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joemirando
08-15-2013, 08:25 PM
Hey gang,

I was just reading an article about wine making were the author espoused the use of bentonite in the must, before fermentation. His/her reason for doing this is based on the theory that the bentonite will swirl around in the must, providing nucleation points for the CO2, which will rise, allowing the CO2 to leave the must, and the bentonite particle to sink back to the bottom to begin the process again.

Has anyone added bentonite at this point, instead of on finishing? If so, was it worth it? Are there downsides?


Thanks,

Joe

fatbloke
08-15-2013, 11:15 PM
Lots of different ideas about the making of stuff Joe.

Its also thought to help bind any proteins etc so while it might swirl a bit during the making, it helps to drag stuff out clearing quicker..... or something like that....

It seems its an older method/technique thats less used. Plus just stiring for aeration, creates enough nucleation points for the carbonic acid to bind with and come out as gaseous CO2 (in other words, you stir the ferment to aerate but it bubbles like f*** for a while first and we learn the lesson of stirring slowly first then building up, otherwise you can get a fountain/eruption).

Personally I don't use bentonite, I generally just let my batches clear naturally and if they prove stubborn I just use 2 part finings.....

mannye
08-19-2013, 08:45 PM
Lots of different ideas about the making of stuff Joe.

Its also thought to help bind any proteins etc so while it might swirl a bit during the making, it helps to drag stuff out clearing quicker..... or something like that....

It seems its an older method/technique thats less used. Plus just stiring for aeration, creates enough nucleation points for the carbonic acid to bind with and come out as gaseous CO2 (in other words, you stir the ferment to aerate but it bubbles like f*** for a while first and we learn the lesson of stirring slowly first then building up, otherwise you can get a fountain/eruption).

Personally I don't use bentonite, I generally just let my batches clear naturally and if they prove stubborn I just use 2 part finings.....

So you use finings for initial clearing and a filter to polish for bottling?

Jim H
08-19-2013, 10:42 PM
I, myself, am reading about fining agents. I was wondering about using bentonite during initial fermentation, followed by a boiled irish moss preparation during a later racking. But, fatbloke's comment in another thread about fining only after backsweetening made sense... and since then, I decided that I will try quick-kleer (kieselsol/chitosan) on the next occasion to do so.

I read about bentonite possibly stripping out some types of proteins, and changes in sugar concentrations to the must -- these are not necessarily bad, but I don't know what effect it could have on the aromatic qualities in our honeys. Also, there are some wine kits that advise that they be fined with bentonite at the start, but they are formulated in a certain way for it. Mind you, all I know about it is what I've read, not what I have experienced.

Here's some links, hope they have some good info for you:

http://wineserver.ucdavis.edu/pdf/attachment/80%20bentonite%20and%20fermentation.pdf
http://www.makewine.com/winemaking/finishing/fining/
http://www.winemakermag.com/stories/techniques/article/indices/12-clarityfiltration/26-a-clearer-understanding-of-fining-agents
http://www.homebrew.com/articles/article01130104.shtml
http://www.fallbright.com/lq_kieselsol_chitosan_instructions.htm

joemirando
08-19-2013, 10:59 PM
I, myself, am reading about fining agents. I was wondering about using bentonite during initial fermentation, followed by a boiled irish moss preparation during a later racking. But, fatbloke's comment in another thread about fining only after backsweetening made sense... and since then, I decided that I will try quick-kleer (kieselsol/chitosan) on the next occasion to do so.

I read about bentonite possibly stripping out some types of proteins, and changes in sugar concentrations to the must -- these are not necessarily bad, but I don't know what effect it could have on the aromatic qualities in our honeys. Also, there are some wine kits that advise that they be fined with bentonite at the start, but they are formulated in a certain way for it. Mind you, all I know about it is what I've read, not what I have experienced.

Here's some links, hope they have some good info for you:

http://wineserver.ucdavis.edu/pdf/attachment/80%20bentonite%20and%20fermentation.pdf
http://www.makewine.com/winemaking/finishing/fining/
http://www.winemakermag.com/stories/techniques/article/indices/12-clarityfiltration/26-a-clearer-understanding-of-fining-agents
http://www.homebrew.com/articles/article01130104.shtml
http://www.fallbright.com/lq_kieselsol_chitosan_instructions.htm

I have a 1 gallon batch of sack mead fermenting now, and for giggles, I decided to try this "bentonite first" approach. I CAN tell you that the equivalent of 1/4 teaspoon (2 TBS dissolved in 2 cups boiling water, then 1 TBS of that added to must) plays hell with the must before pitching the yeast. Blobs of stuff coalescing all over the place.

