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So you guys use clearing agents?

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Do you use clearing agents

  • Yes

    Votes: 13 68.4%
  • No

    Votes: 6 31.6%

  • Total voters
    19

kuziwk

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Hi guys, not sure if this has been done before but wondering what most you do for clearing agents. Im contemplating not using them, or maybe use half of each package to hold more tannin in the wine...I like a good tannic wine. Do clearing agents strip the wine of tannins?
 

Johnd

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I'll sometimes use them on my white wines, but pretty much never on my reds. Can't say that I've ever done a comparison between fined and un-fined wines, but a lot of hard work goes into extraction of all of the goodies from the grapes / skins, why take a chance at giving it up? After fermenting and barrel aging, one to two years usually go by before my reds are bottled, so they're crystal clear and don't need any help with clearing anyway.
 

joeswine

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Whites yes,reds sometime, always use bentonite in the beginning to aid in fermentation and clearing.
 

mainshipfred

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Although I don't wait quite as long as John, ususally 10 - 12 months, I also don't use clearing agents in reds. With whites that I don't want to naturally go through MLF I'm using Lysozyme. Not necessarily a clearing but it does help. Additionally for whites I will sometimes use bentonite if I'm not happy with how it's clearing.
 

joeswine

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I was referring to kits MLF not recommend for them but to each their own, as long as it works for you.
 

KAndr97

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I've only ever used bentonite once on a very stubborn strawberry wine. Looking back, it wasn't that stubborn and I should've just let it sit for a couple more months. It definitely took away some of the fruitiness of the wine, and maybe some of the body. It was one of my first brews and I was impatient.
In general, I don't use any fining agent or clarifiers. Time is the greatest healer in my limited experience.
 

Ignoble Grape

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So now that I have a production line going, I'm letting them sit and wait. I have a couple of 8-week kits that were technically ready to bottle several months ago. I figure as long as I have carboys, space, and bottled wine on the rack, why fine? But, I must say I look at those full carboys regularly knowing that the wine is ready and it's like a kid on Christmas Eve...
 

kuziwk

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So now that I have a production line going, I'm letting them sit and wait. I have a couple of 8-week kits that were technically ready to bottle several months ago. I figure as long as I have carboys, space, and bottled wine on the rack, why fine? But, I must say I look at those full carboys regularly knowing that the wine is ready and it's like a kid on Christmas Eve...
Haha that's true, how long does it take to clear roughly when you don't add the clearing agents? I do have a nebbiolo kit that I bought for the second time it's a 16L without skins. I want to do a side by side comparison since the first kit I did I used the clearing agents, I have 11 bottles left from 10 months ago. Would using half the clearing agents though be a good compromise?

The only reason why I'm curious about this is i want to know if clearing agents strip tannin to appeal to the masses because it seems like even my high end kits with skins are less tannic than alot of commercial red wines I drink...and I'm wondering if this is why.
 

kuziwk

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I'll sometimes use them on my white wines, but pretty much never on my reds. Can't say that I've ever done a comparison between fined and un-fined wines, but a lot of hard work goes into extraction of all of the goodies from the grapes / skins, why take a chance at giving it up? After fermenting and barrel aging, one to two years usually go by before my reds are bottled, so they're crystal clear and don't need any help with clearing anyway.
Do you find your reds are really tannic or do you still find you are adding tannins?
 

cmason1957

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Do you find your reds are really tannic or do you still find you are adding tannins?
I do not find any kit wines to be "really" tannic, they all tend to be missing that element and I almost always add extra tannin or oak to them, both reds and whites. I usually add the clearing agents to my kit wines, but not when the instructions tell you to, wines aren't ready to be cleared that soon and need time to develop. That's just my way.
 

kuziwk

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I do not find any kit wines to be "really" tannic, they all tend to be missing that element and I almost always add extra tannin or oak to them, both reds and whites. I usually add the clearing agents to my kit wines, but not when the instructions tell you to, wines aren't ready to be cleared that soon and need time to develop. That's just my way.
How do they taste before the clearing agents? More tannic? At what stage do you add them?
 

cmason1957

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How do they taste before the clearing agents? More tannic? At what stage do you add them?
I don't find that using SuperKlear/DualFine/Chitosan& Keisol has much, if any impact on taste. I can't speak to any other clearing agents, since I haven't ever used them. I generally add some tannin up-front (maybe 1 or 2 tbsp) before primary fermentation and then if I still think it needs some extra oomph, I add finishing tannins after the fact, let sit a minimum of 2 months and taste again.
 

Johnd

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Do you find your reds are really tannic or do you still find you are adding tannins?
I tend to make pretty big wines with heavy extraction, Cab and Petite Sirah fermented into the 90's, so I've never found the need to add tannins, just the need to let them sit a few years..........
 

