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  1. #1

    Default Unbottle mead to clarify?

    First time poster.

    I have been brewing beer for many years but recently moved to mead as my wife is a bee keeper. I have made a few meads just for myself and recently someone mentioned they would like to taste some of mead. Hey great! My mead is cloudy since I dont add anything to clear it since I am the only one that drinks it. I want to clear my mead for I guess the looks. SOOO my question is can i unbottle my mead and add bentonite to clear and then rebottle?

    The bottled mead has only been in the bottle maybe a month. Will this cause an issue?

    I understand I dont have to clear the mead but I want to clear the mead.

    Thanks!

  2. #2

    Default

    SO you say you don't clarify it because you're the only one drinking it. It will taste much better if it's clear. All the particulates that cause it to be dirty will break down and decompose at some point. That will detract from the flavor profile you could have if it's clear.

    Yes, you can take it back out and fine it. I wouldn't use bentonite but rather I would use Superklear or sparkaloid. Same stuff different maker.
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  3. #3

    Default

    Thanks! I choose the bentonite because I only make a 2 gallon batches and it looks like I would not waste as much. I will certainly look into the Superklear.

    Like I said I am new to the mead process and enjoy the mead process more than the beer process.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
    Posts
    355

    Default

    I've tried to clear mead with Gelatin (beer method) and also Bentonite. Neither worked. I'm going to be trying some proper products like Squatchy mentioned in the future, I just need to find some over here.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2018
    Location
    Romania
    Posts
    102

    Default

    Bentonite (at least the sodic bentonite I can buy around here) seems to be quite finicky about hydration: it says on the bag you should let it hydrate at room temperature for 24h, surprisingly turns out there is some point to that (who'd have thought, I'm not one to follow instructions often); whatever the internet says (put it in dry, hydrate it in hot water, etc), it only works if it's spent at least 12h hydrating and being stirred occasionally, and using hot water seems to make it less effective.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
    Posts
    355

    Default

    Sources I found said to use VERY hot water, so I used VERY hot water and rehydrated for 12h or something like that. Will try again with cold water, and for 24h. I make enough mead now to play around with it.

  7. #7

    Default

    Just a consideration on the fining agents...
    AK-Jeff, you didn't say what kind of mead you have and are trying to clear. I mention this because if pectin haze is part of the issue, the fining agents may not help, and neither will filtering (at least with one as small as 1 micron). Pectic Enzyme will help, but even then, it may take time to clear.
    I have no idea why I've only had one mead have this issue after the fruits I've used that do have pectin. It was a small batch, so I could keep it in the fridge after I added some pectic enzyme, and it still took some time, but it did clear eventually.
    Not sure this applies to the situation, but it does apply to the topic of getting mead to clear, so I thought I'd mention it.

  8. #8

    Default

    Its called Irish Mead. Not sure if this is true since Ireland is more Guinness and Jameson but it sounded good.

    5 lbs raw honey
    Champagne yeast – I use Vinter’s Harvest SN9.
    Yeast nutrient.
    Lemon juice.
    3 small oranges.
    3-4 tea bags.

  9. #9

    Default

    I've had good success with hot sparkalloid that Squatchy mentioned. Give it plenty of time to settle as it can take a week or two to reach the bottom of the vessel.

    Given the oranges and lemon juice pectin could be part of the issue though that is not a bunch of fruit product.

    Sorry for insulting your intelligence but do you cold crash & rack your mead after the primary fermentation?
    Remember that knowledge has value even when its free! Consider becoming a GotMead patron member to help Vicky host this awesome site.

  10. #10

    Default

    I dont cold crash. The Irish Mead sat in the primary for 3 weeks, I then racked to a secondary to remove the orange, lemon rinds and any sediment. At this point it has been in the secondary for about a week. I know I can let it sit and try to settle for awhile longer so this gives me time to get the info on the best way to clear.

    Just for my knowledge what is the problem with bentonite? I have never used it before and looked like it was fairly easy to use.

  11. #11

    Default

    I have limited experience with bentonite, but I've heard that it can temporarily impart a bit of a mineral flavor, and it does take some time to clear. I state this in the event you're looking to give some of your mead away fairly soon.

    The other aspect of bentonite as I understand it is that it only attracts positively charged particles as it produces a negative charge when hydrated.

    SuperKlear, for example, has both positive and negative charges to attract both charge types of particles in your mead. It's also a couple day process in my experience (faster than bentonite). Again, neither will clear pectin haze.

    There's no real problem with bentonite, but I think the other fining agents were recommended based on where you're at in the process, and the possible time crunch.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2017
    Location
    Pretoria, South Africa
    Posts
    355

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    My problem with bentonite was simply that it didn't work, at all. In fact, I think it might actually have led to a cloudier mead than without it. Remember various clarifying agents work in different ways. Gelatin works for beer, doesn't work that well for mead (been there, done that). That's why Superkleer and stuff like that is designed - it works in mead.

  13. #13

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by AK-Jeff View Post
    I dont cold crash. The Irish Mead sat in the primary for 3 weeks, I then racked to a secondary to remove the orange, lemon rinds and any sediment. At this point it has been in the secondary for about a week. I know I can let it sit and try to settle for awhile longer so this gives me time to get the info on the best way to clear.

