View Full Version : Bentonite and flavors

04-26-2007, 09:50 PM
I was experimenting with my first batch and split it during later fermentation. 3 gallons went into bottles and 2 gallons went into gallon jugs. Since it was cloudy, I tried different things on the two gallon batches to try to clarify. I tried restarting fermentation in one, and grape tannin in the other. Neither seemed to have much effect. After I had been messing around with them for two months, someone suggested bentonite. Which, cracks me up by the way. A large portion of my family is geologist, civil engineers and geotechs. They buy bentonite by the ton and use it to stabilize drill holes and excavation. Obviously not food-grade. :) Anyway, my two gallon jugs were getting full of marbles from rackings and stuff and I was getting tired of messing with them so I merged them and added some bentonite. I tasted them when I merged and they both had some nasty bitter tastes at the end. One day later they were amazingly clear. I waited two more days and bottled. When I bottled I tasted again expecting to find similar tastes. However, they tasted very nice. A little weak, maybe mild is a better term, but none of the nasty tastes. I'm assuming that the cloudiness was pollen and protein that the bentonite pulled out. So losing those tastes was great. However, I expected the flavor to be stronger. It should be around 10% ABV, so I don't expect to really taste the alcohol that much.

So my questions are:

How much taste should I expect from a 3lb wildflower honey per gallon mead?

Should it be very strong?

It tastes like a nice honey-flavored mild white wine. It would be great with any meal. But, could the bentonite have pulled out higher alcohols or other sugars 'weakening' the flavor?

Thanks for any info!

04-28-2007, 08:54 AM
Well, I found my answer!

I was surfing the product page at a vendor and found:

"Fining is non-selective so at the same time you are removing yeast you are also removing other desireable phenolic compounds."

So the answer is yes, bentonite will change the flavor of the mead by not just removing off flavors.


04-30-2007, 04:22 PM
Hey Andrew,

Good to see you researching away!

The vendor product page you mention kind of paints a very general picture of fining. If you overfine you can certainly pull out flavor and other desireable elements. But rest assured that you can do fining without detracting from your flavor and aroma.

Hope that helps,