View Full Version : Fining Agents

09-08-2009, 03:59 PM
Now, I know the best fining agent out there is time, however, I would like to pick some brains about which fining agents are the best ones to use based on a variety of factors.

The most important to me would be flavor retention, and to a lesser extent color. If I were to use a fining agent, I want to be sure I'm not going to lose out on too much of the flavor, that is why we do this after all!

I guess next it would be the multipurpose angle. For example, I realize that not all hazes have the same charge, so is there a fining agent out there that supposedly "does it all"? I believe bentonite attracts negatively charged particles, so wouldn't it stand to reason that using bentonite alone would still leave behind any positively charged particle hazes? A negative I've heard about using bentonite (in the secondary, not during fermentation, that's another story) is that this is one agent that can result in flavor/color loss.

I've seen a few other commercial fining agents out there, but I really haven't looked into the science behind them. Super Kleer, which appears to be a two-step process and uses something produced by shellfish (chitosan?) as one of it's agents. Does anyone know what it is each agent is doing and whether this can be used for both positive and negative hazes? The same could be asked for sparkalloid, or Isinglass (all I know about Isinglass is that it's from the swim bladder of a fish). Do these other agents just do the equivalent of adding gelatin, or does it go beyond that?

I guess the answers I'm looking for are both from experience in using these fining agents to clarify, and for any references or knowledge pertaining to the science behind how each of these works. I've done a little research online, but haven't come up with a very good resource for these yet.

I realize this is all over the board here, tried to summarize what I'm looking for in that last paragraph.

Thanks in advance!

Medsen Fey
09-08-2009, 05:44 PM
If you go under search, and select "advanced search", and then use the term fining and select to search only titles, it will bring you a number of good threads including THIS ONE (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=7269&highlight=fining).

The link to the Amateur winemaker of Ontario's fining page (http://makewine.com/winemaking/finishing/fining/) needs to be updated, but the link still takes you to their site (with some good info on several topics).

If you still have some questions after reading this info and the other threads, please post them up.


09-08-2009, 05:47 PM
To answer your "bottom line" question, from my experience bentonite, when used as directed, doesn't appreciably change flavor or color profiles. Excessive dosage (or mutiple uses) can be problematic in that regard. It is true that bentonite only attracts one "charge," but that is the predominant charge existing on most yeast-based proteins. Since yeast-based proteins are the cause of the majority of haze in meads, bentonite works in most cases. For stubborn cases where bentonite is not sufficient I use hot-mix sparkolloid, which is a positive-charged clarifier. Sparkolloid, also when used as directed, does not appreciably change the color or flavor of your mead.

Neither bentonite nor sparkolloid tend to leave allergens behind in the cleared mead. There is some speculation that the various organic products out there do so.

Still, time and patience work best! ;)