Author Topic: campden tabs  (Read 2769 times)

Offline jimrod

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campden tabs
« on: May 28, 2011, 09:15:37 AM »
I used 2 tabs of campden to stop the fermentation of a cider ale I am making. I intended to keg this batch but later decided to bottle because I didn't want to tie up my kegerator with a specialty brew that only a few would enjoy.

It has been 2 weeks since the campden was used...... Is the campden still working?......... Can I add corn sugar as usual and expect to get natural carbonation or do I have to re-pitch the yeast???
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Offline denny

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Re: campden tabs
« Reply #1 on: May 28, 2011, 09:35:40 AM »
Campden will slow, but not stop, fermentation.    It's hard to say at this point, though, just how active your yeast will be.  If it was me, I'd add a bit of yeast for bottling.  Keep in mind that fermentation will only go as far as the amount of fermentable sugar left.  What was the gravity when you used the campden?  There may still be fermentables you have to account for in your priming.
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: campden tabs
« Reply #2 on: May 29, 2011, 11:09:09 PM »
I used 2 tabs of campden to stop the fermentation of a cider ale I am making. I intended to keg this batch but later decided to bottle because I didn't want to tie up my kegerator with a specialty brew that only a few would enjoy.

Ouch. Depending on the size of your batch, 2 campden tablets might be way too much, especially if you already used campden tablets to kill off wild yeast when you pitched your yeast. You want to keep sulfite levels as low as possible. Most wine and cider has above 125 mg/l, while the maximum legal limit for commercial wine/cider in the U.S. is 350 mg/l. High levels of sulfites can give really unpleasant sulfury notes - like burnt matches. They can also give some people nasty headaches, dizziness, nausea or even asthma attacks.

It has been 2 weeks since the campden was used...... Is the campden still working?......... Can I add corn sugar as usual and expect to get natural carbonation or do I have to re-pitch the yeast???

Depending on how long the cider has been aging, how clear it was, and what you did to clarify it, it could be that there was very little yeast still alive and the campden tablets might have killed it off. In any case, the sulfur dioxide in the campden tablets is still in solution, so it will inhibit yeast growth no matter what you do. This means that if there is still yeast alive in your cider, it will take longer for it to carbonate it. In any case, it can take aged cider a couple of months to naturally carbonate.

When you rack your cider from the conditioning carboy to the bottling bucket, try to pick up some of the yeast slurry on the bottom. Then add some yeast nutrient as well as the priming sugar. Depending on the level of sulfate, it couldn't hurt to pitch a bit more yeast.

If you've got kegging equipment, it might be simpler and easier to just keg and force carbonate your cider, then bottle it using a counter-pressure bottle filler.

Offline jimrod

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Re: campden tabs
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2011, 07:35:27 AM »
I read that the proper amount of campden tablets to work effectively is 1 per gal.
Is that correct?
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Offline denny

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Re: campden tabs
« Reply #4 on: May 31, 2011, 08:33:58 AM »
I read that the proper amount of campden tablets to work effectively is 1 per gal.
Is that correct?

I think the question I would have is "to do what effectively"?
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Offline thomasbarnes

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Re: campden tabs
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2011, 01:19:31 PM »
I read that the proper amount of campden tablets to work effectively is 1 per gal.
Is that correct?

67 ppm sodium metabisulfite per gallon is the usual dose if you're wanting to kill off all yeast activity. Due to reactions with other chemicals in the beer, much of the sulfite gets turned into SO2 gas which will gradually come out of solution, but some remains. If you heavily sulfited your beer previously, adding another round of sulfites to stop yeast activity might give excessive drying or sulfury character to your cider. It's a balancing act between getting enough sulfite into your beer to knock out the wild bugs or to stop fermentation and adding too much.

If you're just wanting to slow or stop yeast growth once your cider has fermented, consider using potassium sorbate instead.

Details here:

  http://www.bcawa.ca/winemaking/sorbate.htm

The risk of using just potassium sorbate is that if you back sweeten with unpasteurized juice, AND if malolactic fermentation occurs, or if MLF has already occurred, you'll get a floral "cheap perfume" aroma from geraniol. In that case, you need to use a combination of sorbate plus a small amount of metabisulfite.