Is there a natural alternative to Sulphites?

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Daamoot

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Is there a natural alternative to Sulphites?
« on: June 15, 2012, 13:11 »
Hi homebrewers!

I've only tried brewing for a year or so and would like any advice you more experienced guys would have regarding sulphite useage.  I prefer natural and organic products/consumables so tried to brew some wine, cider and beer without using any chemicals but needless to say most of it resulted in disaster.  I found it was possible to brew and was not bad if consumed quickly but maturing was a major problem (due to bacteria growth?).  I gave up my quest for organic brew and managed to make some lovely ciders and beer that kept with no problems.  Would you suggest sticking to using chemicals or are there alternatives or even ways to kill the bacteria/yeast without using sulphites or damaging the natural enzymes or goodness in the brew?

Cheers in advance for any tips you can give,
Damian
Add me on PSN but nowadays I reach for the fork or hoe more than a controller

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compostqueen

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Re: Is there a natural alternative to Sulphites?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2012, 13:46 »
A brew is organic when made from organic fruit  :)

It's a complex issue, when you start reading into it, so good luck  :)

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Daamoot

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Re: Is there a natural alternative to Sulphites?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2012, 15:17 »
Good point compost queen, thanks for pointing out organic refers to the fruit used.

With further research I've learned that sulphites are also a natural byproduct of the fermentation process so it's near impossible to have sulphite-free brew.  But maybe there are ways to avoid adding extra sulphites/chemicals and still resulting with a stable wine you can mature?

I'll play around some more with brews free from chemical addidtives after harvest.  I won't depend on them as my brew supplies tho!

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compostqueen

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Re: Is there a natural alternative to Sulphites?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2012, 15:47 »
You might get some tips on here as I know that there are some keen beer and winemakers hereabouts  :)

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Lardman

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Re: Is there a natural alternative to Sulphites?
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 19:32 »
If you ferment dry you shouldn't need stabiliser (Im not overly keen on E202 myself), but I think you're going to struggle if you want to keep your brew for any length of time without using a CT / sodium metabisulphite.

If your country wine brewing I don't think you're going to manage it - there are way too many nasties in the raw materials - but the higher the ABV the better your chance.
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Alastair-I

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Re: Is there a natural alternative to Sulphites?
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 22:20 »
So far I haven't used a Campden tablet, but my experience of brewing is limited as I only started last October!

First up was the riskiest of all (according to what I have read) a wild yeast, home-pressed apple cider.  Maybe I was lucky, but it worked.  I probably will sulfite the starting-with-whole-apples cider this autumn as I plan on making several gallons, and I do think I was lucky last year.  Incidentally, we also bottled fresh apple juice last year, the materials we used were clean but not sterile, we sterilised by pastuerising and adding a little vitamin C, it kept fresh for a couple of months until it was finished.  We had one bottle (out of 30) where the seal on the bottle failed or it hadn't reached the proper temp and it spoiled.

A regular brew since then (about a gallon a fortnight, 6 gallons on the go at the moment!) is turbo cider from supermarket apple juice (and either sugar or fruit syrup).  Using bought juice and fermenting dry there's no need to sulphite either at the start or the end as long as the equipment is sterilised.

Also on the go is 2 gallons elderberry wine (surplus homemade elderberry cordial plus supermarket grape juice) and 1 gallon of plum wine (homegrown frozen plums, sugar and water).  Neither has required sulphite so far, but neither is close to being ready for drinking yet.

There are several ways to kill any nasties depending on the raw materials, plus good hygiene of materials (I do use chemicals to sterilise everything), good technique and you should be able to minimise the need for chemicals.

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Daamoot

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Re: Is there a natural alternative to Sulphites?
« Reply #6 on: June 18, 2012, 16:26 »
Thanks for the information guys!  Its very informative and made me realise I'm expecting too much from my homebrew.  Going by your recomendations I'll make some turbo ciders without chemicals for consuming in the near future, either pasturise or sulphite my wines I want to mature and sometimes chance a chemical free wine but drink it as soon as its ready.

Cheers again,
Damian

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ilan

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Re: Is there a natural alternative to Sulphites?
« Reply #7 on: June 20, 2012, 21:34 »
depends on why you are using the sulphites keeping everything clean is the key use plenty of hot water on all your equipment it needs to be sterile if you are making from just juces then you will not need to sulphite with natural fruits the sulphites are used to kill of any weak wild yeasts so instead you can make up a quantity of "working brew" to pour over the fruits that will give an instant hit of alcohol of 1-2% which will also stop a wild fermentation . then store the finished wine in a dry state but with a good acid /tannin bite (A good evening can be had checking against a commercal wine) Then sweeten before use with a non fermenting sugar
Most home made wines lack acid which leaves them open to infections
This is the first age that has ever paid much attention to the future which is ironic since we may not have one !(Arthur c Clarke)



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Yeast Alternative

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