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View Full Version : Newbee - weird question on clearing



runningman683
02-01-2014, 04:33 PM
Alright, I just started out making mead the beginning of 2014. My first two are a JOAM variant and a straight mead, racked to secondary last week. Before anyone asks, I didn't have a hydrometer when I started so I don't have any of those numbers for you guys. I racked each batch to two 2L soda bottles, that way I could experiment with each and compare to the other that came from the same must.

Ok, so about 24 hours ago I added four chopped dates to one of the two straight mead bottles. I wanted to see how that would affect the final flavor, maybe add some depth. What I didn't expect when I checked on them the next morning was that the dates would clear the mead.

I have four 2L bottles of mead (two JAOM, two straight mead), three look like muddy water, the one with the dates is almost entirely clear.

So, my question is what the heck is going on? Is that normal? I'm struggling to come up with an explanation, so I figured I would throw it out here and see if the experts have any ideas. According to the package on the dates there aren't any additives, just plane dates, but maybe there was something they didn't list?

skunkboy
02-01-2014, 10:37 PM
Agitation can help clear mead so just dropping them in might have done it, ezymes or acid from the dates might have also helped it to clear faster.

runningman683
02-02-2014, 03:28 AM
Both of the bottles were handled exactly the same way except for the addition of the dates. Other than the actual "dropping in" of the dates.

One thing I was wondering, maybe it's the type of sugar in the dates? Maybe it causes the yeast to clump together more and sink?

I don't know, but the difference between the two bottles is night and day. One looks like water I pulled out of a mud puddle, shook up, and put in the closet. The second one looks like light beer, almost completely clear.

fatbloke
02-02-2014, 05:37 AM
Or did you check the dates were free of sulphites ? Much dried (and fruit thats routinely dried) fruit will have been treated with sulphites as a preservative/anti-oxidant, so it could just be the dropping in or that there was enough sulphites present to stun the yeast.......

changes of any kind can modify a chemical equilibrium, causing visible change/difference.....

runningman683
02-03-2014, 03:40 AM
I checked the packaging before I put the dates in. They weren't listed as "organic", just "all natural", and it didn't say anything about sulphites. But then it doesn't say anything about any additives. Under ingredients it just says "pitted dates". There's no allergy warnings though, I would think if there were chemicals added it would have to be listed somewhere.

Chevette Girl
02-03-2014, 09:26 PM
That's a new one, but sometimes adding something big that the little particles are attracted do CAN pull the little particles out of suspension, That's how some of the clarifying agents we use work, and also why stirring can clear a mead by bringing the small particles into contact with the larger ones... although this happens on a very different scale when you consider volume or mass to surface area etc comparing dates to say, bentonite particles...

runningman683
02-03-2014, 09:47 PM
Interesting, thanks for all the responses. I was a little worried that this was a stupid question, that I'd get one of those "Well, duh, of course dates clear mead" responses. It was just such a weird situation, completely unexpected, and I hadn't heard anything remotely like this. I'm glad that this wasn't quite as stupid a question as I worried it was.

I'll play around with it a bit, if these results are consistent I might just start using dates instead of other clearing agents. Seriously, it's absolutely remarkable the difference between the two bottles. I keep trying to put up a picture but for some reason the website and the computer don't like each other.

Honeyhog
02-03-2014, 10:32 PM
You need to upload your photos to a hosting company like Photobucket and then copy that url into the image box.

runningman683
02-04-2014, 02:34 AM
The problem I have, even using photobucket, is that it always tells me that the file is too big. I shrunk the photo down to 20x17 pixels and it still said it was too big. Not sure what I'm doing wrong there.

This is the closest I can get:

http://i148.photobucket.com/albums/s28/runningman683/mead2_zps4c13c6d7.jpg

Both bottles came from the same must, racked at the same time, the only difference is the one on the right has the dates added. The yeast got stirred up a little bit when I moved the bottles to take the picture, but it's still a pretty drastic difference.

