What are Campden tablets used for in brewing?

Sunday, February 5, 2023
Campden tablets are used in home winemaking and brewing to help prevent spoilage from bacteria and wild yeast. They contain sodium metabisulfite, which is a salt of sulfur dioxide (SO2), a preservative that kills microorganisms and reduces oxidation.

One tablet is typically dissolved in a small amount of water and added to the fermented beverage before bottling or storage.

Campden tablets are typically added to a fermented beverage (such as wine or cider) just before bottling or storage. To use, dissolve one tablet in a small amount of water (about 20-30 mL) and then stir the solution into the fermented beverage. 

It's important to allow the treated beverage to sit for at least 24 hours after the addition of the Campden tablet solution, as this gives the sulfur dioxide time to fully mix and take effect. 

cool beer bottles - campden
The science behind using Campden tablets in fermented beverages such as wine or cider involves the use of sulfur dioxide (SO2), which is the active ingredient in the tablets. Sulfur dioxide is a preservative that has antimicrobial properties, meaning it can kill bacteria and wild yeast that can cause spoilage.

When Campden tablets are dissolved in water and added to a fermented beverage, the sulfur dioxide dissolves in the liquid and begins to bind with any available molecules in the beverage. This binding process results in the formation of sulfite compounds, which are highly effective at inhibiting the growth of bacteria and wild yeast. Sulfur dioxide also has antioxidant properties, which help to prevent oxidation and maintain the freshness and flavor of the fermented beverage.

Additionally, sulfur dioxide can also react with other compounds in the fermented beverage to form new, more stable compounds that further preserve the flavor and aroma of the beverage. 

This is why Campden tablets are commonly used in home winemaking and brewing, as they provide a simple and effective way to preserve the quality of fermented beverages.

Here are some additional points about the use of Campden tablets:

  • Dosage: The number of Campden tablets used can vary based on the volume of the fermented beverage being treated, as well as the desired level of sulfite. Generally, one tablet is enough to treat 5 gallons (19 liters) of wine or cider, but it's best to follow the instructions on the product label for the specific brand and type of tablet being used.
  • Limitations: While Campden tablets can be effective in preventing spoilage and oxidation, they are not a cure-all solution. Overuse of sulfites can result in a harsh, sulfurous flavor in the treated beverage, so it's important to use the minimum amount necessary.
  • Alternative options: Campden tablets are not the only way to add sulfites to fermented beverages. Liquid sulfite solutions and powders are also available and may be more convenient or cost-effective for larger batches.
  • Sulfite sensitivity: Some individuals are sensitive to sulfites and may experience symptoms such as headaches, nausea, or rashes after consuming beverages treated with sulfites. For these individuals, it's best to avoid products containing sulfites or seek out sulfite-free fermented beverages.
  • Storage: Campden tablets should be stored in a cool, dry place and kept away from light, as exposure to light and heat can reduce their efficacy. The tablets should be used before their expiration date for best results.
Powered by Blogger.
Back to Top