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View Full Version : Everyones take on Sorbates?



jpog
03-27-2012, 04:17 PM
I was just curious about everyones take on Sorbates and if they use them or some other preservative.

I don't really want to use them because I want to make an all natural mead and my understanding is that Honey (being an natural antibiotic) and alcohol being a germ killer..that mead should be able to keep quite nicely without it.

Chevette Girl
03-27-2012, 04:24 PM
I don't use stabilizers as a preservative. I use it to prevent bottle bombs. If you carboy age anything with residual sugar for at least a year or two before bottling it you should be safe from bottle bombs.

That said, most of the reason honey doesn't spoil is the sugar content, and you've just fermented all that away. But alcohol is a preservative, and the higher the alcohol concentration, the better the preservative.

Most of the time wine, doesn't catch an infection so much as oxidizes, and I believe the stabilizers also help combat that as well, but traditional meads don't seem anywhere near as prone to oxidation as wines are.

Bottom line, it's up to you.

HunnyBunz
03-27-2012, 04:31 PM
Potassium sulfate and potassium sorbate are commonly used in conjunction with one another to stop a fermentation and/or keep the yeast from re-starting. This is usually either to 1) have a mead finish at a predetermined gravity so that some sugars remain, or 2) to prevent the yeast from kicking up again after bottling.

Some people (myself included) prefer not to use them either because of wanting to go as natural as possible or because of sulfite allergies. In those cases bulk aging for several months in a carboy with an airlock usually ensures that the yeast will be completely finished when it's time to bottle.

Perhaps someone else has a comment on the preservative uses.

fatbloke
03-27-2012, 05:54 PM
Well I stabilise as standard. For either residual sugars, or so I can back sweeten if needed.

Either way, it keeps the brew to the standard/level I've got it too and prevents the bottle bombs.........

skunkboy
03-27-2012, 06:20 PM
I've used them (potassium sorbate, and campden tablets) I think like three times in over 200 hundred batches. I tend to age stuff in a carboy for about a year before bottling. Only bottle bombs were from bottling after 5 months when I first started, and those were just popped corks. I haven't really had any issues, but if I wanted to backsweeten any mead and not restart fermentation I would probably use them.

Sadie Lady
03-27-2012, 07:11 PM
In the past I've had several carbonated batches, just popped corks and no broken glass. They were < 1.000 when I racked them, but bottled around 6 months. So now I'm using both campden and potassium sorbate.

TAKeyser
03-27-2012, 10:17 PM
I now always use them to prevent bottle bombs. Had a batch aging in carboys for about 18 months (finished gravity sat at 1.005 for the whole time), 6 months after bottling 4 of the 15 bottles popped their corks. Since then everything is stabilized.

Guinlilly
03-27-2012, 10:39 PM
It's really just a pet peeve, but I really hate when people say they don't want to use sulfites/sorbates because they want an 'all natural mead'. Guess what - sulfites and sorbates ARE all natural. They are found in and are naturally occurring in nature, thus making them 'all natural'.

That said, we use both sulfite and sorbate in our meads to stabilize at all times. We generally bottle at 8-12 months so it is necessary. Sulfites have been added to wine since before Christ and the majority of so called sulfite allergies/sensitivities are untrue. Generally, there are more sulfites on dried fruit than in your average bottle of wine.

wayneb
03-27-2012, 10:43 PM
Not to mention that sulphites are a naturally occurring yeast byproduct of fermentation, so whether you add any or not, your finished wine/mead/beer will have some amount of SO2, just from the fermentation process.

Sorbate, while not a byproduct of fermentation, is the solid form of a naturally occurring acid, sorbic acid, which is not in any way harmful in the amounts usually used to stabilize meads and wines.

You might want to re-read the NewBee guide to meadmaking, which talks a bit about when stabilization makes sense.

TAKeyser
03-27-2012, 10:46 PM
It's really just a pet peeve, but I really hate when people say they don't want to use sulfites/sorbates because they want an 'all natural mead'. Guess what - sulfites and sorbates ARE all natural. They are found in and are naturally occurring in nature, thus making them 'all natural'.


