sodium metabisulfite when Bottle Conditioning?

Discussion in 'General Beer Brewing Discussion' started by DOGBOY, Dec 4, 2019.

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  1. Dec 4, 2019 #1

    DOGBOY

    DOGBOY

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    Hi All, I have been brewing beer for a few years now and getting some pretty good results.

    I am a massive hop head and have been trying to re-create that amazing hop aroma and taste that you get with commercially brewed IPA's such as Vocation's Life & Death and Salt Beer Factory's JamDani.

    The problem I seem to have is (I think) when I bottle I introduce too much oxygen and although the beer tastes good and smells ok it has an odd smell / flavor that is always there which is a bit off putting. It's not a bad smell it's just always there.

    I was reading up on this and I came across this article from Brulosophy:
    http://brulosophy.com/2019/02/11/po...at-packaging-has-on-beer-exbeeriment-results/

    Looking at the evidence from the experiment adding sodium metabisulfite when packing (Bottling in my case) "fairly rapidly lead to lower levels of dissolved oxygen".

    The Brulosophy article also mentions "without SMB had a distinct smell that was reminiscent of Golden Grahams cereal– biscuity and slightly sweet" I think this is what I am getting with my beers!

    My question is...

    Do any of you guys add sodium metabisulfite other than in the form of Campden Tablets to remove chlorine from brewing water?

    Do you see a problem with adding it to the priming sugar?

    How much would you add?

    I would love to hear all your thoughts, hints & tips :)
     
  2. Dec 4, 2019 #2

    Richie_asg1

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    I would have thought that adding it with the priming sugar would stun the yeast so would be even slower to carbonate or maybe not at all? Depends on the quantity used I would think. Maybe find that sweet spot to get just enough sulphur dioxide to form a blanket, but not enough to kill everything.

    I would try bottling under low pressure with CO2 first if you think oxygen is an issue.

    You could always give it a go on half a batch and see if it makes any difference.
     
  3. Dec 4, 2019 #3

    DOGBOY

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    Hi Richie, Thanks for the fast response!

    Yeah... I have a batch of west coast pale fermenting as we speak and I will probably try the SMB in half the batch. I am thinking a very small amount. I will post the results here once I know.
     
  4. Dec 4, 2019 #4

    JonBrew

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    From the comments section of the same article in part answer to the question you've asked.

    "Yes, I have myself used 5-10ppm and it works fine for bottle conditioning. “A molecular SO2 level of 0.4 ppm (equivalent to a free SO2 level of 20 ppm @ 3.50 pH) willkill wild yeast without adversely affecting Saccharomyces.

    http://www.practicalwinery.com/janfeb09/page3.htm"

    I would have thought adding it to the bottling bucket would be fine.

    Would be good hear about your experiences with this so do let us know how you get on.
     
  5. Dec 4, 2019 #5

    DOGBOY

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    Hi JonBrew,

    Thanks for the info! Cool... So you have used it when bottling beer?

    Do you use 5-10ppm per bottle? How do you go about working this out? I usually work in tsp & tbsp :laugh8:
     
  6. Dec 4, 2019 #6

    JonBrew

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    No I've never used it. I was quoting from the comments section of the Brulosophy article you listed.

    In terms of home much to use, it depends how much you're packaging. In the Brulosophy article they dose to 10ppm SMB which worked out as 0.3 grams in 19L. So if you're happy to stick to the this dosage rate then just do 0.3/19 multiplied by however much you're bottling (at least to my simple mind). Either way you're ideally going to want to use a scale accurate to 0.01 of a gram as you wouldn't want to accidentally use too much.
     
  7. Dec 4, 2019 #7

    Drunkula

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    I have added it to beers during the big oxidation event experiment but I'm not sure but I think I might have messed it up because all the ones with sulphite smell of eggy farts and you can just about deal with it.

    Brulosophy say this:
    To scrub the oxygen from 5 gallons/19 liters of beer, it’s recommended to add 10 ppm SMB, which amounted to only 0.3 grams (1 gram SMB = 175 ppm/gallon).

    I went on the basis that 1 campden tablet has 440mg of sulphite, enough for 44 litres, so you needed 0.52 of a tablet, or 0.23 g for 23 litres/40 pints. I used a 100th of a gram scale but you could dissolve a tablet in a suitable amount of water and work out what you'd need. I can't imagine what went wrong, though. I'm going to do it again.

    And it won't hurt the yeast. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Campden_tablet
     
  8. Dec 4, 2019 #8

    DOGBOY

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    Thanks Guys. I think I can work it out. I will keep you informed.

    Eggy farts!! Ha! I do remember that kind of aroma from Marstons Pedigree on tap back when I used to live in Leicestershire. I wonder if that was what it was?
     
  9. Dec 5, 2019 #9

    RichardM

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    Rather than adding Campden tablets or any other chemicals shouldn't you be trying to work out what is wrong with your bottling technique that is causing the problem?
     