What I was really interested in was the way it cut down on foaming/bubbling. I aerate 2x daily with an aquarium pump and air stone till the 1/3 sugar break, and usually I have to watch very closely so that the big soapy looking bubbles don't climb out and down the side of the jug. There's not even a hint of that with the bentonite in there.

It remains to be seen whether or not it will affect the taste at the finish. We shall see.


-Joe

Jim H
08-19-2013, 11:06 PM
What kind of vessel is your primary? And how much must do you put in it? It might be worth getting a fermentation pail, just to get past the foaming stage. As you can see in these two pics, there's plenty of room for the foam in the 3 gallon jugs I have, as long as I leave head space:

http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb1/folded_bucket/2013-07-07200537.jpg

http://i210.photobucket.com/albums/bb1/folded_bucket/2013-07-08223139.jpg

joemirando
08-19-2013, 11:23 PM
This particular batch is in a 1 gallon jug. I always leave enough headspace to account for foaming/bubbling. That wasn't the issue here. I just found it interesting that the bentonite cut down on it.

With the sack mead, I accounted for step-feeding it, leaving the headspace to accommodate all the extra honey.

Eventually, I'd like to get a couple of those bad boys, but its not in the cards right now.

As an aside, I have also seen it mentioned that the bentonite will help with degassing. Degassing, foaming, clearing... all things I want to see the effects of pre-fermentation bentonite on.


Thanks,

Joe

Jim H
08-19-2013, 11:29 PM
Yep, well just tonight I had a small MEA from vigorously stirring a one gallon, but the 3 gallon held it no problems.

Post of pic of the bentonite-laden batch -- I'm curious. :) Also, are you keeping a mead log of it here, on site? It would be informative. You might find it's a really good process, and I'd like to know how it goes.

joemirando
08-20-2013, 12:58 AM
Yep, well just tonight I had a small MEA from vigorously stirring a one gallon, but the 3 gallon held it no problems.

Post of pic of the bentonite-laden batch -- I'm curious. :) Also, are you keeping a mead log of it here, on site? It would be informative. You might find it's a really good process, and I'd like to know how it goes.

I haven't been keeping a log here, but I DO have it all written down. The problem for me is that a lot of it is still in flux, and I would hate like hell to post something that looks promising and have someone "jump on the bandwagon" and waste the life's work of many 10's of thousands of bees, not to mention countless billions of poncy french single-celled beasts in the process.

I didn't think to take a picture of the pre-pitch must. I should have. It was gross. <lol>

And since the must contains the bentonite and a cup of strong black tea, it was a totally unappealing color to boot. It has now, after 2 or 3 days, settled back to a lovely butterscotch color. If this batch works in ANY way, shape or form, I will reproduce it, taking pictures all along the way.

And I know right at the outset that I'm going to catch hell for using a champagne yeast (Premier Curvee). This is a test too. I want to see if the huge amount of honey (4.5 lbs is my target.. could be more, could be less) will balance against the tendency of yeasts like this to blow all the subtle aromas and flavors out the airlock.

If it comes out the way I hope, I'll start another one again right away and document it for 'public consumption'. If it doesn't, I'll start over and learn from the mistakes. That's up to bottling, of course. I expect this one to take years to mature.

In short, here is my plan as it stands now:

1 Gallon batch


4.5 lbs clover honey to be added in increments (3 pounds initially)
1 cup strong black tea
1 tsp nutrient (to be added in increments)
1 tsp energizer (to be added in increments)
Water to bring level to ~0.75 gallons (to make room for all the extra honey)
1/4 tsp prepared bentonite
Premier Curvee yeast


Mix everything but the yeast, let it sit overnight.
OG 1.140 (kind of high, but with aeration and nutrition, I hope the yeast can handle it)
Proof and pitch yeast
Aerate and add yeast
Add 3/4 tsp each nutrient and energizer once activity begins
Aerate 2x/day
Check SG daily, add 0.5 lbs when SG is down to 1.010 (gets me close to the max ABV without going over), add 1/4 tsp each nutrient and energizer
Check SG daily, add 5.0 oz (yes, I changed to oz here) each time the SG drops to 1.010
When SG stops falling, assess whether to add more honey
Let it clear and assess the usefulness of the bentonite


We shall see.

