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Mead Fining Questions about Bentonite and Sparkolloid

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adamyoung

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Hello Meadmakers/Methiers,

I am wrapping up work on my foray into mead-making and will need to finish up what's in my carboys in the coming weeks. I bought some bentonite and some Sparkolloid, and after I hit them with campden and Potassium Sorbate, I was going to do the fining process and then bottle. I wanted to find out what everyone here does in detail for that process - one of my big questions is how to sanitize the bentonite and Sparkolloid prior to pitching into the mead. Does boiling either denature or neutralize them? If not, that would be the easiest, I'm guessing. I've read most people do bentonite first, and then come in with Sparkolloid shortly after - any time lengths you folks like for each (assuming that's your approach)? I probably won't be 'cold crashing' these since I don't want to draw O2 into the carboys and I can't gently lower their temp so they can keep a head of offgassed CO2 on top - do you reckon they'll clear up okay at ~71-73F?

Thanks for any help!
 

Maylar

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I've only used Bentonite once. No sanitizing, you don't want to expose it to liquid. I mixed it per instructions and it made a nasty clump of mud that was really hard to deal with. Ultimately it did work, but if I use it again I'll put it in dry in primary instead of trying to fine the finished mead.

Dunno about sparkolloid, sorry.
 
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adamyoung

adamyoung

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Thanks Maylar. May I ask what your ambient temperature was (approximately) when you used the bentonite?
 

Shine0n

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I use it in primary, and if it's too slow to clear during secondary I'll do sparkolloid.

Sparkolloid is a hot fining agent, boil recommended water, add sparkolloid and stir. Wait 5-10 minutes and add to mead.

Mine usually clears within a week at room temp or 2 days in the fridge
 
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adamyoung

adamyoung

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Ok thanks Shine0n and also Maylar for the follow-up. In the midst of this thread, I did email with LD Carlson (they sell both) and was told both should be hydrated with boiling water up front, so that completely allays my fears.

One of my biggest challenges as a homebrewer the past several years is figuring out the conundrum of how to cold crash without sucking starsan or O2 back into the fermenter. I've tried hooking up a CO2 tank in various ways and throwing a modicum of pressure on, but every time I've come back to an empty tank in ~12-24 hours. Obviously buying a unitank would fix that, or if I were really spot on with process I could spund with a solid/non-drilled bung...I'm just nowhere near that precise. Anyhow - all of that is to say that it's a shame because I'd love to fine with bentonite and Sparkolloid at the cooler temps where I'm told their ionic reaction is more dramatic and effective. I'll try out at room temp and we'll see how she goes....
 

Maylar

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Ok thanks Shine0n and also Maylar for the follow-up. In the midst of this thread, I did email with LD Carlson (they sell both) and was told both should be hydrated with boiling water up front, so that completely allays my fears.

One of my biggest challenges as a homebrewer the past several years is figuring out the conundrum of how to cold crash without sucking starsan or O2 back into the fermenter. I've tried hooking up a CO2 tank in various ways and throwing a modicum of pressure on, but every time I've come back to an empty tank in ~12-24 hours. Obviously buying a unitank would fix that, or if I were really spot on with process I could spund with a solid/non-drilled bung...I'm just nowhere near that precise. Anyhow - all of that is to say that it's a shame because I'd love to fine with bentonite and Sparkolloid at the cooler temps where I'm told their ionic reaction is more dramatic and effective. I'll try out at room temp and we'll see how she goes....
I remove the airlock when cold crashing. A few days of O2 exposure isn't going to oxidize a mead.
 
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