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purpledragon
11-26-2016, 03:50 PM
Hi folks, long time reader, first time poster. I tried out a filter system (buon vino) for the first time and the two meads I put through it now taste bitter, one more than the other. They previously had a bit of yeasty bitterness that was mitigated with bentonite and they tasted fine. Now that same flavor is back and stronger than it was before. I used the #2 pads, ("polishing") at 1.0 micron after following directions to soak the pads and then flush them with a gallon of clear water. The mead has been resting for the recommended 2-3 days after filtering. I would consider them undrinkable. I'm wondering if anybody else has had this happen, and can identify a possible cause. I'm also wondering about putting them through the sterile filter next, or if I should try bentonite again first. I'd be happy to provide more details about the recipe, etc. if needed but it doesn't seem extremely relevant. Thanks in advance for any feedback!

Maylar
11-26-2016, 04:15 PM
What did you soak the pads in?

HeidrunsGift
11-26-2016, 05:13 PM
I've never gotten a bitter taste from them. The first bit of mead that gets through (after the filtered water is out) is going to taste a little soapy from the pads, that should not be put in the filtered mead carboy, I would just throw that first bit out along with the water you used to filter. Having said that though, that first bit shouldn't really affect a 5 gallon batch of mead. I'm wondering if there could be some infection? If you said that they tasted bitter before you filtered, I wouldn't blame the buon vino filter for this issue.

Also, isn't bentonite used to remove yeast and proteins, not to remove bitterness? Unless you used so much that it stripped bitterness out along with some other flavors?

purpledragon
11-26-2016, 06:33 PM
I soaked the pads in plain water.

Previously my understanding was also that bentonite would just sink cells and proteins; however Scott Labs also recommends it for bitterness. Unfortunately they don't explain why, or what else may also be impacted, but I only used the amount recommended by manufacturer. There may have been an unknown contaminant in there. My hypothesis was that it was too warm in the house over summer. While primary finished in March, it sat in probably 75 degrees or more for a while before all the yeast settled. I suppose both are a possibility. But I certainly wasn't expecting filtration to make it worse.

HeidrunsGift
11-26-2016, 10:48 PM
Sorry to hear about the bitter taste getting worse after the filtration, it always is disappointing when something we've put a lot of time/money/effort into doesn't go well. Luckily, we can usually learn from our mistakes and avoid them for the next batch :)

So I suspect it was in fact a contaminant. Are your cleaning and sanitizing procedures sound? To answer the question why the filtration may have made it worse: filtration takes out a lot of yeast and other crud that contribute to off flavors. Once those are gone, you are left with a much cleaner taste. However, this also means that any flavors remaining -good or bad - are now more apparent with those other particulate contributing entities gone. Think about it like static noise in a stereo. If the static goes away, you can hear what you are trying to listen to better. Only with mead, everything will be more apparent. If your mead was already pretty clear, the change probably wouldn't have been too apparent, but if it was a hazy mead that may have made the difference. Thats why I like to wait at least 6 months now before I do any back sweetening or adding spices. I don't want to inadvertently over do it by competing with "static noise" that will eventually go away, leaving the backsweetening or spices too strong later on down the road.

I happened to use my buono filter today on a dry raspberry melomel and a semi-sweet goldenrod trad. In my post below I mentioned that I tasted a soapy/papery taste initially (the exact flavor that you smell from the wet filtration pads, so I know thats where its coming from). As a test, I continued to taste a bit of the filtered mead every once in a while (from the drip tray) and noticed that this flavor actually remains quite strong for a long time, and its quite undrinkable. Luckily, I could not detect it in the final product when I tested it from the carboy, so I assume maybe somewhere around half way it starts to go away. However, it is a concern knowing that each time I filter I am adding a bit of that soapy, undrinkable flavor to it. Does anyone else have that problem? I soak the pads for a couple minutes in new spring water (1 gallon) and then filter the water through for 2 minutes (using the full gallon) prior to filtering my mead. According to the directions that should take care of it, but apparently not. I suspect I could not detect this off flavor in the final product today because the trad was sweet enough, and there was enough raspberry flavor in the mel to overcome it. Im not sure if it would have in a more delicate, drier traditional though.

purpledragon
11-27-2016, 05:42 PM
Naturally I clean and sanitize as much as possible, but what I haven't been doing is stabilizing with sulfites, so probably time to up my game in that department. And yeah, I got some of the soapy flavor with the first bit of filtrate too.

bmwr75
11-27-2016, 07:05 PM
Did you taste your mead before you filtered it?

Squatchy
11-27-2016, 08:49 PM
Sorry to hear about the bitter taste getting worse after the filtration, it always is disappointing when something we've put a lot of time/money/effort into doesn't go well. Luckily, we can usually learn from our mistakes and avoid them for the next batch :)

So I suspect it was in fact a contaminant. Are your cleaning and sanitizing procedures sound? To answer the question why the filtration may have made it worse: filtration takes out a lot of yeast and other crud that contribute to off flavors. Once those are gone, you are left with a much cleaner taste. However, this also means that any flavors remaining -good or bad - are now more apparent with those other particulate contributing entities gone. Think about it like static noise in a stereo. If the static goes away, you can hear what you are trying to listen to better. Only with mead, everything will be more apparent. If your mead was already pretty clear, the change probably wouldn't have been too apparent, but if it was a hazy mead that may have made the difference. Thats why I like to wait at least 6 months now before I do any back sweetening or adding spices. I don't want to inadvertently over do it by competing with "static noise" that will eventually go away, leaving the backsweetening or spices too strong later on down the road.