Joe

ps: Go ahead, guys, gimme hell for the yeast choice. <grin>

Vance G
08-20-2013, 02:44 PM
I certainly won't give you hell. And those bees would have made that honey whether you used it or not, they did their job and got fulfillment just as we all do our jobs. Was that Carthaginian traders life wasted as he brought home wealth? Same same. The only thing I might suggest you consider is step feeding. That way you risk less chance of a stuck fermentation. Other than that, your main down side is having to age the result for a couple years before it is really enjoyable.

joemirando
08-20-2013, 03:03 PM
...The only thing I might suggest you consider is step feeding. That way you risk less chance of a stuck fermentation. Other than that, your main down side is having to age the result for a couple years before it is really enjoyable.

That is exactly what I am doing. I started the batch with three pounds of honey and, once the SG drops to 1.010, I will feed it from 0.5 lbs (first addition) to 5.0 ounces (each subsequent step) until the yeast has reached its limit.

I am also aerating past this particular batch's 1/3 break. I did the math on what percentage of sugar would be left in the must with a traditional must at the 1/3 point, since the yeast don't know what is planned... I tried telling them, but they won't listen... is there really a difference to the yeast as to whether its 1/3 of the way through an 18% ABV and a 12% ABV must?


Joe

UKTony
08-20-2013, 04:42 PM
On my batch I ignored best practice, and aerated a bunch more than I should have, perhaps you could call it over-enthusiastic degassing? I also fed perhaps a little more than I should have too, because I used FermaidO almost exclusively, so felt it was a safe risk. I'm no expert, as I've said a thousand times, but my batch ate through the sugar like a champ, and managed 3 step feedings too, I can't smell anything bad about it. So until it tastes like 6 gallons of dishwater, or smells like a meth lab, I'm calling success on mine!

I'll come unstuck at some point in the future using this methodology too often, I know I will, but hey ho, the best learned lessons are the ones we learn from costly mistakes, no?

Tony.



I am also aerating past this particular batch's 1/3 break. I did the math on what percentage of sugar would be left in the must with a traditional must at the 1/3 point, since the yeast don't know what is planned... I tried telling them, but they won't listen... is there really a difference to the yeast as to whether its 1/3 of the way through an 18% ABV and a 12% ABV must?
Joe

Jim H
08-20-2013, 06:30 PM
So until it tastes like 6 gallons of dishwater, or smells like a meth lab, I'm calling success on mine!

:laughing7: :laughing7: :laughing7:

.

Chevette Girl
08-20-2013, 11:21 PM
The problem for me is that a lot of it is still in flux, and I would hate like hell to post something that looks promising and have someone "jump on the bandwagon" and waste the life's work of many 10's of thousands of bees, not to mention countless billions of poncy french single-celled beasts in the process.

Only you can make the decision to declare it a waste and pour it down the drain... just remember, the yeast know what they're doing, and even if you didn't start optimally, you'll probably still get something not bad out of it. Like UKTony says, until it tastes like dishwater or smells like a meth lab... although I'd add "after a year of age" to that, I've had the odd one that was revolting straight out of primary but after a year was pretty good.

And about how to figure the 1/3 break? Well, my theory is that since it's when your yeast slow down on their breeding that they no longer need oxygen and no longer use DAP, and they don't know what you've got in store for them, they only know what you've given them to start with. So I'd go by the initial SG, not by the total estimated SG. Although given that YOU know what's in store for them, maybe a bit of extra nutrients and energizer before the 1/3 break wouldn't be a bad plan (maybe 25 to 50% extra) so they'e extra energetic before you begin your step-feeding.

joemirando
08-20-2013, 11:30 PM
Only you can make the decision to declare it a waste and pour it down the drain... just remember, the yeast know what they're doing, and even if you didn't start optimally, you'll probably still get something not bad out of it. Like UKTony says, until it tastes like dishwater or smells like a meth lab... although I'd add "after a year of age" to that, I've had the odd one that was revolting straight out of primary but after a year was pretty good.

