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OrionMead
03-28-2011, 05:05 PM
Greetings all!

As you can see form my post history, I've only got one batch of mead past the primary (started two new batches last night), so I'm very new. I've read the newbie guide at least three or so times, and have read the boards quite a bit before registering. In fact, I went searching for this exact information that I'm seeking, but only found bits and pieces scattered around.

My main goal is to gather up all of the chemicals that a mead brewer would need without getting TOO advanced.


I started shopping around for the various chemicals that I've seen mentioned around these parts and elsewhere, and figured it was time to get some, "just in case" I needed them.

This site (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/wine-ingredients/wine-chemicals) seemed to have an extremely large selection, but I wasn't quite sure which to go with...there are multiples of the same chemical, or chemicals produced by different manufacturers, etc.

Anyone have any tips on what to get, and which version to get?

I figured I would get the following, unless anyone had opinions or information otherwise?

Bentonite (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/bentonite.html) - used to clear up the mead.
Nutriferm Advance (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/nutriferm-advance.html) - added (I think?) at secondary to ensure a complete fermentation.
Nutriferm Energy (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/nutriferm-energy.html) - added during primary to ensure a healthy start?
Potassium Sorbate (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/potassium-sorbate.html) - used to stop fermentation for bottling (or sweetening prior to bottling).
Yeast Energizer (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/yeast-energizer.html) - used to re-start fermentation after having used Potassium Sorbate (I think?)
Calcium Carbonate ( http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/calcium-carbonate.html) - increases pH to ensure that it doesn't get to low (which stalls or kills the yeast?)
Wine Tannin Powder (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/wine-tannin-powder-0-5-oz.html) - used to add body and texture to aged meads/wines.
Citric Acid (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/citric-acid.html) - increases acidity...I've seen it recommended in fruit-heavy brews but not quite sure what an increase of acidity does to the must.
Potassium Bicarbonate (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/potassium-bicarbonate.html) - Reduces acidity...my lack of knowledge is the same as the Citric Acid.
Sparkolloid (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/sparkolloid.html) - another clearing solution (wasn't sure what to get, this or Bentonite).
Campden Tablets (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/campden-tablets.html) - prevents bacteria and "funky stuffs" in the must.
Potassium Metabisulfite (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/potassium-metabisulfite.html) - kills bacteria and forces the release of sulfur dioxide.
Oak (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/catalogsearch/result/?q=oak&x=0&y=0) - tons of different Oak chips/cubes on this page...not quite sure what the differences in taste are. Added to racked mead to add flavor, methinks?


So anyway, long list, I know. Anything I should take out, or anything that I'm posting the wrong information for? Like I said, this is for me but I'd also like to just have all the ingredients listed in one place for new members also on what they should get first, etc.

Sheesh I'm tired! That was a lot of copypasta from URLs! :o

AToE
03-28-2011, 05:22 PM
Bentonite (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/bentonite.html) - used to clear up the mead.

Not a bad thing to have, personally I don't find fining agents to be necessary most of the time - time is the best clearing agent, and it will help force you to wait for the mead to age!

Nutriferm Advance (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/nutriferm-advance.html) - added (I think?) at secondary to ensure a complete fermentation.

I'm not familiar with this brand, but it won't be for addition during "secondary" - think of secondary as "secondary container" not "secondary ferment", best practice is to not rack until fermentation is finished (I hate the term secondary fermentations, it's missleading).

Nutriferm Energy (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/nutriferm-energy.html) - added during primary to ensure a healthy start?

Someone who's familiar with this brand will have to give you advice, I (and most here) use the lallemand nutrients because they're one of the few brands that gives detailed info about what's in them.

Potassium Sorbate (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/potassium-sorbate.html) - used to stop fermentation for bottling (or sweetening prior to bottling).

Yes, but never use it on it's own, it needs to be used in coordination with sulphite. Do a search here for "backsweetening" and for "stabilizing" for better info.

Yeast Energizer (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/yeast-energizer.html) - used to re-start fermentation after having used Potassium Sorbate (I think?)

This is probably just DAP, it's likely best used in concert with the other nutrients earlier in the ferment (better to fix problems before they occur), but timing and amount I can't help.

Calcium Carbonate ( http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/calcium-carbonate.html) - increases pH to ensure that it doesn't get to low (which stalls or kills the yeast?)

