hist-brewing: Re: racking/decanting

Beth Ann Snead ladypeyton at yahoo.com
Wed Jun 30 15:28:58 PDT 1999

I wrote:

> >Nope.  Rack from primary vat to amphora or cask.
> >Decanting off lees(although shown in a 14th cnetury
> >woodcut) has never been a proven pre-1700's wine
> >making method.

--- Melcnewton <melcnewton at pcis.net> asked

> Ok, a question . .  . what's the difference (in your
> definition) between
> racking and decanting, and in your opinion, which
> way is better for
> wine/beer/mead? 

I'm sorry I left off the ever important "after about a
week to ten days" after the word cask.  The entire
sentence should read..."Rack from primary vat to
amphora or cask after about a week to ten days."  I'm
not sure exactly what the original poster meant by the
word "decant" so I assumed it meant the same as "rack"
which means to use gravity or a bellows (in the
woodcut) to remove the wine from one place to another.
 I wasn't disagreeing with the word decant, but
because I was typing too fast so I could finish the
post before I had to start working I can see why it
seemed I did.

ALSO, after a week to 10 days there isn't a whole lot
of lees to rack off of.  The point of racking into a
closed mouthed vessel is to cut the amount of oxygen
getting to the wine as the primary fermentation slows
and the blanket of CO2 that has been formed by the
active fermentation dissapates, not to get it off the
lees.  Secondary racking to get the wine off the lees,
as far as I can tell, is a late period (post
seventeenth century) invention.

Beth Ann
Lady Peyton in the SCA
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