Fining: A brief summary of different fining agents.
Note: Fining agents are more efficient in clearing wine when a sediment base exists. It is very important to properly prepare the fining agent and to mix the agent thoroughly with the wine or beer and the sediment.
Negatively charged fining agents such as bentonite will attract and bring together particles having a positive charge.
Agents such as isinglass and sparkolloid will attract negatively charged particles. This process allows for the molecular weight structures of the particles to become larger. Larger
and heavier particles fall to the bottom of the carboy when their mass becomes large enough. If the fining agents do not find enough particles to join
together into larger particles (which will fall out) then the clarification process stalls. Small particles on their own remain suspended and
the effectiveness of the fining agents is reduced. If your fining stalls, then it is time to filter.
Negatively charged fining agents such as bentonite will attract and bring together particles having a positive charge. Agents such as isinglass and sparkolloid will attract negatively charged particles. This process allows for the molecular weight structures of the particles to become larger. Larger and heavier particles fall to the bottom of the carboy when their mass becomes large enough. If the fining agents do not find enough particles to join together into larger particles (which will fall out) then the clarification process stalls. Small particles on their own remain suspended and the effectiveness of the fining agents is reduced. If your fining stalls, then it is time to filter.
Bentonite has a negative charge. Bentonite is best added immediately following the completion of the primary fermentation. Wine with a high pH will require more bentonite to obtain the same results as less bentonite at a lower pH. Use 2.6 to 4.5 grams per gallon. (2.6 grams of granular Bentonite is about 5/8 teaspoons) Mix Bentonite with 5 ounces of water. Let stand overnight or for at least 2 hours. Mix some wine back into the slurry and add to the wine. This is fast acting. You can probably rack in 24 hours.
Egg White is used only on red wines. Using 1 egg per 5 gallons, separate and discard yolk, add a pinch of salt and 100 ml. or a ¼ cup of water and stir well. Add to wine, stirring. Rack within two weeks to avoid off flavor problems.
Gelatin has a positive charge and precipitates with negatively charged tannin. It is excellent to reduce tannin. Sprinkle 2 grams or approximately 3/4 to 1 teaspoon of gelatin per 5 gallon onto a small amount of water or wine, soak for 5 minutes, warm until dissolved but avoid excessive heat. Allow to dissolve and cool before adding to the wine. Add to the wine. Allow 2-3 weeks to settle. There may be slight color loss.
Gelatin is usually not recommended for white wine as it requires tannin to work and most whites are low in tannin. If using for whites or beer, during a racking process, add 2 grams of tannin or Tannic Acid (about 1 heaping teaspoon) per 5 gallons dissolved in a small amount of wine or water. After racking add 2 grams of gelatin per 5 gallons, which has been dissolved in hot water and allowed to cool.
Irish moss (Chondrus Crispus) is used to settle out protein-tannin complexes in beer wort. Add recommended rate per recipe during the last 15 minutes of the boil. Irish moss is very effective.
Isinglass, having a positive (+) charge, is used at the rate of 15-40 milligrams per liter in beer or white wine. Dissolve (usually sold pre-measured for 10-12 gallons) in ½ pint of water, shake vigorously for a few minutes. Let this set for an hour and then add another ½ pint of water. Shake again and keep cool or refrigerated, allowing to set for a day or two before using. Mash lumps with a brush and strain through a cheesecloth or a tea sieve before adding. Follow manufacture’s instructions. Isinglass is a made from Sturgeon (fish).
LQ Super-Kleer KC Finings: Liquid clearing agent with a one-two punch combination of Kieselsol and Chitosan, creates both strong negative and positive charges in the wine, allowing for faster and successful clearing. It is added directly to the wine followed by thorough stirring. Add Kieselsol to carboy of wine, etc. Stir gently. Dissolve Chitosan in 1 fl. oz of warm water. Add to carboy of wine etc. Stir gently. Attach airlock and bung. Clears wine, etc. brilliantly in 12-48 hours. May not clear pectin haze or products made with hard water. One package is sufficient to clear a 5 or 6 gallon batch of beer or wine in two days. CAUTION: Chitosan is a shellfish derivative.