I was going to mention that, but it usually leads to an argument :)

tweak'e
03-28-2012, 12:23 AM
if you do not want to use sulphites or sorbate then use sterile filtration (to remove the yeast) or pasteurize it.
i do not have the gear for either so i sorbate all my meads.

mfalenski
03-30-2012, 12:28 PM
We also use both sulfite and sorbate in our products. We keep the levels low, but still add both. I feel it helps keep the flavor longer, and I believe that IanB also said the same thing in one of his posts. We filter at .45 micron at bottling, and to date we have not had any issues.

!Wine
03-30-2012, 12:42 PM
It's really just a pet peeve, but I really hate when people say they don't want to use sulfites/sorbates because they want an 'all natural mead'. Guess what - sulfites and sorbates ARE all natural. They are found in and are naturally occurring in nature, thus making them 'all natural'.

That said, we use both sulfite and sorbate in our meads to stabilize at all times. We generally bottle at 8-12 months so it is necessary. Sulfites have been added to wine since before Christ and the majority of so called sulfite allergies/sensitivities are untrue. Generally, there are more sulfites on dried fruit than in your average bottle of wine.


Interesting.
Personally I won't use them because I can taste a gnat fart in a high wind from 10 miles... if my mouth is open. Sometimes it really sucks to have such a sensitive palate. On the other hand.... it sure is handy when drinking a complex and delicious wine. :D

I also can get reeling/puking, make an ass out of myself, drunk and be perfectly fine the next day. (at 10,000ft above sea level... that's saying something LOL)

Never been able to even have a good buzz on with commercial wine, without tasting sulfites... and without a hangover the next day.

Guess if my stuff ever hangs around long enough... I'll bottle it at about 2 years, eh? :D

Happy Fermenting!

jpog
03-30-2012, 01:10 PM
Thanks !Wine.

I have noticed the same thing..wines and other beverages with sulfites and/or sorbates give me terrible hangovers.

Both do have documented/proven allergies too. FYI: Sulfites are counted among the top nine food allergens!! Which is why they are banned from veggi use now and have to be listed on products.

I do understand though that, they have there purposes.

Thanks for the input everyone.

Chevette Girl
03-30-2012, 01:31 PM
I have noticed the same thing..wines and other beverages with sulfites and/or sorbates give me terrible hangovers.


It's funny but I notice the exact opposite, if I'm likely to get a terrible hangover (sometimes without even overindulging) it's going to be something non-sulphited... and I know I'm not allergic to sulphites because I downed a glug of my sulphite sanitizing solution once during a siphoning mishap... inhaling over a freshly mixed batch of solution does make me wheeze (not surprising, lots of things make me wheeze) but that's the extent of my sensitivity to it.

Sulphites and sorbate have their place, and even though I get worse hangovers without, I still don't bother stabilizing unless I feel I have to for safety reasons. This attitude may change after I do some side-by-side comparisons, stabilizing half of a batch and not the other half and seeing how they age relative to each other. We'll see.

TAKeyser
03-30-2012, 01:35 PM
Never been able to even have a good buzz on with commercial wine, without tasting sulfites... and without a hangover the next day.

Every wine and mead, commercial or home made has sulfites. They may not have sulfites ADDED, but they have sulfites and they are produced by the yeast during fermentation.

!Wine
03-30-2012, 02:29 PM
Every wine and mead, commercial or home made has sulfites. They may not have sulfites ADDED, but they have sulfites and they are produced by the yeast during fermentation.
The point is that natural levels of sulfites are waaaaay below my detection level.... everything tastes good. Not so the commercial stuff.

As for the hangover? Not sure if that's the sulfites in the commercial wine or not... just know it happens with commercial wine. Even if it's just a 'bad' feeling the next day, it's enough to throw my day off.

People have a hard time understanding just how sensitive my palate and other senses are. Heh :)

Now... truth be told (as I always make it a point to do) I've never added sulfites to my wines/meads. *shrug* So on that point, I have nothing to compare.

Happy Fermenting! :D

TAKeyser
03-30-2012, 02:35 PM
I'll believe you, but to me a 1/4 tsp per 5 gallons of mead/wine just doesn't seem too significant to me where it would be detectable but everyones palate is different.

I'm with Chevette Girl, non-stabilized meads make me feel worse, especially if it contains a lot of sediment that gets swirled up. Bottle conditioned beer doesn't make me feel like crap though even though there's sediment present. Who knows :)

jpog
03-30-2012, 02:46 PM
1/4 of a tsp is a small amount..I am betting the the commercial wines, use a bit higher dose then that.

