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  1. Default Bentonite and Oaking Questions

    Recently made a blueberry melomel and have a questions about bentonite and oaking.
    Recipe as follows.
    17.4lb pounds of Orange Blossom Honey
    Enough spring water to fill remaining of 6 gallon bucket
    3 pounds of blueberries primary
    20g fermaid O
    12.5g GoFerm
    5 Camden Tablets
    7g Potassium BiCarbonate
    1/2 tsp Pectin Enzyme
    10g of Lavin 71B

    I had to do a lot of traveling for work and had to make a lot of unwanted adjustments in the meadmaking process to try and compensate. Hopefully I didn't mess anything up too bad.
    Let the above recipe ferment for a month before I racked into a 5 gallon carboy due to traveling (SG was around 1.009 for 3 days). Came back a little over a month later to find SG had dropped to 1. Racked the into 5 one gallon carboys with varying amount of vintners blueberry fruit puree (left one with no fruit) just to add some variability. Added 1/3 oak spiral to 2 of the one gallon batches 6 days ago. I was an idiot and didn't tie the oak thinking I could get it out- wrong. I don't want to leave the oak in any longer than two weeks(anyone have experience with oak spirals and one gallon batches?). Was wondering if it is feasible to knock two birds out with one stone and add the bentonite now so I can rack in a week to get it off this oak (as well as fruit since it will be two weeks since addition).
    Will bentonite affect the fruit that is still extracting?
    I was trying to avoid racking it again and then adding bentonite, with all of this trouble might just skip the bentonite altogether even though I would like to be less opaque.

  2. #2


    Hi Keith,
    I can't speak to the bentonite, but you'll likely want to taste those you added oak to. Pull up just a bit every few days to taste, and when you're close to what you think you were going for, you'll need to get them out. Every batch is different, so it may vary, and you might find you need to get the oak out sooner or later than 2 weeks. I'm sitting here trying to think of creative ways to get the oak out without racking. Whatever you end up trying, don't go grab some extra copper, aluminum, or other metal wire that may create a reaction in the mead. Stainless steel would likely work. If you need to get it off of the oak, and haven't found a way to pull them out, you may need to rack it again.
    Wish you the best!

  3. Default

    I've gotta point out: corrosion isn't that fast. Pull it out with a coat hanger and don't worry about the material. Wash it first, but use dish soap rather than caustic cleaner. Copper would not be my first choice, but even copper has a place in brewing. It can be used to bind some undesirable compounds, but I don't know the details. Mild steel will corrode, but it would take hours at minimum. We know from the kitchen that we shouldn't use aluminum or copper for acidic fruits, but what happens at 100C is far slower at 20C: typically hundreds of times slower.
    Last edited by piojo; 01-14-2019 at 11:10 PM.

  4. #4


    Thanks piojo - I wasn't pointing to corrosion as a risk, but the reaction the mead may have to something like copper. I remember from one of Squatchy's podcasts (I think with Tom Repas??) that some judges will use a pure copper penny to test a mead, and I'm sure they're not letting it soak for very long. I can only picture myself trying to get a wire of some sort down in there to 'hook' it just right to pull it out. While I'm sure it can be done in seconds, my luck would be that it somehow keeps slipping off and I'd spend several minutes trying to yank it out of there. If it doesn't take that long for a reaction to occur, I'm not willing to risk putting just any metal wire in there. Obviously, many tools used in making mead are made from stainless steal, so for me, that's the safe bet - or racking it again.

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