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Old 12-28-2011, 08:34 PM   #1
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Default Useing Bentonite at the start

I just started a "box" wine kit and it had me add the bentonite as the fist thing I did. To me this seems wrong. I thought it was use as a clarifier and "pulled" yeast down AFTER fermentation.
Am I just crazy and wrong? Or is there more that bentonite dose then I know about.

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Old 12-28-2011, 08:43 PM   #2
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I just started a "box" wine kit and it had me add the bentonite as the fist thing I did. To me this seems wrong. I thought it was use as a clarifier and "pulled" yeast down AFTER fermentation.
Am I just crazy and wrong? Or is there more that bentonite dose then I know about.
You're just crazy!

No, seriously, the kits are all about getting the wine ready to bottle FAST. They use bentonite in primary, and then usually Super Kleer- KC finings in secondary.

If you're making your own non-kit wine, you'd never add bentonite until after fermentation stops. But the kits always have it in primary. It must be the negatively charged ions, and they way it works, or something like that.
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Old 12-28-2011, 08:51 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Yooper

You're just crazy!

No, seriously, the kits are all about getting the wine ready to bottle FAST. They use bentonite in primary, and then usually Super Kleer- KC finings in secondary.

If you're making your own non-kit wine, you'd never add bentonite until after fermentation stops. But the kits always have it in primary. It must be the negatively charged ions, and they way it works, or something like that.
Lol I put it knowing that they know how to make there wine so I wasn't going to argue it but it just didnt seem right based on what I have read about bentonite.
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:03 PM   #4
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Lol I put it knowing that they know how to make there wine so I wasn't going to argue it but it just didnt seem right based on what I have read about bentonite.
I know. It doesn't make sense to me either. But it's not just one kit- it's almost all of them I've done. It just must have to do with the negatively charged ions and clearing. I'm just a little robot following directions, but it works!
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Old 12-28-2011, 09:23 PM   #5
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Make sure you put it in a blender add a cup of warm water run for two min. Let sit for 24 hours run again and then dump into kit. If you do not it will just be a big lump....Trust me on this one...

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Old 12-28-2011, 09:31 PM   #6
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I always add it at the beginning of fermentation. I find it help clear my muscadine and fruit wines better and faster.

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Old 12-29-2011, 01:05 AM   #7
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i asked the same question and was told that the action of the CO2 bubbles move the bentonite through the wine allowing it work more efficiently. thus causing it to require less.

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Old 12-31-2011, 09:41 PM   #8
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one problem i found using bentonite at the start is if the ferment slows down (eg from cold weather) the bentonite tends to drop all the yeast out and cause the ferment to stall.
it really does need a good vigorous ferment to keep it in suspension.

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Old 01-09-2014, 07:37 PM   #9
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So, this morning I made my first wine ever, from a CellarCraft kit that included grape skins (fancy!). And lo, I, too, was surprised by the addition of bentonite at the beginning.

While I was looking up what the heck "chitosan" and "kieselsol" are (which were also included in the kit), I stumbled upon this:

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Bentonite is unique in that it can be added to your wine either before or after fermentation. Most kit wines include Bentonite in the add pack, with instructions on how to mix it into the must before adding yeast. If you just dump the dry Bentonite into the must or wine, it will instantly turn into a clump of white mud and go straight to the bottom. It needs to be hydrated in a cup of hot water, and whipped into a slurry — preferably with a blender — and stirred into the must.

When added pre-fermentation, it first settles to the bottom of the grape must. But when the turbulence of fermentation begins, CO2 gas bubbles form in the must and grab onto the Bentonite. The bubble will lift the Bentonite up to the top of the fermenting must, attracting positively charged solids as it rises. The bubble will burst when it reaches the surface, and the Bentonite particle will fall to the bottom again, still gathering positively charged solids as it sinks. This up and down circulation of Bentonite during fermentation clears your wine as it ferments. The self stirring action of fermentation allows the Bentonite to collect the dead yeast and other particles as they are being produced, so that by the time you are ready to rack from the primary, the Bentonite will have gathered a nice sediment of unwanted solids and dead yeast on the bottom.

In addition, Bentonite helps keep wine stable during fermentation. When making kit wines, I have found that not adding the Bentonite on day one, as per instructions, sets the stage for an overly vigorous fermentation that tends to foam over and make a mess — even to the point of pushing the loose cover off the primary pail.
... which is pretty much what y'all are saying above. But printed in a magazine at one point! So it must be true.

I bet bentonite would help with something like White Labs WLP004 Irish Ale yeast, which, for me at least, always makes crazy amounts of foam that tend to defeat my best efforts at blow-off contraptions.

Is there something about beer yeast that makes it more likely to stall than wine yeast? Because if bentonite is included in wine kits made for noobs like me, then stalling must not be in the realm of common wine kit problems. But with beer yeast, I don't know.



Edited to add: BTW, the yeast included in the kit was EC-1118, which is a high attenuator, and laughs in the face of sticking. So maybe that's it.

Do they include EC-1118 in all kits? I know it from meadmaking, but was kinda surprised that they'd put it in a red wine kit. Maybe that's part of the promise of "6 weeks to bottle".
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