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Adding bentonite after first fermentation

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Michael L Collins

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I started a new project about a week ago, my first time using whole fruit. I’ll put a list of ingredients below. It’s a Peach and Strawberry wine. I used frozen peaches and strawberries from a grocery store (Giant Eagle) in a two-gallon bucket with a crushed Campden tablet, pectic enzymes, citric acid, strong tea, 3 + 2 cups of sugar and about 1 ½ gallon of water. I let this sit in the bucket for two days until the strawberries lost their color, and the peaches started to break down. On day three, I added the yeast and nutrient. When I took a sample (after five days so I can check progress) and added a little sugar to the sample (this needs back sweetened), it tastes pretty good. A strong peach flavor with a hint of strawberry along with a few other flavors I didn’t add. My yeast has a 13 to 15% alcohol tolerance, and I’m pretty sure I’m near that. I’m hoping I can protect the flavor while making something that isn’t a failure.

Frozen Peaches 3 lbs
Frozen Strawberries 1 lb
Pectic Enzyme 1/2 teaspoon
Sugar 5 Cups
Campden Tab/s 1
Citric Acid 1 tsp.
Strong Tea 4 oz
Water about 1.5 gallons
Diammonium Phosphate 1 tsp
Yeast 1/3 packet

I started at a 1.100 gravity (not counting any added sugar from the fruit breaking down). After five days, I have a 0.990 gravity. I’m assuming this means the first fermentation is done. My question is, when I transfer to the carboys, can I add the bentonite now, or is it too late, and will the pectic enzymes help with the clearing?

I have no money for anything to add, what I have is the bentonite, Knotts Gelatin, and time (which requires patience which I don’t have).
 
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Seamonkey84

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I’ve had strawberry clear by itself beautifully, haven’t done peach. I’ve yet to use any bentonite, and everything clears fine. If you want to add it now, I’d recommend dissolving it in some water first, then add it to the carboy while you’re racking, making sure that it’s getting mixed in.
 
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Michael L Collins

Michael L Collins

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I’ve had strawberry clear by itself beautifully, haven’t done peach. I’ve yet to use any bentonite, and everything clears fine. If you want to add it now, I’d recommend dissolving it in some water first, then add it to the carboy while you’re racking, making sure that it’s getting mixed in.

Thank you, I think that's what I'm going to try. The directions, as well as a few YouTube posts, suggest dissolving in hot water. I think I just might get enough for two carboys so I'll do one with and one without and just see what happens.
 
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Michael L Collins

Michael L Collins

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When I racked, I ended up only getting 1 1/2 gallon; luckily, I had a 1/2 gallon glass container. My plan changed from two different attempts to keeping them the same and using the smaller one to top off the larger for the next rack, so I used the bentonite in both. I also made my usual mistake. My original plan was to back sweeten when ready to bottle. I thought the yeast was at its tolerance, but I forgot about the water I was adding. It started to ferment again, and as of typing, this was going strong and clearing. The smaller one is going faster than the 1 gallon. I don't think I've ruined it yet (still plenty of time), and if I have to, I can back sweeten again... I think?
 
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Michael L Collins

Michael L Collins

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I decided to try the bentonite in the first fermentation by starting a new batch. I'm trying a few ideas I saw on YouTube, including adding a pectic enzyme to juice, tea (made with three tea bags), and the baking yeast from City Steading's grape juice wine. I started with a 1.100 as of typing this. It's a cheap but good-tasting juice, but I'm not expecting much, Recipe below.

Great Value Apple Juice 96 oz
Great Value Apple Juice Frozen concentrate 12 oz
Baker's Yeast 1/3 packet
Tea (Black Tea Tently Engish Blend 6 oz
Sugar (white) 1 cup
Sugar (Brown) 1 cup
Yeast Nutrient 1 tsp
Pectic Enzyme 1/2 tsp
Bentonite (in 1/3 cup of water) 2 tsp
 

ithink2020

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I decided to try the bentonite in the first fermentation by starting a new batch. I'm trying a few ideas I saw on YouTube, including adding a pectic enzyme to juice, tea (made with three tea bags), and the baking yeast from City Steading's grape juice wine. I started with a 1.100 as of typing this. It's a cheap but good-tasting juice, but I'm not expecting much, Recipe below.

Great Value Apple Juice 96 oz
Great Value Apple Juice Frozen concentrate 12 oz
Baker's Yeast 1/3 packet
Tea (Black Tea Tently Engish Blend 6 oz
Sugar (white) 1 cup
Sugar (Brown) 1 cup
Yeast Nutrient 1 tsp
Pectic Enzyme 1/2 tsp
Bentonite (in 1/3 cup of water) 2 tsp
How did it turn out?
Matt
 
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Michael L Collins

Michael L Collins

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How did it turn out?
Matt
About twelve days after I started it, the wine was clear with a specific gravity of 0.996 and tasted like licking an apple slice dipped in yeast. I added a Camden tablet than some Potassium Sorbate and let it sit for two days before back sweetening with a cup of brown sugar, taking back up to 1.01. From there, I let it sit in secondary until I was sure it wasn’t going to start fermentation back up (thirteen days).


But to answer your question. It turned out fairly good. This ended up being the first wine I bottled in traditional wine bottles. After the thirteen days, the yeast taste was gone. All that was left was an apple flavor and the heat of the alcohol. I’m not certain if the tea did any good or if the use of brown sugar did anything. I got three traditional 750m bottles and an unknown number of 11oz (I don’t remember). After a month, the apple taste became more pronounced (in the 11oz bottles). I put the three bottles away in a dark place to age with a plan to open one on or around June 1st.


Since then, I used this recipe to make a white grape and peach as well as a white grape and cherry (just not using the brown sugar and replacing the tea with powdered tannin). They did just like the apple with the white grape and peach being the best of all three (the White grape and cherry lost most of the cherry flavor). I used white grape and ##### for the 96oz but I added the same apple concentrate 12oz from the original recipe.


I could be wrong, but I think the Bentonite helped control the yeast. The three I used this recipe on didn’t have that yeast eruption my earlier wines had. They rolled around looking like I was boiling mud, but nothing went into the airlock. They were the most controlled fermentation I had done yet.
 

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