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What is your preferred method for fining?

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Erik the Awful

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Now that I have a dozen or so wines under my belt, I need to work on my quality. I'm planning on purchasing a press this year, and I think that will do a lot to get the sediment out of my wines and make using the hydrometer easier. What can I do to improve the quality on the backend, when fining?

I've heard of adding bentonite clay, but that it adds big, fluffy lees that cut down the yield.

I've heard of using crushed eggshell, but that it also removes color and flavor.

I've heard of using egg whites and that it doesn't have these problems.

What are your experiences and recommendations?
 
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Erik the Awful

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I haven't heard of sparkolloid. What are the downsides to it?

I went ahead and ordered a packet, mostly because I needed $5 more to get Amazon's free shipping on some other stuff.
 

videojunkie1208

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I think it's just a brand of bentonite clay. In my meads it makes a grey sludge in the yeast cake at the bottom of my aging carboys. I also age my meads for 3-6 months at a minimum. Seems to take a lot of the haze and yeast out of suspension. I add it when I rack from primary to secondary fermentation. IT's a little weird to work with, as you have to boil the stuff for a bit before adding it to the carboy. (I let it cool a bit before adding, but a cup of liquid isn't going to measurably heat 5 gallons of mead.

I also add my pectic enzymes at the same time if I used fruit in the must.
 
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Erik the Awful

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According to the interwebs, it's fishbone. Bentonite clay reportedly makes bigger lees that limit yield, and sparkolloid reportedly make a fine, compact layer.

I've been using pectic enzyme, and it sure does help.

I'll assume sparkolloid does like any other fining additive and removes some color and flavor.
 

bobofthenorth

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I've used Sparkolloid a couple of times and I really didn't think it worked very well. In fact I don't think it worked at all. My go to solution is Kieselsol and Chitosan.
 

Yooper

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I almost ever use finings, as my wines are generally totally clear within about 60 days. I’m really not that opposed to them, but I don’t want to share a wine with someone who may be a vegetarian and have to wonder if I used gelatin or sparkelloid in the wine or chitosan, etc.
Usually cold stabilization will clear any wine.
 
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Erik the Awful

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Thanks, I hadn't thought of the vegetarian aspect. I'm hoping that when I switch from the blender to the press that most of my sediment issues go away.
 
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Erik the Awful

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So, when researching kieselsol and chitosan, I found this site, which covers a lot more fining agents:

Bentonite and sparkolloid are vegan-friendly. Chitosan is not, and may also cause shellfish allergy reactions. One of my friends who regularly asks for jalapeno-cherry is strictly vegan, and I don't want to spoil it for him. When checking on diatomaceous earth (sparkolloid), I found this website :

It looks like bentonite and sparkolloid will be my go-to for now.
 

Coffee49

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Any clearing agents (bentonite) or sorbate should be added at 2nd racking, after 3-5 months, if cleared rack last time. Usually if not totally cleared,cold stabilize for 2 weeks. Whites are usually the problem children in my collection. But in 40 batches had to dump 3 so not a bad ratio, still a lot more benefit that paying $12-18 retail. Started that appfel wein recipe, love the start up, cranked like a cookoo clock the first 10 days.
 

Maylar

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For apples or oranges, pectic enzyme.
For mead, bentonite.
Anything else gets Super Kleer ( kieselsol and chitosan ). A friend of mine has spoken with the manufacturer and was assured (in very scientific terms) that the process of making it destroys anything that would trigger a shellfish reaction.
 

Coffee49

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Kieselsol and chitostan are used in kits and deliver a 1. 2. Punch that seems to settle the juice
 
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Erik the Awful

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Chitosan is off my list because it's not vegan, and since it's typically paired with kieselsol, that's off the list as well.

I think I'll go with pectic enzyme twenty hours after campden tablets, four hours before pitching the yeast.
Bentonite when racking to secondary.
Sparkolloid at next racking - typically at two months.

Does that sound like a reasonable plan?
 
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