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Old 01-03-2011, 12:17 AM   #1
Gavagai
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Default Campden Tablets and Sulfites

Does the use of campden tablets to dechlorinate water (1 tablet per 20 gallons) result in a significant increase in the concentration of sulfites in the final product? My father has severe asthma and reacts to sulfites. He can't drink wine of any kind, and some beers also give him asthma (mainly BMC-type beers). Obviously sulfite levels would be much less in homebrew with campden than in wine, but is there any significant risk? Do metabisulfites boil off like chlorine does?

I've also read that ascorbic acid (vitamin C) can be used to dechlorinate water. Does anyone have experience with this? Does it also remove chloramine?

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Old 01-03-2011, 12:44 PM   #2
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Is your water treated with chlorine or chloramine? This is the first question that needs to be answered. If it is only chlorine you can just boil it and it will go away.

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Old 01-03-2011, 12:56 PM   #3
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From what I've read, they pretty much instantly react with chloramines, then get boiled off. If you are really worried, you can put in the campden 24 hours in advance which will allow more to dissipate before the boil.

The reason sulfites are more of a problem in wine, is that they are added during racking to stop oxidation. Added that wine is never boiled, the sulfites never really dissipate.

Also, from what I've read, ascorbic acid can be used to prevent oxidation as it is a good anti oxidant, but I've never heard if it being used to dechlorinate water.

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Old 01-03-2011, 01:14 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gavagai View Post
Does the use of campden tablets to dechlorinate water (1 tablet per 20 gallons) result in a significant increase in the concentration of sulfites in the final product? My father has severe asthma and reacts to sulfites. He can't drink wine of any kind, and some beers also give him asthma (mainly BMC-type beers). Obviously sulfite levels would be much less in homebrew with campden than in wine, but is there any significant risk? Do metabisulfites boil off like chlorine does?

I've also read that ascorbic acid (vitamin C) can be used to dechlorinate water. Does anyone have experience with this? Does it also remove chloramine?
Any of the sulfite that does not react in the water will react with something in the mash so there will be no carryover to the final product.

BMC beers don't have any added sulfite, so your father appears to have some other problem with beer.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:20 PM   #5
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The sulfite gets oxidized to sulfate in the process of reducing (in the chemical sense) chloramine so if you adjust the dose just right it should all wind up as sulfate. At issue would be any extra sulfite. This tends to find something to reduce in hot wort/mash and thus also get converted to sulfate. As has been noted the amounts are small. One Campden tablet treats 20 gallons of water chloraminated to the maximum level. Compare to 1 tablet per gallon for wine.

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