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Old 04-05-2014, 02:31 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by PatrickSweetman View Post
Potassium sorbate is the potassium salt of sorbic acid. It is stable if stored dry, otherwise microorganisms might colonise it. Sodium metabisulphite is a stable compound when stored dry in an airtight container. These chemicals are no more likely to spontaneously break down than are sugar or salt.
That's interesting, as it's considered common knowledge that potassium metabisulfite (I won't buy the sodium metabisulfite) degrades with time, and is less effective after a bit of aging to not effective with extended aging.

I've never seen actual proof of efficacy or lack of, though.

My understanding is that they will definitely lose effectiveness, just as medicines and other items will especially when exposed to oxygen.
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Old 04-05-2014, 07:18 AM   #12
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If it is not sealed then metabisulphite will lose sulphur dioxide to the atmosphere and so will gradually lose strength. What remains is a mixture of sulphite (which is still an SO2 sterilant, just not as strong) and metabisulphite. If it is sealed up in a glass or plastic jar then it will be fine. If you have any doubts then carefully sniff it, and if you smell sulphur dioxide then it is good.

Generally, things with shelf lives are mixed formulations. Pure chemicals used in brewing that have unlimited shelf life (unless contaminated) include cream of tarter, tartaric acid, malic acid, citric acid, magnesium sulphate, diammonium phosphate monoammonium phosphate, dipotassium phosphate, potassium dihydrogen phosphate, and others that have been mentioned.

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