Author Topic: Metabisulfite (sulfur dioxide) in beer brewing  (Read 3320 times)

Big Monk

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Metabisulfite (sulfur dioxide) in beer brewing
« Reply #15 on: April 15, 2017, 03:25:54 PM »
Hmmmm

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Deep in thought or what?
« Last Edit: April 15, 2017, 03:34:41 PM by Big Monk »

Offline stpug

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Re: Metabisulfite (sulfur dioxide) in beer brewing
« Reply #16 on: April 17, 2017, 10:07:54 PM »
"We did experiments in the pilot brewery in Burton putting sulfur dioxide into the mash. Without permission, one of the brewers in at our Belfast location tried the same thing. It bit him hard because the yeast made hydrogen sulfide. The same thing happened in the pilot brewery. However there was a big difference: in Burton we had a piece of copper piping, which leached enough copper to bind the sulfide. There was zero copper in the Belfast brewery.

On the basis that it is NOT a good idea to have copper in the beer, because it can seriously jeopardize freshness, then it is not a good idea to be having TOO MUCH (emphasis added here by me) sulfur dioxide in the brew upstream. Once the yeast is removed then sulfite will of course benefit freshness, though commercial beers in this country must label it if total sulfite is over 10 ppm.

There is of course a proviso in all this: and that is of course that famed Burton cask ales DO have an eggy note. That is because the water in Burton contains a huge amount of sulfate and the yeast reduces that to hydrogen sulfide."

Kind regards,
Charlie

Thanks for posting Dr. Bamforth's response to your question on SMB in brewing.  I may be reading into his response too much but I get a sense that he's not discrediting the notion of having some sulfur dioxide upstream, and appears he actually is suggesting to not have "too much" (to me this means: more than none, but less than "too much" :D).  He also confirms the necessity to specifically keep copper out of the beer (does he include wort in this?), and because of the lack of copper we will be left without an effective remedy to a hydrogen sulfide problem should one occur - thus the minimization of SMB upstream.  Finally, he finishes by saying that having a small amount of sulfite is beneficial in the finished beer should we be capable of removing the yeast because it will benefit the freshness (shelf-stability?).

I'm kind of liking the idea of being able to play with different ratios of trifecta, allowing us to dial a super-low level of quick-acting SMB but including enough long-acting AA and BtB.  Something along the lines of 30/55/15 SMB/AA/BtB.

Offline blatz

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Re: Metabisulfite (sulfur dioxide) in beer brewing
« Reply #17 on: April 18, 2017, 02:42:29 PM »
so on the one hand he's saying removing copper from the system will also remove the preventative measure to producing hydrogen sulfide.

I have some SS CFCs that have been awaiting swapping out for my copper CFCs - is this saying that that I should expect greater hydrogen sulfide in the finished beer, assuming no SMB at the moment and standard water recipes (higher gypsum for IPAs, etc).

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Big Monk

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Re: Metabisulfite (sulfur dioxide) in beer brewing
« Reply #18 on: April 18, 2017, 03:01:57 PM »
so on the one hand he's saying removing copper from the system will also remove the preventative measure to producing hydrogen sulfide.

I have some SS CFCs that have been awaiting swapping out for my copper CFCs - is this saying that that I should expect greater hydrogen sulfide in the finished beer, assuming no SMB at the moment and standard water recipes (higher gypsum for IPAs, etc).

Given the brief response I got back from Dr. Bamforth, I think he is saying that copper can have a deleterious effect on beer, likely due to its association with Fenton reactions and other staling precursors. It does however seem to reduce the effects of the formation of hydrogen sulfide by binding it up.

I think it's safe to assume you can use copper in conjunction with BTB or so other gallotannin based product to get the best out of it while limiting the undesirable reactions.

Keep in mind that you can also use the SS unit as well. People are having success in light of removing copper, using Meta, etc. so it's about balancing out your system for the most desirable performance.

Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Metabisulfite (sulfur dioxide) in beer brewing
« Reply #19 on: April 18, 2017, 03:10:12 PM »
My takeaway issue applied to my system, my water source (RO) and my copper chiller.  I am just guessing and want to see the results with my own palate at 25/60/15 SMB/AA/BtB.  We will see what comes of these shinanigans.  All in all Dr. B has let his opinion known that oxygen is not as oxidative as N&K claims.  While not performing a traditional wet mill with deoxygenated wort, the pros have the setups that we are trying to faux.  I am all for the improvement over everyones brews.  I am seeing a greater improvement the better I get to building my water profiles.  Water chemistry is I think the difficult heavy hitter in everyones brews.  No one can master water, simpletons to PhDs.  I don't care who you are.  Water is the most complex part of brewing and the more focus you put into water the better off your brew will be. JMHO/IME
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Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Metabisulfite (sulfur dioxide) in beer brewing
« Reply #20 on: April 18, 2017, 03:13:13 PM »
so on the one hand he's saying removing copper from the system will also remove the preventative measure to producing hydrogen sulfide.

I have some SS CFCs that have been awaiting swapping out for my copper CFCs - is this saying that that I should expect greater hydrogen sulfide in the finished beer, assuming no SMB at the moment and standard water recipes (higher gypsum for IPAs, etc).





