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Campden Tablets to Prevent Oxidation

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Yet41

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So, I've been reading up about trying to prevent oxidation in mead. It seems from looking at other threads that campden tablets will do the trick. But I guess I have a few questions about all this.

First, is oxidation an issue with mead? Obviously, oxygen in any alcoholic beverage is bad after a certain point. But the mead needs time to age, and I can see bad things happening over time. I guess this is the issue with wine. Is oxidation something I should worry about at all?

If so, how many tablets should be thrown in? Would I just do the amount recommended by the manufacturer? I only ask because I just recently learned that campden can be used to prevent oxidation. I've known that it can be used to help remove any unwanted bacteria from the honey, or cider, or whatever. Just wondering if the same amount should be used for oxidation prevention.

If I add them, when do I add them? Should I thrown them in right before bottling, or should they spend time with the mead in secondary, or maybe even before?

Just wondering.
Thanks!
 

Yooper

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In all my wines, ciders and meads, I use 1 campden tablet per gallon at every other racking and bottling. If you have a so4 meter, you'd want to keep it at 50 ppm which is enough to protect it but still be below the taste threshold. I don't have a meter, so I do the every other racking deal.
 
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Yet41

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Wow, I have no idea what an so4 meter is, so I think I can safetly say that I don't have one :)

It sounds like you are adding tablets much more often then I anticipated. Does it give off any sort of noticable taste (at least, when used in small amounts)? Do you crush the tablets or anything?

You mention too that you add them at bottling. Do you let them sit in the fermentor for a while first, or do you just add them and start filling bottles?

Thanks YooperBrew!
 

Yooper

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I crush them and dissolve them in some boiling (microwaved) water, then put that in the receiving carboy. I wait until it's slightly cooled, and then rack the wine/mead into it. Oh, and I had a typo earlier- it's SO2, not SO4. Sorry for the confusion!

Anyway, you may find some differing opinions, but since I try to age things a while, I'd like to safe rather than sorry. You spend a long time getting wines and meads ready, and I want to make sure I protect them as best as I can.

When I bottle, I do the same thing- add the dissolved sulfite into the receiving vessel (bottling bucket) and then rack so the tip is under the surface of the liquid, so it "swirls around and mixes. Then I bottle. Unless I'm sweetening that batch- then I do things just a little differently. It's best to protect the wine/mead from oxidation whenever you expose it to oxygen, because the sulfite disapates with time. That's why I do every other racking.
 

Nerro

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If the glassware is properly disinfected I don't think it's a very good idea to add metabisulfite at all. Just working clean should do the trick.

Why risk waiting half a year for something that you may have ruined by adding the SO2? It's not worth it imho.
 

bigwhitt

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If the glassware is properly disinfected I don't think it's a very good idea to add metabisulfite at all. Just working clean should do the trick.

Why risk waiting half a year for something that you may have ruined by adding the SO2? It's not worth it imho.
I would have to agree, Vikings didn't have Campden tablets. And I've made awesome mead without anything except the honey, yeast and water that has worked for the last 7,000 years.

No worries.
 

fatbloke

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If the glassware is properly disinfected I don't think it's a very good idea to add metabisulfite at all. Just working clean should do the trick.

Why risk waiting half a year for something that you may have ruined by adding the SO2? It's not worth it imho.
You may THINK that you've got the glassware clean..... you haven't. A full test of the "clean" glassware would show a number of bugs that are VVV difficult to remove/kill off - and lets face it, an autoclave isn't usually high on the list of equipment for home brewing. The sulphites have a limited ability to add sulphur compounds to a level where they help by killing off the majority of possibly harmful bacteria and also "wild" yeasts. As Yooper already pointed out, you add it to a level of below the taste threshold. So it's doing it's thing, but you don't notice it....... unless you add too much, then you will get some off flavours.
I would have to agree, Vikings didn't have Campden tablets. And I've made awesome mead without anything except the honey, yeast and water that has worked for the last 7,000 years.

No worries.
No, but then again, as there's few, if any, historical recipes that you can find from that period (unlikely) you have no idea about what the mead would actually taste like.

I'm alluding to "the actual" here, and not some "culture vulture Hollywood fantasy" garbage. Hell, the few historic recipes (dating apparently, from the 15th and 16th centuries i.e. a long time after saxon/viking prominence) that are still available use a myriad of ingredients, some of which are very hard to decypher, due to the historic changes in language and how its used.

We have absolutely no idea of what the yeasts that "worked" might have been, yet yeasts are one of the major ways of changing the taste of a mead.

Modern methods are more closely linked to modern wine making than anything else.

Likewise, the use of sulphites is also connected to commercial wine production to increase shelf life, while not, apparently, affecting the taste.

And yes, there can be the downside of off flavours from incorrect and/or over use - likewise, there's the issue of a small number of people who have been found to have an intolerance to sulphites, though these people, apparently, are people who have some history of asthmatic related health problems.
 

turtlescales

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From what I underwent home winemakers use significantly less sulfites in their wines than commercial wineries. I suspect even with Yoopers method an whatever else added to stabize that this is likely still true.
 

jtrux

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If over treated, will dissipate given enough time to be ok. I have a blackberry wine that I treated in December, bung and air lock popped off during the night, in a panic I treated again and put a resanitized airlock on. Is it ruined. Or given a year to age will it dissipate?
 

Yooper

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If over treated, will dissipate given enough time to be ok. I have a blackberry wine that I treated in December, bung and air lock popped off during the night, in a panic I treated again and put a resanitized airlock on. Is it ruined. Or given a year to age will it dissipate?
Oh, it will dissipate! It will be fine. It won't take a year, either- more like a couple of months.
 

WIMARIPA

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I guess I'm mostly concerned that the flavor threshold will be lower when there are bubbles. And also with a container that is sealed to keep the carbonation in will the so2 still dissipate?
 

Sharkman20

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When I was at Fry's Electronics I picked up a nifty air blower for electronics that uses the small CO2 cartridges like you'd find for the tap a draft systems or the old bb guns. I just dunk the whole thing in some starsan and use it to flush the receiving carboy with CO2 and then rack into it, pushing any remaining lighter oxygen out. I figure that should be pretty useful in preventing oxidation as it ages. The blower cost me about 10 bucks.
 
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