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  10. Dec 5, 2019 #10

    foxy

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    Agree with above, oxidising won't be the problem unless your keeping it for months before drinking, look at your MO before adding anything.
     
  11. Dec 6, 2019 #11

    DOGBOY

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    Hi Richard,

    As I said... I have been bottling my beer for a long time and I'm really not sure what more I can do.

    I just do the standard bottling wand in to the bottle from the bottling bucket via a syphon. Can you suggest ways to improve this?

    Thanks Foxy but from reading the Brulosophy article it isn't anything to to with the amount of time the beer is kept...
    "Oxidation of beer occurring once fermentation is complete is known to hinder shelf stability and lead to undesirable off-flavors. When fermented beer comes into contact with oxygen, often during the packaging process, it reacts with various carbonyl compounds that get converted to other compounds tasters can perceive as stale, cardboard-like, and unpleasantly sweet. Good commercial brewers invest quite a bit of effort to prevent their beer from being exposed to oxygen, usually involving cumbersome and expensive equipment that significantly limits total oxygen in the packaged beer."

    I think these are the flavours I am getting. It doesn't taste off it's just not right.

    I'm happy to try anything and take any suggestions.

    Cheers :)
     
  12. Dec 6, 2019 #12

    foxy

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    Then I would stop reading Brulosophy and try reading more scientific articles.
     
  13. Dec 6, 2019 #13

    DOGBOY

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    OK... I'm just trying my best to get to the bottom of the issue and the Brulosophy article seemed to be relevant. I'm not a chemist so articles any more scientific would probably melt my tiny brain. I could try though if you have any suggestions Foxy athumb..
     
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  14. Dec 6, 2019 #14

    foxy

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    Without knowing your procedure, it is difficult to pin point, you say you have been getting good results so far in your brewing endeavors. Why do you think that because you are making a hoppy style that you suddenly have an oxidation problem? Oxidation doesn't happen overnight, yeast will only take up the small amount of DO in the beer, but not from the headspace, doesn't mean that the beer will start to oxidise. Hoppy beers are meant to be drunk young even at 6 to 8 weeks you may loose some hoppiness but shouldn't be getting off flavours if the beer is kept right.
     
  15. Dec 6, 2019 #15

    DOGBOY

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    I brew small batched of around 12ltrs. I mash & boil on the stove in a large brew kettle and strain the grain through a sieve. It is all very basic but I do get some great results. I bottle and usually drink it all myself within 4-5 weeks.

    It isn't just hoppy beers although the stouts and black beers I have brewed seem to mask it. Its isn't an off flavor either. Most people that try my beer like it and don't notice but it's just something that it always there in pale beers I brew and it bugs me. Maybe it's my water profile? I only ever add gypsum. I have never really got in to water profiles. I am in Yorkshire and the water is super soft. Maybe this could be an issue? I don't know... Maybe it's my taste buds? o_O
     
  16. Dec 6, 2019 #16

    foxy

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    The best critic of your beer is yourself. I doubt it is your water, I would start at the mash, and go from there.
     
  17. Dec 7, 2019 #17

    Mavroz

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    Are your temperatures accurate? What temps are you fermenting, carbonating and storing at?
    Do you treat your water to take the chlorine out?

    Temps are a key thing to me. They are crucial to the taste of my brews.

    I use the most basic of equipment and technique and as you do, get really good results even with AG. The only thing I found a must when fermenting is a brew fridge to keep this temp constant to get consistent brews.
    Hope this helps.
     
  18. Dec 10, 2019 at 2:08 PM #18

    DOGBOY

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    Thanks Mavroz. To be honest I don't even take the temperature when fermenting. I always get a good fermentation and the gravity is down pretty quickly so I never thought it was an issue. I don't take out chlorine either from the water! Is that a Campden tablet?

    OK... Looks like I have a lot of possible solutions to try out :)
     
  19. Dec 10, 2019 at 2:26 PM #19

    terrym

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    Two suggestions....
    1. Try treating your brewing water before you use it. Quarter to half a crushed campden tablet added to the 12plus litres mains water you may use and leave it for a few hours. I leave mine overnight. Alternatively try bottled water for one brew.
    2. If you think oxygen at bottling time may be a source of your problems try bottling in PET bottles which will eliminate some of the possible problem. I use mainly PET and fill the bottles then squeeze each primed bottle to eliminate nearly all the air before I screw down the cap. You cant do that with glass. And whatever others may tell you I do not believe pressurised PET bottles allow oxygen to permeate in.
     
  20. Dec 10, 2019 at 5:22 PM #20

    Mavroz

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    3 things that are a must for great tasting ale to me have always been Sanitation, Fermentation/Carbonation temperature and water treatment (De-chlorinating).

    Keeping these right, with basic equipment really works for me.
     

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