Bentonite a.k.a volcanic clay is a natural clarifying agent for beverages. Bentonite comes from natural volcanic clay from the mines. Furthermore, it’s processing does not involve any chemicals or additives. It is made from aluminum silicate montmorillonite and hence, is a naturally occurring VEGAN product.
1. Re-hydrate the bentonite powder by vigorously mixing 2 teaspoons with 1/2 cup water at 60 degrees C (140 degrees F). The powder will have a tendency to clump together as it absorbs the warm water. Break up as many clumps as you can. We can call this mixture as slurry. 2. Store the bentonite slurry in a sanitized and airtight container for at least four hours. This allows the bentonite to become fully hydrated. The maximum amount of time you let bentonite hydrate is debatable. Some sources say hydrate for at least 24 hours some say 48 hours. Other resources say don’t let it sit for more than 24 hours. Whereas, I found 4 hours worked just fine. 3. Add the slurry to your wine at a rate of 1 – 2 tablespoons per gallon of wine. Accordingly, use one tablespoon per gallon for mild cloudiness and two per gallon for wines with a thicker haze. 4. Stir the bentonite slurry in your wine vigorously though not so vigorous that you introduce oxygen into your wine. Degassing tools are perfect for this job. 5. Re-attach your airlock and let it stand for four to seven days or until clear. Most wines take about a week, however, heavy hazing can take longer to clear. The cooler your wine is kept the quicker it will clear.
Organic Bentonite is negatively charged clay. It will clear off any positive haze creating particles.
Use isinglass next day (or in secondary) for best results
Using bentonite clay to help clear homemade wine
Excessive use of bentonite/fining agents will cause off-flavors, over stripping of colors and aromas. Refer to this post for more instructions. Also if you plan to use bentonite in secondary fermentation, then don’t forget to cold crash.
Physical State: Powder Color: Light Brown Odor: Odorless Flammability: Non-Flamable, Non-explosive Stability: Stable under normal temperatures and pressures It is a vegetarian product with no known ecological problems.
Apple Cider can be turn out bitter because of a variety of reasons. Here are some to help you out:
Low Residual sugar. Sweetness is the best mask for bitterness (for example coffee and chocolate). Try using some wine stabilizer and back-sweeten your cider.
Excess Tannin: Adding too much oak chips, fruit skins, and other sources of natural tannin can introduce astringency, woody feel, or bitterness in your wine/cider. The best way to reduce is by using a fining agent. Isinglass, Bentonite, and Gelatin can help you control excess tannin.
Aging: Time mellows down all harsh flavors in cider/wine. Try aging your cider/white wine by 1-6 months and red wine by 1-3 years. With time the complex biochemical reactions will make your beverage more flavorful and amazing.
Problem with the fruit: Although you can make cider/wine from any fruit, some fruits are not that flavorful. When you take the sweetness out (by converting it to alcohol/vinegar), the residual flavors start emerging. Try to experiment with a different harvest or fruit type. Mixing two or three different fruit also helps.
Bentonite clay is composed of ashes taken from volcanoes. So it does taste like mud if you wine has not cleared up. Typically waiting for 3 days helps clear up the bentonite taste. Cold crashing will help remove this taste faster. That being said, in the finished wine, one should not get any residual flavor from bentonite.
Technically. it is an absorbent aluminum phyllosilicate clay. Bentonite clay, historically, has been used in healing methods for protecting the body from various serious diseases. It contains many important metals like magnesium, calcium, etc. that heal the heart, digestive system and nervous system. People have been using the clay for various skin, medicinal and industrial purposes but eating bentonite clay is slowly becoming a health trend. Talking about how it tastes like, well, it’s clay and has the same texture as any other form of fine grained clay. It is generally mixed with water and consumed.
Fuller’s Earth also known as Multani mitti is a clay like substance that is composed of aluminium magnesium silicate. While Bentonite clay, also known as Montmorillonite clay, is an absorbent aluminium phyllosilicate clay. Both of these are very similar in the sense that they contain many of the same components. Fuller’s earth also contains bentonites that is formed of ash taken from volcanoes. That being said Multani mitti leaves a strange off-flavor in the wine. Hence Multani Mitti is used in face pack, mud bath and other external purposes only. Please don’t add multani Mitti to wine.
Bentonite clay and fuller’s earth are both highly absorbent in nature and have similar skin benefits and cleansing properties. But bentonite clay is has more healing properties as compared to fuller’s earth. It is also consumed as an antidote for toxins in body. However fuller’s earth is not considered suitable for consumption.
Bentonite clay also known as montmorillonite clay are of two types: sodium bentonite and calcium bentonite. Basically the determination of sodium or calcium bentonite is done by whether the dominant element is sodium or calcium.
Sodium bentonite has a higher pH level. This provides it with natural swelling abilities and makes it a natural ‘hole plug’. While calcium bentonite has a lower pH and do not swell. The former has more industrial uses and the later is used mostly on body for healing purposes, both internally and externally. Both the bentonite clays contain various minerals and metals.
Dry bentonite clay does not go bad. Clay comes from earth and in general does not have an expiration date. However, they might catch pick up odors from the surrounding. So, it is recommended to store them properly. Also, if you add water to the clay it might not stay good for long as with time they get exposed to bacteria and start growing microbes. Hence, it’s important to check the microbial analysis of the clay before using it.
Government regulations require products to have an expiration date. Therefore, one might find an expiration date on the container of the bentonite clay. But, as mentioned above, dry natural clay lasts for years.