Yup, you've got it. Better is potassium carbonate (or bi-carbonate) though, because the calcium stuff can leave a salty taste in your mead if you use too much. I use pH raising chemicals sparingly because I don't have a pH meter to properly know if there's a pH problem in the first place.

Wine Tannin Powder (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/wine-tannin-powder-0-5-oz.html) - used to add body and texture to aged meads/wines.

Yup, my personal favourite kind is tannin galalcool, which is made from oak rather than from grape seeds or other sources. (I don''t have much experience with other kinds though)

Citric Acid (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/citric-acid.html) - increases acidity...I've seen it recommended in fruit-heavy brews but not quite sure what an increase of acidity does to the must.

Don't add it during fermentation, it'll just cause trouble. What it is good for is if you end up with a very sweet mead that needs balance, after a while of aging you may decide it needs acidity. I don't like the results too much myself, and prefer tannin for balance, but everyone has their own tastes (I find acid makes it taste too much like fruit and can cover up the honey character)

Potassium Bicarbonate (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/potassium-bicarbonate.html) - Reduces acidity...my lack of knowledge is the same as the Citric Acid.

Nope, opposite of citric acid. This is the same as the calcium carbonate in terms of usage, but this is the stuff you want, not the calcium carbonate.

Sparkolloid (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/sparkolloid.html) - another clearing solution (wasn't sure what to get, this or Bentonite).

Haven't used it, no advice beyond that I gave for the bentonite. I've heard nothing but good things about it though for those who do like to use fining agents.

Campden Tablets (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/campden-tablets.html) - prevents bacteria and "funky stuffs" in the must.

These are the sulphite you'll need for stabilization along with the sorbate. If you're making a batch with fruit that you're worried might be contaminated then they can be used 24 hours prior to pitching your yeast to kill everything living in the must. This is not really necessary for just honey (or even most fruit in my experience) but is a better option than boiling if you're afraid of spoilage). It can also protect your wine/mead from oxidization when added after fermentation, can preserve colour - it's a good thing to add for long aging.

Potassium Metabisulfite (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/potassium-metabisulfite.html) - kills bacteria and forces the release of sulfur dioxide.

Basically the same as those campden tabs, but in a powder. This is more accurate if used by weight (I believe) and doesn't contain any fillers, which the tablet do contain.

Oak (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/catalogsearch/result/?q=oak&x=0&y=0) - tons of different Oak chips/cubes on this page...not quite sure what the differences in taste are. Added to racked mead to add flavor, methinks?


Oak is a great thing, be careful of over-doing it though. Cubes are vastly superior to chips. They add many flavours and aromas, oak is a complicated subject!

Hope that helps some.

TheAlchemist
03-28-2011, 05:27 PM
Thanks for doing all this research!

mccann51
03-28-2011, 08:13 PM
Bentonite (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/bentonite.html) - used to clear up the mead.

Not a bad thing to have, personally I don't find fining agents to be necessary most of the time - time is the best clearing agent, and it will help force you to wait for the mead to age!

Nutriferm Advance (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/nutriferm-advance.html) - added (I think?) at secondary to ensure a complete fermentation.

I'm not familiar with this brand, but it won't be for addition during "secondary" - think of secondary as "secondary container" not "secondary ferment", best practice is to not rack until fermentation is finished (I hate the term secondary fermentations, it's missleading).

Nutriferm Energy (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/nutriferm-energy.html) - added during primary to ensure a healthy start?

Someone who's familiar with this brand will have to give you advice, I (and most here) use the lallemand nutrients because they're one of the few brands that gives detailed info about what's in them.

Potassium Sorbate (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/potassium-sorbate.html) - used to stop fermentation for bottling (or sweetening prior to bottling).

Yes, but never use it on it's own, it needs to be used in coordination with sulphite. Do a search here for "backsweetening" and for "stabilizing" for better info.

Yeast Energizer (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/yeast-energizer.html) - used to re-start fermentation after having used Potassium Sorbate (I think?)

This is probably just DAP, it's likely best used in concert with the other nutrients earlier in the ferment (better to fix problems before they occur), but timing and amount I can't help.

Calcium Carbonate ( http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/calcium-carbonate.html) - increases pH to ensure that it doesn't get to low (which stalls or kills the yeast?)

Yup, you've got it. Better is potassium carbonate (or bi-carbonate) though, because the calcium stuff can leave a salty taste in your mead if you use too much. I use pH raising chemicals sparingly because I don't have a pH meter to properly know if there's a pH problem in the first place.