Paul, FWIW I switched to a SS IC and am not having any sulfur issues, even using the antioxidant mixture. Whatever the mechanism, sulfur prone strains can sometimes be more sulfury. I posted in another thread that the strains I use almost every time are 1056, 1450, 2206, 2124, 3711, 3726, and occasionally the Trappist type strains. No sulfur issues there at all.
Jon H.

Big Monk

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Metabisulfite (sulfur dioxide) in beer brewing
« Reply #21 on: April 18, 2017, 03:45:21 PM »
My takeaway issue applied to my system, my water source (RO) and my copper chiller.  I am just guessing and want to see the results with my own palate at 25/60/15 SMB/AA/BtB.  We will see what comes of these shinanigans.  All in all Dr. B has let his opinion known that oxygen is not as oxidative as N&K claims.  While not performing a traditional wet mill with deoxygenated wort, the pros have the setups that we are trying to faux.  I am all for the improvement over everyones brews.  I am seeing a greater improvement the better I get to building my water profiles.  Water chemistry is I think the difficult heavy hitter in everyones brews.  No one can master water, simpletons to PhDs.  I don't care who you are.  Water is the most complex part of brewing and the more focus you put into water the better off your brew will be. JMHO/IME



Bamforth has repeatedly said that pursuing HSO is a worthwhile exercise IF and ONLY IF you have the cold side process down. As far as Oxygen not being oxidative, well...

Water doesn't have to be complex. Everyone has the ability to start with a clean slate and build simple, yet effective, brewing water profiles. I would say that the more effort you put into fermentation, the better your beer will be.
« Last Edit: April 18, 2017, 04:14:10 PM by Big Monk »

Offline JJeffers09

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Re: Metabisulfite (sulfur dioxide) in beer brewing
« Reply #22 on: April 18, 2017, 04:08:46 PM »
Healthy fermentation is less complex than water.  Hands down less complex.

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Offline stpug

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Re: Metabisulfite (sulfur dioxide) in beer brewing
« Reply #23 on: April 18, 2017, 04:30:23 PM »
For me, "complex" is a relative term.  If I don't understand an involved process then I call it "complex" but once it becomes second nature it's no longer complex.  All grain brewing started off complex but became easy.  Winterizing my sprinkler system was once a complex process but is very easy now.  I once considered brewing water design complex, but it's pretty easy for me now.  To the level I need to understand these things to use them for the purpose I want, they're all pretty easy for me - BUT they didn't start that way for me or any person new to them.

Granted, with every one of those things, I don't need to know all of the science behind them to use in my daily life for the purposes I desire.  I know about enzymatic actions at varying temperatures, but not all of them.  I know about sprinkler line and valve design, but I don't know how electronic valves are constructed internally or the chemistry behind the polymers used.  I know what levels of minerals I need to be concerned with in brewing and how to target them, but how the water constituents might interact inside a boiler at varying pressures and temperatures is foreign to me.

Offline Phil_M

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Re: Metabisulfite (sulfur dioxide) in beer brewing
« Reply #24 on: April 18, 2017, 05:15:26 PM »
Healthy fermentation is less complex than water.  Hands down less complex.

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I disagree, and here's why:

There are several good spreadsheets and calculators out there for water. They work well, and produce very repeatable results.

But on the fermentation side, we're still very stuck with the "brew and see how it turns out" approach instead of a spreadsheet model. Final gravity? Total crap shoot. Banana/clove balance it a Weisbier? Going to have to likely brew several beers to dial it in. The list goes on, and we haven't even started talking about differences between starter methods (cell count vs. vitality) and so on.
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Big Monk

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Re: Metabisulfite (sulfur dioxide) in beer brewing
« Reply #25 on: April 18, 2017, 05:30:06 PM »
Healthy fermentation is less complex than water.  Hands down less complex.

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I disagree, and here's why:

There are several good spreadsheets and calculators out there for water. They work well, and produce very repeatable results.

But on the fermentation side, we're still very stuck with the "brew and see how it turns out" approach instead of a spreadsheet model. Final gravity? Total crap shoot. Banana/clove balance it a Weisbier? Going to have to likely brew several beers to dial it in. The list goes on, and we haven't even started talking about differences between starter methods (cell count vs. vitality) and so on.

I concur. Doesn't take much to reproduce dozens of useful water profiles. Also doesn't take much to use the water and get solid results in the mash.

Being a yeast whisperer however...

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Re: Metabisulfite (sulfur dioxide) in beer brewing
« Reply #26 on: April 18, 2017, 06:04:13 PM »
Healthy fermentation is less complex than water.  Hands down less complex.

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I disagree, and here's why:

There are several good spreadsheets and calculators out there for water. They work well, and produce very repeatable results.

But on the fermentation side, we're still very stuck with the "brew and see how it turns out" approach instead of a spreadsheet model. Final gravity? Total crap shoot. Banana/clove balance it a Weisbier? Going to have to likely brew several beers to dial it in. The list goes on, and we haven't even started talking about differences between starter methods (cell count vs. vitality) and so on.

I concur. Doesn't take much to reproduce dozens of useful water profiles. Also doesn't take much to use the water and get solid results in the mash.

Being a yeast whisperer however...


+2.  Most strains behave at least a little differently, aside from all the other factors.
Jon H.