    Just for my knowledge what is the problem with bentonite? I have never used it before and looked like it was fairly easy to use.

    https://www.bjcp.org/mead/Mead_Study.pdf
    - is a great reference in general and does have a nice introduction to the fining agents. In my limited experience I've never had Bentonite do the job on its own. Bentonite coupled with sparkolloid is a nice, alternate charge, combination. Thus far the combo has never failed. The fining agents were very intimidating to me up front... not sure why but they sure were. Probably due to the time I had invested into the mead thus far and fear of breaking it!

    I would strongly suggest always putting your must in the refrigerator for 7-14 days after the primary. Cold is an amazing "fining agent". As the suspended yeast and other particles lose heat energy they slow down and get sticky. This gets the particles/yeast grouping together (flocculation) and then falling out of suspension to the bottom of the fermenter. You will be surprised just how much drops out due to cold weather conditions! You could still safely cold crash at this point without any harm; keep head space to a minimum.
    Remember that knowledge has value even when its free! Consider becoming a GotMead patron member to help Vicky host this awesome site.

  14. #14

    Default

    Colder temps make the water density higher. If your finnings dont work then you have a. Pectin issue most likely
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

  15. #15

    Default

    I didnt want to waste the Bentonite so I did a degassing and mixed up a small batch of the Bentonite. The worst that would happen is that I lose 1 gallon of mead. Keep in mind before I added the Bentonite i could not see through the mead and had about 1/2 in ch of sediment at the bottom of the carboy. 1 hour after adding the Bentonote the mead is starting to clear and I have about 1 inch of sediment. I certainly plan to try some of the other suggested products mentioned for my next batch. I am not the type to stick to just one way of doing something since I might find something that works better for me.

  16. Default

    I'm surprised to hear Bentonite didn't work.

    In my experience it clears fairly well, it's cheap and natural (volcanic clay), I just use cold water and wait a couple hours hydrating, then spread it on the surface of the must and let it sit for some days (preferably weeks, but in some cases it clarified in days).

    Maybe change your brand, and make sure you don't harass the bottom of the bucket, it will be filled with sediment. When Bentonite didn't work for me was with Jabuticaba (like grapes that grow on the trunk of a tree, native of Brazil, where I am, probably pectin), or when I slipped the siphon all the way to the bottom.

    Anyway, fermentation is living and it changes from place to place, time to time, hope it will help in your circumstance!

    Best regards,

  17. #17
    Join Date
    Sep 2013
    Location
    Saratoga Springs , NY
    Posts
    1,514

    Default

    Just thinking out loud here. Bentonite is negatively charged. If the particles are also negatively charged then bentonite won't do a thing. Best, in my opinion, is to add in sequence a fining agent that is attracted to positive ions and then one that is attracted to negative ions (or vice versa) That said, if you added tea leaves and you added oranges and lemons then the lack of clarity may be caused by particles from the tea leaves, pectins from the fruit or even tannins. You don't say whether you degased your wine so if there is CO2 saturating the liquid that gas will keep particles nicely suspended and gravity will have a hard job forcing those particles to drop out of suspension

  18. #18

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by CaúlaBrewBR View Post
    I'm surprised to hear Bentonite didn't work.

    In my experience it clears fairly well, it's cheap and natural (volcanic clay), I just use cold water and wait a couple hours hydrating, then spread it on the surface of the must and let it sit for some days (preferably weeks, but in some cases it clarified in days).

    Maybe change your brand, and make sure you don't harass the bottom of the bucket, it will be filled with sediment. When Bentonite didn't work for me was with Jabuticaba (like grapes that grow on the trunk of a tree, native of Brazil, where I am, probably pectin), or when I slipped the siphon all the way to the bottom.

    Anyway, fermentation is living and it changes from place to place, time to time, hope it will help in your circumstance!

    Best regards,
    I did work for me to a point. I did help clear but it seems to have stalled. I did order the sparkalloid and will give that a try on the next batch.

  19. #19

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by bernardsmith View Post
    Just thinking out loud here. Bentonite is negatively charged. If the particles are also negatively charged then bentonite won't do a thing. Best, in my opinion, is to add in sequence a fining agent that is attracted to positive ions and then one that is attracted to negative ions (or vice versa) That said, if you added tea leaves and you added oranges and lemons then the lack of clarity may be caused by particles from the tea leaves, pectins from the fruit or even tannins. You don't say whether you degased your wine so if there is CO2 saturating the liquid that gas will keep particles nicely suspended and gravity will have a hard job forcing those particles to drop out of suspension
    I did degas and I agree the oranges and lemons are most likely the issue. I have a juicer and after the squeeze I dumped all the juice and pulp in along with the rinds. Like I said before all my batches have been just for me but since someone wanted to taste I want to try to do it the correct way?

  20. #20

    Default

    Finnings nor Bentonite will remove pectin haze. Only pectinase will fix that and you have to ass 3 times as much if you're using it in secondary
    7 out of 4 people have a hard time using their hydrometer!

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