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  1. #1

    Default Bentonite/Campden Tablets/Potassium Sorbate

    Hello all,

    Really sorry as i know all of this stuff has been covered numerous times! but after reading this site all day ive decided to just ask for a point in the right direction!

    Im just about to clear down my 1st mead with some bentonite, the concept of this has sunk in now. But my question is how long can i leave the mead sitting on the bentonite before i stabilize and bottle.

    Also its finished fermenting as ive had the exact same reading for the last month, do i need to stabilize? from what i can understand you have to add one crushed campden tablet per gallon, leave for a day or two then add the sorbate?

    please let me know if ive understood this?! lol

    thanks again guys.
    "As happy as an Englishman with lalvin products!"

  2. #2
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    While bentonite is inert (it is simply a clay, after all), and leaving it in your mead indefinitely would not be a problem, the proteins that it binds with might eventually begin to break down and could lead to off-flavors, so I would not leave my meads on bentonite lees longer than a couple of weeks past clearing.

    Dry meads need no chemical stabilization at all, although some people will add a little metabisulphite to act as an antioxidant. I don't. If your mead has finished with any residual sweetness, however, it can appear to be stable for weeks (sometimes months) and then for no apparent reason the remaining yeast in there could wake back up and begin to ferment again. So, unless your sweet or semi-sweet mead has been well and truly stable and off of all lees for a year or longer, I wouldn't chance bottling it without a sorbate and metabisulphite addition. It is cheap insurance against the possibility of bottle bombs.

    And when I use the one-two punch of metabisulphite and sorbate, I add the metabisulphite first, but then I'll add the sorbate shortly thereafter (usually within an hour or so, but no more than a day later), and I'll immediately bottle after that addition. The idea is that you want to have enough residual sulphite in the mead to prevent any malolactic bacteria (that are airborne, and may inoculate your mead just from casual exposure to the air during bottling) from taking root. If malolactic bacteria do end up growing in your mead and if you present them with sorbate to dine upon, they'll produce geraniol. Geraniol is something that you never want in your mead. (If you want to know what it is, search for it in past threads.)
    Last edited by wayneb; 03-18-2011 at 10:53 AM.
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks for the prompt reply wayne, Metabisulphite as in camden tablets? The ones i have contain Sodium Metabisulphite and Polyethylene Glycol.

    Also by immediately do you meen you bottle instantly after mixing the sorbate in or do you wait a little while?

    thanks alot, next bit of homework is geraniol!
    "As happy as an Englishman with lalvin products!"

  4. #4
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    Well I just add a crushed campden, mixed with a teaspoon or two of must, then despite what the instructions on Ritchies wine stabiliser say, I just put the appropriate measure straight into the DJ and let it settle and swirl it.

    And yes, in the UK campden tablets are indeed sodium metabisulphite. Whereas in the US they're usually Potassium metabisulphite, which here, is 4 times the price of the sodium ones (the potassium version is, apparently, preferred by the pro's).

    Then once its had a day or two stabilised then take a bit of must to mix in the bentonite (I prefer the Ritchies kwikclear 2 part fining, as it'll be clear in 24 hours).

    regards

    jtfb
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

  5. #5

    Default

    if your backsweetning i would look at fining after backsweeting to remove any protein from the honey.

  6. #6
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    Default Why not both at once?

    Quote Originally Posted by wayneb View Post
    And when I use the one-two punch of metabisulphite and sorbate, I add the metabisulphite first, but then I'll add the sorbate shortly thereafter (usually within an hour or so, but no more than a day later), and I'll immediately bottle after that addition.
    Since the metabisulphite and sorbate perform different functions, what is the advantage of adding them seperately as opposed to at the same time?
    Age improves with mead, even more than mead improves with age.

  7. #7

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    metabisulphite kills bacteria, some bacteria can 'eat' sorbate and cause off flavours(roughly put). so you put in metabisulphite first and let it do its job before adding the sorbate.

