Using Campden tablets combat infection when brewing cider

Monday, October 23, 2023

The 'Old School' Secret to Better-Tasting Beer

In the world of brewing, Campden tablets have long been revered as an 'old school' method to enhance the quality of beer. But what makes these tablets so special? 

Let's delve deep into the fascinating world of Campden tablets and their multifaceted uses in brewing.

using cambden tablets with beer brewing

Understanding Campden Tablets: The Super Pill of Brewing

At first glance, one might wonder if Campden tablets are some kind of super pill. Their primary components are potassium metabisulfite or sodium metabisulfite. Their primary function? To react with chlorine (or chloramine) when added to beer, cider, or wine, effectively removing it from the solution.

The best part? This entire process takes place without imparting any unwanted flavors to the beverage.

  • Dosage and Application: How Many Campden Tablets Should I Use? For this purpose, 16 tablets per gallon are recommended.
  • Removing Chlorine from Water: Half a tablet for every 5 to 6 gallons is sufficient, breaking down the chlorine in under 10 minutes.
  • Stabilizing Apple Juice for Cider Production: One crushed tablet per gallon of juice is ideal. Remember to wait for approximately 24 hours before introducing the yeast.
  • Combatting Infection in Cider or Wine: In cases of infections, 1 or 2 crushed tablets can be dissolved in the product. It's worth noting that the success of this method can vary.

Safety Concerns: Are Campden Tablets Safe to Use?

Absolutely. Over the years, these tablets have proved to be safe for consumption. A common query revolves around the release of sulfur dioxide. While it's true that sulfur dioxide is introduced into the water, its concentration diminishes massively by the time the beer is consumed, ensuring that the beer remains safe to drink.

Campden Tablets and Cider Production: A Crucial Relationship

Cider producers are well-acquainted with the threat of acetobacter bacteria contamination. Fortunately, while yeast remains resistant to Campden tablets, acetobacter is not, making these tablets a vital tool in cider production.

The Role of Campden Tablets in Wine Production

Campden tablets serve dual purposes in wine production:
  • Preventing Bacterial Growth: They deter stray bacteria from affecting the wine.
  • Acting as an Anti-Oxidizing Agent: Especially useful when transferring wine between containers, ensuring that any oxygen introduced is effectively neutralized.

Debunking Myths: Can Campden Tablets Halt Fermentation?

Contrary to popular belief, Campden tablets cannot be used to stop the fermentation process in wine or beer. Attempting to do so would require an excessive amount of tablets, rendering the beverage undrinkable.

campden tables for brewin beer ph

A Glimpse into History: The Origins of Campden Tablets

The story of Campden tablets dates back to the 1920s when the solution was developed by the Fruit and Vegetable Preserving Research Station in 'Chipping Campden', England. Its popularity soared when the Boots UK pharmacy chain introduced it in tablet form.

To Use or Not to Use: Are Campden Tablets Essential for Brewing?

The decision to use Campden tablets is subjective and depends on individual preferences and regional water quality. In places with high chlorine content, like Havelock North, New Zealand, the tablets come highly recommended. However, there are alternative methods available for those who opt against them, such as active carbon filters for removing chlorine and chloramine, and other sanitizing agents like sodium percarbonate and Powdered Brewery Wash for equipment sterilization.

campden tablets for beer making

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