Swedeman

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Have any of you guys ever done a side by side test splitting the same kit and actually found a taste difference when using fining? A quick search on the net didn't show any such "clear" conclusion in peer reviewed articles. Yes, fining reduce aroma components but would that mean a significant difference when tested on a panel?

In addition, when gravity makes it's job with dropping out suspended materials, it's more than lees that drops out. It's phenolic compounds, tannins...
 

kuziwk

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Or do we have the option of just adding chitosin without kliesolol?
 

kuziwk

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I don't find that using SuperKlear/DualFine/Chitosan& Keisol has much, if any impact on taste. I can't speak to any other clearing agents, since I haven't ever used them. I generally add some tannin up-front (maybe 1 or 2 tbsp) before primary fermentation and then if I still think it needs some extra oomph, I add finishing tannins after the fact, let sit a minimum of 2 months and taste again.
That's alot of tannin, I was worried by adding 1tsp that it was too much. So we're thinking that kits are generally low in tannin, perhaps clearing agenas dor remove some but not more than standard gravity would and time.
 
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kuziwk

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So what are the thoughts of just using bentonite in primary and chitosin...skipping the kliesol?
 

Johnd

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Or do we have the option of just adding chitosin without kliesolol?
It's an option, but might not perform as well. In understanding the Kieselsol / Chitosan (Dualfine) relationship, it's important to note that they perform similar operations on oppositely charged particles. Bentonite used in fermentation can take the place of the Kieselsol if you like, that's what I do when I use finings. Check out this clip below, might help understand the relationships:

Bentonite

Bentonite is a type of super absorbent clay that is usually added prior to fermentation. This volcanic-ash clay can absorb many times its own weight in other compounds. Bentonite is mixed vigorously with water before being added to the must to prevent the clay from caking together and sitting as a lump at the bottom of your fermenter. The bentonite will quickly settle out into a fine dust at the bottom of the fermenter and remain until fermentation begins.

A quick word about Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Nucleation Sites: During fermentation, the yeast produces CO2 which tries to escape the wine. This escape occurs at rough or jagged points and not along the smooth sides of a glass carboy or bucket. These rough areas are called nucleation sites, and you’ve seen them before even if you didn’t realize it. Some beer glasses have tiny dotted logos or shapes etched into the bottom of the glass. These allow the carbon dioxide to gather and raise to the surface of the beer, helping to maintain the foamy head of a beer and bringing aroma compounds to the surface. Another example would be dropping a Mentos in a bottle of Coke. The surface of the Mentos is rough and when dropped into the Coke the supersaturated CO2 in the Coke quickly forms at the many nucleation sites on the Mentos and rushes towards the surface of the bottle, creating the giant burst of gas and liquid from the bottle.

Bentonite benefits from nucleation sites because as CO2 is released into the wine by the yeast, the gas comes out of solution on the bentonite causing it to plume upwards into the wine and continually circulate. This process happens during most of the active fermentation, and is why it is recommended to stir the wine after primary fermentation to remove CO2 and help the bentonite finish its job. Bentonite gathers many floating compounds by absorption and the weight of these new compounds causes the bentonite to fall back to the bottom of the fermenter. While the bentonite falls it gathers stray proteins, dead yeast cells, and other wine-clouding compounds. This is why bentonite is much more effective when used prior to fermentation. After the production of CO2 ends the bentonite quickly falls to the bottom of the fermenter and does not capture any loose proteins or other compounds that are still suspended in the wine. Bentonite is probably the most widely used fining due to the fact that it settles out completely after fermentation leaving no flavor, aroma or color behind in the finished wine. You will find bentonite in almost every wine kit.

Chitosan and Kieselsol
I’ve lumped these two fining agents together because many times they are sold and used in pairs. Chitosan is a positively charged fining made from chitin, a compound that makes up the exoskeleton of crustaceans, such as shrimp, crabs, and lobsters. Kieselsol is a negatively charged fining made from silicon dioxide (silica) which is mostly found in quartz. These finings usually come together under a brand name, such as DualFine. First kieselsol is added and gently stirred into the wine after fermentation and then a day later the chitosan is added and stirred. This combination of the negatively and positively charged finings collect all of the suspending particles in your wine and can typically clear up a wine very quickly. I realize that these compounds may seem like they have a strange origin and are not something you want to consume, but rest assured they work by removing haze causing elements in wine and then settle to the bottom of the fermenter. When the wine is transferred out of the vessel, these compounds stay behind with the lees (the yeast and other junk that settles out on the bottom of the fermenter.)
 
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