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Sparkolloid question (multiple applications of it)

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ARittner

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My first mead has been sitting around for a year now. 3 months in primary, then 9 months in secondary, in a temp-controlled 65 degree freezer.

I've been very patient, and haven't messed with it at all. Now that I'm ready to bottle, I did a FG and drank some of the sample. It tastes wonderful. No weird smells or flavors. The only thing is it looked more like beer (cloudy) than I would have liked.

So I added some Sparkolloid, 1 tsp per gallon (5 gallon batch)

That was 3 weeks ago. Within a couple days, the top 4 inches of the mead was clear, but the rest of the carboy went from slightly and uniformly cloudy, to looking like orange juice. Nothing has changed in the past 3 weeks. I'm willing to be very patient, and I know people say wait 30 days, but it's been almost that long, and nothing happened after those first couple days.

I used the hot method, boiling it in 8 ounces of water and applying it slowly. However, I didn't stir the mead after, I just swirled the carboy a little.

I've waited so long for this to be done, and it tastes so good I don't want to screw it up. Should/can I apply another shot of Sparkolloid, and stir it this time? Do I risk anything by doing that?

Help?

-Andy
 

Yooper

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Before adding more sparkelloid, you could try cooling the mead quickly to near freezing- if you can drop the temperature to 32-34 degrees (called "cold stabilization), it might clear the mead up in a day or two.
 
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ARittner

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I'll give cold crashing a shot. I have the technology. If that doesn't do it, any suggestions for Plan C?
 

huesmann

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Note that Sparkolloid only attracts one type of charged particle (I forget whether it's pos or neg). You may need something like bentonite, which will attract the other type.
 
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ARittner

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I'll keep that in mind too. Will all this messing around (cold crash, Sparkolloid, maybe bentonite) have any effect on the flavor, aside from removing the yeast that I didn't want anyway?

When I do beers, they always turn out good, or good enough, even if I screw something up. And I'm OK with good enough, since the time and money investment isn't so big. But the time/money I've got sunk into this mead is pretty high, so I'm really hoping for "better than good". :)
 

huesmann

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It shouldn't. Since the purpose of finings is to remove the suspended yeast and other particles, it does it by attaching to them and settling out. (The "attaching" helps make the combined particles bigger, which helps with the settling.) Unless you rack some of the sediment into your bottles (and why would you since you want them clear), all the additives should be left in the bottom of your carboy, and thus all that should remain is the flavor of your mead.
 
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ARittner

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Just to update... I cold-crashed the batch for almost 2 weeks at 33*. No result. The mead was in 3 layers. The top 4 inches perfectly clear, a 1 inch hazy layer, and the remainder was totally opaque, even to a 100 watt bulb.

Last night I decided to rack it again, lacking any other options. It had been in the secondary for 10 months now anyway. With everything mixed up it was all hazy again. I re-applied a second batch of Sparkolloid, this time making sure to carefully but thoroughly stir it. By this morning, the mead was clear from top to bottom. The finings clearly need to settle, so I'm going to give it another couple weeks, but it looks like I saved it!

My only regret is that I lost more than I would have liked to the racking process. I normally would try to get every last drop, but the bottom inch of the carboy was so mixed in with the 10 month old lees and other crud that I didn't want to mix back into the batch. So I sacrificed it, but I think I still came out winning.

-A
 

Taise

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Did you get a picture of it with the 3 layers. That would be interesting to see.
 
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ARittner

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I tried, but I couldn't get it to show up well enough. The layers were very distinct, like mixing oil and water, and they were like that for almost a month. No idea what happened.
 

roadymi

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My only regret is that I lost more than I would have liked to the racking process. I normally would try to get every last drop, but the bottom inch of the carboy was so mixed in with the 10 month old lees and other crud that I didn't want to mix back into the batch. So I sacrificed it, but I think I still came out winning.

-A
When I have this situation I rack the last dregs into a growler or a wine bottle depending on volumn. Let it sit a day or two then carefully pour the clear off....in the end you won't lose much.
 

Brett_Bellmore

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When I have this situation I rack the last dregs into a growler or a wine bottle depending on volumn. Let it sit a day or two then carefully pour the clear off....in the end you won't lose much.
Yeah, I've done that with dregs that looked like mud, and gotten back most of it in the end.
 

Brett_Bellmore

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Giving Sparkolloid my first try myself; I've gotten a few recipes I like, and think it's now time to work on my clarity.

Kind of hard to see what it's doing in my fastferment conical; The only transparent part is the little jar on the bottom. I'll wait a few days, then open it again and give it a look with a flashlight.
 

Brett_Bellmore

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Well, that was interesting: I had a batch of orange blossom mead that hadn't shown activity for a couple of weeks. I checked, it was still a little sweet, apparently a stalled ferment.

Well, fine, when that happens if I like the way it tastes, I just stabilize it, and after a few weeks of settling bottle it. Seems to work out.

So I decided to try adding the sparkolloid, 1 tablespoon in 2.7 gallons or so. And what happens? Instead of clearing up, it broke the yeast out of being stalled! Go figure.

Will it cause the mead to settle out faster once it ferments dry? I'll be interested to see.
 

pinto41

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Although I am very late to this initial question I can tell you I have had excellent results using the following process for meads and white wines or ciders. I use Bentonite per the instructions based on size of the ferment batch being treated and i keep the wine about 45F and stir in the bentonite with a drill and wine whip or similar tool. Let sit for at least 3 days and then apply the Sparkolloid per instructions and mix well. You should see a very bright mead, white wine or cider within a week. The Sparkolloid does a great job attaching to suspended particles however its not very dense and takes a while to flocculate. The addition or both bentonite and Sparkolloid caused a more dense "coagulation of suspension" and flocculates more rapidly. I don't know if the addition of bentonite first really matters as much as just using both and a series about 3 days apart. The bentonite and Sparkolloid are oppositely charged so they coagulate and flocculate quickly. Good Luck and cheers.
 

Robusto

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+1 for bentonite. That is all I typically use to clear my meads.

Is this a traditional (only honey, water, yeast, and nutrients) or is there fruit, spices, etc?
 

Dan O

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I'll give cold crashing a shot. I have the technology. If that doesn't do it, any suggestions for Plan C?
Drink it! The yeast won't kill you. If it's been sitting for a year, your ferment is long since finished & if it tastes great now, why wait? 🤓 Clarity isn't everything, unless you're a stickler for it 😉😋.
 
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