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General Category => Other Fermentables => Topic started by: Jimmy K on January 15, 2013, 02:02:31 PM

Title: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: Jimmy K on January 15, 2013, 02:02:31 PM
My Asian pear cider had a slight sulfury nose that I'd hoped would age out (but it didn't after 5 months). After reading about copper binding sulfur compounds here, I bought a small piece of copper pipe and dropped it in the carboy on Saturday night. Last night the sulfur aroma was gone (2 days) and we bottled it. Awesome!!
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: Jimmy K on January 15, 2013, 02:14:32 PM
And here's a picture.
(http://dl.dropbox.com/u/13960175/2013-01-14%2021.50.33.jpg)
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: morticaixavier on January 15, 2013, 04:18:57 PM
pretty!

but how does it taste? I am very curious about the asian pear cider.
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: davidgzach on January 15, 2013, 06:31:06 PM
That's great to know.  Glad it worked out!

Dave
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: Jimmy K on January 15, 2013, 06:52:53 PM
The pear is subtle but distinctly different from apple cider. It is wine-like with slight residual sweetness. Pears contain sorbitol, an unfermentable sugar alcohol, and this is noticable compared to fully fermented apple ciders.
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: skrag6713 on January 16, 2013, 04:16:40 AM
not that i don't believe that the copper worked, but does anyone know the science behind this?  seems like it could go into a paper titled 'metallurgy and the homebrewer'.
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: punatic on January 16, 2013, 04:58:36 AM
This is one of the main reasons why stills are made of copper.  Even stainless steel stills incorporate copper components in them to react with sulfur compounds.  It makes a big difference in the flavor of the distillate. 
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: bboy9000 on January 16, 2013, 06:12:33 AM
Could it produce copper sulfate?
  I'd don't think it's reactive with ethanol so that wouldn't be an issue.
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: Jimmy K on January 16, 2013, 01:38:20 PM
Yes, copper reacts with sulfur compounds to create copper sulfate.
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: mabrungard on January 16, 2013, 08:04:22 PM
All breweries should have some copper in their system to supply ions for this reaction.  All stainless breweries have this sort of problem all the time.  They have to add some copper.  A piece of copper pipe is all it takes.
Title: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: majorvices on January 16, 2013, 10:27:40 PM
My Asian pear cider had a slight sulfury nose that I'd hoped would age out (but it didn't after 5 months). After reading about copper binding sulfur compounds here, I bought a small piece of copper pipe and dropped it in the carboy on Saturday night. Last night the sulfur aroma was gone (2 days) and we bottled it. Awesome!!

yer welcome! :)
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: narvin on January 16, 2013, 11:31:14 PM
All breweries should have some copper in their system to supply ions for this reaction.  All stainless breweries have this sort of problem all the time.  They have to add some copper.  A piece of copper pipe is all it takes.

Do breweries have copper post-fermentation to reduce sulfur?  I've heard this but I thought it was in the kettle or on the way to the fermenter to provide trace yeast nutrients.
Title: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: majorvices on January 17, 2013, 12:18:00 AM
i have mine in the BK - but have run through copper tubing when sulphur has been a problem with good results.
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: Jimmy K on January 17, 2013, 01:16:30 AM
i have mine in the BK - but have run through copper tubing when sulphur has been a problem with good results.
I originally thought I'd just run the cider through the copper tube as I was racking into the bottling bucket, but I was worried that wouldn't be enough contact time. Do you think that would have worked?
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: anje on January 17, 2013, 11:01:39 PM
Great to know, and it sounds delicious!

Also, I see you're getting in on this thumbring business.
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: weithman5 on January 17, 2013, 11:28:03 PM
The pear is subtle but distinctly different from apple cider. It is wine-like with slight residual sweetness. Pears contain sorbitol, an unfermentable sugar alcohol, and this is noticable compared to fully fermented apple ciders.

FWIW, sorbitol is one of the reasons that pear juice and sugar free gum will help ya poop.
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: Jimmy K on January 19, 2013, 04:11:47 PM
Great to know, and it sounds delicious!

