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JohnS
01-20-2012, 02:03 AM
Degassing is very important to mead I have been told. But when is the best time for degassing?

Reading an article I found on another board, no mention was made, if it was during the initial fermentation or to be done in the secondary. I would like to know what senior members of this forum have to say about when is the best time to degas.

Also a guy by the name of “Steve Piatz” wrote an article. He makes some interesting comments about SNA that are attention grabbing (for me anyway). I get the impression that he is well known in these circles on the west coast.
Also has anyone here heard of Superkleer as a fining agent? Anyone have any recommendations or advice about this?

Maybe it’s interesting for others here to read it. It’s in the attachment.

JohnS
01-20-2012, 02:04 AM
Well I cant upload the document so I will just upload the link.

http://486286.cache1.evolutionhosting.com/attachments/0000/4795/Mead_Maker_of_the_Year_Panel.pdf

YogiBearMead726
01-20-2012, 02:14 AM
Degassing is something you should be doing throughout primary and into secondary. CO2 can be toxic to yeast, stressing them out, and potentially producing some off flavors and aromas. Keep in mind, degassing is different than aeration; you're just trying to get the dissolved CO2 out of solution, not to whip the crap out of it. Basically, do it at least twice per day during primary, then tone it done a bit for secondary until fermentation is over and CO2 stops being released from the process.

Chevette Girl
01-20-2012, 02:15 AM
Good document!

Degassing is something that can (and probably should) be done all through the primary. Even after the 1/3 sugar break where it's recommended that you stop aerating, stirring it without splashing will release a lot of CO2 from solution, which helps the yeast finish its job. Even the wine kits I've made recommend stirring daily until the SG is down to 1.010 or so.

If you are planning to use any kind of fining agent to clarify your mead, it's highly recommended that you degas it thoroughly before you add the fining agents, they don't work as well when there's still a lot of dissolved CO2, presumably because it keeps using all the particles as nucleation points so they keep agitating and won't stick together and settle out.

Other than that, leaving it in the carboy for a year should result in its being degassed without your help.

Some of the folks here who've been using stir plates have been getting very fast, very clean fermentations that drop clear almost immediately and don't taste hot or harsh when still very young, so there's definitely something to it...

JohnS
01-20-2012, 02:53 AM
Well with my latest Mead I have been stirring it and constantly.... Well everyday. Not twice a day though.

Today I took a reading and it came out 0.998. I notice a big difference in the taste between 2/3 sugar break and today ( I had originally planed to pitch DAP and energizer at the half break, but did not catch it in time).

Upon opening the pail to punch down the cap a bit I stirred a bit and noticed bubbles coming up. I guess its doing its job. The hydrometer thew me off a bit. Maybe it will go down a couple of notches or so. I can clearly see the bubbler going but not as vigorous at in the beginning of this ferment.

Last time i went to the LHBS I picked up some bentinite (sp) and did a bit of experiment with it. I took a small glass of my first batch and put a pinch in it and I was really surprised at how fast it cleared. It took about 2 days in the refrigerator. I have never heard of Super kleer before and was wondering how does it compare or what the difference is.

I dont plan to use the stuff until a few says before bottling, but I wonder if I purchased the best product for the job. Maybe I will have to get this Super Kleer, if anyone has had a better opinion of it.

Mars Colonist
01-20-2012, 04:27 AM
Ive got a nifty medical aspirator I use to do a lot of my degassing (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUJ5rYeBR3w). I degas/aerate heavily through 1/3 (wine whip), stir vigorously to the 2/3 (wine whip), vacuum rack to the the carboy to finish out. Vacuum rack off the lees, when Ive used finings, degas with the vacuum pump before, and subsequently vacuum rack through a plate filter to bottle. The only thing that Im concerned with is vacuum racking to the carboy to finish the primary... I wonder how the working yeast react to the vacuum pressure...

cabeasle
01-20-2012, 10:56 AM
This seems like a silly question, but how do you determine the 1/3 and 1/2 sugar breaks? Is it as simple as using a hydrometer and watching for the gravity to fall a third? (ie, OG is 1.1, final gravity will be 1.0, so 1/3 is at 1.066, and a half is at 1.05?)

I am still new to using a hydrometer, so I would hate to degass too vigorously and continue introducing oxygen to the must after I'm supposed to keep it out.

wayneb
01-20-2012, 11:10 AM
This seems like a silly question, but how do you determine the 1/3 and 1/2 sugar breaks? Is it as simple as using a hydrometer and watching for the gravity to fall a third? (ie, OG is 1.1, final gravity will be 1.0, so 1/3 is at 1.066, and a half is at 1.05?)



