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Substitute for potassium sorbate

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yppaul

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Hello,

I am currently making wine from the Wine Exert Pinot Noir Kit. One of the last steps includes adding potassium sorbate. Although the safety of potassium sorbate can be debating I would much prefer to skip it. Do you guys know of any substitutes for it?

Thank you for your help and time.

Paul
 

mennyg19

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If you're not back-sweetening your wine, you shouldnt need it. Just make sure your wine is fully fermented first by watching the sg for 3 days with no change.
You can also pasteurize our wine to kill the yeast. It is said that it affects the wine negatively but I've never tried it. See here for more info:
How to Pasteurize Your Homemade Wine
http://www.wikihow.com/Pasteurize-Your-Homemade-Wine
 
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LoveTheWine

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You only need to add Potassium sorbate if you are back sweetening.
 

richmke

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just wondering if you ABV is high enough then your cool same as not back sweetening?
Yes, but ....

If you are using EC-1118, then your ABV will be about 18%. Very high for a wine. I do it with Port (ABV 18-20%).
 

DoctorCAD

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Bulk age before bottling, a .0002 change over 3 days in SG won't be detectable, but will blow corks off and make a mess of your wine room...not that I have ever done that ;)

The longer it sits, the less likelihood of continued fermentation without stabilizing.
 

wineforfun

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As mentioned, if you are not backsweetening(which I can't imagine why you would with that kit), then you don't need to add it.

Also, as DoctorCAD mentions, letting it age for awhile in your carboy is a good thing to do.
 

wineforfun

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for a sleeping nightcap
Dang Dawg, just do it up right and go nighty-nighty to a couple shots of Everclear. Or I am sure down your way you can get ahold of some moonshine. :)
 

Scooter68

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If you're not back-sweetening your wine, you shouldnt need it. Just make sure your wine is fully fermented first by watching the sg for 3 days with no change.
3 days is not long enough. If you want to be certain fermentation has ceased wait at least 3 weeks, or longer. After all having corks blow out or bottles blow is more of a headache than a few weeks waiting time. I have had wines ageing kick the airtrap up now and then. (Especially after a racking and addition of Campden tabs.) There is no substitute for a little waiting and watching. Hydrometers are hard enough to read that you can mis-read it and think your done when the activity simply slowed due to temp changes.

Understand the desire to avoid all un-needed chemical additions but if that's the goal than certainly patience is part of the price to be paid. And as said backsweetening is going to require something prevent a restart of fermentation.
 

yppaul

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3 days is not long enough. If you want to be certain fermentation has ceased wait at least 3 weeks, or longer. After all having corks blow out or bottles blow is more of a headache than a few weeks waiting time. I have had wines ageing kick the airtrap up now and then. (Especially after a racking and addition of Campden tabs.) There is no substitute for a little waiting and watching. Hydrometers are hard enough to read that you can mis-read it and think your done when the activity simply slowed due to temp changes.

Understand the desire to avoid all un-needed chemical additions but if that's the goal than certainly patience is part of the price to be paid. And as said backsweetening is going to require something prevent a restart of fermentation.
During the wait isn't there a risk of oxidizing the wine or getting off tatstes as I will not have added the metabisulfite?

I am more than happy to wait 3-4 weeks before clearing and stabilizing the wine but I wanted to be sure I don't need to do anything else whilst waiting.

Thanks a lot for your answer!
 

BernardSmith

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Hi yppaul - and welcome.
As long as there is no headroom (space between the bung and the surface of the wine) more than about 1/2 - 1 inch - that is to say as long as the wine is up inside the neck of the carboy - then you can safely age your wine in that carboy for as long as you want. Think of that as "bulk aging". The reason why kit manufacturers sorta kinda rush everyone to bottle at the earliest moment is to free up the carboy so that you will be encouraged to refill it with another of their kits. An empty carboy being a terrible thing to watch.
AS to your question - is there a good substitute for K-sorbate? There is but the substitute is not an equivalent. K-sorbate prevents yeast from reproducing. That means when the yeast cell reaches the end of its life there is no next generation that will continue to ferment and that means that if you add sugar to backsweeten all that added sugar will remain as a sweetener in the wine. So, one alternative approach is to add a sweetener that the yeast cannot ferment and there are non fermentable sugars - Pure Stevia for example, but I am not sure that their flavors are neutral so the addition of such non fermentable sugars - they are more complex than fructose and glucose and sucrose - may alter the taste of your wine. But you also need to be careful - Stevia is often "cut" with dextrose and dextrose is fermentable.
Another possible "substitute" is not to depend on what is for all intents and purposes contraceptives for yeast (the K-sorbate) but is for you to actively remove every last yeast cell from the wine. You can do this by filtering the wine through what is called a sterile filter. That is a filter that blocks anything larger than .45 of a micron. At that size you will have removed every remaining yeast cell. But and that but is very big for a reason... unless your wine is crystal clear such a filter will get blocked faster than you can blink with fruit and sediment and who knows what else. But if you have removed every last yeast cell from your wine then there will be no yeast cells in the wine to ferment any sugar you add or any residual sugar that still remains after the fermentation has been halted (say, by dropping the temperature to a level too low for the yeast to function - Note that they will become active again as soon as the temperature of that wine rises ).
 