Chevette Girl
02-05-2014, 01:00 AM
I'll play around with it a bit, if these results are consistent I might just start using dates instead of other clearing agents. Seriously, it's absolutely remarkable the difference between the two bottles. I keep trying to put up a picture but for some reason the website and the computer don't like each other.


Well, please keep us posted about your results using dates as clearing agents, wouldn't it be nice to be the one who is responsible for an eventual "Well, duh, of course dates clear mead" response? ;D


I have the same problem with photos, I eventually slapped them up on facebook, then right click to get the photo url, then slap it into this format and it'll put it in your post.

edit: Huh, I must be feeling aggressive or vengeful, multiple uses of the term "slap"...

fatbloke
02-05-2014, 02:49 AM
Part of the issue could easily be a bit more scientific i.e. the actual reason why some particulates persist and the addition of the fruit sugars in the dates would swing the state of the must so the sediment just drops out - which I guess is what CG was alluding to......

after all, the volume of fining agents used Vs the total volume of mead is very different. Equally the chemical reactions vary because some work slowly and others will clear a batch in 24 to 48 hours and its seemingly quite dramatic........

personally I wouldn't worry to much about it. I doubt that there will be any detrimental effect on the mead. If anything, the presence of the fruit sugar and some date flavour could be a bonus........

mannye
02-05-2014, 12:53 PM
Or...something on the dates. From Wikipedia:

Sulfur dioxide is used as an antioxidant in some dried fruits to protect their color and flavor. For example, in golden raisins, dried peaches, apples and apricots sulfur dioxide is used to keep them from losing their light color by blocking browning reactions that darken fruit and alter their flavor. Over the years, sulfur dioxide and sulfites have been used by many populations for a variety of purposes. Sulfur dioxide was first employed as a food additive in 1664, and was later approved for such use in the United States as far back as the 1800s.

This could have shocked your yeast into submission and may not be noted in the ingredients.

pagan
02-05-2014, 10:43 PM
I checked the packaging before I put the dates in. They weren't listed as "organic", just "all natural", and it didn't say anything about sulphites. But then it doesn't say anything about any additives. Under ingredients it just says "pitted dates". There's no allergy warnings though, I would think if there were chemicals added it would have to be listed somewhere.

You do realise that "all natural" means nothing in real terms ?
There's are literally thousands of additives that come under that banner, and most aren't what you and i would consider natural in any way shape or form.
If you want pure ingredients then go for organic, it's the only bit of insurance you have in regards to what you're buying. Well at least here in the UK anyway. :)

antonioh
02-06-2014, 05:57 AM
Both bottles came from the same must, racked at the same time, the only difference is the one on the right has the dates added. The yeast got stirred up a little bit when I moved the bottles to take the picture, but it's still a pretty drastic difference.
.

Ive made three batches of JOAMs, about 4 litres each , in 1/11/2013 , the honey was diluted in a bucket, added ferment and then divided in three containers, where I added the orange, the same amount of grapes and the spices (the only difference is between spices).
As the temperature dropped, I put them in a big ice box with water and a aquarium heater to 24 C.
Now the orange has dropped and Im waiting the same for the grapes.
All have sediment, one is crystal clear, really really crystal clear for more than two weeks (you can count varroa mites through it), one is "more or less" and the other still cloudy... well, same dilution, same amount of ferment and fruit, and same temperature...

mannye
02-06-2014, 05:15 PM
You do realise that "all natural" means nothing in real terms ?

There's are literally thousands of additives that come under that banner, and most aren't what you and i would consider natural in any way shape or form.

If you want pure ingredients then go for organic, it's the only bit of insurance you have in regards to what you're buying. Well at least here in the UK anyway. :)


The organic label means diddly squat here in the US. About ten years ago, big agra saw the future and wanted in on the organic game so they lobbied congress to pass some convenient laws for them making the rules for organic labeling much more lax. Hence the diddly squat. The only way you can be sure is to buy from a farmer you know or grow that shit yourself.



