HELP- Campden Tablet Mixup

Discussion in 'Beginners Wine Making Forum' started by KayJames1986, Oct 16, 2019.

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  1. Oct 16, 2019 #1

    KayJames1986

    KayJames1986

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    Hello-

    I am a new winemaker. We've made cider, and dandelion wine before but this was our first time making red wine.

    We ordered a bucket of 6 galloon Italian cabernet juice from a local Italian grocery store. The directions that accompanied the juice on their blog stated to only leave the potassium sulfite in for 4 hours, as opposed to 24.

    We screwed up in two ways.

    * My husband didn't realize that when using campden tablets that you use 1 per gallon and crushed enough for 1/4 teaspoon dissolved in warm water.
    *We only left this small amount of campden tablet in the juice for 4 hours with the lid off and then pitched the yeast.

    This all happened on Monday evening. Campden tablet around 5 then yeast around 10. It is now Wednesday morning with the lid loosely left off and us stirring it 2x a day.

    Can this be saved? Can we restart the process?? I just don't know what to do. Any and all advise is very welcome.

    Thank you!!
     
  2. Oct 16, 2019 #2

    Jal5

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    If I understand correctly the bigger issue is pitching the yeast too soon after mixing in the campdens crushed. I would prepare a starter of yeast and pitch it again. I always use a starter to make sure the yeast is multiplying before mixing it into the juice.
     
  3. Oct 16, 2019 #3

    KayJames1986

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    This is what I was thinking as well. I just wasn't sure if I would need to add more campden since initially we didn't put enough in. Should we just prepare the starter with another packet of yeast and pitch again? Thank you!!!
     
  4. Oct 16, 2019 #4

    Jal5

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    I never put campdens in the juice buckets i get from the winery. I only do that when preparing fruit for wine or flowers like dandelion.
     
  5. Oct 16, 2019 #5

    KayJames1986

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    Okay perfect. Good to know. Thanks!
     
  6. Oct 16, 2019 #6

    Jal5

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    Since the instructions from the store tell you to add the campdens you could make up the difference in what you added before and start over but allow 24 hr before pitching the yeast starter
     
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  7. Oct 16, 2019 #7

    Johnd

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    If you added enough sulfite (tablets) to fill 1/4 tsp when crushed, you are fine with the amount you added. The only issue that you really have is that you added your yeast a little too soon, which could affect the yeast. Most cultured yeast that you buy (what kind was it?) is tolerant of sulfites to some degree, which is why you were instructed to wait 24 hours to pitch the yeast, that time frame allows some of the sulfite to dissipate. You don't need to add any more sulfite to your wine, in fact, the yeast you already added may start to ferment when the sulfite levels drop. Were I in your situation, I would simple add another packet of yeast at the 24 hour mark from when you added your sulfite. Remember that it can take several days for visible signs of yeast activity to become evident.

    If you haven't already, take a specific gravity reading with your hydrometer so you know your starting point, and then check the must daily for both signs of activity and changes in the SG, it'll get going for you......
     
  8. Oct 16, 2019 #8

    Intheswamp

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    The short time period between the low dose of sulfites and yeast addition may have stunned the cultured yeast and it may very well start fermenting after the sulfites dissipate some. Or, if the starter wasn't handled properly the yeast may have been killed....yeast put in too warm water...starter held too long before adding to must...too big of a temperature difference between must and starter, etc.,.

    I'd give it another day, or at least till tonight. It hasn't been 48 hours yet.
     
  9. Oct 16, 2019 #9

    Intheswamp

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    John, you type/think faster than me. ;)
     
  10. Oct 16, 2019 #10

    KayJames1986

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    We used Lalvin BM 4X4. I was thinking that it may be a slow start as well. Last night would've been the 24 hour mark to the campden/ pitching the yeast with the starter so it's a little later now. Will it cause problems if there is too much yeast added or should we add the 2nd packet to be safe? My husband did say that it bubbles a bit when he stirred it the 2 X yesterday.

    We still need to take our gravity reading so will have him do that today.

    Thank you SO Much for all of your help. It's really appreciated. My h
     
  11. Oct 16, 2019 #11

    KayJames1986

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    Okay this sounds good. Will the surface be bubbling if the fermentation has started properly this evening? From this point we will wait another 2 days stirring and then move to carboy.. correct? I'm just trying to pick up where we left off.
     
