Homebrew How-To's - Hambleton Bard
Homebrew How-To's - Hambleton Bard

Clearing home brew wine or wash - how it works

Homebrew wine making kits usually contain 2-3 sachets with fining agents, beer kits sometimes do as well (or you can buy finings such as Isingglass separately). Understanding how a fining agent works will help you avoid many common mistakes often made by home wine makers or beer brewers. You can also use home brew finings to improve our turbo yeast wash (mash) before distilling (where legal) or using.

The natural wine clearing process

So what is fermentation really? Well, slightly simplified, it is when yeast cells are eating sugar and (unfortunately for themselves) produce alcohol as a byproduct. Alcohol is poisonous to yeast cells and in the end it will kill them. But it turns out that yeast cells are cleverer than you would expect. They can't stop eating sugar, it is just too yummy, so they have to do something else to stay alive for as long as possible.

 

Very dead yeast cell

When they sense that the food supply is getting low (and the alcohol level high) they start to grow a lot of hairs (filaments). After swimming around for a while these hairy yeast cells get tangled up with each other and form large "clouds" that will eventually get so heavy that they sink down and form a sediment.

The cells in the upper layer of the sediment will work as "life guards", protecting the others with their own bodies. This enables some cells to stay alive for a long period in a poisonous environment. And this is the reason your wine will clear - eventually - even without fining agents.

Using Alcotec 24 TurboKlar to speed up the clearing

Alcotec 24 TurboKlar homebrew wine finings is made from natural products and works a bit like "hair extensions" for the yeast cells. It is a two step process where the first sachet (kiselsol) will speed up the natural hair growth so the "clouds" appear sooner and the second sachet contains very long molecules (chitosan) that will be the "extra hair" which tie up the "clouds" more firmly.

So in short: Add the first sachet to speed up natural hair growth, then add the long molecules of sachet no 2 to bind the yeast cells more firmly to each other. They will of course then drop down very quickly and your wine will clear. Obviously, you need to be careful when adding sachet B - if you shake/stir too much you will break up the clouds when you really want to bind them together. You should only shake/stir enough to distribute the content in the liquid (so all "clouds" bind together).

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