Monday, July 27, 2009

Cleaning Bottles & Racking The Apple Wine

Earlier this month I was learning about winemaking and preparing myself for the first batch. One of my big concerns was getting enough bottles. Since a typical batch of wine is 5+ gallons, and you'll get about 5 bottles per gallon, I would need plenty of bottles soon. This is when I turned to Craigslist, and posted a wanted ad for free wine bottles. I didn't really know what to expect, but I don't think I expected the amount of response I got. As they say, be careful what you wish for, you just might get it. I got about a half-dozen responses, and decided to pick up bottles from three different people. All total I ended up with over 150 bottles. About 115 of those were green, most of the rest were brown or amber, a few clear bottles, and some other miscellaneous styles.

Over the last couple weeks I've been soaking bottles in large rubbermaid tubs with soapy water, scrubbing them out with a brush, and removing labels with a window scraper (razor blade). Having audiobooks and podcasts to listen to, and nice weather to enjoy makes the tedious work much better.

Here you'll see what the bottom of the carboy looks like a week after racking it into the carboy. The dark layer at the bottom is yeast and other suspended particles from the wine that have settled out. It's not finished by any means, but I decided to "rack" it again last night to remove the wine before the sediment begins to affect the flavor. I set up my equipment, and started a siphon to move it into my fermenter bucket, washed out my carboy, and transferred it back into the carboy to age & clear up some more.

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