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matt burks
09-03-2007, 07:05 PM
I'm planning on bottling a Pyment and a Strawberry Wine tonight. These are my first two batches of wines/meads so I've never had to "stabilize" anything before (beer guy).

I have Potassium Metabisulfite (1lb bag) and a bottle of Campden tablets (Sodium Metabisulfite). These can be used to stabilize, correct? Which would be better? I've read some people using half of one and half of the other...

What's the proper way to stabilize?

wayneb
09-03-2007, 07:49 PM
Stay with the potassium meta. Sodium is first not as healthy for you, and second, can impart a "salty" taste that is more prominent than what you get from the potassium.

What you may have heard is people using a combination of Potassium metabisulfate and Potassium sorbate. The K-META kills most yeast cells outright, along with other potentially harmful microbes, and the sorbate will prevent any yeast that may have survived the META treatment from reproducing, so if you are planning to stabilize a product with residual sugar in it, the one-two punch of META followed by sorbate is recommended. If what you're bottling is dry, a simple META treatment will be enough to minimize the chances of any wild nasties from taking root in your brew. Yes, there are things that can grow in typical wine alcohol levels, and they include some strains of malolactic bacteria. Unless you are looking for MLF, you don't want it to start spontaneously.

matt burks
09-03-2007, 08:02 PM
Ok, I was planning on stabilizing these and then back sweetening them. The strawberry wine will have 6oz of sugar added and the Pyment will have 6oz of honey and 6oz of Welch's Grape Juice added (Joe's Grape Mead).

So should I hold off on bottling until I can get some Potassium Sorbate?

Thanks!

wayneb
09-03-2007, 08:34 PM
Well, here is what I do:

1) Rack off of any visible lees;
2) Add Potassium Metabisulfite, wait several days, then add sorbate;
2) Backsweeten and wait for the result to clear (both honey and juice concentrates will suspend in the mead, taking a while to settle out);
5) Rack to a bottling bucket, and then bottle.

You want to wait several days for the metabisulfite to work before adding sorbate. The sulfites will kill any malolactic bacteria present. If you add sorbate to an active malolactic culture, it will get turned into a "geranium smelling" ester that will never age out.

Rhianni
09-03-2007, 10:24 PM
I have Potassium Metabisulfite (1lb bag) and a bottle of Campden tablets (Sodium Metabisulfite). These can be used to stabilize, correct? Which would be better?


They are the same stuff. 1 campden = 1/8th tsp potassium meta. The tablet is just in an easy to use form

wayneb
09-03-2007, 11:03 PM
I have Potassium Metabisulfite (1lb bag) and a bottle of Campden tablets (Sodium Metabisulfite). These can be used to stabilize, correct? Which would be better?


They are the same stuff. 1 campden = 1/8th tsp potassium meta. The tablet is just in an easy to use form


There is sometimes some confusion about potassium metabisulfite & sodium metabisulfite vs campden tablets. It is important to know that campdens are made out of EITHER sodium or potassium META. So, when you're at your LHBS looking at campden tablets, make sure that you find out if you're getting sodium or potassium.

Oskaar
09-03-2007, 11:41 PM
Ok one very slight difference in technique that I use. I'd recommend not waiting more than 48 hours after you have hit your must with the K Meta to add the K Sorbate. Reason is your free SO2 will fade after the initial dosage and will lose it's effectiveness as an antimicrobial and antioxidant as time passes. A couple of days is not a dealbreaker, but, the pH of the mead is an important factor. I've gone into this in another post on the general forums.

My suggestion is based on mead not being a static animal, it is constantly evolving and there are shifting levels of acid, sugar, alcohol and other factors that will influence the efficacy of your sulfite and sorbate. pH is the heaviest deciding factor, and as Wayne mentioned if you get the dreaded Geranium smell then you're done. The bacteria reduce sorbic acid to sorbic alcohol, which in the presence of low alcohol and low pH, gives a rearrangement to 2-ethoxyhexa-3,5-diene the latter having a geranium-like aroma (Crowell and Guymon 1975)

However, if you are diligent about blanketing your vessel with CO2, Nitrogen or Argon you'll be fine. Lactobacillus are Gram+, microaerophilic bacteria (the love small amounts of oxygen) they can be everything from rods all the way to coccobacilli. They need oxygen in order to work their magic to a point of where you'll pick it up in sensory analysis.

