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Thread: Potassium metabisulphite and ascorbic acid usage

  1. Question Potassium metabisulphite and ascorbic acid usage

    I've found a lot of info on the net about these two additives, but I have a few questions: Can these two be used together prior to bottling? If so, is the recommended amount of each different? I plan on adding the ascorbic acid into the bottling bucket, and letting it stir in with the natural swirl of the racking mead. But from what I've read, you should add potassium metabisulphite a few days prior to bottling? I can't seem to find a definitive answer to how these are added just prior to bottling, if used together.

  2. #2

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    Well, I'm guessing the reason you don't see anything about those two additives being used together is that they really have nothing to do with each other.

    Acid is for flavor and mouthfeel, and you use it in whatever amount you think tastes good. The best way to figure it out if you've never used acid before is to siphon a measured amount of mead into a glass (say one cup) then start adding tiny, measured amounts of acid and tasting. So say 1/4 tsp of acid to one cup tastes perfect to you, there are 16 cups in a gallon. So 4 tsps per gallon of acid would work out.

    Sulphite is used on conjunction with potassium sorbate to do a 1-2 punch on your yeast and stabilize your mead or wine. They inhibit the ability of active yeast to reproduce, and then put what is in suspension to sleep. So it is usually best to do this before aging so nothing is growing in your mead.

    However, if you want to use a bit more sulphite right before bottling to knock out anything that might try to infect your mead in the bottle, it should have no affect on flavor or acid additions. A reasonable rule of thumb is 1/4 tsp per gallon a day or two before bottling, or if you have Campden tablets (a premeasured little white pill thing) 1 per gallon, crushed. Stir gently with a santized spoon and let it take affect.

    However, the main point of they really have no affect on each other still stands. They do entirely different things with your mead.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cerberus View Post
    I've found a lot of info on the net about these two additives, but I have a few questions: Can these two be used together prior to bottling? If so, is the recommended amount of each different? I plan on adding the ascorbic acid into the bottling bucket, and letting it stir in with the natural swirl of the racking mead. But from what I've read, you should add potassium metabisulphite a few days prior to bottling? I can't seem to find a definitive answer to how these are added just prior to bottling, if used together.
    Well I don't honestly know ?

    I'm a little puzzled as to why you want to use both ? Potassium (or Sodium) metabisulphite is regularly used every other racking. I understand it's primarily for the prevention of fungal infection, but also when it's used as part of the stabilisation process.

    Now as I understand it, ascorbic acid is used mainly as an anti-oxidant, but that's to prevent browning with materials like freshly pressed apple juice - and of course, also, as it's more commonly known, Vitamin C, when it's used in food products so they can boast that something has "added vitamins".

    I understand that it breaks down quite quickly, and even quicker when the product it's in naturally is heated (the controversy a couple of years back, when some school kids in New Zealand, decided to do a science project and work out how much was actually in Ribena black currant cordial. It ended up with the big pharmaceutical company who own the brand, getting prosecuted by one of the NZ trading standards authorities, as the kids found that despite the advertising, they couldn't find any......)

    I digress.

    Now I can understand adding one of the weak "fruit" acids, both to add acidity but also to boost the flavour a little, and the one used (malic, tartaric or citric) would depend on the other ingredients - the strongest tasting one being citric (as I understand it).

    So whats the thinking behind wanting to add it to, presumably, a finished ferment ? As I believe that it doesn't actually give any kind of flavour enhancement, similar to when you use one of the others mentioned above.

    It could be that I'm just being really thick, and that there's a well understood reason, just that I'm not aware of it.

    could you elaborate a bit please ?
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  4. #4

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    Quote Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
    ascorbic acid...as it's more commonly known, Vitamin C
    And I obviously didn't read what TYPE of acid was being used, and jotted off a quick answer. Thanks for the catch fatbloke.
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    I've read that it reduces oxidation, and preserves color in melomel regardless of the type of fruit added. I'm a newb, so I'm very much open to your advice on this.

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    Yes, Vitamin C will act as an antioxidant. I think you'd need to add enough of it to make a noticeable and probably not desirable flavor impact. Low pH is a good preservative, but you might not want to drink it if it's that acidic.

    If you want the antioxidant/preservative quality and don't need a flavor/pH adjustment, I would stick with just the sulfite. It dissipates over time, so add it not too long before bottling. Usually I'll add it not more than about 24 hours ahead of time.

    IIRC, Vit C also "boosts" the action of sulfite, probably just by lowering pH. Again, be sure you want to adjust pH and the flavor change that goes with it before adding them together. The sulfite off-gasses, but the acid stays.
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    Studies done in white wine showed that even though ascorbic acid is an anti-oxidant, its us prior to bottling paradoxically produces increased browning. There are no mead studies.

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  8. #8

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    what from i've been told from my wine guys is that ascorbic acid is an anti-oxidant which is often used when transporting tanker loads of wine (ie to bottling plant).

    however the downside is that it degrades the wine after about 2 years.
    so its ok to add to a early to drink wine but not really good for anything thats going to sit in the rack for years.

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    I've discovered a considerable measure of information on the net about these two added substances, yet I have a couple of inquiries: Can these two be utilized together preceding packaging? Assuming this is the case, is the prescribed measure of each unique? I anticipate including the ascorbic corrosive into the packaging basin, and giving it a chance to blend in with the normal whirl of the racking mead. Be that as it may, from what I've perused, you should include potassium metabisulphite a couple of days preceding packaging? I can't locate an authoritative response to how these are added recently before packaging, if utilized together.

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    You do realize that this is a thread form five years ago and that most of the people who posted in it are no longer members or have not posted in quite some time.........

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