View Full Version : Bentonite do I need it ?

06-03-2007, 04:42 PM
reisling pyment
1 46 oz can reisling juice
7 1/2 lbs dark german forest honey
2 1/2 cups white sugar
3 tsp forma k
10 tsp acid blend
2 pks ec1118
water as instructed for a 5 gallon batch

i took the recipe from the reisling can. used honey instead of the other can of reisling. the can wants bentonite added. ive never used this in any mead. do i need to in this
recipe? ive never done a wine mead mix just meads and mels. i could add it tomorrow(i dont have any on stock.) what is it and is it necesary?

thanks for the help

06-03-2007, 05:03 PM
I hope not, I just started a reisling pyment too, but didnt add any Bentonite.

06-03-2007, 06:39 PM
From Morewine's bentonite description:

When making a wine kit from concentrate you will often add the bentonite on the first day. This happens for a few reasons. The betontite is used as a nucleation sites for the removal of CO2. Additionally, the bentonite is moved all around the wine by the CO2 and thus less can be used more efficiently in a shorter time period.

Sounds optional to me. It's generally a clarifier, so if you have super cloudy mead in a few months, you might want to look into it. I just put sparkolloid (a different fining agent) into my 6 month old cloudy OB mead and it cleared overnight. Woohoo!

06-03-2007, 11:46 PM
Bentonite is actually a granular clay that swells when added to water, giving it a density just slightly higher than the water itself. It is also negatively charged, so things that are positively charged tend to stick to it. Thus, it is good for clarifying some wines - it helps to pull down out of suspension the dormant yeast cells that can otherwise hang there for weeks to months.

But the very thing that causes it to work so well in fining still wines also makes it useful in keeping active yeast cells in suspension during primary fermentation. The yeast sticks to a bentonite particle, but the particle also acts as a sharp break from the liquid in the must, so when the yeast gives off CO2, rather than the gas all going into solution in the must, some of it forms a little bubble that also sticks to the bentonite particle. That gas bubble rises to the surface of the must, taking the yeast and bentonite particle with it. This happens over and over, tending to keep more active yeast in suspension through the entire primary fermentation. Thus the yeast is exposed to more must (and more sugar) and so fermentation proceeds more rapidly.

So bentonite is optional in primary fermentation, but it really does help to speed things along. I'm a recent convert to bentonite in primary, but I can tell you that it really does work.

But be careful - some forms of bentonite need to be hydrated in boiling water and then allowed to soak in that water for 24 hrs before you add it to the must. Just adding that kind of bentonite dry will do little, if anything, to improve your fermentation.

06-04-2007, 09:59 AM
I saw that on my can of Riesling concentrate, and I thought it strange to add bentonite to primary. I had used it before after secondary to clarify. And it did a great job at that! I think I might give it a try in primary sometime. maybe in cooler months...