I guess we all have our different tolerences which makes it interesting and adds to the Hive Collective as someone else once said on here. :)

TAKeyser
03-30-2012, 02:59 PM
If sulfites do not bother you or if you are on the ledge about using them 2 reasons to consider adding them are 1) they help prevent oxidation, which means your meads will have a longer shelf life and 2) sulfites bond to aldehydes (created during fermentation and smell bad) rendering them aroma-less (is that really a word?)

Legitapotimous
03-30-2012, 04:21 PM
OK but with the quick cyser and other, refrigeration helps settle the mead, but without out adding stabilizers if the temp get back to 65 degrees + would just re awkin them? Only ask since summer around the corner and I should be bottling soon, but I do tend to bulk carboy age and bottle and drink quickly just learning what I can to prevent MEA !

TAKeyser
03-30-2012, 04:27 PM
OK but with the quick cyser and other, refrigeration helps settle the mead, but without out adding stabilizers if the temp get back to 65 degrees + would just re awkin them? Only ask since summer around the corner and I should be bottling soon, but I do tend to bulk carboy age and bottle and drink quickly just learning what I can to prevent MEA !

Yes it could start fermenting again when it warms back up. Depending how much viable yeast are left and sugars present you could always use beer bottles and caps instead of wine bottles and corks and if you get a little more fermentation it would carbonate the cyser.

!Wine
03-30-2012, 05:43 PM
Anyone know where I can pick up natural sulfites? :D I'd most likely be willing to do some 'sperimenting on it then.

I'm really just too sensitive and not a chemical fan. No, the sulfites from the store are not natural, they're synthetic = !Good.

How sensitive am I? Just to give you an idea I'll use my skin as an example...
Take 3 loads of laundry and wash them. Use 1 fabric softener sheet in two dryers and two(2) fabric softener sheets with the last load. Toss them all into a pile when they're dry and mix them all up.

I can pick out every piece of clothing from the dryer with 2 sheets... every time and in seconds. I can literally *feel* the fabric softener on my hands. I can also *feel* how the fabric softener affects my body and brain.... (I don't recommend chemicals for kids clothes at all)



Sorbates? Now that I've looked into it for a minute... Here's a link that has other parents noting some of the same behaviors I've seen with my own child (http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/additive-and-natural-chemical-factsheets/200-203-sorbates)... also not fed processed food or foods wrong for their blood type. Chemicals have a serious mood/mental effect and it's blatantly obvious with my child.

Nope... gonna stick with no sulfites and no sorbates. Just have to have a 1 gallon for each 5 gallon carboy... so I can bottle from the 1 gal and warm it up... see if it's 'ready' or not. :D

As for lasting longer, tasting good longer? I really don't plan on making long term wines/meads... especially if I'm restricted to using a chemical stabilizer. It may just be low-level... but it's not good and it effects other things.

With the pollution levels in society and the environment being so high these days... I believe my immune system needs to be fully focused on keeping me healthy, not fighting off stuff I'm drinking/eating. :D

Happy Fermenting!

BrewinNColorado
03-30-2012, 05:48 PM
I'm not sure about natural sulfites, but if you're looking for semi sweet to sweet meads, you might be able to get away with not using sufites, as long as you stay with yeasts that have a low ABV tolerance. The trick would be to "max" out the yeast's tolerance so that they die off and stop fermenting.

For example..

say you use 71B. It has a tolerance of about 14%. Assuming that you have proper management, you will easily get 14%, but sometimes can get 16% out of it. You can continue to add honey, or follow the BD CF method to pull up the ABV so that it maxes out the yeasts tolerance, and then add just a little more to obtain the desired sweetness. Since the yeast are maxed out, they won't continue to ferment and it will add the sweetness that you are desiring.

Hope this helps.

Chevette Girl
03-30-2012, 07:15 PM
If you're comfortable using them, use them. If you're not, don't. Just be aware that if you bottle anything with residual sugar, it's possible that fermentation can kick back up, even years later. I tend to carboy age for a year or two so I don't worry too much about those bottles but with quick sweet meads like JAO, I do keep an eye on them, I always have some in a screw-top or flip-top so I can see if it's building up pressure and I keep an eye on those for the first few months.

