Originally Posted by SkyeBrewer
I have never used sulfite for antioxidants. How much and when do I add? Is there a way to test to see if it's oxidized. I suspect that is what is going on. Also what should I be topping up with? Just water? Thanks for the help.
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Generally, the idea is to keep approximately 50 ppm of sulfite in the wine all the time. Without an S02 meter, I guestimate it by 1 crushed campden tablet per gallon at every other racking (after using it in the must) and at bottling. I crush the tablet, and mix it in 1/4 cup boiling water, then add that to the new carboy and rack the wine into it.
As far as topping up, I usually make a bit more than the batch size, and keep it handy for using to top up. I'll make 5.5 gallons of wine, instead of 5, and use the excess to top up. I put it the extra in a wine bottle or growler or jug or something, with a stopper and airlock and use it to top up. Water can work, IF it's a tiny bit of headspace (you don't want to water down your wine), but most often you want a similar wine so a commercial wine that is similar would work well. If you have a ton of headspace, too much to top up, use a smaller carboy. They come in 1, 3, 5, 6 gallons sizes, so often a 3 gallon and a 1 gallon carboy might be needed when there is far less than 5 gallons left after racking.