Bentonite in new mead

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Jul 17, 2023
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My 1 gallon fresh currant mead has been quietly resting for abou 2 weeks. Today I removed the bag of fruit and took the SG reading, which is at about .990. I hope that’s good! It looks beautiful and has a lovely aroma. The taste is harsh and, since it is the color of Hawaiian Punch, I expected it to be sweeter.
But it’s wine, not bug juice (stay away, you fruit flies!). So not sweet is very ok.
I added a half teaspoon of bentonite mixed the best I could with water. I’m hoping the mead can clear up a bit. My question is, do I stir the bentonite daily or just let it rest? My plan is to rack the mead into another 1 gallon jug in about a week, leaving behind the sediment. Then bottling it into smaller bottles in - what? a month? - as the final rest until Christmas celebrations. I’m new at this and would appreciate any advice. TIA.


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Jan 29, 2014
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* you do not need to mix every day. The purpose for bentonite (clay) is to have the charges attract opposite charges creating very heavy particles that fall quickly. Your required mixing has happened when you rehydrate over night.
* time? The normal is ferment about a week -> clear gross lees for about a month -> clear fine particulates for several months. Note this fits well with a plan to have it finished at Christmas.
Everything that can settle out will with time. Patience is important. ,,, Would you rather have it settle in a carboy or your finished bottle?
* at this point oxidation is your number one enemy! You didn’t mention adding metabisulphite. The more you manipulate the more oxygen will be incorporated. My pattern is to try moving the mead three times to minimize oxygen.
* did you add any tannin? it will combine with protein (honey has protein haze). Tannin also acts as an antioxidant to help resist oxidation.
* the currant/ fruit will come out better with a little sweetening right before bottling. With mead I like to sweeten with honey. If it is important to remove all haze use sugar since the protein in honey will cause haze. Honey’s Protein haze will not settle with time. Back to tannin, tannin combines with protein creating larger particles that settle out with time. Sweetening young wine typically goes along with adding potassium sorbate which prevents yeast from reproducing. Young wine has live yeast which can restart a fermentation breaking bottles.
* the wine will tell you what to do. For a clear wine more time usually is better. With a deadline it may be better to target a more natural wine with some cloudiness.
* meads are supposed to have stronger honey flavor at two or even five years. Consider saving one bottle to open in a year.

Good luck on the hobby.


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At 0.990, your wine is bone dry. If you want sweet, later you will stabilize it with sorbate + K-meta, then backsweeten.

Regarding harshness, that is normal at this stage. Wine requires months, sometimes years, to smooth out. Three months from now will be totally different. Record your impressions when you taste it, and a year from now read the notes from first to last. You'll see the progression.

Bentonite is normally mixed with hot water to get it to dissolve, and some folks let it rest overnight before adding to the wine. It's purpose is to precipitate the sediment, and if you keep stirring, it's not settling.

Your time table is far too fast. I rarely bottle wine before 4 months, as even with fining agents it takes time to precipitate the sediment, and some heavy reds will take a year. Yours may be good at Christmas, but it's going to be young.

I suggest you start another batch now for the following Christmas.

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