Usually you're OK if the yeast are maxed out but you do have to be careful and make sure they're not just stalled out.

!Wine
03-30-2012, 09:13 PM
I'm not sure about natural sulfites, but if you're looking for semi sweet to sweet meads, you might be able to get away with not using sufites, as long as you stay with yeasts that have a low ABV tolerance. The trick would be to "max" out the yeast's tolerance so that they die off and stop fermenting.

For example..

say you use 71B. It has a tolerance of about 14%. Assuming that you have proper management, you will easily get 14%, but sometimes can get 16% out of it. You can continue to add honey, or follow the BD CF method to pull up the ABV so that it maxes out the yeasts tolerance, and then add just a little more to obtain the desired sweetness. Since the yeast are maxed out, they won't continue to ferment and it will add the sweetness that you are desiring.

Hope this helps.

I'm sure this will work well. That and a few 5-6 gallon glass carboys and I think I have a winner. :D

It ain't easy being me... but I must say I get a bigger kick out of life than the next couple hundred folks. LOL

Life is a Gas! Ferment some today! LOL

jpog
04-13-2012, 01:17 PM
Do you have to use sulfites with sorbates when stabilzing or can you just use a small bit of sorbates to inactivate the yeast?

HunnyBunz
04-13-2012, 01:55 PM
Do you have to use sulfites with sorbates when stabilzing or can you just use a small bit of sorbates to inactivate the yeast?

I may have this backward so someone correct me if I'm wrong, but, sulfites are used to make the yeast go dormant, while sorbates are to keep them from reproducing. Both actions are necessary to prevent the yeasties from reactivating and finding any residual sugar to feed on.

TAKeyser
04-13-2012, 04:19 PM
Do you have to use sulfites with sorbates when stabilzing or can you just use a small bit of sorbates to inactivate the yeast?

Yes, you do need them both. Sulfites alone only last so long before the yeast can kick back up. I don't remember why Sorbates alone don't work, but you need them both.

Altricious
04-13-2012, 04:22 PM
Yes, you do need them both. Sulfites alone only last so long before the yeast can kick back up. I don't remember why Sorbates alone don't work, but you need them both.

Can't some random bacteria feed on sorbates and produce bad things?

TAKeyser
04-13-2012, 04:35 PM
Can't some random bacteria feed on sorbates and produce bad things?

That's what I was thinking the reason was, but couldn't remember if I was right or not so I just said you have to use them both lol

Altricious
04-13-2012, 05:33 PM
That's what I was thinking the reason was, but couldn't remember if I was right or not so I just said you have to use them both lol

Well, I remember someone else posting it, so that's as much as I know.

tweak'e
04-13-2012, 05:58 PM
sulphites don't do anything to your brewing yeasts. commercial yeasts are somewhat sulfite tolerant. the sulphites kill bacteria which can feed on the sorbate.
also sorbate is more effective with sulphites present. which is why you need to add sorbate before the sulphites come out of the must.

so pitch the sulphites, wait a short time for them to do their job but not that long that they come out of solution (i usually give them 5 minutes or so), then pitch the sorbate.

HunnyBunz
04-13-2012, 06:04 PM
Can't some random bacteria feed on sorbates and produce bad things?

Plus, if the sorbates only stop the yeast from reproducing that wouldn't keep them from feeding.
Or am I not correct on that?

tweak'e
04-14-2012, 01:40 AM
Plus, if the sorbates only stop the yeast from reproducing that wouldn't keep them from feeding.
Or am I not correct on that?

correct.

however, you usually add sorbate after the yeast have finished ie converted all the sugar or reach their alcohol tolerance. i understand they will then die out naturally.

Chevette Girl
04-14-2012, 06:10 PM
I may have this backward so someone correct me if I'm wrong, but, sulfites are used to make the yeast go dormant, while sorbates are to keep them from reproducing. Both actions are necessary to prevent the yeasties from reactivating and finding any residual sugar to feed on.

To my understanding, this is correct. The sulphites stun the yeast but they can easily bounce back from it because as Tweak'e says, brewing yeasts are pretty hardy. The one-two punch will USUALLY prevent further fermentation if you want to backsweeten a batch, but I've occasionally had a batch where I have had to stabilize it twice to get it to stop, even though the yeast was at its tolerance.