Lactobacillus, along with Oenococcus and Pediococcus, are classified as Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB). Another strike against LAB are that they have complex nutritional requirements. In addition to carbohydrates, they require amino acids, nucleic acids, vitamins and fatty acids. They also metabolize hexose. Lactobacillus are generally catorigized as homofermenters, and heterofermenters. Homofermentive lactobacilli will convert glucose to lactic acid without the production of CO2. Heterofermentive lactobacilli are more vigorous and will metabolize hexoses into a "heterogeneous" amount of compounds, like lactic acid, CO2, ethanol and acetate. The occurrence of Lactobacillus in wine is highly pH- and ethanol-dependent. In high-pH wines greater than 3.5, Lactobacillus will dominate, but at lower pH values, Oenococcus oeni will dominate like a cheap Hollywood dominatrix (for those of you who's eyes were rolling back in your heads by this point, see, I know I run-off sometimes). Variances in ethanol tolerance among Lactobacillus species is common. For example, L. plantarum ceases growth at 5 to 6 percent ethanol, whereas L. casei and L. brevis are very alcohol-tolerant, and are the ones used to induce malolactic fermentation (MLF).

OK this also goes for Acetobacter sp. If I remember right I've posted on that a couple years back as well. Keep your pH down, your O2 down and you won't have problems.

Cheers,

Oskaar

wayneb
09-04-2007, 10:38 AM
Aha! I keep reading, and I keep learning! I usually only wait 3 days (that's my def of several), but I can see the reasoning behind getting the sorbate in there a bit quicker now. Thanks again for adding to my knowledge base!

sandman
09-04-2007, 11:19 AM
Eeexceelleeeent... My current meads are starting to approach the point where I'll be needing to stabilize and bottle as well so this topic came at a great time. It also saved me the trouble of asking about time between treatments myself. You've just gotta love this site. :toothy10:
:cheers:

matt burks
09-04-2007, 05:52 PM
Ok one very slight difference in technique that I use. I'd recommend not waiting more than 48 hours after you have hit your must with the K Meta to add the K Sorbate. Reason is your free SO2 will fade after the initial dosage and will lose it's effectiveness as an antimicrobial and antioxidant as time passes. A couple of days is not a dealbreaker, but, the pH of the mead is an important factor. I've gone into this in another post on the general forums.

My suggestion is based on mead not being a static animal, it is constantly evolving and there are shifting levels of acid, sugar, alcohol and other factors that will influence the efficacy of your sulfite and sorbate. pH is the heaviest deciding factor, and as Wayne mentioned if you get the dreaded Geranium smell then you're done. The bacteria reduce sorbic acid to sorbic alcohol, which in the presence of low alcohol and low pH, gives a rearrangement to 2-ethoxyhexa-3,5-diene the latter having a geranium-like aroma (Crowell and Guymon 1975)

However, if you are diligent about blanketing your vessel with CO2, Nitrogen or Argon you'll be fine. Lactobacillus are Gram+, microaerophilic bacteria (the love small amounts of oxygen) they can be everything from rods all the way to coccobacilli. They need oxygen in order to work their magic to a point of where you'll pick it up in sensory analysis.