And about how to figure the 1/3 break? Well, my theory is that since it's when your yeast slow down on their breeding that they no longer need oxygen and no longer use DAP, and they don't know what you've got in store for them, they only know what you've given them to start with. So I'd go by the initial SG, not by the total estimated SG. Although given that YOU know what's in store for them, maybe a bit of extra nutrients and energizer before the 1/3 break wouldn't be a bad plan (maybe 25 to 50% extra) so they'e extra energetic before you begin your step-feeding.

Already taken into account. I dosed them beasties with 3/4 tsp of each once they went active in the must, and I will dose them again with either 1/4 or 1/2 tsp again just before I start stepping. Probably 1/2, since its going to be a long road to completion.

I have only ever thrown out one batch; a 1 gallon batch of cherry mel. I puree'd the cherries and what was left after racking off the sludge was sour and bitter and, truth be told, rather foul. It didn't taste or smell of spoilage, but i didn't have the resources to put it on hold till it did its thing . I probably COULD have saved it, but I was itching to try other things, and i needed the space.

And yeah, I fully expect this one to take a year or two to age. I'm pushing a champagne yeast past its tolerance. Although at the moment it smells, looks and even tastes a bit like cafeteria orange juice. You know the stuff. If the yeast taste mellowed out, i wouldn't mind it tasting like it does right now.

Thanks,

Joe

joemirando
08-30-2013, 12:33 PM
This will probably be tough to read for anyone trying to read it on a smartphone. Be warned. ;)

Well, this batch of sack mead is slowing down. The use of Premier Cuvee does not seem to have harmed the aroma/flavor as much as I thought it would.

I ended up having a total of 4.75 lbs of honey in the gallon batch, for a 'virtual' OG of 1.171 and a maximum ABV of 21.xx%

This was the batch that had bentonite added to the must, staggered nutrient additions and step feeding.

Fermentation has now slowed way down, and the SG has been sitting at 1.012 for a day and a half so far, so I think its about done.

Oddly, for something that's supposed to have an ABV of just under 20%, it doesn't have a big kick to it, and the honey is quite a bit more noticeable than a FG of 1.012 would lead me to expect.

I've been over and over my math and checked and re-checked my hydrometer, and I think I've gotten everything right.

From here on out, I will be watching the SG and, if it slips close to 1.000, I will add more honey until it gives up the ghost.

I wasn't going to post the recipe or journal entry for it till I was much closer to being ready to start the second batch, but what the heck. I'll tell all a little lower down.

When this is ready to go to secondary, I will be fixin' to make another batch of sack, using Red Star Pasteur Red yeast this time, so I expect a lower ABV, which is fine with me.

Here's the journal thus far:

Sack Mead
1 Gallon total

08/17/13

3 lbs clover honey (to start)
1 tsp black tea, brewed strong
1/4 tsp bentonite
water to 1 gal (froze about 2 lbs for topping off)
premier cuvee yeast (this may be a mistake)
nutrient(Thiamin/Vitamin B Complex) and
energizer(DAP/Yeast Hulls/Magnesium
Sulphate/B Complex),
stepped (3/4 tsp at pitching, 1/4 tsp at 1/3 break)
OG = 1.106

Shooting for 4.5 lbs of honey total

Plan:
Step-add 5.0 oz at a time when SG drops to 1.010, which should bring it up to 1.020


Heeeeere we go:

08/17/13pm SG = 1.106 aerate (3 lbs honey)
08/18/13am SG = 1.080 aerate (added 3/4 tsp each nutrient & energizer)
08/18/13pm SG = 1.066 aerate
08/19/13am SG = 1.052 aerate (added 1/4 tsp each nutrient & energizer)
08/19/13pm SG = 1.040 aerate
08/20/13pm SG = 1.030 aerate
08/21/13pm SG = 1.018 aerate
08/22/13am SG = 1.010 --> 1.024 aerate (added 0.5 lbs honey, 1/4 tsp nutrient)
08/23/13am SG = 1.012 --> 1.022 (added 5.0 Oz honey)
08/23/13pm SG = 1.020
08/24/13am SG = 1.012 --> 1.028(???) (added 5.0 Oz honey)
(added 1/8 tsp nutrient)
08/25/13am SG = 1.014 (pH ~3.2, added 1/2tsp calc carb)
08/25/13pm SG = 1.012 --> 1.022 (added 5.0 Oz honey)
08/26/13am SG = 1.020
08/27/13am SG = 1.012 --> 1.022 (added 5.0 Oz honey)
08/28/13am SG = 1.016 (pH 3.8 ) (added 1/2 tsp boiled yeast)
08/29/13am SG = 1.012
08/30/13am SG = 1.012