Sparkolloid is a polysaccharide in a diatomaceous carrier with a positive charge. It does not strip color. For 5 gallons dissolve 2.3 grams (1 ¾ teaspoon) in ½ cup of boiling water if the sparkolloid is a hot mix. Simmer about 15-30 minutes until mixture is smooth and creamy. Replenish water if necessary, may agitate in a blender. Add some wine to thin and add to the wine while still hot. Agitate well. Wait 1-2 weeks for settling.
Sparkolloid Cold Mix also contains diatomaceous earth and alginates. Use ½ teaspoon per gallon. Mix required amount with a small amount of cold water. Stir well until solution is smooth and creamy. Add mixture to the finished wine and stir. Let settle for one week or more, then rack or filter.
Pectic enzyme added at crushing helps release juice form the pulp increasing juice yields and improving rates of settling, clarification, fining and filtration.
Normal use at crushing is 4-8 drops per gallon for hybrids and viniferas, 10-14 drops per gallon for American (Labrusca) grape varieties and double that for fruits like peaches,
plums, apples, and strawberries. Weight to gallon conversion for grapes is:
12 to 15 pounds (grapes) = 1 gallon. If fermenting on the skins, calculate the gallonage at 12 pounds to the gallon. If cold pressing,
calculate the gallonage at 15 pound to the gallon. Let set on enzyme 4-8 hours before pressing. Cover the fruit with clear plastic
to minimize oxidation. There are about 20 drops in 1 ml and 28 ml in 1 ounce or ~560 drops.
Refrigerate liquid pectic enzyme.
VINO is a food grade pectolytic enzyme. Produced by Gist-Brocades, it is derived from natural fungi and is free of sorbitol.
Pectic enzymes hydrolyze and depolymerize the naturally occurring pectin in grapes and other fruits. Resulting juices and wines demonstrate improved
rates of settling, clarification, fining and filtration. Added at crushing, it releases juice from the pulp, increasing both free-run and total juice
yields at any given level of pressing effort. Enzyme activity doubles
with each 10oF rise in temperature with maximum activity at about 140oF. It has
thermal stability within a range of 25o to 140oF (-4o to 65oC). It is stable within a pH range of pH
2.5 to pH 6.5. Refrigerate, as optimum storage temperature is 41 degrees F (5oC).
It will lose 15% to 20% of its strength per year if not refrigerated during storage, but only about 3-5% if refrigerated.
Normal tonnage use during crushing will be from 30 –60 ml per ton (1-2 fluid oz) for
French Hybrid and Vinifera grapes and 90-120 ml per ton (4-5 fluid ounce) for Labrusca grapes and most other fruits. Plums and peaches, and
strawberries give the most pectin haze problems and dosage for them should be from 180-300 ml per ton (6-10 fl oz.).
PVPP or Polyvinyl-polypyrrolidone, alias Polyclar, reacts with tannins and phenols, reducing browning due to a strong affinity for catechins. It removes color in both red and white wine. Used for wine and beer. Polyclar may be added during primary fermentation or to a finished wine or beer at the rate of ¼ ounce per 5 gallons for red wine or beer and ½ ounce per five gallons of white wine. The lesser amount is suggested where color loss is a concern. Make slurry of the required rate with a small amount of wine or beer, allow to sit for 1 hour and add directly. Agitate well. Proper potassium metabisulfite should be added at the same time. Stir vigorously several times during the first hour. Wine may be racked or filtered after 24-48 hours and bottled any time after that. Filtration is highly recommended for separation.
Polylact by Scott LabsPolylact is a blend of PVPP and casein in a cellulose base from Scott Labs. Polylact acts evenly on all types of phenolic compounds and can be used as both a curative and a preventative against browning and pinking in white wines and musts.
The rates below are for Polylact.