  8. #8
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    Default Thanks for the info.

    Quote Originally Posted by tweak'e View Post
    metabisulphite kills bacteria, some bacteria can 'eat' sorbate and cause off flavours(roughly put). so you put in metabisulphite first and let it do its job before adding the sorbate.
    Some of the wine kits have them added them at the same time. It's probably okay for those wines. But for my made-from-scratch wines and meads, I can definately wait the couple of extra hours.
    Age improves with mead, even more than mead improves with age.

  9. #9
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    There is probably no difference between adding the metabisulphite (aka Campden) immediately with sorbate, vs. waiting an hour or so in-between the sulphite and the sorbate additions. You just don't want to wait too long (as in days) between the additions, or you run the risk of exposing the mead to MLF bacteria that then won't be taken care of by the sulphite - since most of it will come out of solution after a day or so.
    Na zdrowie!

    Wayne B.

  10. #10

    Default

    i just make it part of the racking procedure. eg rack mead into fermenter (because i don't have spare carboys) add sulphite, clean out carboy, rack back into carboy and add sorbate. that gives a bit of time for sulphite to work without making it overly complicated.

  11. #11

    Default

    well ive done the bentonite 1st , im going to leave it for 3 weeks ( as ive got to go away ) then as soon as i return i will meta then sorbate them im ready to bottle my 1st two batches! cant wait!
    "As happy as an Englishman with lalvin products!"

  12. #12

    Default

    After using the bentonite for the first time, its been 4 days and its cleared pretty good, still cant quite read through it yet.

    But its already left about 2 inches of lees in the bottom, seems alot to me, or is this fairly normal?

    Thanks Guys.
    "As happy as an Englishman with lalvin products!"

  13. #13
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    Well, the whole purpose of adding bentonite was to pull sediment out of the wine, right?

    Sounds like a good plan, perhaps your 2" of sediment will compact a bit while you're gone, making it easier to rack off it so you don't get sediment when you sulphite/sorbate it.
    "The main ingredient needed is 'time' followed closely by 'patience'." - The Bishop 2013
    "When you consider that laziness and procrastination are the fundamentals of great mead, it is a miracle that the mazer cup happens." Medsen Fey, 2014
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  14. #14

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    the catch is you may still end up with sediment after back sweetning.
    2" of sediment sounds like you havn't racked it off the yeast before adding the bentonite.
    i would rack it off the sedimant, leave it for a few weeks, then backsweeten and the add bentonite again to get any remainer before bottling.

  15. #15

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    I have racked it 3 times, there was no sediment after 1 week after the last racking. so its not that. and its already been back sweetened a good few weeks prior to adding the bentonite. I didnt stabilize before i back sweetened as i was sure it had stopped fermenting and it had. Im sure it will be spot on.
    "As happy as an Englishman with lalvin products!"

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by RightHookCook View Post
    I have racked it 3 times, there was no sediment after 1 week after the last racking. so its not that. and its already been back sweetened a good few weeks prior to adding the bentonite. I didnt stabilize before i back sweetened as i was sure it had stopped fermenting and it had. Im sure it will be spot on.
    That's why the suggestion about when to back sweeten is there. Because honey can cause a haze, which I understand is a protein haze, so if you're gonna fine it to clear it quicker, it's often better to back sweeten before the clearing, but of course, after it's been stabilised - because if it's finished fermenting, you don't want to chance it starting up again once you've added the back sweetener.

    Hence if I back sweeten with honey, I ferment, check/test to confirm it's finished, then stabilise, then rack, then back sweeten (though not too much as you can't really tell if the ageing will bring any of the honey taste to the forefront later on), then clear it.

    At that point, any topping up is done with another mead, or with some vodka. Only then do I leave it to age......

    regards

    fatbloke
    here's me home brewing blog (if anyones interested....)
    and don't forget
    What the large print giveth, the small print taketh away! Tom Waits.....

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