And the reason you don't want to use sorbates alone is that certain bacteria can eat sorbates and turn it into geraniols (geranuim flavoured compounds that as far as I have read, can not be removed from the mead afterwards). That said, the bacteria has to be present for this to happen, I have several times used sorbate alone (back beore I knew better) and haven't had one do that. Although they did slowly ferment for just a little while longer, but not enough to carbonate the wines, just enough that after you poured, small bubbles would form on the glass after a few minutes.

!Wine
04-14-2012, 06:55 PM
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Moderated for content by Oskaar

Altricious
04-14-2012, 08:25 PM
Here are additional reasons not to use them.... (http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/additive-and-natural-chemical-factsheets/200-203-sorbates)
I can document this type of behavior in my own family. They affect adults and children..... WHY would you put this in your wine once you know better?


The wine community has been duped by the chemical companies... and now the wine community perpetuates the issue themselves.

I need to get more sleep between jobs. *sigh*

Sometimes I go to sites like that and I feel dirty after reading them. You may honestly have a sensitivity to sorbates, I'm sure there are people that do. Just like there are people with various allergies or sensitivities to a million things, both natural and synthetic.

If, like that site suggests, you purge your diet completely of a thing (be it synthetic or not) for a period, and then reintroduce it in an unexpected quantity such as dosing yourself with it every day (the site says to do it until you get a reaction?!?), it's likely anyone will notice a difference in *something* about themselves.

I think most people need to remember two things. First, is that your body can develop a tolerance to things. So, something might affect you if consumed in a certain quantity when never taken before, and the same quantity may not affect another person because they're used to consuming it. Second, moderation is a valuable tool in all things. You don't have to use something like sobates in excess or every time. Just like you shouldn't consume a whole chocolate cake at once (no matter how tempting).

I'm sorry if this seems like I'm ripping you for your take on sorbates, but there are very few times when "always" or "never" apply to things. It does bother me a little bit that you're positive the wine industry has an agenda in promoting sorbates while you perceive no bias on the part of your cited source. I, on the other hand, have seen no evidence of the former and read an unpleasant tone on the latter.

Just adding my 2 cents.

chams
04-14-2012, 08:39 PM
Here are additional reasons not to use them.... (http://fedup.com.au/factsheets/additive-and-natural-chemical-factsheets/200-203-sorbates)
I can document this type of behavior in my own family. They affect adults and children..... WHY would you put this in your wine once you know better?


The wine community has been duped by the chemical companies... and now the wine community perpetuates the issue themselves.

I need to get more sleep between jobs. *sigh*
Pseudoscience. "Chemicals" is a buzzword for unfounded speculation.
It's all chemicals. Water, alcohol, esters, all chemicals.
Next, tell us not to vaccinate our children.

Soyala_Amaya
04-14-2012, 10:51 PM
Actually, if you follow the funding on the site that was linked, it eventually goes back to the Society for Public Health Education...which is strongly linked to extremely liberal health organizations and have ties to groups that DO advocate avoiding vaccinating your children. All said with pretty words of course.

Edit: I did a bit of deeper reading, and while SOPHE is deep in Obama's pocket, I misread one of the names of their partners. I thought it said Citizens Commission on Human Rights, which is a very very crazy group. I apologize for that one.

Altricious
04-15-2012, 10:14 AM
... groups that DO advocate avoiding vaccinating your children ...

Those are the other sites that make me feel dirty. According to some of them, vaccines are part of a conspiracy to spread disease, including Hepatitis and AIDS. I'm sorry, you can't expect anyone to believe something so extreme without proof.

Now, before anyone decides to go there, lets not start the debate on vaccines and autism or other disabilities.

wayneb
04-15-2012, 11:10 PM
Rather, if you really want to have such a debate, take it over to the Hive. If I see many more posts here in the NewBee section discussing the benefits/hazards of chemicals in general - especially those that seem to be related to a political agenda rather than scientific study, I'll have to moderate them. This isn't the place for that discussion and it distracts from the OP's original question.

!Wine
04-18-2012, 07:49 PM
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Moderated for content by Oskaar