Sunday, December 26, 2010

Recent efforts (23/12/10)

Christmas eve was a quiet day (me on hols from work and my partner having to go in for the last day before the crimbo break).

So I "wheeled out" the lastest toy. A mini-jet filter/pump. It's a "plate filter" type device - these are available in commercial format with a huge number of "plates". The mini-jet is aimed at home brew/amateur use and has 3 pads/plates. The pads are available in 3 grades, the finest (number 3 pads I think) filter to 0.5 micron (saying that they're "sterile" filters/fine enough to remove yeast cells).

I don't filter to that level usually. I ran 5 gallons of various meads through a set of "medium" or No 2 pads. All of them had cleared/been fined etc and only had a tiny amount of sediment at the bottom of the jar.

It's fair to point out that filtration is no substitute for fining and/or natural clearing. It's only really for final "polishing" of the wine(s).

Anyway, I ran 5 gallons through it as that's the capability of a set of pads. The idea being to transfer/rack/filter out the final tiny amount of sediment so that they can then sit under the stairs bulk ageing (ha! until I can make my mind up what to do with them.......)

I've got at least 1 x 1 gallon batch (heather honey mead) that is being a pain in the arse to get cleared properly. It was clearing fine, but then I back sweetened it with heather honey. That caused it to haze up again (as far as I can find out, it's not unusual for this to happen, and the haze is a "protein" haze, that in theory, will drop out over time). It was back sweetened in February and still hasn't cleared so I hit it with 2 part finings the other day. I did ask on the forums what the best solution might be, the answer being either Sparkoloid or Bentonite. Bentonite I can get at the home brew shop, but Sparkoloid doesn't seem to be available here in the UK.

It does look like something is happening as a fair amount of sediment has dropped out, whether it's enough or not I don't know. I'm probably gonna run it through the mini-jet starting with the coarsest of the filter pads and see how that comes along.

I'll report back then, as far as that's concerned. Apart from that, the mini-jet does seem to work reasonably well. Though I was quite surprised how tightly I had to screw down the pad/plate assembly, to reduce down the amount that seeps out through that assembly. It seems to have done a reasonable job on the 5 gallons I put through it. I'll know in a month or two when I check the batches to see how they're getting on ageing......


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