View Full Version : Using pectinase

06-19-2010, 11:43 PM
So... I got some pectic enzyme from the home brew store today. It says the packet contains pectinase and maltodextrin. Hope the maltodextrin is ok.

I'm making a blackberry mead. The plan is to freeze the blackberries, then put them in a sanitized mesh bag and in the carboy along with honey and water. Let them thaw and while that's happening, add the pectinase as well. My guess is to then let it come to room temperature before pitching the lalvin 71b yeast. The questions are:
1. Does pectic enzyme have an optimal temperature for it to do the job?
2. Will it work in the fridge? (Should I put the carboy with the pre-yeast must in the fridge overnight?)
3. How long do I have before the berries begin to spoil, if I haven't pitched the yeast?
3. How long does it take for pectinase to break down the pectin?

Chevette Girl
06-20-2010, 12:42 AM
1) I admit my ignorance of the pectinase's lower limits but heat will destroy it. I usually thaw and crush my fruit then add liquid and sugar and then let it get to room temp before adding pectinase.
2) Sorry, again with the ignorance... :)
3) There's really no set time limit because there are so many factors. The two ways I minimize the chance of anything nasty happening before the yeast gets hold are: pour boiling water over thawed fruit and allow to cool (it's not exactly pasteurization but usually close enough to keep other organisms at bay for a day or two while your pectinase goes to work) OR crush one campden tablet per gallon of must and stir it into room-temp must, leave it for 24 hours to sanitize your must before adding pectin.
4) 24 hours is the time recommended for pectinase by most recipes I've seen.

06-20-2010, 03:44 AM
As per CG's comment, plus you can use it after the ferment as well, though normally you'd find that you'd need to double the recommended doseage if it's in a finished mead.

Not only does it assist with sorting out any pectin, but it also aids flavour/colour extraction from the fruit.

Me, I'm not really fussed about how long, but I do always leave it doing it's thing for between 24 and 48 hours (or longer if I'm busy with other stuff). I'll usually have pitched the yeasts then.

Oh and I also don't know about the lower numbers but tend to just use it at room temperature...



Medsen Fey
06-21-2010, 09:32 AM
Great thread on pectinase (pectic enzyme) (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=14389&highlight=pecti%2A) in the Patron's area. The ideal temp for pectinase activity is 122F. It works okay at room temp, but in the cold, it really slows down to nothing.

Another thread (http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthread.php?t=12615&highlight=dutch) in the Patron's area has the summary from some pectinase tests by Luc Volders.

If you've mixed up your must and sulfited it, you may have a few days before things start to spoil, however, the pectic enzyme will work during (and after fermentation) so I usually pitch the yeast at the same time (without sulfiting). I don't like sitting around with a must that's ready to go, and I wouldn't delay pitching for more than 24 hours myself.

03-13-2012, 12:08 PM
I know this is an old thread, but I do not have access to the Patron forum that Medsen mentions in his post.

I just bought some pectinase today, and this post is really helpful for future meads, but I also started a mead last night and pitched the yeast. It is bubbling along nicely now. Can I still drop in the pectinase while it's fermenting, or should I wait until after?

I also have a cyser that is two and a half months old with no signs of clearing yet. Would it be a better idea to try the pectinase first rather than something like bentonite?

Chevette Girl
03-13-2012, 12:33 PM
On Luc Volder's wine blog he does some experiments on pectinase using apple sauce. What he found was that it wouldn't work in the refrigerator and it wasn't happy at very high alcohol concentrations or during vigorous fermentations.

I usually add it 24 hours before pitching, the one time I added it post-fermentation it took several weeks to clear the pectic haze, I didn't realize it had worked at all until I looked at that batch a month later.

My experience with cysers is that a lot of what keeps them hazy is suspended matter, I had one year-old batch clear overnight with a hit of bentonite. If yours is still hazy a week later, then try the pectinase. For the record though, the cysers I started this autumn are both still cloudy and I did use pectinase before pitching.

Short answer, there's no reason why not to add it during fermentation, just don't expect immediate results. Oh, and I highly recommend you add it AFTER a thorough degassing or you risk a MEA.

03-13-2012, 01:50 PM
About using bentonite instead... what is the forum consensus on the best way to handle it? I looked up several different web pages, but they all recommend different methods (and sometimes contradict one another). The instructions on the packaging are also relatively unclear.

Since the experience on this forum is mostly mead-specific, I'd love some tips on how to use the stuff from you guys.

03-13-2012, 02:47 PM
The way to use bentonite depends in part on what kind you have. Classic bentonite is a porous, expansive clay product that is both electrostatically charged (capable of attracting oppositely charged particles that are suspended in your must) and once hydrated, just slightly more dense than water. That means that hydrated bentonite particles will form a suspension if mixed into your must, that will ever so slowly (over the course of several days) sink to the bottom of your fermenter or aging vessel, attracting those haze-producing particles along the way. You hydrate classic bentonite by adding an amount (1 to 2 tablespoons is usually enough to clear 5 gallons) to very hot or boiling water, mixing thoroughly to form a suspension that looks a little like very wet cement, then allowing it to rest, covered, for several hours to give those clay particles a chance to fully hydrate. There are several relatively new products on the market that have pre-treated the bentonite so that it hydrates in short order (30 minutes or less), and some of them say that you can add the dry prodcuct directly to your must, but old-school purist that I am, I tend to use the original product, and I allow mine to hydrate for at least 12 hours in a closed container (fruit jar) before I then shake it back up into suspension and then stir it into my must.

03-13-2012, 06:48 PM
Cool deal. How much water do I use for this? I would assume as little as possible so that I don't dilute the mead, so around 1/4 cup or so?

Also, there is a fair amount of yeast sediment that has accrued at the bottom of the jug. Do I need to rack it off of this first before adding the bentonite, or just assume that when I swirl everything up, the yeast will settle back out along with all the other particles?

Chevette Girl
03-14-2012, 01:27 AM
I could be wrong but I think when you're using a fining agent, the more the merrier... if there's lots of suspended matter and you stir it all up, it'll make nice big flocs and settle out completely.

03-14-2012, 06:09 PM
As far as the amount of hydration water, when I use two tbsp of dry bentonite I usually rehydrate in about a 1/2 cup of boiling water, give or take. That amount isn't going to dilute your mead to any significant degree for a 5 gallon batch, and it guarantees full hydration.

With bentonite you don't need to rack off of the existing lees unless you have more than yeast in there (i.e. fruit bits, etc.), but if you do rack first, then the bentonite will be primarily attracting and holding the suspended haze particles and not also be dealing with whole spent yeast cells. The call is yours - I've done it both ways and in my experience if you use enough bentonite, you'll still get complete clearing in about the same amount of time whether you rack first, or don't.

03-14-2012, 11:22 PM
Is using pectic enzyme, more of a choice on finish look or other benefits not relayed to anti-jellying?

03-15-2012, 12:17 AM
Generally pectins don't make up enough of a mead to cause jellying (is that a word?? - gelling is better, right?), but pectins will remain in suspension in the mead for a very long time, contributing a haze to the result that is not as visually attractive as a clear mead. We use pectic enzymes to ensure that the haze doesn't develop, or to eliminate it once it has developed.

03-18-2012, 11:34 AM
Any thoughts on adding betonite with a batch on a stir plate? Since betonite is charged particles, would that just be a meaningless exercise in futility?

Chevette Girl
03-18-2012, 12:00 PM
It would probably do a great job of cleaning up all the little particles.