This gives me a total of 4.75 lbs of honey and a 'virtual' OG of 1.171, with a possible maximum ABV of 21.17 and a current actual ABV of 19.89

Ok, I now open the floor to comments/thoughts/suggestions/anecdotes.

I will be posting my second attempt in the brew log here. This one is just to try to work any kinks out.

Anyone have opinions on Red Star Pasteur Red yeast?


Thanks,

Joe

fatbloke
08-31-2013, 01:59 AM
Well, other than the yeast.....

I used to use various yeasts, including packs of redstar stuff (various) that a friend in Ok used to send, these days my traditionals have settled on either D21 if I can get it or K1v1116 (both the types apparently used by the late Brother Adam in his traditionals ).

I like the flavours and good ageing abilities of them.....

fatbloke
08-31-2013, 02:01 AM
So you use finings for initial clearing and a filter to polish for bottling?
Oh and sorry for the tardy reply......

Generally just time, but finings if I'm being impatient.

And yes, usually a filter to polish before bottling.....

danr
08-31-2013, 11:48 AM
And yes, usually a filter to polish before bottling.....

fatbloke - Do you use multi-stage filtering after fining, or just a single filter size. If just one, what pore (micron) size do you typically use?

joemirando
08-31-2013, 10:22 PM
Well the SG on this one is very very slowly dropping (it took 4 days to drop from 1.012 to 1.010), and it is surprisingly aromatic and pleasingly tart (reminiscent of cafeteria orange juice in both taste and aroma), and it occurs to me that this one might be drinkable young. Its perceived sweetness at 1.010 is higher than any other mead I've got going at the same SG, and even one or two that are a bit higher, and there is no rough alcohol bite, no perceptible 'heat'. At this point, I am hoping that it goes drier so that I can sort of start with a blank palette, so to speak, but if it never gets any drier than this, that'll be okay too. This is day 14, by the way.

I had not expected this outcome for several reasons:


It was fermented with 1118 yeast
I experimented with adding bentonite before pitching the yeast
This is my first attempt at 'real' step feeding
I took a guess at nutrient/energizer additions
I aerated past the 1/2 sugar break
The alcohol percentage is 20% now
I don't know what the hell I'm doing


The lees have not yet really begun to settle, so I guess I shouldn't count my chickens before they hatch, but I am quite happy with the progress on this one.

I still intend to make another batch with Red Star Pasteur Red and see what differences I can perceive, but I think I'm pretty much sold on my processes and procedures, for a sack mead, anyway. If THIS is the result I get from 1118, which is known for sucking the taste and aroma from a mead, I can't wait to see how it comes out with Pasteur Red. And yes, PR is of a lower alcohol tolerance than 1118, but that's okay too.

Thoughts/comments/anecdotes?

Joe

Medsen Fey
09-01-2013, 11:22 AM
A couple of thoughts:

1) Bentonite during fermentation has been well documented in wines and several folks have done it in meads. It generally produces less foaming and faster clearing. In wines, the lees from batches treated during primary with Bentonite are prone to producing sulfur odors and such wines should not be kept on the lees. I have not heard of such sulfur issues with meads treated with Bentonite in primary and it may not be as common if there is no fruit pulp. If you see it start to become stinky let us know.

2) When doing your ABV calculations for step feeds, you need to take volume addition into account. You added at least a pint of volume (probably more) from the sound of it, so if you didn't factor that in, your actual ABV is probably 1-2% lower (Of course that is still a plenty-strong batch).

