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So I have a batch of wine that seems to have been contaminated and has the sulfur smell that is characteristic of H2S.

Clearly I can't sell or give away this wine, but is it still safe to drink?

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    Also out of an abundance of safety I did get rid of the wine. – Zell Faze Oct 26 '16 at 10:30
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    You did the right thing binning it. If it smells bad it is generally not good for you. H2S is toxic, and best avoided; wouldn't kill you at the levels in gone wrong wine but still. – Mr_road Oct 27 '16 at 14:47
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Aside from how of putting hydrogen sulfide is, unless its super high it really shouldn't be terribly toxic as far as consuming the wine goes. But its probably not worth the trouble.

Check out this link to the sources and causes of H2S in poor fermentation.

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Some people use sulfur dioxide (SO2 – sulfur bound with two molecules of oxygen) to stabilize the wine, i.e., to stop any fermentation and make the wine less prone to infections. A quick web search for "sulfur in wine" comes up with plenty of examples for this.

Of course, you don't want a sulfur taste. Different people react differently to sulfur; some may just dislike it, others may get a headache, and yet others may not notice it.

I don't know how you got that flavor in your wine. It could be from anaerobic digestion, maybe in an overfull fermenter with no access of fresh air to the wine?

I'd probably try pouring the wine from one bucket to another, splashing quite a bit to aerate it. Repeat after some hours, for a few days. See if that makes a difference.

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  • But is it safe to drink? I did not use SO2 in my wine. The flavor was not added, the only ingredients used were grape juice, yeast, and sugar. I suspect contamination. – Zell Faze Oct 26 '16 at 10:04

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