Sodium Metabisulfite and Bottling

Discussion in 'Beginners Brewing Forum' started by Brewer #348412, May 21, 2021.

  1. Brewer #348412

    Brewer #348412 New Member

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    It appears sodium metabisulfite is a good antioxidant for beer post fermentation. I’ve read a lot of post and articles where people have had success slowing down oxidation using it. The majority of what I read pertains to kegging, however.

    As far as bottling goes, opinions are all over the place. I was going to try it for my next brew, but I read that it kills the yeast. This would obviously be a problem for bottled condition beer.

    So, I’m looking for a definitive answer to this question. Can you use Sodium Metabisulfite (Campden Tablet) post fermentation for bottle conditioned beer? Thanks
     
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  2. Sunfire96

    Sunfire96 Well-Known Member

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    @Trialben has some experience with that product, I believe. What say you Ben?
     
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  3. Donoroto

    Donoroto Well-Known Member

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    Several online sources state that SMB can kill yeasts. Possibly there is enough when bottling such that it will still carbonate, but you are right to hesitate here.

    Unless you plan to keep the bottled beer for a very long time, oxidation should be only a minor threat.
     
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  4. BarbarianBrewer

    BarbarianBrewer Well-Known Member

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    I know in wine making metabisufite is used to kill all yeast & bacteria after fermentation is complete. It's only very recently that I have heard of it being used, in much, much smaller amounts, to help limit oxidation when kegging beer. I also bottle and have thought of doing this as well. But, I decided not to try for two reasons. One is that no one has given a precise formula to calculate how much metabisulfite will limit oxidation and how much will kill carbonation. The other reason is that by the time I get the beer into bottles, it has already been subjected to significant oxidation in the transfer to the bottling bucket and again into the bottle itself. So, I don't know how much of a benefit it could give. This is all suppositions and assumptions on my part so, I'll keep an open mind on the possibilities.
     
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  5. HighVoltageMan!

    HighVoltageMan! Well-Known Member

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    You really don't need SMB when bottle conditioning. The yeast itself is the best antioxidant you can have for long term storage. That being said, it's still important to avoid post fermentation aeration prior to and during bottling. Yeast and SMB cannot undo damage already done.
     
  6. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    Well I think we need to consult some wine makers on this one. I find they like potasium Metabisulphate not sodium but both do the same thing one leaving sodium behind the other potasium.

    @Yooper makes wine I'm sure @Nosybear does as well.
    But wine isn't refermented in the bottle except for sparkling hmmm what say ye?

    I was going to bottle some of the Saison I just put some In.

    Through the research I've done potasium meta is used when crushing the grapes to keep em fresh and then ferment so it can be done.

    I think it's an amounts type thing and or even a time after dosing type thing too.
     
  7. Mark Farrall

    Mark Farrall Well-Known Member

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    #7 Mark Farrall, May 22, 2021
    Last edited: May 22, 2021
    Just to emphasise what @HighVoltageMan! has already posted. The yeast you're using to carbonate in the bottle will do a better job of removing the dissolved oxygen than the SMB.

    And you can do the same thing when kegging. Just add some sugar to your keg and give the yeast a day (or probably less) and they'll scavenge all the oxygen then you can use your normal forced carbonation approach. Or add the right amount of sugar and give it a week or two like a few of us here do and you don't need to do any forced carbonation.

    Sodium metabisulfite can give some people some allergic reactions. I think that's the main reason why potassium is preferred.

    And of course the current generation of natural winemakers are rolling their eyes at the thought of using either metabisulfite before or during fermentation. They'll only think about it for bottling and they'll resent it. And the reason they use it at bottling is to kill of any chance of refermentation in the bottle. Larger wineries, however, will use metabisulfite before fermentation to kill the natural yeast. Sometimes during fermentation to give you a sweeter wine and nearly all will use it for bottling (again to kill the chances of refermentation in the bottle).

    No idea what amounts they use though. I suppose there could be an amount that would remove dissolved oxygen, but still allow the yeast to carbonate the beer. But that'd be pointless as the yeast would remove the dissolved oxygen anyway.
     
  8. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Actually, sulfites don't kill wine yeast- that's why winemakers use them routinely. It's used as an antioxidant primarily. I know the LoDo folks use it in brewing, especially with lagers, to avoid hot-side oxidation at the beginning but I have no idea about using it at bottling I'm afraid.
    If I was going to use it for bottling, I would add it before that time, because once the beer has had contact with oxygen, you can't just erase it by adding sulfites going into the bottle. However, I've never done it. I think most of the LoDo folks don't use it at packaging, because they do all closed transfers with co2.
     
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  9. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    Oh, and sodium metabisulfite is often avoided because of the sodium content, as it's identical to the potassium metabisulfite except for that.
     
  10. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    I've used it to stop fermentation in cider, my understanding is that it kills the yeast. That's a solution of 10gm per 100ml water and 1ml of solution per litre of cider.

    I don't know the science around it but would definitely not use it at bottling if I was bottle conditioning.
     
  11. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    It really doesn’t kill yeast and isn’t used for that- although in a huge dose it would certainly stun/kill them. Winemakers use it routinely at 50-75 ppm or even more depending on what they are doing. The “dosage” for using is about 1 grams of k-meta powder for 6 gallons (23 liters) to inhibit rogue microbes and as an antioxidant. I don’t do it in mls so didn’t figure the ppm that you’re using.
     
  12. Steve SPF

    Steve SPF Well-Known Member

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    Just my understanding from the folks online at the cider workshop. I wanted my last cider to stop at 1010, added the SO2 solution and it stopped. As I said though, I'm no scientist.
     
  13. Nosybear

    Nosybear Well-Known Member

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    We use it to stop fermentation when making an off-dry wine. It will stop fermentation immediately. In concert with sorbate, it makes a shelf-stable off-dry wine. I would guess it would kill off the yeast if used at a high enough concentration to be effective as an antioxidant.
     
  14. Trialben

    Trialben Well-Known Member

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    #14 Trialben, May 25, 2021
    Last edited: May 25, 2021
    Well I've used it but once here in my current Passionfruit brew and honestly I saw refermentation in the fermentor when I dropped the SMB laced Passionfruit pulp in.

    Here is where I got some of my info on the Metabisulphate usage in wine https://winemakermag.com/article/634-solving-the-sulfite-puzzle
    Oh and i thought it was the Sulphites that were the nasties not the "Sodium" otherwise dousing beers with table salt would be a no noo_O? Sodium Chloride....

    See https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/other-allergy/sulfite-allergy

    So either ither I'll continue to exbeeriment me thinks
    Anyone wish to bottle some beer laced with Metabisulphate?

    Oh and one more link that gave me the green light on this Sodium Metabisulphate use in brewing was from the Guru :D
     
  15. Yooper

    Yooper Administrator
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    It's the sorbate that does the job. Sorbate doesn't kill yeast, either- but it inhibits fermentation (it's in apple juice that you buy at the store, for example). To actually kill yeast with sulfites, you'd have to use so much as to render the wine/cider undrinkable. Winemakers use sulfite solution as an antimicrobial/sanitizing solution, but it's a massive amount of sulfite compared to the amount that is used as an antioxidant.
     
  16. Brewer #348412

    Brewer #348412 New Member

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    Thanks for all the replies and information. Just for fun, the next time I bottle I may shave off a very small amount of a Campden tablet and drop in a couple of bottles…maybe shake one of the bottles up a bit to get the oxygen moving. It should be interesting. Thanks agIn.
     
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