When to use Campden/K-Meta

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As a newbie, I and finding that wine making is often unequal parts science, art, and opinion. :) In some recipes no k-meta/campden tablets are used, while in others it is used at the beginning and during every racking. In all three of my batches I have started with one campden tablet per gallon in the beginning, and allowed to sit for 24 hours before pitching the yeast. 2 batches are still in primary stages, but the recipe for my nana wine called for adding campden once the wine reached .099 or .0998. I did this, and was then going to add campden every other racking, and at bottling. However, the recipes for my strawberry wine and blueberry wine only call for campden at the beginning, and never after fermentation has stopped. I was going to use campden with these anyway, but thought I'd ask some opinions. Also, I have read that potassium sorbet will cause flavor issues over time, but some recipes call for it even when not being back sweetened. Any option on this? Sorry for the lengthy questions. And I appreciate any help.
 

Scooter68

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Recipes are normally just that, a list of ingredients and to some degree directions on how to mix them. Unfortunately a consistency in wine recipes does not exist. Folks don't always discuss how long to age, how often to rack and especially not how often or even IF you should add certain things like K-Meta.

Basically I think a lot of folks assume that the readers will know what the 'standard' process is for wine making once the ingredients are listed along with any 'special' preparation actions.

Safest thing to do is to find a pretty standard approach and use it until you find a better way. So for a quick and dirty list of what is "Normal" let me give this a quick shot.

1) K-Meta is normally used before you add your yeast to kill off bacteria and 'bad' yeasts. Some kits or pre-prepared juices will tell you you don't need to do this. With a kit - follow their guidance. With juices keep in mind anything other than the juices you add could introduce bacteria.
2) You wait 24 hours and then you add your yeast.
3) K-Meta (or Campden tablets) are normally only added after the fermentation is completed. (At and SG of .990) If you add before then you wine will still have some residual sweetness. That may be part of a kit or recipes design.
4) After fermentation is completed the most common routine is to add k-meta/campden tabs at every other racking to keep a enough SO2 in the wine to preserve it. And then just before you bottle it (A week before normally is a good game plan)
5) Potassium Sorbate is used if there is any residual sugar in the wine OR if you back-sweeten it with sugar or an F-pack that contains fermentable sugar. It can induce a flavor that some people detect but either you add it to a sweetened wine or risk bottles exploding or blowing out corks. It, Sorbate, is not needed if there is no residual sugar. The best plan is not to add Sorbate until you add your last k-meta dose before bottling. (Again about a week ahead of bottling.)

You are correct that opinion does weigh into a lot of what people do. Few of us home-wine makers have enough chemistry equipment to get exact measurements and be 100% on the numbers for things like the ABV and SO2 content in the wine as it ages and before bottling. So a lot of what folks do comes from their experiences and trusted recommendations from friends and folks on forums like this.

Hope the helps! Hang in there in a year from now you will be enjoying some great wine.
 
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Thank you scooter68. This helps a lot. I have been trying to build myself a good starting base until I gain more experience, and this helps immensely.
 

Scooter68

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One additional point I neglected - Back-sweetening is best be done AFTER sorbate and K-meta are added for the last time. That allows the sorbate and K-Meta to be there to prevent any fermentation from starting rather than trying to stop it after sugar is already there and any remaining yeast has restarted the fermentation process.

SO.... that would mean that a kit wine that has you stopping fermentation before all the sugar is converted to Alcohol, will probably want both K-Meta added as well as Sorbate. THAT would again mean that if that wine is aged well, the sorbate could begin to introduce a detectable flavor. Sounds confusing?? Well that's why most folks prefer to let the wine ferment all the way dry THEN later back-sweeten letting you leave and sorbate addition until as late as possible.

This is where the process can get muddy. BUT as I said develop your own game plan and keep it simple until you have some experience. That's why so many suggest always letting wine ferment all the way dry (SG of .990) it keeps a consistent process and put off adding Sorbate until the last possible time. Some wine yeasts will stop short of that sometimes for a variety of reasons but the goal is a target of .990 and back-sweeten later.
 

hounddawg

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Scooter68 your are a wealth of info, I know that you among others. Has helped me. By w9rlds f8rst from the start and still today, I keep you and others I follow I do so so I can read your post and replies, as for the thread starter listen to this ventener as well as. Most all he rest, they're combined knowledge they are pure gold and unlike most with knowledge they freely help you freely. They are the gold standard onventers knowledge, I am so honored to be as Looney tune on thisfourms 9f misfits and nuts,
Dawg::








QUOTE=Scooter68;636606]One additional point I neglected - Back-sweetening is best be done AFTER sorbate and K-meta are added for the last time. That allows the sorbate and K-Meta to be there to prevent any fermentation from starting rather than trying to stop it after sugar is already there and any remaining yeast has restarted the fermentation process.