Also, I see you're getting in on this thumbring business.
That's my wife's thumb.
Title: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: majorvices on January 20, 2013, 02:43:07 PM
i have mine in the BK - but have run through copper tubing when sulphur has been a problem with good results.
I originally thought I'd just run the cider through the copper tube as I was racking into the bottling bucket, but I was worried that wouldn't be enough contact time. Do you think that would have worked?

I worked for me once before. Ran it through a few feet, don't remember how much now.
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: Jo Diesel on May 31, 2013, 02:45:17 PM
Is the copper coil chiller OK? Have not had issues but I always use my copper chiller
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: HoosierBrew on May 31, 2013, 02:51:16 PM
Is the copper coil chiller OK? Have not had issues but I always use my copper chiller
Yep. Works for me.
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: hopfenundmalz on May 31, 2013, 03:39:25 PM
Is the copper coil chiller OK? Have not had issues but I always use my copper chiller
Some lager yeasts produce a lot of sulfur compounds after the copper chiller.
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: AmandaK on May 31, 2013, 04:24:40 PM
Is the copper coil chiller OK? Have not had issues but I always use my copper chiller
Some lager yeasts produce a lot of sulfur compounds after the copper chiller.

I'm experiencing that with WLP029 Kolsch yeast - sulfur bomb! I think it may age out with some lagering based on what I've been reading. If not, I'll throw a small piece of copper in the keg.  8)
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: udubdawg on June 02, 2013, 01:42:24 AM
Is the copper coil chiller OK? Have not had issues but I always use my copper chiller
Some lager yeasts produce a lot of sulfur compounds after the copper chiller.

I'm experiencing that with WLP029 Kolsch yeast - sulfur bomb! I think it may age out with some lagering based on what I've been reading. If not, I'll throw a small piece of copper in the keg.  8)

Amanda, how warm are you going with 029?
I get way more sulfur when I let it get warm.
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: nateo on June 02, 2013, 10:32:12 PM
If you're adding copper post-ferment, I'd be very careful. It's a heavy metal, so it's not exactly "good for you." I read something Martin wrote about the yeast grabbing up excess copper in the wort. If you're adding it post-ferment, though, I'm not sure if the yeast will bind with it, or if you'll end up drinking it.

Here's an x-post from the probrewer forum, but I thought some here might find this helpful:

Sulfur will bind with oxidation byproducts as well. I read a study that found lagers with higher sulfur levels were more stable than those with low sulfur.

Post-ferment sulfur is probably mercaptans, and they can be removed with copper. Try treating a small amount with copper (put a penny in a glass). If it's mercaptans, the smell will disappear immediately. If not, you've got sulfides, and if so, good luck.

To avoid producing excess H2S (which later form mercaptans, then sulfides/disulfides) in the first place, ferment at a lower temperature, provide necessary YAN, select a low-sulfur yeast strain.

Running beer through a copper tube or something is kind of a WAG approach to sulfur removal. You don't really know how much copper you're adding when you do that. Wine guys use titration bench tests with copper sulfate solutions to determine the exact amount they need to add. The copper sulfide you create after the sulfate reacts with the mercaptans will settle out over time, and you should remove it if you can. So fine, rack, filter or all the above.

For dealing with sulfides, well, you should probably just give up. There is a hail-mary approach, though: in the absence of oxygen sulfides will revert back to mercaptans. So you can use asorbic acid or similar antioxidant to try to knock out the O2, then treat with copper. But, that's not a sure or fast way to do it.
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: mabrungard on June 03, 2013, 02:08:11 AM
For sure, if you're going to have copper contact, it needs to be with the wort...pre-fermentation.  The wort is less acidic than beer and the yeast will subsequently bind the yeast.  No copper contact with beer!
Title: Re: Copper does remove sulfur!
Post by: Jo Diesel on June 17, 2013, 05:31:30 PM
So don't use your still as a FERMENTOR!  ::)