug 2001 02:21:51


You can top off with Oak Beans from
Sta Vin. This will add some nice flavor
and you can allow these to stay in till you
decide to rack again. They give a much better
flavor than marbles........
I leave my oak beans in for the complete
duration of bulk storage...approx 10 - 12
months.............
Works best for reds but there are some whites
that you can oak.....

Frank