Lactobacillus, along with Oenococcus and Pediococcus, are classified as Lactic Acid Bacteria (LAB). Another strike against LAB are that they have complex nutritional requirements. In addition to carbohydrates, they require amino acids, nucleic acids, vitamins and fatty acids. They also metabolize hexose. Lactobacillus are generally catorigized as homofermenters, and heterofermenters. Homofermentive lactobacilli will convert glucose to lactic acid without the production of CO2. Heterofermentive lactobacilli are more vigorous and will metabolize hexoses into a "heterogeneous" amount of compounds, like lactic acid, CO2, ethanol and acetate. The occurrence of Lactobacillus in wine is highly pH- and ethanol-dependent. In high-pH wines greater than 3.5, Lactobacillus will dominate, but at lower pH values, Oenococcus oeni will dominate like a cheap Hollywood dominatrix (for those of you who's eyes were rolling back in your heads by this point, see, I know I run-off sometimes). Variances in ethanol tolerance among Lactobacillus species is common. For example, L. plantarum ceases growth at 5 to 6 percent ethanol, whereas L. casei and L. brevis are very alcohol-tolerant, and are the ones used to induce malolactic fermentation (MLF).

OK this also goes for Acetobacter sp. If I remember right I've posted on that a couple years back as well. Keep your pH down, your O2 down and you won't have problems.

Cheers,

Oskaar



:o :o :o :tard: :tard: :cheers:

SWEET GOOGLY MOOGLY!!

Wow! Ask and you shall receive. Great info there. Thanks a million!

Rhianni
09-04-2007, 06:07 PM
I have Potassium Metabisulfite (1lb bag) and a bottle of Campden tablets (Sodium Metabisulfite). These can be used to stabilize, correct? Which would be better?


They are the same stuff. 1 campden = 1/8th tsp potassium meta. The tablet is just in an easy to use form


There is sometimes some confusion about potassium metabisulfite & sodium metabisulfite vs campden tablets. It is important to know that campdens are made out of EITHER sodium or potassium META. So, when you're at your LHBS looking at campden tablets, make sure that you find out if you're getting sodium or potassium.


My apologies Matt :sad1: I didnt know about the sodium campden tablets and read right over that in your post. I guess that answers my question of "why is he asking about sodium meta" Thanks for the info wayneb

Johnnybladers
09-04-2007, 06:38 PM
Not to hijack, but do most of the meadmakers chemically stabilize? Thus far I've only used K-meta to sanitize fruit based musts but not after fermentation to stabilize.

zionpsyfer
09-05-2007, 09:59 PM
I do, for now. I am very stringent with my sanitation, but I still have this thing where a liquid has been sitting at room temperature for months. I've moved it from container to container where it has been exposed to possible contamination each time it has been moved.


Nothing to do with actual risks, and it's all in my head. But it gives me a little comfort knowing that it's been treated. I also don't have to worry about restarted fermentations, so no bottle bombs. Of course I have to notify anyone trying it that it contains sulfites.

wayneb
09-06-2007, 12:36 AM
In the olde days (as in prior to 10 years ago) I used to bottle all my meads without any stabilization - I used sulfites only for equipment sanitation. I had my share of bottle bombs (all blown corks, thankfully) and infected, yucky bottles, but I also had far more successes than failures. Today, now that I know more about how stabilization works, I sulfite all my meads before bottling, and I'll additionally sorbate the sweet ones. Since changing my approach I've had no failures. The antioxidant properties of sulfite will also help meads to keep longer, although mine don't typically last long enough to where it matters! :drunken_smilie:

Medsen Fey
09-08-2007, 04:37 PM
Not to hijack, but do most of the meadmakers chemically stabilize? Thus far I've only used K-meta to sanitize fruit based musts but not after fermentation to stabilize.


There are some who use very fine filtration instead of chemicals. If you do a forum search on filtration you can get much more information on the subject. I have not yet tried filtration, but plan to test it on a batch in the works.

Using sulfites may have advantages other than just stopping yeast including antioxidant and preservative properties, and sulfites can be used in conjunction with filtration to provide these benefits.

Medsen

ucflumberjack
10-06-2007, 08:50 PM
the LHBS carries what they have listed as "Potassium Metabisulfate", and "Potassium Sorbate", im sure it must be the same as "Potassium Metabisulfite", they just mistyped it?