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Scooter68

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Bernard - Don't sterile filters also sometimes affect flavor and colors? Not against them but I thought I saw that somewhere True/False? Also if you use Stevia remember that some people perceive an off taste with Stevia sweetener. Some people have no problem others find it almost like the original diet soda aftertaste. I found this out when I grew the plants and checked into how to turn the leaves into a usable sweetener. (Basically too hard to do without a lab so I gave that up)

Yppaul -As to the metabisulfate Most folks rack their wines every 30 to 90 days as they bulk age it adding metabisulfate every other time they rack it. Keep it topped off and airlocked and all should go well. (Remember to change that Airlock solution when it starts looking foggy or collects anything)
 

BernardSmith

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Bernard - Don't sterile filters also sometimes affect flavor and colors? Not against them but I thought I saw that somewhere
Great question. Short answer is that I do not know. I have never tried to filter my wines and I generally don't backsweeten them either. I imagine that sterile filtration might strip color but I don't know how large the molecules are that may be responsible for flavor. But that said, I think that many if not most commercial wineries filter out the yeast. The last thing they want is a popped cork when you have bough a bottle and taken it home...
 

hounddawg

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i don't know but I've heard filters of under 1 micron i forget maybe .25 micron or something to remove your yeast, doing any country wine i do that has pear, GRRR i filter my whites at 6 mo at 1 micron but just so i can then bulk age for another 5 or 6 moths filter again and bulk age for a year, pears are a pain, but i got a big old tree and cant stand seeing pears go to waste
so hence pear blend whites myself I use elderberry for it's health benefits for, heart, arthritis, diabetes and so on,,
Dawg




Great question. Short answer is that I do not know. I have never tried to filter my wines and I generally don't backsweeten them either. I imagine that sterile filtration might strip color but I don't know how large the molecules are that may be responsible for flavor. But that said, I think that many if not most commercial wineries filter out the yeast. The last thing they want is a popped cork when you have bough a bottle and taken it home...
 

yppaul

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BernardSmith and everyone thank you so much for your help!!:h

Hi yppaul - and welcome.
As long as there is no headroom (space between the bung and the surface of the wine) more than about 1/2 - 1 inch - that is to say as long as the wine is up inside the neck of the carboy - then you can safely age your wine in that carboy for as long as you want. Think of that as "bulk aging". The reason why kit manufacturers sorta kinda rush everyone to bottle at the earliest moment is to free up the carboy so that you will be encouraged to refill it with another of their kits. An empty carboy being a terrible thing to watch.
AS to your question - is there a good substitute for K-sorbate? There is but the substitute is not an equivalent. K-sorbate prevents yeast from reproducing. That means when the yeast cell reaches the end of its life there is no next generation that will continue to ferment and that means that if you add sugar to backsweeten all that added sugar will remain as a sweetener in the wine. So, one alternative approach is to add a sweetener that the yeast cannot ferment and there are non fermentable sugars - Pure Stevia for example, but I am not sure that their flavors are neutral so the addition of such non fermentable sugars - they are more complex than fructose and glucose and sucrose - may alter the taste of your wine. But you also need to be careful - Stevia is often "cut" with dextrose and dextrose is fermentable.
Another possible "substitute" is not to depend on what is for all intents and purposes contraceptives for yeast (the K-sorbate) but is for you to actively remove every last yeast cell from the wine. You can do this by filtering the wine through what is called a sterile filter. That is a filter that blocks anything larger than .45 of a micron. At that size you will have removed every remaining yeast cell. But and that but is very big for a reason... unless your wine is crystal clear such a filter will get blocked faster than you can blink with fruit and sediment and who knows what else. But if you have removed every last yeast cell from your wine then there will be no yeast cells in the wine to ferment any sugar you add or any residual sugar that still remains after the fermentation has been halted (say, by dropping the temperature to a level too low for the yeast to function - Note that they will become active again as soon as the temperature of that wine rises ).
 
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