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General Category => Other Fermentables => Topic started by: beerrat on April 17, 2010, 03:57:08 PM

Title: Clarifying mead
Post by: beerrat on April 17, 2010, 03:57:08 PM
Greetings
I have a sweet mead in secondary (glass) for 2 months (was in primary for about 40 days).

It is clearing slowly, wonder what others do to produce clear mead.

I have bentonnite on hand.

I see that sparkalloid was used by the past couple NHC winners.

Regards,
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: dbeechum on April 17, 2010, 05:07:07 PM
The best mead maker I know (who's leading our mead tasting tomorrow) does a one two punch of Bentonite and Sparkoloid.
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: The Professor on April 17, 2010, 05:43:10 PM
If you're in a hurry cou van use the clearing agents, and I have used them myself a couple of times...they do the job quite efficently, but you don't really need them.   
I usually just let my meads clear on their own schedule. 
The end product has always been noticeably better that way (to my taste buds, anyway). 
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: beerrat on April 18, 2010, 11:45:55 PM
Any suggestion on when and how to apply clarifying agents in a mead.    I've used some in making a wine - same technique of degassing, etc?  Ken Schramm's book does not cover application steps for fining agents - he mentions them, but not how to use.

This seems like a good reference,but looking for other opinions:
http://www.meadmadecomplicated.org/mead_making/chemicals/fining_agents.html

As always, thank you for the valuable input!
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: dbeechum on April 19, 2010, 03:49:17 AM
This is what I follow:

http://archive.maltosefalcons.com/recipes/20010501.php
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: alikocho on April 21, 2010, 12:35:17 PM
Bentonite and then filtering is what I find to be the easiest and best. Or, as others have said, you could just wait for it to clear on its own.
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: beerrat on July 11, 2010, 10:37:17 PM
I used bentonite, waited 3 weeks - cleared a little, then racked off, added "Super Kleer".  Mead cleared nicely in 4 days.  I still have to rack off and will continue to age, but pretty tasty mead even now. 

I'm likely to skip the bentonite next time to see if it really did that much.

Thanks all!
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: gordonstrong on August 07, 2010, 08:14:18 PM
First thing I try is sparkalloid.  Second thing I try is Super-Kleer.  Third thing I try is bentonite, then sparkalloid.  That last one takes longer and costs you more lost volume.  If I was less of a cheapskate, I'd probably use super-kleer all the time.

Bentonite and sparkalloid do the negative/positive charge thing, just like super-kleer (a 2-stage fining system).

Sparkalloid tends to be a little more "fluffy" and doesn't settle as compactly.

Tip: do all this warm, if it's not clear in a day or two, put it in a cold place (I use my lagering fridge) and let it sit.

Filtering is very rough on a mead and can strip flavor, color and aroma.  Try to use time first, finings second.
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: beerrat on August 09, 2010, 05:36:52 PM
Thanks all.  I just moved the mead to a keg for aging until I have a chance to bottle.  It looks wonderfully clear, a nice honey smell, and tastes dang nice for 6 months old.

I used Super-Kleer and will try that alone next time.  
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: Dan on August 11, 2010, 08:29:18 PM
If you're in a hurry cou van use the clearing agents, and I have used them myself a couple of times...they do the job quite efficently, but you don't really need them.   
I usually just let my meads clear on their own schedule. 
The end product has always been noticeably better that way (to my taste buds, anyway). 

My co-worker clarifies his mead using the natural method and they always turn out far better than any of the commercial meads that I've tried. He says that it takes a about a year and I don't think I have the ability to not drink it before it's ready.
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: gordonstrong on August 11, 2010, 08:36:21 PM
"better than any commercial meads" is a surprisingly low bar...
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: Dan on August 11, 2010, 08:46:47 PM
"better than any commercial meads" is a surprisingly low bar...

Until he started working in our department, I hadn't heard of mead so I'm probably not the best judge either.
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: beerrat on August 13, 2010, 01:19:55 AM
"better than any commercial meads" is a surprisingly low bar...

Dang - my friends said mine was as good as some of the commercial ones.  Sigh - not quite the compliment I thought ;-)

Looks like time to enter it into some contests for some better feedback!

Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: gordonstrong on August 13, 2010, 01:27:45 AM
True story.  I was with Curt Stock at an International Mead Festival competition a few years back when Curt pulled out some of his meads to share with commercial meadmakers.  You should have seen their faces.  It was like the first time someone looked at a big screen HD TV when all they had seen before was a 13" black & white set with rabbit ears.

I don't remember the exact quote, but to paraphrase one of them basically said "I'm going have to go back and rethink everything."

Yeah, they're that good.
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: dbeechum on August 13, 2010, 01:38:14 AM
We've done a mead tasting for damn near 20 years and consistently we've always found it to be the case that the commercials are bland in comparison. I think it has to do with most of them being acidified and set to be like white wines.
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: gordonstrong on August 13, 2010, 04:07:07 AM
I think it has more to do with using half the honey, fruit, etc.  Try to make a commercial mead like you make a mead at home and it winds up costing as much as Ken Schramm's mead.  It's not hard to drop $150 on ingredients for a 5 gallon melomel.

But yeah, overdoing the acid will hose you too.
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: beerrat on August 19, 2010, 02:52:17 AM
Figured I show the results - at least from a visual perspective.
(http://gallery.me.com/dschreffler/100194/IMG_0620/web.jpg?ver=13103221170001)

I'll get feedback in about a month from an upcoming contest.

<< fixed image>>
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: beerrat on July 10, 2011, 06:37:17 PM
This mead ended up getting 3rd at the 2010 Malt madness (a score of 38.5).  It did not do so well at first round of the 2011 NHC - only a 27.5 - was dinged as I declare the varietals.  Lesson learned - you do not have to list the type of honey, and should not if you can not make out the distinction of the varietal.

Now the hard part for me in the state of PA is getting good commercial calibration meads - those listed in the BJCP guide are not available to me in this archaic state controlled wine and spirit system.  Looks like road trips to neighboring states.

Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: woadwarrior on August 19, 2011, 06:46:51 PM
Beerat, if you live on the eastern end of the state, there is a meadery near Binghamton, NY called Magpie Farms Winery ( http://www.magpiemead.com/ ). I have had the pleasure of tasting some of his meads before he went commercial and they were very good. (even the dry ones which really aren't to my sweet tooth palate)
Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: beerrat on August 25, 2011, 01:05:09 AM
Beerat, if you live on the eastern end of the state, there is a meadery near Binghamton, NY called Magpie Farms Winery ( http://www.magpiemead.com/ ). I have had the pleasure of tasting some of his meads before he went commercial and they were very good. (even the dry ones which really aren't to my sweet tooth palate)

Excellent - only an hour away!

Title: Re: Clarifying mead
Post by: woadwarrior on August 25, 2011, 03:09:48 AM
An hour huh? That'd put you in the Scranton area. I plan on being in Wilkes-Barre Labor Day weekend.