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WineXpert Skipping bentonite?

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So typically I have used all the agents included in the kit. I am considering using no clearing/fining agents in the Eclipse Bravado kit I'm starting on tomorrow, beginning with no bentonite. Thoughts?
 

richmke

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As long as you are bulk aging for at least 9 months, you can skip the clearing/fining agents. Time will do the work.

I have skipped everything but K-Meta for reds that are not backsweetened.

Shorter stuff, like Island Mist kits, do not have the time in carboy to clear before bottling. Ditto for whites. If you do intend to age whites before bottling, then wait until closer to bottling to decide. If they have not cleared enough, you can always use the clearing agents then.
 

AZMDTed

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While I agree that sorbate isn't needed in a wine fermented to dry and not backsweetened, and that time can replace Chitosan in kits for clearing after fermenting I'm not so sure that skipping bentonite is always good. Bentonite is the best agent for removing protein haze, and it's used in many commercial wines for that reason. It's not just a shortcut kit agent. While clearing protein haze may not be critical in reds, it is for whites. Again with enough time the protein haze should clear on it's own, but watching a white wine with haze clear is a frustrating several months full of doubt.

I trust Johnds advice on this though and don't think you'd go wrong not using it. But unlike the sorbate, I wouldn't toss the bentonite package away. Hold on to it as a backup if necessary as it can always be added later for a little extra help.
 

Johnd

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But unlike the sorbate, I wouldn't toss the bentonite package away. Hold on to it as a backup if necessary as it can always be added later for a little extra help.
I agree with your analysis, especially in the last paragraph. If I were to have trouble clearing a wine over an extended bulk aging period, I wouldn't hesitate to use some fining agents. I date and keep the fining agents provided with the kits. My thought process is that if it's not needed and the wine clears in time without it, I try not to use it, but its a good fall back option when the wine tells you it needs help.............
 

montanaWineGuy

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So typically I have used all the agents included in the kit. I am considering using no clearing/fining agents in the Eclipse Bravado kit I'm starting on tomorrow, beginning with no bentonite. Thoughts?
When I only had a couple of Carboys, I would use bentonite to free up the carboy. I've now 8 six gallon carboys and 3 five gallon Culligan water bottles so long bulk storage is not a problem.
 

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I skipped bentonite in the beginning. I am hoping to only use K-meta and Sorbate, and nothing else for this wine.
 

Johnd

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I skipped bentonite in the beginning. I am hoping to only use K-meta and Sorbate, and nothing else for this wine.
I'm assuming we're still talking about the Bravado kit? If so, it's a dry red, there is no need for sorbate unless you plan to add sugar to it yourself. Sorbate is #1 on my Must Skip list for all dry wines.
 

Stressbaby

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One function of bentonite as I understand it is to heat stabilize the wine. With higher temps, the proteins AZMDTed talked about will precipitate and cloud the wine. So let's say you bulk age and bottle clear wine at a certain temp. Then for whatever reason, that bottle finds itself 5F warmer than the temp at which it cleared. Those proteins precipitate and cloud the wine. The bentonite is not a guarantee, but it some measure of protection against that.

That is what I was taught anyway.
 

GaDawg

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Bentonite circulates the yeast,
I'm not sure it effects the taste
 

bkisel

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I use all the agents that come with my kits. I'll use bentonite, in the primary, even with fruit/country wine recipes that don't call for bentonite. Guess you could consider me a bentonite fan boy.
 

Johnd

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One function of bentonite as I understand it is to heat stabilize the wine. With higher temps, the proteins AZMDTed talked about will precipitate and cloud the wine. So let's say you bulk age and bottle clear wine at a certain temp. Then for whatever reason, that bottle finds itself 5F warmer than the temp at which it cleared. Those proteins precipitate and cloud the wine. The bentonite is not a guarantee, but it some measure of protection against that.

That is what I was taught anyway.
While that is true, it's not a constant, as all wines are not protein unstable, but some are. If I recall the UC Davis literature, their testing was to heat wine to 80F for two hours to test for protein instability. At that point, all of the wines in their test that had been fined with bentonite remained clear, half of the unfined wines exhibited some degree of protein haze, so it may be a concern if you allow your wines to get to temperatures beyond those that we typically try to age and drink our wines.
 

grapeman

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I learned that it is the active fermentation that circulates the bentonite a bit. This in turn gets the bentonite in contact with all the wine and suspended particles, etc in the wine. As it drops out, it brings unwanted things with it. You can add the bentonite later in the process and it will work but drops out more slowly since it doesn't have the heavier particles to attach to and aid dropout and flocculation.
 

dcbrown73

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I think I will continue to use the bentonite during active fermentation for now. Actually, the only thing I intend to skip as of now is the Sorbate unless otherwise required. (back sweetening)
 

Floandgary

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The really coolest thing about Bentonite is what it really is and what else it is widely used for :sh ..
 

Johnd

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I'm not sure what exactly he was getting at, but bentonite is a clay, harvested from the earth.
Uses typically associated with it are in the production of "drilling mud" in the petroleum industry.
It is also used to stop leaks in ponds that are having difficulty holding water, it will get drawn into the porous strata and basically clog it up.

I'm sure there are others, but that's where I've run into it outside of the wine world.
 

AZMDTed

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While mostly associated with folk medicine it is said that bentonite in low doses is a laxative, yet in high doses it has the opposite effect.
 

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