Smells like dirty socks

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Dave35

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I have 5 different red wines aging. A cab a Chianti, pinot, merlot, and mixed black. They have been aging for two months. Only the mixed black has a bad smell. It tastes good. Just not the smell any suggestions?
 

Dave35

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Im slightly exaggerating. It's not quite that bad.
I only ever used potassium metabisulfite never sodium metabisulfite.
 

Tnuscan

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I've noticed smells like that in some whites, and heard others describe them that way. Several Riesling wines have that same characteristic.

Watch your pH levels and add K-meta accordingly. Like if one has a higher pH, it will need more sulfite, than one with a lower (more acidic) pH, and you should be fine. And of course keep the carboys topped within a inch or so from the bung, if your past stabilizing.
 

Dave35

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Yea I started looking into brett. It's definitely a possibility. Anything I can do or is it done for.
 

Dave35

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I added 5 Camden tablets to my 5 gallons today. Hope it might help.
 

JohnT

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Let's rule out a couple of things.

Pour two small samples. one is the control while the other one you will experiment with.

Swirl one around for a minute and compare the two. Did the swirling help?

If not, try adding a scoured penny. Swirl again for a minute or two and compare to the control. Did that improve the wine?
 

Spikedlemon

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Bumping the thread as I've got the same issue with a Baco Noir (from grapes). I commented early that it had an off-odor that I judiciously applied KMS & stirring. I left it alone for 3 months adding KMS again in January (but not checking on it further as I was tied up).

My 3gal batch still has the sock-scent (4mos) when I racked it yesterday. While Canada no longer has pennies (easy source of copper): I had a length of copper pipe leftover from some plumbing repairs that I sanitized and stirred a little bit with.
I left the copper pipe in the carboy about 10 mins before tidying up and taking a sample and it still had the sock-scent.

The good thing, however, is that the taste is fine.

I'll scrounge around to see if I can find a copper penny (I might have one of those ones with the Lincoln memorial on them...) to try it out in a single glass.
 

Dave35

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I did the copper thing too. I read some where it could be a yeast making the smell and to try sodium metabisulfite it kills yeast dead in its tracks. kms or potassium metabisulfite won't kill the yeast. Since I added 5 Camden tablets otherwise know as sodium metabisulfite the smell has significantly decreased. It think it is fine now.
 

JohnT

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I did the copper thing too. I read some where it could be a yeast making the smell and to try sodium metabisulfite it kills yeast dead in its tracks. kms or potassium metabisulfite won't kill the yeast. Since I added 5 Camden tablets otherwise know as sodium metabisulfite the smell has significantly decreased. It think it is fine now.

I think you may have been misled.

Camden tablets is acutally potassium metabisulfite (K-Meta) in pill (not powder) form.

The main difference between K-Meta and NA-Meta is that NA-meta leaves residual amounts of sodium, while K-Meta leaves behind residual amounts of Potassium (which most prefer over sodium). Also, k-meta is apparently 17% stronger (by weight) than na-meta.

Other than that, they both perform the same function.
 

Dave35

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I have Camden tablets says right on package sodium metabisulfite.
 

Dave35

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I read you should use potassium for red wines because it will let the wine go dry and not effect the taste
 

JohnT

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I have Camden tablets says right on package sodium metabisulfite.
Actually, Campden tablets can be either. More times than not, they are k-meta.
 

Dave35

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Yea that makes sense. I did a batch of cherry wine and it called for sodium and it definitely effected the taste. But it specifically called for that not potassium because you were going to add sugar and wanted to stop fermenting. I'm really new at this only second time.
 

Tnuscan

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Maybe it was potassium sorbate. It is added to wines that have completed fermentation, it prevents further fermentation of added sugars, such as when you back sweeten a wine. In the case of wine kits you would add potassium sorbate prior to adding the “f-pack” (grape juice concentrate).
 

JohnT

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I second the above.

It would make more sense that they were talking about potassium sorbate which will render the yeast sterile (prevent any reproduction). Most winemakers use this when back-sweetening wine to prevent fermentation from kicking off.

NA-meta and K-meta are used to to add SO2 (sulfur dioxide) to your wine. This serves both a anti microbial as well as an antioxidant. In high amounts, both k-meta and na-meta will kill yeast. Also, solutions of both k-meta or na-meta are also to sterilize equipment.

The taste change you experienced was probably just SO2 gas. Try this.. Pour a sample and swirl/aerate it for a minute or two. Did the taste improve?
 

Spikedlemon

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Bumping the thread as I've got the same issue with a Baco Noir (from grapes). I commented early that it had an off-odor that I judiciously applied KMS & stirring. I left it alone for 3 months adding KMS again in January (but not checking on it further as I was tied up).

My 3gal batch still has the sock-scent (4mos) when I racked it yesterday. While Canada no longer has pennies (easy source of copper): I had a length of copper pipe leftover from some plumbing repairs that I sanitized and stirred a little bit with.
I left the copper pipe in the carboy about 10 mins before tidying up and taking a sample and it still had the sock-scent.

The good thing, however, is that the taste is fine.

I'll scrounge around to see if I can find a copper penny (I might have one of those ones with the Lincoln memorial on them...) to try it out in a single glass.
Quick update. Still can't find a penny.

But I did pull a bottle sample from the carboy to taste that's been sitting on the counter for the past week.

My first glass of it: the sock-scent is mostly gone. Whether it was the Cu pipe stirring, the KMS dose, the racking or just some more time to air-out: it's much improved. I wish I could nail it down to one item to address it but I'm mostly happy with this wine. If it continues down this path: I'll be happy to drink it later this year (by the time the vineyard has the new crop ready).
 

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