SO.... that would mean that a kit wine that has you stopping fermentation before all the sugar is converted to Alcohol, will probably want both K-Meta added as well as Sorbate. THAT would again mean that if that wine is aged well, the sorbate could begin to introduce a detectable flavor. Sounds confusing?? Well that's why most folks prefer to let the wine ferment all the way dry THEN later back-sweeten letting you leave and sorbate addition until as late as possible.

This is where the process can get muddy. BUT as I said develop your own game plan and keep it simple until you have some experience. That's why so many suggest always letting wine ferment all the way dry (SG of .990) it keeps a consistent process and put off adding Sorbate until the last possible time. Some wine yeasts will stop short of that sometimes for a variety of reasons but the goal is a target of .990 and back-sweeten later.[/QUOTE]
 

wineview

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Recipes are normally just that, a list of ingredients and to some degree directions on how to mix them. Unfortunately a consistency in wine recipes does not exist. Folks don't always discuss how long to age, how often to rack and especially not how often or even IF you should add certain things like K-Meta.

Basically I think a lot of folks assume that the readers will know what the 'standard' process is for wine making once the ingredients are listed along with any 'special' preparation actions.

Safest thing to do is to find a pretty standard approach and use it until you find a better way. So for a quick and dirty list of what is "Normal" let me give this a quick shot.

1) K-Meta is normally used before you add your yeast to kill off bacteria and 'bad' yeasts. Some kits or pre-prepared juices will tell you you don't need to do this. With a kit - follow their guidance. With juices keep in mind anything other than the juices you add could introduce bacteria.
2) You wait 24 hours and then you add your yeast.
3) K-Meta (or Campden tablets) are normally only added after the fermentation is completed. (At and SG of .990) If you add before then you wine will still have some residual sweetness. That may be part of a kit or recipes design.
4) After fermentation is completed the most common routine is to add k-meta/campden tabs at every other racking to keep a enough SO2 in the wine to preserve it. And then just before you bottle it (A week before normally is a good game plan)
5) Potassium Sorbate is used if there is any residual sugar in the wine OR if you back-sweeten it with sugar or an F-pack that contains fermentable sugar. It can induce a flavor that some people detect but either you add it to a sweetened wine or risk bottles exploding or blowing out corks. It, Sorbate, is not needed if there is no residual sugar. The best plan is not to add Sorbate until you add your last k-meta dose before bottling. (Again about a week ahead of bottling.)

You are correct that opinion does weigh into a lot of what people do. Few of us home-wine makers have enough chemistry equipment to get exact measurements and be 100% on the numbers for things like the ABV and SO2 content in the wine as it ages and before bottling. So a lot of what folks do comes from their experiences and trusted recommendations from friends and folks on forums like this.

Hope the helps! Hang in there in a year from now you will be enjoying some great wine.
1) K-Meta is normally used before you add your yeast to kill off bacteria and 'bad' yeasts.
3) K-Meta (or Campden tablets) are normally only added after the fermentation is completed.
So which is correct? Before or after?
 

balatonwine

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So which is correct? Before or after?
Both are correct.

Add it to stun wild yeast and bacteria and keep them from acting on the must, wait about 24 hours, then add your selected commercial yeast to do the main fermentation.

Then after fermentation, add more to keep any wild yeast and bacteria from causing problems to the finished wine.
 

mike3049

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Hi guys, I understand when to add kmeta, I'm stuck on the amount to add. Without actually testing the wine, I was reading 1/2 teaspoon of kmeta after fermentation and then 1/4 teaspoon after each racking there after, per 6 gal. Is that a safe guideline? Also, I made a couple batches last fall (kits and juice) and have been sampling them periodically, they have a certain smell and taste that isn't quiet right. I don't know if it's to much kmeta in the process before bottling or still young and needs more time to mature. I'm hoping it mellows out.

Thanks
 

wineview

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5) Potassium Sorbate is used if there is any residual sugar in the wine OR if you back-sweeten it with sugar or an F-pack that contains fermentable sugar. It can induce a flavor that some people detect but either you add it to a sweetened wine or risk bottles exploding or blowing out corks.

Here is an issue I am wrestling with. I got a bucket of juice that was really fermenting when I opened the lid with an OG of 1.088. I pitched BM 4X4 and let it sit for 10 days or so. When I took a reading it was at 1.012 and the temperate was around 60*. I gave it a stir pitched EC 1118 (I didn't trust the 4X4 after being in cold temperatures) and took another reading 3 days later. It dropped to around 1.010. I wrapped a heat belt around it with a thermostat and left it at 74-75 degrees for another week. It only dropped to 1.008. I wanted to get it off the lees so I racked to a carboy and put the belt back on. The airlock shows pressure but moves the airlock liquid very slowly. I tasted when racking and it does have a bit of sweetness. Not a foul taste at all but I would like the SG to drop some more. I will be back at the wine location in a few days but am hesitant to keep poking around with taking readings. My gut tells me to leave it and forget it. Now to the quote above. Will I have exploding bottles If I don't get the SG down. Or will Potasium Sorbate remedy that? I will treat it with Kmeta before bottling.

Thanks
 
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