3) It is a little unusual for an EC-1118 batch to taste good while still cloudy, but hey, your honey and your managment here have produced a good result. When it is clear, it should be even better. :)

joemirando
09-01-2013, 12:22 PM
A couple of thoughts:

1) Bentonite during fermentation has been well documented in wines and several folks have done it in meads. It generally produces less foaming and faster clearing. In wines, the lees from batches treated during primary with Bentonite are prone to producing sulfur odors and such wines should not be kept on the lees. I have not heard of such sulfur issues with meads treated with Bentonite in primary and it may not be as common if there is no fruit pulp. If you see it start to become stinky let us know.

Thanks for the heads-up. I will be on the lookout. There's no fruit in this one, just honey, tea, nutrient/energizer and a little bit of calcium carbonate from when it dipped closer to 3.0 than I was comfortable with.


2) When doing your ABV calculations for step feeds, you need to take volume addition into account. You added at least a pint of volume (probably more) from the sound of it, so if you didn't factor that in, your actual ABV is probably 1-2% lower (Of course that is still a plenty-strong batch).

No, I dont need to factor that in. For ONCE, I thought ahead and I left enough headspace at the beginning so that I didn't have to mess with that, and the total mix topped off at 1 gallon. But you're right; even if I had had to make allowances, this is a strong batch; a total of 4.75 lbs of honey to a gallon batch.


3) It is a little unusual for an EC-1118 batch to taste good while still cloudy, but hey, your honey and your managment here have produced a good result. When it is clear, it should be even better. :)

The honey was store brand (BJ's) clover honey at the price of $8.00/3 lbs. And yeah, it tastes pretty darned good right now. Of course, there's the yeast still all in suspension to give it that "wanna fresh baked piece of bread with that" taste/smell, but subtracting that, its really quite good.

I had added the bentonite on a lark, just to see how it changed things (of course, if I were REALLY interested, I would have done a side-by-side), and I'm kind of glad that I did. I don't think I'll pre-bentonite every batch I make from now on, but it IS worth having tried, and its another little trick to keep in my bag for when I experiment.

Once this one is ready, I may oak it, or a portion of it. I can imagine a slightly darker, softer, vanilla-ish finish to this one. Of course, I may just drink it all before that's an option. ;)

Once this has cleared, I plan on making the same batch again, but with Pasteur Red and keep a log of it here. I'm sure that, by the time I'm done, everyone will be sick and tired of reading about every little SG change. <G>


Joe

Medsen Fey
09-01-2013, 12:38 PM
No, I dont need to factor that in. For ONCE, I thought ahead and I left enough headspace at the beginning so that I didn't have to mess with that, and the total mix topped off at 1 gallon.


You still have to factor in dilution. If you just add up the gravity points, you'll overestimate. You started with a gravity of 1.106, but it must have been in a volume of around 6.5 pints or less. When diluted up to a gallon the effective starting gravity drops to 1.086, so your virtual 1.171 would be closer to 1.151

kuri
09-01-2013, 12:56 PM
You still have to factor in dilution. If you just add up the gravity points, you'll overestimate. You started with a gravity of 1.106, but it must have been in a volume of around 6.5 pints or less. When diluted up to a gallon the effective starting gravity drops to 1.086, so your virtual 1.171 would be closer to 1.151

Just checking the mead calculator, 4.5 pounds of honey in 1 gallon gives an SG of 1.162. With an FG of 1.010 that comes to 19.13% alcohol. So Medsen is probably onto something here.

joemirando
09-01-2013, 01:37 PM
You still have to factor in dilution. If you just add up the gravity points, you'll overestimate. You started with a gravity of 1.106, but it must have been in a volume of around 6.5 pints or less. When diluted up to a gallon the effective starting gravity drops to 1.086, so your virtual 1.171 would be closer to 1.151

Except that there was no dilution, only 'enrichment'. I didn't add up the gravity points; I added weight. There was plenty of headspace for the 4.75 total lbs of honey. It came to 1 gallon and enough to bring the level to 1/4" below the stopper of the 1 gallon jug. I added honey by adding it to a measure of the must, mixing the hell out of it, then adding it back to the jug. The biggest problem here is starting with under 3 quarts of water. It made the initial honey/water mix quite thick and I have accounted for that.

The TOTAL mix was 1 gallon total, with 4.75 lbs of that being honey. Four and three quarters pounds of honey went in, no water came out. That gives me a 'virtual' SG of 1.171, with a maximum ABV of 21.17%.

