Clearing already clear mead (and wine)??

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OneCerebralSamurai

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I have some Super-Kleer K.C. that I intend to use for several batches of mead and wine I currently have in secondary. In researching this (and other) clarifiers, it seems that not only do they settle out insoluble materials, many of them are also reported to remove some soluble components. This supposedly improves the finished product.

My question is – Do any of you use clarifiers on batches that clear very well on their own? I have a cyser that's about ready to bottle (it's only 4 months old, but crystal clear), and I'm debating whether to use the Super-Kleer K.C. If it will improve the final product (maybe allow it to age better), then I'll use it...

What say you?
 

MedsenFey

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Even what looks clear to the eye can have a lot of small particle that remain and will drop out eventually. I have seen "clear" meads drop sediment in a bottle despite having multiple rackings, filtration and extended aging. I will sometimes use fining agents (Bentonite or Sparkolloid most commonly) to prevent clear meads from dropping sediment later in the bottles. This is something I've see occur many time. The fining agents can have a negative impact on aroma and flavor in some cases, especially if used in higher amounts, but in some cases the removal of the residual yeasty/proteinaceous material actually brightens aroma and flavor.
 
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OneCerebralSamurai

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Update - my cyser was very clear at 10 weeks and then I racked, added campden, and let it sit for another 6 weeks. I racked it again last night, and it left just a very light dusting of sediment in the carboy.

I added the super-kleer last night... and when I stirred it in, the cyser became very cloudy. Now, 12 hours later, it is still cloudy and there is a great deal of sediment on the bottom of the carboy. It tasted great before I added the super-kleer, and I'm interested to see if the taste changes any.
 

KevinM

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SuperKleer is a combo of Kieselsol and Chitosan. They both do take a while to clear out. (I think mine took about a week). Per Medsan, it's possible that it can altertaste, but I think SuperKleer's combination is said to do this less. The Chitosan part could potentially start stripping out tannins, but the Kieselsol starts being used instead. Jack Keller's site says that when he uses it, it's about a 10 day wait.

Also: http://www.winemakermag.com/stories...n/26-a-clearer-understanding-of-fining-agents

You didn't happen to keep a "before" sample somewhere to compare against, did you? Let us know if you think it did anything. I'm curious how much stuff will drop out.
 
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OneCerebralSamurai

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A significant amount of sediment dropped out of my “already clear” cyser. I'd say that there was a “heavy dusting” that was maybe 1/16 – 1/8 inch thick in the bottom of the carboy. It still tastes very good, but it seems to taste sweeter and less complex now. I had cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves in this recipe, and before I cleared it all I could taste was a hint of cinnamon. The Super-Kleer K.C. seems to have stripped out most of the remaining cinnamon (I used 1tbsp ground cinnamon in primary and 1tbsp in secondary – next time I'll increase this).

I plan to age some bottles of this for a few years, so I am glad that I decided to use the Super-Kleer so that I will get less sediment in those bottles.
 

MedsenFey

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You can always drop a cinnamon stick in it and let it pick up some more cinnamon before bottling.

It is possible that fining may make a mead taste sweeter - when you remove proteins and yeast particles, you'll find they have a bitter taste. When there is less bitterness in the mix, the perception of sweetness is increased. This is why it is often wise when backsweetening to keep it a little less than you think it needs; over time, as it clears, it will taste sweeter.
 
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