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So for fun I decided to try making wine from Dark Cherry Juice (Knudsen Pure Pressed Dark Cherry). I was surpised to fine the native SG of the juice was 1080. I was almost tempted to just ferment it without adding sugar, but well I like my wine's above 12% so I pitched a cup of sugar into the 1 gallon must.

Anyway, after about 7 days the primary fermentation has mostly settled down and where the wine seemed devoid of solids while it was fermenting it has dropped nearly a whole quart of lees once it stopped. I am not sure how to deal with this, because well I don't want to waste a whole quart of juice (wine) to the lees.

I am considering racking the clear stuff off and then pouring the lees through a funnel filter (300 or 400 guage filter screen), but if anyone else has experience dealing with such a huge less drop and refused to give up on the wine that was in it, I would sincerely like to hear your thoughts on the best way to handle this situation.

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I've made mead and cherry melomel (mead with cherry juice and/or pulp in the fermentation). The melomel does indeed leave behind a lot of lees, as you note -- I suspect that the chemical changes during fermentation cause a certain amount of precipitation from the cherry juice. I've tried straining the lees, but that has always resulted in off-flavors for me, so I've learned to just accept a higher ratio of sludge when it comes to cherry brews. Your mileage may vary, naturally.

As an alternative to straining, and with legalities depending very much on your geographical situation, do you know anybody with a still? That's one way to get something tasty out of the lees.

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    The amount of lees barely warrants stilling it. Might have enough for a small labratory still, and might get 2oz of distillate from it. Shoot, the volume is so low that the temp would probably climb through the ethenol window before you even realize it got there. – Escoce Sep 10 at 18:33
  • @Escoce: With such a small amount, one thought would be to set it aside and do up a few similar batches until you have enough combined lees for a sensible run. And / or bulk it up with neutral spirit before running it through with a focus on getting the flavor out. – Eiríkr Útlendi Sep 10 at 20:35
  • Maybe, seems like a bit of effort. If I were just planning to create a brandy, I wouldn’t worry about the lees at all, but I am not yet ready to make that step. – Escoce Sep 10 at 20:56

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