100% clarity before bottling?

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benbrewing

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Hi folks,
Nice to meet people here, I am brand new here but have been experimenting with meads for about 10 years.
How important do people think it is to let the carboy get totally or very clear before bottling? I have bottled recently some fairly clear to very clear ciders and I still see some lees or sediment settle on the bottom. I am OK with this unless it makes long term aging potentially problematic. I am about 1/3 of the way into bottling 75 gallons of cider and mead from this summer and fall's harvest and am putting it all in green 500ml crown capped bottles and bottling at 1.004 to 1.010 for a nice sparkle. I can also rack into a third carboy (they are settling in a second one now and have been for about 1 week) and wait longer before bottling.
tempImageW0gNri.jpg

thanks for any advice!
Best,
Ben
 

SimPilot

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How important do people think it is to let the carboy get totally or very clear before bottling?

I think that's per your own preference. You can bottle after secondary or keep cold crashing - racking until you reach desired luminosity.

I don't know how much difference that would make in long term aging...


.
 

CKuhns

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Of course it will clarify and settle out in the bottle if there are any suspended particles.

As mentioned above i believe it really doesnt negatively impact the flavor long term as long as its just a small amount. If gross lees or a lot of yeast could impact the flavor some due to autolisys of the yeast after they die.

With that said, I have had some that have aged 5 plus years with a dusting to small amount of sediment and have noticed no difference as long as they were decanted well.
 
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benbrewing

benbrewing

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Of course it will clarify and settle out in the bottle if there are any suspended particles.

As mentioned above i believe it really doesnt negatively impact the flavor long term as long as its just a small amount. If gross lees or a lot of yeast could impact the flavor some due to autolisys of the yeast after they die.

With that said, I have had some that have aged 5 plus years with a dusting to small amount of sediment and have noticed no difference as long as they were decanted well.
thanks for the input!
 
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benbrewing

benbrewing

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I think that's per your own preference. You can bottle after secondary or keep cold crashing - racking until you reach desired luminosity.

I don't know how much difference that would make in long term aging...


.
thanks for the input.. i haven't been cold crashing yet tho - just settling and fermenting a little more to get a sparkle by adding some honey bug materials a week ago. As it had gone still over months in primary.
 

MightyMosin

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I'm a huge fan of clarity for the aesthetics of the final product as well as the possibility of taste differences.

One of the first honeys I used is a raw, unfiltered Buckwheat. In addition to Buckwheat being a difficult varietal to use in mead, this particular honey batch has so much pollen and other items hanging around that after 3 rackings and ~6 months of leaving to settle there was still a lot suspended that would not drop out. In truth, the flavor left a lot to be desired.

After a lot of reading, I used Bentonite, racked after a few days of settling and I was amazed at the inch or so of stuff that settled out. Sparkolloid was then used to see about another 2 inches of crap settle out and I was left with an incredibly clear mead. The taste of the mead was vastly improved by using the fining agents. They did in days what ~6 months of settling was not doing.
 
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benbrewing

benbrewing

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I'm a huge fan of clarity for the aesthetics of the final product as well as the possibility of taste differences.

One of the first honeys I used is a raw, unfiltered Buckwheat. In addition to Buckwheat being a difficult varietal to use in mead, this particular honey batch has so much pollen and other items hanging around that after 3 rackings and ~6 months of leaving to settle there was still a lot suspended that would not drop out. In truth, the flavor left a lot to be desired.

After a lot of reading, I used Bentonite, racked after a few days of settling and I was amazed at the inch or so of stuff that settled out. Sparkolloid was then used to see about another 2 inches of crap settle out and I was left with an incredibly clear mead. The taste of the mead was vastly improved by using the fining agents. They did in days what ~6 months of settling was not doing.
Aweomse input! that's what i am wondering about - guess i need to buy some bentonite -tho i do have bentonite clay around.. think it would work? is it super fine grade the stuff you used or how was it applied? it doesn't mix into the solution?
 
