Take the 2-minute tour ×
Homebrewing Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for dedicated home brewers and serious enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

I've used Campden tablets per a recipe for cider to prepare the unpasteurized cider before pitching yeast, but recently came across the following in Wikipedia:

Campden tablets are also used towards the end of the fermentation process to halt the ferment before all the available sugars are converted by the yeast, hence controlling the amount of residual sweetness in the final product. (link)

Does anyone have experience with this? I've never seen this particular use in a recipe, but it seems like it could be very handy.

share|improve this question
    
It's a great idea. I've never done it. My batch of Apfelwein (hard cider fortified with malt) was way too dry. You would have to get hydrometer readings very regularly to make it work. –  TinCoyote Nov 30 '10 at 14:41

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

I have used potassium metabisulfite, the main component in campden tablets, a couple of times to stop fermentation in my cider. Although I now use Potassium Sorbate instead to reduce the amount of sulfites.

Campden tablets do not kill yeast but actually makes the environment inhospitable for the yeast. It does this by releasing sulfur dioxide into the must which prevents bacteria from growing and also acts as a strong antioxidant. When using it before bottling or to inhibit fermentation you need to add one tablet per gallon to get 150 ppm. If you are using potassium metabisulfite you will need 3/4 tsp to reach 150 ppm. You can also make a stock solution of 1/4 lb in 1 quart of water, then 1 tsp of the solution would get you 50 ppm, so 3 tsp would give you 150 ppm. When using campden tabs of potassium metabisulfite before fermentation to kill bacteria and arrest wild yeast you will need 75 ppm.

When I use potassium sorbate I first cold crash the yeast to promote flocculation and then add the sorbate. Potassium sorbate prevents the existing yeast from multiplying but doesn't stop them from fermenting. This is why I make sure to clarify as much as possible before kegging and bottling.

share|improve this answer
    
I'm not familiar with the term "cold crash," could you explain that briefly? –  theraccoonbrew Dec 1 '10 at 5:07
    
cold crash-put the beer/cider in the fridge and yeast goes dormant and crashes out and settles to the bottom. –  brewchez Dec 1 '10 at 12:53
    
thanks for the clarification –  theraccoonbrew Dec 2 '10 at 22:35

Heh, go back and read the link. It has been updated to indicate this is a myth...

"It is a common misconception that campden tablet can be used to halt the ferment process..."

same here too

share|improve this answer
    
Can you quote the relevant parts here? –  mdma Oct 17 '13 at 12:59

TinCoyote is correct, you would have to keep a keen eye on your SG readings. It would also help to know where the beverage usually finishes so that you can stop it early. The Campden tablets will stop fermentation and leave unfermented sugar to sweeten the beverage. Potassium Sorbate would also keep the yeast from reproducing, something to look at if you are going to do this. You can't use your yeast to carbonate the beverage if you halt fermentation, so if you would like the beverage carbonated, you would have to artificially carbonate it.

share|improve this answer
    
Campden tablets alone will not stop fermentation; this is a myth and should not be perpetuated. "Without the addition of potassium sorbate the yeast population will only be stunned and eventually repopulate if provided with enough fermentable sugars." In other words, if you hit a fermentation with campden tablets before it has finished, the yeast will eventually overcome and start fermenting the rest of the fermentable sugars. –  Wyrmwood Nov 13 '13 at 4:22

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.