Since the current SG is 1.010, that gives a current ABV of 20.11%

Regardless, its a surprising development, considering all the things I experimented with on this one.

Joe

joemirando
09-01-2013, 01:40 PM
Just checking the mead calculator, 4.5 pounds of honey in 1 gallon gives an SG of 1.162. With an FG of 1.010 that comes to 19.13% alcohol. So Medsen is probably onto something here.

True, except that it was 4.75 lbs in a 1 gallon total mix (3lbs + 0.5 lbs + 5.0 oz + 5.0 oz + 5.0 oz + 5.0 oz).


Joe

joemirando
09-01-2013, 01:45 PM
You still have to factor in dilution. If you just add up the gravity points, you'll overestimate. You started with a gravity of 1.106, but it must have been in a volume of around 6.5 pints or less. When diluted up to a gallon the effective starting gravity drops to 1.086, so your virtual 1.171 would be closer to 1.151

Let me see if I can put it a different way.

Imagine putting 4.75 lbs of honey in a gallon jug and topping it off with water.
That is what I did, except that I added the honey a bit at a time. I took precautions beforehand so I would not have to dilute or remove anything, only add honey.

The end result is exactly the same as it would have been had I dumped the 4.75 lbs of honey in right at the start. Doing it this way IS more complicated, but it avoids dilution, since every bit of water that's going into the must is going in right at the start, and stays there.


Joe

Medsen Fey
09-01-2013, 02:24 PM
I understand what you are saying, and what you did, and this is no doubt a high ABV batch. However, if you started with 3 pounds of honey and water up to 6.5 pints, I would have expected your starting gravity to have been a lot higher than 1.106 (close to 1.135 if your honey matches the mead calculator). So actual numbers can be used through this process rather than estimates from the mead calculator, but changes in volume must be included in the calculations when you step feed if you want to keep tabs on what you actually have in terms of ABV.

joemirando
09-01-2013, 02:40 PM
The gravity readings are corrected for the finished batch. The actual SG was indeed close to 1.135 (1.134 with a 'standard' 2-points-per-line hydrometer).

For my next batch, I will use the actual SGs instead of adjusting for the finished batch, and start with less honey. I hadn't starting out intending to make it that heavy, but by the time I realized it, the honey was in the jug, so I decided to "get creative".

The bottom line is still that there is 4.75 lbs of honey that went into a 1 gallon batch with no water/lowerSG must coming out.

I made it more complicated than it needed to be, and I will correct that the next time around. I'm a QA manager. I LIVE on procedures, but I live TO modify them. <grin>

The next batch I make, I'll take pictures along the way. But I warn you all; it'll be worse than sitting through Aunty Fanny's slides of the big trip to see the world's largest teflon coated skillet. <chuckling>

Joe

Medsen Fey
09-01-2013, 02:52 PM
The gravity readings are corrected for the finished batch. The actual SG was indeed close to 1.135 (1.134 with a 'standard' 2-points-per-line hydrometer).


OK. So you made the adjustment in the gravity for the volume changes. Excellent. Now I'm following (a little slowly, but following). :)

joemirando
09-01-2013, 03:01 PM
OK. So you made the adjustment in the gravity for the volume changes. Excellent. Now I'm following (a little slowly, but following). :)

Nah, I made it much more complicated than it needed to be. I looked back and realized that I didn't say "the SGs are adjusted for the final mix". The problem is that at this point, everything is subject to change. Wait till the next round when I know what I'm talking about... sorta. <grin>

And if someone had given ME the info that I listed with that crucial key missing, I'd probably have been ranting about it being impossible.

So the next time I'll have everything listed and documented and pictureated. If the pasteur red comes out even as well as this one (taking into account its a lower alcohol tolerance yeast), I'll be very very happy.... but I expect it to be BETTER in the flavor/aroma department.


Joe

EJM3
05-11-2014, 02:04 AM
OK, Necro-posting here. You start a new experimental batch yet??

joemirando
05-11-2014, 12:52 PM
OK, Necro-posting here. You start a new experimental batch yet??

