Clearing A Wash

We must say we are talking a Sugar/Glucose Mix.

If the wash fails to clear it is nearly always down to two things. It hasn’t been sufficiently degassed or the wash was still slightly fermenting when the finings were added. I know people will say we have done this for years in the same way and never had a problem so how could this happen. Well I can only give you the facts. Maybe the weather has gone colder at night which has slowed the fermentation. The liquid temperature of the water we added at the start was different. The yeast sachet was just a bit older than normal (still fine but can take a little longer to start the fermentation). The liquid wasn’t mixed properly at the start. We thought it had stopped fermenting as no bubbles where coming through the airlock (never take this as its finished always do two readings on your hydrometer a day apart with then being the same). As you can see there is quite a few factors in the equation and there are more. So before you blame the product the chances are it’s something you have done.

So what’s the solution? What are the options?

It’s too late now but degassing is important for us to get rid of the carbon dioxide gas (this is given off when the yeast converts the sugars to alcohol) in the wash. If we don’t we will struggle to clear it. It’s also a good gauge of whether it has finished fermenting. If when we are degassing, we are continually getting heavy bubbles on the liquid surface the chances are we are still fermenting.

Firstly, we can leave the wash a bit longer to see if it clears. The turbo finings that we recommend using with the wash are a two-part type (Kieselsol and Chitosan). These should always be left for 24 hours. Finings are quite vicious and they will strip out flavour, body, bouquet, and colour all things we want to remove from wash. Unlike wine where we want to keep all these things. So we can leave it a little longer it won’t hurt. The only thing we should be careful off is the fermenting container should have little head room (space between the liquid and the lid of the container). Its fine for 5 to 7days but much longer than this we run the risk of infection. So if this is the case we must put it into a perfect size container with little head room. We love to use one-gallon glass jars (or PET plastic containers or our 23 litre glass or plastic carboy) if this happens so we don’t get head room and we can also see if its clearing.

If we are looking for a quicker solution and one more radical, we can simply add more finings. Some people will siphon the liquid of the worst of the sediment first but this isn’t necessary as the finings like the sediment the more present the easier it works (within reason). Again once added just let it do the work. The good news is that even if the wash is a bit grey (not black) we can still run it through the still and will come out clear so don’t get to worried.

If the wash is still fermenting, we have a problem as there is no short term fix. We should move the container to a warm place and get the fermentation going again. Giving it a massive stir will also help get some air into the liquid. Once this has successfully finished we should go through the degassing and fining process again.

Another option is to purchase a wine filter to take out the sediment. There are two types the Mini Jet Automatic filter and the Harris Vinbrite Filter.

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