Yup - it is that simple! Actually if you wanted to be more precise about it, you should predict the final gravity of the mead based upon whether you expect it to finish totally dry or with some residual sweetness, and then use that predicted final number instead of 1.000, but in all honesty, it hardly makes a difference. I always use 1.000 as the finish point for my sugar break estimates, and my meads turn out OK.

YogiBearMead726
01-20-2012, 11:38 AM
FWIW, bentonite isn't supposed to be used at colder temps. It works best at room temp. Also, it isn't supposed to be just thrown in to the must/mead, but rather rehydrated in hot water, allowed to sit overnight, and then added to what you want to clear.

I suspect the clearing action you witnessed was nothing more than what you get from cold crashing (ie, sticking the mead in a cold environment to get sediment to drop out of solution).

YogiBearMead726
01-20-2012, 11:44 AM
I am still new to using a hydrometer, so I would hate to degass too vigorously and continue introducing oxygen to the must after I'm supposed to keep it out.

Again, degassig and aerating are two different things (although you inevitably degas when you aerate, it doesn't mean you should aerate when you degas). Degassing simply is gently (key word gently) stirring the mead until bubbles stop forming and releasing. Aerating is when you vigorously stir like there is no tomorrow or use an air stone in order to add O2 into solution.

So, as long as you are gently stirring when you degas, the amount of O2 introduced is too minuscule to worry about.

Chevette Girl
01-20-2012, 11:50 AM
JohnS,

When you've got suspended particles in your wine, some are negatively charged, some are positively charged. Bentonite has a positive charge so it sticks to the ones that are positively-charged so if your particles are positive you're good. Sparkoloid is positive so it sticks to negatively-charged particles and the Superkleer being a two-parter probably has something for both positively and negatively charged particles. And according to The Compleat Meadmaker, Bentonite is good for making yeast settle out so it's definitely a good tool to have in your kit. In fact, in most of the wine kits I've ever made, you put the packet of bentonite in FIRST, then because you're stirring it every day, you're kicking it back up to grab the yeasties as they become inactive, it clears up fairly quickly once the fermentation is done and you let it settle a few days.

I'd give it a couple weeks before you bottle, this gives you a few days to stir it up and a few more to make sure it's doing its job so you've got time to grab another product if it didn't do the trick. Also, as you noticed with your sample, putting stuff in the fridge seems to really help things settle out as well, sometimes you don't even need to add fining agents...

If you're already down to .998, it's getting close to done, the lowest I've ever gotten was .990. Gentle stirring until no more fizzing is certainly a good plan but once it's stopped fizzing, you don't want to mess with it uneccesarily or else you may start to introduce oxygen. Don't sweat that too much though, meads are a lot more resistant to oxygenation than wines are and as long as you don't have excessive headspace and you stir, not splash, you'll be fine.

huesmann
01-20-2012, 12:40 PM
SuperKleer is a 2-part fining solution. One part is kieselsol, the other part is chitosan. You add the first part, then the second. The pair attract negatively and positively charged particles in your wine (I forget which attracts which), so all the particles floc out. It really is magical to see it work.

JohnS
01-20-2012, 02:34 PM
I still notice some air pressure when I pull the rubber stopper out of my other carboys that are in the middle of the aging process. I open them every so often in hopes of preventing bottle bombs. So now I am thinking about getting some type of vacuum pump or one of those things that have retractable flanges with a long stem on it, that you put on the end of a drill. Degasser, I think its called. Looks like vacuum pumps are the way to go though. I have seen pictures of people using industrial type medical pumps, air compressors, but a hand help pump is cheaper and less involved to use. Another option would be just to let it settle out using an air lock having used sorbates and/or sulfates.

Having said that, is it recommend to use sorbates even if the plan is to use a vacuum pump, or is just a vacuum pump good enough when used periodically?

My mead is aging in the basement and its cold down there at the moment. Its about 50 degrees or so. The first batch has been down there a few months now and while its a bit more clear, for some reason I though it would clear more quickly, or maybe it just takes time. I just took a bit out (half a small glass) to see what would happen if I used a small pinch of bentinite. By Husmans' comments, it looks like SuperKleer is the way to go, but bentinite works just as well. I will think about Superkleer when I run out of bentinite. I will remember to use bentinite when the batch is at room temperature. Its still nice to know that it works even when its below room temperature.

So for my next batch, I am thinking about a strawberry spiced mel. I understand that strawberries can take a while to settle out and clear. I think in Kens book he said that several rackings might be in order. If I use bentonite (because i have already it at home) in the primary it will clear faster. Is this presumption correct?

