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Old 12-17-2008, 03:40 AM   #1
billtzk
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Default Bottling my mead

I'm using 750ml wine bottles to bottle five gallons of mead. These are brand new bottles I bought at my LHBS. My inclination was to sanitize them in iodophore, but I was told I could soak them for 20 minutes in a sodium metabisulfite solution that yields 75 ppm of sulfur dioxide, and that any residual droplets left in the bottles would also help to protect the mead from oxidation. Seems like a good enough reason to use metabisulfite instead of iodophore.

The Campden tablets I have are sodium metabisulfite by the way, not the potassium variety that I gather is preferred for adding to must, wine, or mead as a preservative and antimicrobial. These are .60 gram tablets too, and I've read some Campden tabs are .44 grams. According to the label, 75 ppm of SO2 is yielded by 1/2 tablet per gallon of water. So three tablets would yield 75 ppm SO2 in a six gallon bucket that I'll be using to sanitize my wine bottles.

Now here is where my confusion begins. In googling the uses of metabisulfite, I found that anywhere from 1 teaspoon per gallon of water to 2 ounces of sodium metabisulfite per gallon of water is recommended when using it as a sanitizer. IN the latter case, that is 56.7 grams or 94.5 campden tabs (.60 grams each) per gallon of water!!! That would be 14,175 PPM of SO2!

Now my real question is if 30 to 50 ppm of SO2 is enough to kill unwanted bacteria and wild yeasts in must, why would you need over 14k PPM of SO2 to sanitize equipment?

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Old 12-17-2008, 04:09 AM   #2
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Now here is where my confusion begins. In googling the uses of metabisulfite, I found that anywhere from 1 teaspoon per gallon of water to 2 ounces of sodium metabisulfite per gallon of water is recommended when using it as a sanitizer.
You are comparing apples & oranges... The first link is for potassium bisulfite (KHSO3). The second is for potassium metabisufate (K2S2O5). These are very different chemicals...

Personally, I would stay away from bisulfites unless you ensure thorough rinsing. I would not add a bisulfite as an oxygen scavenging agent prior to bottling...
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Old 12-17-2008, 04:52 AM   #3
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The first link is for sodium bisulfite and the second for sodium metabisulfite. Neither is for the potassium form. So it is NaHSO3 for the former and Na2S2O5 for the latter, so you are right they are different chemicals.

However, when combined with water, Na2S2O5 + H2O yields 2(NaHSO3). They are also different in molecular weight, 104 for the bisulfite and 190 for anhydrous metabisulfite. Since the metabisulfite in water yields two bisulfite molecules, 19 grams of the metabisulfite is equivalent to 20.8 grams of the sulfite. So for any measure of the bisulfite, you could substitute 91.3% by weight of metabisulfite. In practical terms for the quantities we are dealing with, this makes little difference and you can use either compound for the same purpose, but I'm glad you pointed it out as it hadn't really dawned on me.

These compounds are commonly used in winemaking to sanitize equipment, kill wild yeast and undesirable bacteria in must prior to fermentation, and to help preserve wines and guard against oxidation during aging, so why wouldn't they serve the same purposes in mead making?

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Old 12-17-2008, 08:59 AM   #4
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Just a quick rant:
Now you have given me a headache, time for another homebrew.

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Old 12-17-2008, 02:58 PM   #5
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The first link is for sodium bisulfite and the second for sodium metabisulfite. Neither is for the potassium form. So it is NaHSO3 for the former and Na2S2O5 for the latter, so you are right they are different chemicals.
My oversight. I read sodium, but my fingers typed potassium as I stickly use only potassium-based suflite compounds to avoid potential coronary problems that are associted with sodium intake.
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These compounds are commonly used in winemaking to sanitize equipment, kill wild yeast and undesirable bacteria in must prior to fermentation, and to help preserve wines and guard against oxidation during aging, so why wouldn't they serve the same purposes in mead making?
Also correct, but for some reason I have found the availability of bisufites at LHBS are not seen as often as are metabisulfites - I have no idea why. As such my use of sulfites is limited to potassium metabisulfite, for which I use the term KMETA.
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Old 01-17-2011, 03:02 AM   #6
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winsomelass
Good question / Great answers I was asking this myself because I'm bottling mead for first time and I've never used corks before. This was a good read. Im leaning toward corking some, capping some, and flip topping some. I guess I'm going to buy a corker capper. I hadn't had mead really till last week. I really like it I'll be making more soon Good luck with your bottling.
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