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benbrewing

benbrewing

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Awesome input! that's what i am wondering about - guess i need to buy some bentonite -tho i do have bentonite clay around.. think it would work? is it super fine grade the stuff you used or how was it applied? it doesn't mix into the solution?
Just bought some of both -thanks for the tips and your experience again.. very helpful.
 

MightyMosin

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Bentonite is sold as a powder that you mix with boiling water to create a slurry that will get added to the mead. It clumps while mixing so be patient. I believe that the slurry is good for ~ 6 weeks according to the labeling.

Just follow the directions and you should be good.

An interesting thing to note with Bentonite is that you can use it in primary as well as secondary, In primary I don't bother creating the slurry as it will rehydrate itself. When used in primary, the fermentation generated CO2 will carry the Bentonite to the top and it will collect sediment as this happens. Once the CO2 bubble escapes the Bentonite will fall to the bottom and continue its garbage collection on the way to the bottom.

In secondary, there isn't the large amount of CO2 to give the Bentonite a ride, so you want it as a slurry when adding in secondary.

Bentonite and Sparkolloid have opposite electrical charges and will pull different things out. Bentonite in primary is nice as it saves an added racking where you lose some volume. You have to rack in between these two different fining agents.

While I haven't use Chitosan and Kieselsol (sold as Super Kleer) it works on the same property of electrical charge and I've read that it works faster than the two above products; I've also read that it can strip out some delicate flavors. I don't believe that you have to rack in between these two agents.
 
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benbrewing

benbrewing

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Bentonite is sold as a powder that you mix with boiling water to create a slurry that will get added to the mead. It clumps while mixing so be patient. I believe that the slurry is good for ~ 6 weeks according to the labeling.

Just follow the directions and you should be good.

An interesting thing to note with Bentonite is that you can use it in primary as well as secondary, In primary I don't bother creating the slurry as it will rehydrate itself. When used in primary, the fermentation generated CO2 will carry the Bentonite to the top and it will collect sediment as this happens. Once the CO2 bubble escapes the Bentonite will fall to the bottom and continue its garbage collection on the way to the bottom.

In secondary, there isn't the large amount of CO2 to give the Bentonite a ride, so you want it as a slurry when adding in secondary.

Bentonite and Sparkolloid have opposite electrical charges and will pull different things out. Bentonite in primary is nice as it saves an added racking where you lose some volume. You have to rack in between these two different fining agents.

While I haven't use Chitosan and Kieselsol (sold as Super Kleer) it works on the same property of electrical charge and I've read that it works faster than the two above products; I've also read that it can strip out some delicate flavors. I don't believe that you have to rack in between these two agents.
Wow - thanks for all the info. Great stuff and I will work with this accordingly...
 

Dan O

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Bentonite is sold as a powder that you mix with boiling water to create a slurry that will get added to the mead. It clumps while mixing so be patient. I believe that the slurry is good for ~ 6 weeks according to the labeling.

Just follow the directions and you should be good.

An interesting thing to note with Bentonite is that you can use it in primary as well as secondary, In primary I don't bother creating the slurry as it will rehydrate itself. When used in primary, the fermentation generated CO2 will carry the Bentonite to the top and it will collect sediment as this happens. Once the CO2 bubble escapes the Bentonite will fall to the bottom and continue its garbage collection on the way to the bottom.

In secondary, there isn't the large amount of CO2 to give the Bentonite a ride, so you want it as a slurry when adding in secondary.

Bentonite and Sparkolloid have opposite electrical charges and will pull different things out. Bentonite in primary is nice as it saves an added racking where you lose some volume. You have to rack in between these two different fining agents.

While I haven't use Chitosan and Kieselsol (sold as Super Kleer) it works on the same property of electrical charge and I've read that it works faster than the two above products; I've also read that it can strip out some delicate flavors. I don't believe that you have to rack in between these two agents.
Wow! Thank you for this. I acquired some bentonite recently, right after I bought some, (go figure🙄), but, hadn't known it could be used in secondary as well. I had always heard primary only.
I have a feeling a few of my recent batches will see a bentonite slurry fairly soon. 😁
Every day's a school day 🤓🤓
 
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