Thanks, to everyone :D. As usual, I always get good comments from this board.

Chevette Girl
01-20-2012, 04:11 PM
Having said that, is it recommend to use sorbates even if the plan is to use a vacuum pump, or is just a vacuum pump good enough when used periodically?



What precisely are you attempting to accomplish with the vacuum pump? It will help with degassing. Period. Gently stirring it a few times once fermentation is completely done will also work. Degassing should be done before fining. Stabilizing with sulphites and sorbate will knock the yeast out and prevent any yeast that aren't knocked out from breeding, but as far as I know, it has nothing much to do with degassing.

Actually I find I get a little bit of airlock activity for a few days after I sulphite and sorbate a batch, could be degassing, could be reactions... so I always just age everything under airlock as a matter of course.

If you have residual sugar, it's a good idea to stabilize so that you don't end up with a fermentation kicking back up if you warm it up or agitate it or any kind of change that could restart a stalled fermentation. If it's gone completely dry and you have no intentions of backsweetening, it's up to you, I rarely bother. But if you want to backsweeten, stabilize.

You'll also notice changes when you warm a must that's at 50 degrees up to 65-70 if you do your bottling elsewhere... I get about an inch or two difference in the neck of my carboys between hot summer and cold winter temperatures in my kitchen.

And with Superkleer, try the Bentonite first. If that doesn't do it, try another product.

I've done strawberry wine twice and had no problems at all with sediment because I used a brew bag. I love my brew bags. They make life SO much easier. And I also don't get losses like others have reported with loose fruit.

akueck
01-25-2012, 12:11 AM
I wonder how the working yeast react to the vacuum pressure...

I'd guess they don't really notice. The vacuum is changing the air pressure above the mead. The hydrostatic pressure within the liquid is all the yeast care about, and that won't change a whole lot if you pull a weak vacuum in the headspace. What the yeast will notice is the resulting gas content in the liquid after the vacuum is done sucking out O2, CO2, and other stuff.

JohnS
01-25-2012, 12:38 AM
What precisely are you attempting to accomplish with the vacuum pump? It will help with degassing. Period. Gently stirring it a few times once fermentation is completely done will also work. Degassing should be done before fining. Stabilizing with sulphites and sorbate will knock the yeast out and prevent any yeast that aren't knocked out from breeding, but as far as I know, it has nothing much to do with degassing.

Actually I find I get a little bit of airlock activity for a few days after I sulphite and sorbate a batch, could be degassing, could be reactions... so I always just age everything under airlock as a matter of course.

If you have residual sugar, it's a good idea to stabilize so that you don't end up with a fermentation kicking back up if you warm it up or agitate it or any kind of change that could restart a stalled fermentation. If it's gone completely dry and you have no intentions of backsweetening, it's up to you, I rarely bother. But if you want to backsweeten, stabilize.

You'll also notice changes when you warm a must that's at 50 degrees up to 65-70 if you do your bottling elsewhere... I get about an inch or two difference in the neck of my carboys between hot summer and cold winter temperatures in my kitchen.

I've done strawberry wine twice and had no problems at all with sediment because I used a brew bag. I love my brew bags. They make life SO much easier. And I also don't get losses like others have reported with loose fruit.


I see some of the toys that are available and it looks cool. As for me a cheap vacuum pump might be a nice to have. They are not that expensive and one day i might look into it. Yea, I guess until I get off m a.., I could just stir the thing.


I am also running out of airlocks, I never thought it would happen. I need more airlocks. fortunately there is a brew shop near by and I can walk over there and get a few, since airlocks are fairly inexpensive, although my JAO is about ready to be racked. I have 4 airlocks being used by them at the moment. Maybe I will wait.

I am trying not to backsweeten. I did with my first batch, and I did it too early (just after the first racking). I would like to try to get it to my tastes using the calculator here and this website.

I am going to have to remember that come spring time and keep a close eye on the batches I have going in the basement. Nice reminder.....thanks.

And with Superkleer, try the Bentonite first. If that doesn't do it, try another product.

I figure I will use the bentonite that I have now and maybe i will use the Superkleer in the future, if nothing else then just to try the product. This way I can compare and make a judgment for my self.

Yes, I agree with you there, and it was another mistake with my first batch, now I use a brew bag whenever making a mel.

Chevette Girl
01-25-2012, 01:59 AM
I am also running out of airlocks, I never thought it would happen. I need more airlocks.

Bwahaahaahaa, that's how it starts... then you'll need more carboys.. then more airlocks... then more carboys... and more airlocks... then your SO will ask when they can have their kitchen back... it all starts so innocently... ;D