Wine Tannin Powder (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/wine-tannin-powder-0-5-oz.html) - used to add body and texture to aged meads/wines.

Yup, my personal favourite kind is tannin galalcool, which is made from oak rather than from grape seeds or other sources. (I don''t have much experience with other kinds though)

Citric Acid (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/citric-acid.html) - increases acidity...I've seen it recommended in fruit-heavy brews but not quite sure what an increase of acidity does to the must.

Don't add it during fermentation, it'll just cause trouble. What it is good for is if you end up with a very sweet mead that needs balance, after a while of aging you may decide it needs acidity. I don't like the results too much myself, and prefer tannin for balance, but everyone has their own tastes (I find acid makes it taste too much like fruit and can cover up the honey character)

Potassium Bicarbonate (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/potassium-bicarbonate.html) - Reduces acidity...my lack of knowledge is the same as the Citric Acid.

Nope, opposite of citric acid. This is the same as the calcium carbonate in terms of usage, but this is the stuff you want, not the calcium carbonate.

Sparkolloid (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/sparkolloid.html) - another clearing solution (wasn't sure what to get, this or Bentonite).

Haven't used it, no advice beyond that I gave for the bentonite. I've heard nothing but good things about it though for those who do like to use fining agents.

Campden Tablets (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/campden-tablets.html) - prevents bacteria and "funky stuffs" in the must.

These are the sulphite you'll need for stabilization along with the sorbate. If you're making a batch with fruit that you're worried might be contaminated then they can be used 24 hours prior to pitching your yeast to kill everything living in the must. This is not really necessary for just honey (or even most fruit in my experience) but is a better option than boiling if you're afraid of spoilage). It can also protect your wine/mead from oxidization when added after fermentation, can preserve colour - it's a good thing to add for long aging.

Potassium Metabisulfite (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/potassium-metabisulfite.html) - kills bacteria and forces the release of sulfur dioxide.

Basically the same as those campden tabs, but in a powder. This is more accurate if used by weight (I believe) and doesn't contain any fillers, which the tablet do contain.

Oak (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/catalogsearch/result/?q=oak&x=0&y=0) - tons of different Oak chips/cubes on this page...not quite sure what the differences in taste are. Added to racked mead to add flavor, methinks?


Oak is a great thing, be careful of over-doing it though. Cubes are vastly superior to chips. They add many flavours and aromas, oak is a complicated subject!

Hope that helps some.

To add a few bits of info to this thorough answer:
the Lallemand products you might look into are Fermaid K, Go Ferm (which I have not used, but most here will vouch for), and just straight DAP (which is a generic chemical and can be bought from any homebrew store). As AToE said, most people here use them because they publish what's in them, so it makes calculating YAN and producing a more consistent product possible. If they don't have them at the site your buying from, it's worth searching elsewhere for. You could scratch the Nutriferm products and yeast energizer off your list if you get the Lallemand products.

To add some emphasis to AToE's sentiment, clearing agents are really not necessary, and - for me, at least - if it's unnecessary, why put it in your mead.

Also, just so you're aware, Campden tablets are necessary for stabilization, but are not so necessary for sanitation. As per AToE's example, if you're putting a bunch of fruit in and you're worried, then go for it, but for making traditional mead (or adding fruit in secondary) it's not necessary and most people don't bother.

Chevette Girl
03-28-2011, 10:43 PM
[LIST]

Yeast Energizer (http://www.northernbrewer.com/winemaking/yeast-energizer.html) - used to re-start fermentation after having used Potassium Sorbate (I think?)

This is probably just DAP, it's likely best used in concert with the other nutrients earlier in the ferment (better to fix problems before they occur), but timing and amount I can't help.



As I understand, "Yeast nutrient" is primarily DAP (white crystalline powder), while "yeast energizer" might have a bit of DAP but is usually vitamins and minerals for healthy yeast (mine's a crunchy-looking beige powder, a bit lighter than powdered iced tea mix). And those are both for earlier in the ferment, just don't add them to your yeast while it's rehydrating.

akueck
03-29-2011, 01:29 AM
Sparkolloid is awesome. Sure, you can get clear mead by waiting, but sometimes a few years of waiting is just too long. A little Sparkolloid has always worked for me (so far!) and I haven't had issues with flavor stripping. I'd recommend waiting at least 6 months before deciding to use a fining agent though, not only because some meads will just clear on their own but also because a mostly-clear mead is the easiest to fine.