I happened to use my buono filter today on a dry raspberry melomel and a semi-sweet goldenrod trad. In my post below I mentioned that I tasted a soapy/papery taste initially (the exact flavor that you smell from the wet filtration pads, so I know thats where its coming from). As a test, I continued to taste a bit of the filtered mead every once in a while (from the drip tray) and noticed that this flavor actually remains quite strong for a long time, and its quite undrinkable. Luckily, I could not detect it in the final product when I tested it from the carboy, so I assume maybe somewhere around half way it starts to go away. However, it is a concern knowing that each time I filter I am adding a bit of that soapy, undrinkable flavor to it. Does anyone else have that problem? I soak the pads for a couple minutes in new spring water (1 gallon) and then filter the water through for 2 minutes (using the full gallon) prior to filtering my mead. According to the directions that should take care of it, but apparently not. I suspect I could not detect this off flavor in the final product today because the trad was sweet enough, and there was enough raspberry flavor in the mel to overcome it. Im not sure if it would have in a more delicate, drier traditional though.

Hey brother. Sorry to hear of your issue. I read this early this morning. I had scheduled a bicycle ride with a few people because very soon I won't be able to go much any more. Anyway, when I got home I had some filtering I needed to get done myself.

I hadn't had any problems like you mentioned ever. So I was very cautious to find if I had been overlooking anything. I had always tasted my filtered stuff along the way.
So to make sure I wasn't missing anything I actually soaked 2 sets of number 2 pads and a set of number 3 pads. I actually tasted the water I had soaked the pads in. I had my GF drink some as well.
We couldn't even soak more than a single pack at a time so the container was just barely bigger in dimension than the pads and only 3/4"deep. Meaning not more than 3 cups or so. Not very much water really.
It was just barely discernable that it was anything at all different than the filtered we started with. Not soapy in the least bit. I'm certain if I had served it to a guest they would have never noticed a thing wrong with it.

Either you were sold some bad filters some how. Or what I suspect, you had some soap residue somewhere in your tubing or the machine.
Let me know what you find out.

purpledragon
11-28-2016, 06:41 PM
I doubt the "soapy" flavor would present itself just from soaking the pads, as this process only causes the cellulose fibers to absorb the water. The pump pushing water through the filter is what is going to release debris from the filters. Maybe tasting the water that comes out during the flush before starting to filter mead is the way to go.

Squatchy
11-28-2016, 08:17 PM
I doubt the "soapy" flavor would present itself just from soaking the pads, as this process only causes the cellulose fibers to absorb the water. The pump pushing water through the filter is what is going to release debris from the filters. Maybe tasting the water that comes out during the flush before starting to filter mead is the way to go.

I did that as well. There is no flavor in the pads.

HeidrunsGift
11-28-2016, 08:37 PM
I got a reply back from ScottLabs and Buon Vino, here is what they said:

(From buon vino): We get this question or issue once in a rare while. Not sure where you are getting this soapy taste - there is nothing remotely close to that in the pads....they are made from wood pulp cellulose (or Paper). Some important things to consider are: 1. Storage of pads and where the store you buy them store there pads. Make sure they are not with/near products that emit odor. It is a depth paper product and they can absorb what is in there surrounding area. Keep them in a clean dry but cool place and away from any chemicals or food products (onions, potatoes etc that may be in a fruit cellar) 2. Flushing out the pads as you do/mentioned is a good practice however adding the citric acid will help. You mentioned you did not do that - I would suggest trying that. 1 Tsp per gal of water.

Also make sure you push the water (or as much as you can) out of the pads and make sure you collect it and discard. You do not want that mixing into what you are filtering.

(From ScottLabs): As Peter has mentioned in his points...Storage conditions should be in a neutral environment. As well, the importance of rinsing the pads is a valuable tool to balance the PH of the filter pads. This is done with the cycling of the 5% citric solution (formulation provided by Peter below) for a minutes. Once done, flush with clean water and then continue with your filtration. Please let me know if you need more details

/////////

So I had never used citric acid when I rinsed and then flushed the pads but will try it out next time. Squatchy and purpledragon, I like your suggestions of tasting the water right after rinsing the pads, then after its gone through the pump (prior to filtering the mead). That should give me a better indication of where the off flavor is coming from. I bought my pads from morewinemaking.com and kept them in a large tupperware container, so I don't think storage was the issue.

Finally, I found a pdf by Tim Vandergrift (http://www.buonvino.com/clear_it_up.pdf) on this, on page four under "whats with that wacky solution" he states that "the acid helps takes away the papery flavors of the filters." After reading about that, I think "soapy" may have been a bit extreme description. EXTREMELY PAPERY may have been better, to the point that it was completely undrinkable though. Maybe I just had a bad batch, or perhaps my taste buds are hyper sensitive to that flavor. Note that the solution they recommend has both citric acid and sulfites.

Either way, I'll change the storage location and use the acid/sulfite mixture in the water next time and let you know if I get better results.

Skal

purpledragon
11-29-2016, 07:07 PM
That's some really good info. I hadn't used citric acid either; I seem to remember the directions saying that you could, but there was no explanation of why you should. Soapy was also what came to my mind as a description of flavor, but I agree that that's a bit too drastic - I did have a batch saponify at one point and that was way worse. Good luck with your next filtration!

purpledragon
12-14-2016, 02:31 PM
Very interesting follow-up: between holidays and my being indecisive about how to proceed, it has been sitting in the carboy post-filtration for the last 2.5 weeks. Tasted it today and bitterness is gone.

\_(ツ)_/

No idea. Guess I'll just be thankful.