I haven't gotten around to another test batch. I can tell you that the 'frankenmead' I've got going now (a hodgepodge of left over musts) could have benefited greatly from some bentonite. I decided to not add bentonite to the must because I'm pretty sure I'm going to need it post-fermentation for clearing, and there's only so much bentonite you can add before you end up getting a nasty metallic taste. The Frankenmead (or Polyjuice Potion, as I'm calling it) consists of leftover musts from a couple of traditionals, a pomegranate mel, cherry mel, a cyser and a tea metheglin. The cherry and pomegranate (the pomegranate especially) foam up like crazy. I'm not sure if its the kind of thing that bentonite would take care of, but if I had stopped to think about it, I WOULD have added the bentonite. I'll keep you posted.

Joe

The next batch I make will be using bentonite.

EbonHawk
05-11-2014, 02:39 PM
Haha, Frankenmead! Love it. :)

I was just pondering a pomegranate mead. Did you by chance make a full batch of pomegranate mead? I guess that would be a melomel, right? Anything you learned that I might should watch out for, besides the foaming?

joemirando
05-11-2014, 03:00 PM
Haha, Frankenmead! Love it. :)

I was just pondering a pomegranate mead. Did you by chance make a full batch of pomegranate mead? I guess that would be a melomel, right? Anything you learned that I might should watch out for, besides the foaming?

I wish I could take credit for the "Frankenmead" moniker, but in truth it was somebody else's... As was "Polyjuice" (in addition to and because of the 'Harry Potter' reference).

I have made two one gallon batches with pomegranate juice (POM brand). One was a pomegranate/honey wine, the other was a pomegranate melomel. The difference being the percentage of fermentable sugars from each. The melomel gets >50% of its sugar from honey, the wine <50%.

I found that pomegranate juice (as I've already said) causes it to foam like crazy. In addition, I found that pH is a real issue. I would recommend higher than average vigilance when using pom juice.

The other thing is that I had some very stressed yeast in the melomel. The first time I racked it, I had to look under the table to see if a medium sized rodent had crawled under there and died. It was "rotten egg PLUS" on the scale of "stinky stuff". I ran it over and through a copper scrub pad a couple of times, and that reduced the stench quite a bit. It is bulk aging now, and I haven't touched it in a month or two. I had hoped to have it ready for later this month for my father's birthday (he love pomegranate anything), but I fear it'll have to wait till next year now.

There was also a bit more sediment than usual, and I attribute that to the natural sediment in the pom juice.

There are a couple of people here on the forum with more experience with pomegranate juice than I (bernardsmith for one), and maybe they'll chime in.

If I remember correctly, the pomegranate melomel used 2.5 lbs of clover honey, balance pom juice (a little more than 3.2 liters), pectic enzyme (which didn't seem to do any good), nutrient and energizer (not enough, evidently... If i made this again, I'd front-load all the nutrient/energizer and step feed the honey), and K1V yeast starter. The OG was pretty high, and that may also have added to the rotten egg smell, but I dont think so because the stench wasn't noticeable until fermentation was pretty much done.

As I said, If I made this again, I'd keep the OG to about 1.120 and add the balance of the honey as the yeast did its thing.

Be well,
Joe

EbonHawk
05-11-2014, 03:53 PM
Ok, cool, thanks. Your dad and I have something in common then: I like pomegranate-anythings as well. ;) If toothpaste came in pomegranate flavor, my wife said I'd have some of that too.

Get_Wiggly
05-11-2014, 07:21 PM
With the pomegranate juice I'd consider adding K2CO3 to get a higher pH.

Noe Palacios
05-12-2014, 12:06 PM
Hey gang,

I was just reading an article about wine making were the author espoused the use of bentonite in the must, before fermentation. His/her reason for doing this is based on the theory that the bentonite will swirl around in the must, providing nucleation points for the CO2, which will rise, allowing the CO2 to leave the must, and the bentonite particle to sink back to the bottom to begin the process again.

Has anyone added bentonite at this point, instead of on finishing? If so, was it worth it? Are there downsides?


Thanks,

Joe

Hello Joe!

I read another explanation about bentonite use before fermentation, but your explanation make sense too. When you do some laboratory distilling you usually leave inside the glass one or two distilling pearls, which create boiling centers which allows a better distilation.

However, what I read about bentonite use before fermenting is that yeast will be atracted to bentonite which should contribute on the clarifying process. This waht I read.

Saludos.