Sent from my galafreyan transdimensional communicator 100 years from now. G

runningman683
02-07-2014, 01:23 AM
I knew the dates weren't "organic", I was just putting them in to experiment with the flavor. After the mysterious clearing was when I started really investigating them. These bottles were really young, only 3-4 weeks old and they looked young, cloudy. The one without dates looks almost exactly the same as when it was racked two weeks ago. The one with dates looks like a finished product in the same time period. As for the dates, there are no allergy warnings, no notes, nothing to suggest anything has been added. I even checked with the manufacturer's website. Nothing.

So, as an experiment, after I mentioned everything here I added dates to one of my JAOM bottles and another bottle with an experimental recipe (the same yeast was used for each of them). They did not clear, they look exactly the same as their partner bottles (I've been doing one gallon batches and racking them to two 2L bottles each, so I can experiment with them separately and have something to compare it to). That means to me that if there are any sulfites in the dates they aren't responsible for the clearing. It also means that I didn't stumble upon a package of magical clearing dates.

There was something specific to that batch of mead, the pH or the alcohol content or something that lead to the weird clearing when the dates were added. It's too bad, it would have been pretty cool if the trick worked with the other batches.

fatbloke
02-07-2014, 03:22 AM
The organic label means diddly squat here in the US. About ten years ago, big agra saw the future and wanted in on the organic game so they lobbied congress to pass some convenient laws for them making the rules for organic labeling much more lax. Hence the diddly squat. The only way you can be sure is to buy from a farmer you know or grow that shit yourself.
Ah, yes. Of course, we realise that the US is backward in many ways ;)

here, "organic" has legally protected status </smug> ;D

fatbloke
02-07-2014, 03:25 AM
Nothing weird......

Just that something about the dates has caused the sediment to drop.......

it happens!

And not always in a conveniently, easy to understand/reason way......

look on it as a bonus......

I knew the dates weren't "organic", I was just putting them in to experiment with the flavor. After the mysterious clearing was when I started really investigating them. These bottles were really young, only 3-4 weeks old and they looked young, cloudy. The one without dates looks almost exactly the same as when it was racked two weeks ago. The one with dates looks like a finished product in the same time period. As for the dates, there are no allergy warnings, no notes, nothing to suggest anything has been added. I even checked with the manufacturer's website. Nothing.

So, as an experiment, after I mentioned everything here I added dates to one of my JAOM bottles and another bottle with an experimental recipe (the same yeast was used for each of them). They did not clear, they look exactly the same as their partner bottles (I've been doing one gallon batches and racking them to two 2L bottles each, so I can experiment with them separately and have something to compare it to). That means to me that if there are any sulfites in the dates they aren't responsible for the clearing. It also means that I didn't stumble upon a package of magical clearing dates.

There was something specific to that batch of mead, the pH or the alcohol content or something that lead to the weird clearing when the dates were added. It's too bad, it would have been pretty cool if the trick worked with the other batches.

joemirando
02-07-2014, 08:57 AM
I recently made two almost (almost) identical batches of JAOM with blood oranges. The only difference was the actual oranges used and that one batch was in a gallon jug, the other in a 4 liter jug. Even the yeast came from the same batch (from a 1 lb. bag).

The 4 liter batch is almost clear, although it was started 2 or 3 days later, while the 1 gallon batch is still cloudy. So whether the fact that one was slightly more <something> than the other has a bearing or it's "just the way it is", I dunno.

Joe

Chevette Girl
02-08-2014, 12:28 PM
Yeast will do what yeast will do no, matter what you think they *should* be doing?

Too bad though, magical clearing dates would have been cool :)

mannye
02-08-2014, 02:17 PM
Absolutely. Don't worry about it. If the one with the dates smells and tastes good then good! That's all that really matters. The only reason you want to know as much information as possible would be to be able to repeat the result if it's awesome and avoid If it sucks.

As far as information on the label, check your carton of OJ to see if it mentions adding dehydrated flavoring agent. I bet it doesn't.


Sent from my galafreyan transdimensional communicator 100 years from now. G