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Old 03-23-2013, 04:43 PM   #1
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Default Testing and treating for H2S

Hey folks!

I posted in one of the Skeeter Pee threads about too much sulfur and we had a very short and minor discussion regarding a way to treat it.

Rather than derail the Skeeter Pee topic I felt starting a new thread on this was appropriate. Here is what I have done thus far. Special thanks to LBussy for posting a link to the correct document from "MoreFlavor."

Here is what I have done for those who are curious:

I took two 45ml samples of my wine, Skeeter Pee in this case, and left one as a control and added 1ml of 1% copper sulfate solution to the other. I then covered and let sit for a few minutes and then presented them to my wife. She is the one with the sensitive nose and really can't stand the smell of my Skeeter Pee due to the Hydrogen Sulfide smell.

She immediately picked out the one that had no sulfur smell to it anymore. This confirmed that treating it would work. (For those who wonder what else I have tried, I did try and treat it with some CO2 as well as whip the hell out of it with a wine whip. And damn, I really want to drink this stuff!)

Next, I set out 4 glasses (fresh out of erlenmayers) and labeled them:

  • control
  • 1
  • 3
  • 5

I added 50 ml of the wine to each glass and then created my copper sulfate solution. Since we are dealing in such small amounts I need to dilute this 1% solution even more. I added 99ml of distilled water to 1ml of the 1% copper sulfate solution to create a .01% solution.

Next I added .2ml(4 drops) to the glass marked "1" to create a solution that contained .1ppm of copper sulfate, well below dangerous levels. I then tripled that for the "3" glass, 12 drops, and multiplied by 5 to create the .5ppm solution in the final glass, 20 drops(1ml).

I have covered each of these with double layered saran wrap and rubber banded them, setting them aside to see which dosage will treat this sulfur byproduct the best, with the least amount of copper sulfate.

If anyone cares, I'll update this later tonight with the results.

I am recording this for others who complain about the sulfur smell.

Have a great day, y'all!
-Mark
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Old 03-24-2013, 07:34 PM   #2
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Should be interesting. How did you end up getting the H2S smell? Temp related, yeast stress related, or other?

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Old 03-25-2013, 03:38 PM   #3
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I am unsure of why I got such a strong H2S smell actually. I used Montrachet per the directions, I have degassed the wine with my wine whip and it was fermented at a steady 70 degrees. (My house temperature.)

Now keep in mind "strong" is relative. My wife won't even drink it but I think it is definitely drinkable.

I ended up doing a blind smell/taste test yesterday with my wife. It came out as follows:

Scenario:
4-50 samples at room temperature (control, .1 ppm, .3ppm , and .5 ppm)
1-200ml refrigerated sample.

I poured the 50 ml samples into new glasses so any vapor in the glasses would dissipate and not skew the results.

The test subject (my wife) sniffed each sample deeply
.5ppm sample -- No H2S detected
.3ppm sample -- VERY slight H2S detected
.1ppm sample -- slight H2S detected, more than .3ppm sample.
control - heavy H2S detected

She had no idea which ones she was sniffing so I trust the results.

Now for the kicker. I took the refrigerated sample and added .1ppm to it before I stuck it in the refrigerator. Due to the cold, the smell was apparently suppressed and she said that no H2S could be detected. She ended up drinking this sample and said it tasted fine.

What I may do is aerate once more and then go with .3ppm in my final batch.

At the same time, the EPA upped the limit to 6ppm a few years back so I have PLENTY of headroom to play with so I am unconcerned about the copper levels. Also, any copper that reacts with the H2S is essentially gone and if I add just enough copper to react with all the H2S then the ppm will a net zero in the end. (Chemistry background)

I am happy with the results. Now I know and can treat any other sulfur problems quickly if needed!

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Old 03-25-2013, 04:13 PM   #4
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A couple hints from what I learned:

  • Baby-food jars worked well. They are wide enough to get your nose in, and have resealable tops.
  • An oral syringe works well (1mL, free from pharmacy) to measure the smaller amounts

Not sure I would aerate as you plan, but using CO2 as a scrubber may work.
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Old 03-25-2013, 09:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LBussy View Post
A couple hints from what I learned:
  • Baby-food jars worked well. They are wide enough to get your nose in, and have resealable tops.
  • An oral syringe works well (1mL, free from pharmacy) to measure the smaller amounts

Not sure I would aerate as you plan, but using CO2 as a scrubber may work.
Aaah baby food jars. Good idea, thank you!

I did try and pump some CO2 through it but that didn't really do the trick. After I completely carbonated it using my sodastream machine and then aerated the CO2 out of it we still detected H2S. Very odd.
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Old 03-25-2013, 10:35 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_ View Post
I did try and pump some CO2 through it but that didn't really do the trick. After I completely carbonated it using my sodastream machine and then aerated the CO2 out of it we still detected H2S. Very odd.
I had the same result - which is why I tried the CuSO4. That was yesterday and I am drinking some right now.
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Old 03-26-2013, 04:38 AM   #7
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Thanks for the feedback man. That is very good to hear. I will bottle mine up this weekend after hitting it with some copper. I'm surprised nobody else has been vocal about this. What did we do different?

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Old 03-26-2013, 12:12 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark_ View Post
Thanks for the feedback man. That is very good to hear. I will bottle mine up this weekend after hitting it with some copper. I'm surprised nobody else has been vocal about this. What did we do different?
Well, either we are making a REALLY simple mistake, so simple nobody is even bothering to tell us, or they all have it and are afraid to admit it.
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Old 03-26-2013, 02:14 PM   #9
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I hate to say it guys, but I don't get this problem.

Yeast nutrient, pitching the right ammount of yeast, and the right yeast have kept me from having to worry.

Fyi, I have never used Montrechet, but I have read that it produces a lot of SO2.

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Old 03-26-2013, 02:28 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by WilliamSlayer View Post
I hate to say it guys, but I don't get this problem.

Yeast nutrient, pitching the right ammount of yeast, and the right yeast have kept me from having to worry.

Fyi, I have never used Montrechet, but I have read that it produces a lot of SO2.
Since I used yeast nutrient, and yeast energizer, and pitched the right amount of yeast, I suspect it is the Montrachet that is at fault. Still there was enough people who have at least claimed to have used it that you would think this would be common.

Of course again I have to say I am a brewer not a wine maker so there may be something that's just REALLY simple that I have not been doing.
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