  12. Oct 16, 2019 #12

    Intheswamp

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    Do you have a hydrometer? I hope you do. If you do then do as John suggested and get a hydrometer reading..and WRITE IT DOWN. In another 12 or 24 hours take another reading (24 hours naturally will show a bigger change)...write this down, too. The OG (starting specific gravity) should be something like 1.0850 or in that neighborhood (I'm not sure what SG the juice should have started out at). From the first reading you get to the latest reading you should see a drop in the reading...from (for example) 1.0850 to 1.0820 to 1.0720, etc., etc.,. This lets you know for sure that a fermentation is taking place...that the must is getting thinner, more "watery", in regards to viscosity(?), thus the hydrometer sinks a little deeper into the must and gives the lower readings. When the hydrometer reading gets down to very close to 1.0000 transfer it to the carboy.

    Going by bubbles to tell whether a fermentation is happening can be misleading. Some fermentations can foam like a rabid dog....others can look rather placid and calm. Use a hydrometer to be sure of where you're at with your wine making/fermentation. It is one of the most instruments that you will be using.

    Also, by getting a OG (starting gravity) you can determine the potential alcohol of your wine. With the OG and the final SG after fermentation ends you can determine what the ABV% is of your finished wine.
     
  13. Oct 16, 2019 #13

    KayJames1986

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    We do have a hydrometer. Thanks for the explanation. I'll be sure to follow your guidance by writing everything down and also to be able to tell if anything is going on.

    Do you think we should wait until the readings to make sure it's definitely not fermenting to add more yeast?
     
  14. Oct 16, 2019 #14

    Intheswamp

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    I'll have to differ to John's suggestion (he's *much* more experienced than the very rank newbee that I am) of going ahead and adding another packet of yeast once the 24-hour time period has elapsed from when you added the Campden tablets...being as that time has already elapsed according to the timetable that you've presented, if you're so inclined go ahead and pitch more yeast.

    If you want to get a hydrometer reading now and another tonight to see if there's any change before adding more yeast that would probably be fine, too.

    I hope I'm getting this correct, but here is an amateur explanation of yeast health and hydration... One thing that might be an issue is that the yeast may have been stunned by the sulphites and once they start fermentation they may be a bit sluggish. Yeast cells absorb through their cell-walls the minerals/vitamins/other goodies(and baddies) that are present in the liquid to which they're first introduced. If the liquid is "good" then they're happy yeast and create happy younguns. :) Normally with a starter they absorb only good things and they're a robust bunch of yeasties. But, if they're exposed to a less-than-good liquid (too high of a sulphite level?) then they soak that up...which can be detrimental to their robustness and health and the progeny of these yeasties can end up being sad younguns. :( Thus, my 2nd grade explanation of yeast hydration and health. :D So, you might want to get some good, fresh yeast in there. Your judgement call. :)

    Best wishes,
    Ed
     
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  15. Oct 16, 2019 #15

    KayJames1986

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    I think that sounds like a great plan!!! Thank you EVERYONE for all of your help I seriously really appreciate it. This has been a little overwhelming especially since we thought we screwed it up out of the gate LOL I guess we learn from our mistakes though :)
     
  16. Oct 16, 2019 #16

    Intheswamp

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    You're on to something there!!! I definitely learn from my mistakes...sometimes. :e
     
  17. Oct 16, 2019 #17

    sour_grapes

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    I understand the potential problem differently than John or Ed. Like you said in the first post, the amount of sulfites you added was very small (a fraction of one Campden tablet).

    But this is fine. Sulfiting the bucket was just a precaution against "wild" yeast. There may not have been any deleterious wild yeast, and your cultured yeast will soon overwhelm any that were there.
     
  18. Oct 16, 2019 #18

    Scooter68

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    If correct, I find the directions interesting in referring to "only leave the potassium sulfite in for 4 hours, as opposed to 24." If the OP quoted the directions correctly then I wonder - Hmmm how do I get that Sulfite out after 4 hours.

    Could be a simple error in quoting directions, but; then, I've seen stranger language in directions on equipment written by people who's native language is not English.

    I'll take it as a humorous set of directions - just as so many kit directions are entertaining with their timing directions for fermentation, clearing etc.

    It's no wonder why folks new to wine making can get so confused.
     
  19. Oct 16, 2019 #19

    sour_grapes

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    Pretty sure the OP simply meant that they pitched the yeast 4 hours after adding the Campden, instead of waiting longer.
     
  20. Oct 16, 2019 #20

    Chuck E

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    Wine is pretty difficult to screw up. Two packages of yeast will not hurt the process. The most important thing to remember is good sanitation. Wash everything in mild soap & water. Take some of the campden tablets and make a sanitizing solution to rinse out your utensils.
     

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