Oskaar
10-06-2007, 11:38 PM
K-Metabisulfite and K-Sorbate are two different animals. K-Meta is an anti-oxidant, anti-microbial, color stabilizer and freshness preservative. K-Sorbate is used in conjunction with K-Meta to prevent re-fermentation. K-Sorbate (sorbic acid) is a well known and popular stabilizer with home mead, beer and wine makers.

Cheers,

Oskaar

JayH
10-08-2007, 12:56 AM
I've never heard of sulfates being used (as apposed to sulfites) so I would assume that it is mislabeled. On the other hand one LHBS I know of orders their chemicals form a chemical supplier (evidently much cheaper) then from a stand brew type supplier. If this is the case it could be either one, so I would definitely double check.


Cheers
Jay

matt burks
10-26-2007, 05:39 PM
Alright, my K-Meta is in a 1lb pack and is in powder form. It says to kill wild yeast add 1/4tsp to 5 gallons of must. If I'm only doing 1 gallon batches do I need to worry about getting only 1/5 of the 1/4tsp in there or can I just put a close, visual estimate and it not effect the mead?

liff
10-28-2007, 08:29 AM
It is possible to over sulfite a beverage. There have been a few posts I have read about people over doing it and actually being able to taste it.

I would go about this in a goofy way. The eye can very eaisly discern the difference between 2 different sized objects, and can do a very good job of saying, 'these 2 things are of equal size'.

What I would do is to measure out 1/4 teaspoon (0.25 teaspoons) and divide it equally into 2 equal piles (0.125 tea) with a razor blade, analogus to a different white powder :confused3:. Make these piles the same in circumference and hieght. Then take one of those piles and make 2 more equal piles (0.0625 tea). That is really close to 0.05 teaspoons per gallon, the ratio of 1/4 teaspoon per 5 gallons. One of those small piles is how much I would add to 1 gallon.

wayneb
10-28-2007, 11:52 AM
liff, Great Recommendation! Before I got my milligram scale, I used to do exactly that -- it works well enough!!

ehanuise
10-28-2007, 02:14 PM
wouldn't an aqueous (or alcohol) solution be more easy to divide in equal parts ?
Especially on small quantities : to me, splitting 1g of powder in 2x0.5g is bound to be less pecise than dissolving said 1g in 100 Ml water and use 50 Ml.

Oskaar
10-28-2007, 03:26 PM
I'm also a fan of the aqueous approach, easier, and you can keep it and add to other batches as well when necessary.

Cheers,

Oskaar

wayneb
10-28-2007, 03:49 PM
The only thing wrong with that is many of the things we add will start to degrade the moment they are mixed with water. K-META is a good case in point. When stored as a dry powder, it will keep for months. When dissolved in solution, it immediately begins to release SO2 from the free sulfites in solution.

That said, it is usually more precise to measure the volume of liquid quantities than the mass of solids, unless you have a good scale handy.

Oskaar
10-28-2007, 04:52 PM
If I were doing this for a 1000 liter batch I'd be more apt to have some serious instrumentation for accuracy and measurment of SO2 levels than I would for a one gallon batch. Volitalization is a concern over time, but for immediate additions it shouldn't make a big difference to a small home mead or winemaker. Volitalization will be much more rapid in wine, mead, etc than it will be in distilled water. The reason sulfites volitalize so easily is because they bind so easily with tannins, thiamin, polyphenoloxidase, aldehydes and ketones. You don't have that problem with distilled water (yup, I know there's O2 in the headspace of your vessel and that eats up free O2 as well). I'm not advocating storage for use in a couple of days, but when I'm racking my stuff over I take most of the day because I have so many stinkin carboys (glutton for punishment) Hopefully I'll be getting some larger capacity vessels soon so I can cut down on the clutter.

That being said, I generally do not add sulfites or sorbate to my meads, but wines are a different story especially when it comes to browning, oxidation and freshness of flavor and aroma. So to me, it's just simpler to mix up a stock solution on racking day and dose each carboy of wine I rack over.

Hope that helps,

Oskaar