Potassium Metabisulfite (55LB)
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At the crush, sulfites are generally used to help control the spoilage bacteria and indigenous yeast that may already be present both on the fruit and in the winery (i.e. on the picking bins, processing equipment, tanks, tubing, etc.).
The amount generally used is enough to inhibit most of the unwanted organisms but not enough to hinder a cultured yeast, which has a higher tolerance to sulfites than most of the indigenous organisms do.
This inhibition effectively "wipes the slate clean" for the cultured yeast to step in and rapidly colonize the must so that it can effectively dominate the subsequent fermentation.
In addition, sulfites also help to inhibit the enzymatic browning of both musts and finished wines so that all of their delicate complexities can be preserved.
Later, during storage and in the bottle, sulfites at the proper levels will further protect a wine by continuing to inhibit spoilage organisms, as well as by scavenging oxygen.
Note that the exact amount needed to effectively do the job is determined by the pH of the wine.
In addition, it's important to keep in mind that free SO2 levels fall faster in wood cooperage than in glass or stainless, so if you are using a barrel you will most likely need to manage sulfite levels more closely.
The most common form of Metabisulfite is as a powder which is fixed with potassium or sodium.
Potassium Metabisphite is a sanitizer.
Use 2 ounce per gallon of water.
Antioxidant and bactericide - use 2/3 teaspoon to 5 gallons.
Dissolve sulphite in warm water before adding.
Use 1/4 tsp. for 6 gallons.
Potassium metabisulfite comes with just about every wine kit we sell and is used as an additive even in private and commercial wineries.
Potassium Metabisulphite is an antioxidant.
It slows down the aging and oxidation of wine by removing free oxygen suspended in the wine.
Oxygen is both harmful and beneficial to wine.
It is harmful in large quantities because it rapidly accelerates the aging process.
However, if your wine has too little oxygen your hard work can develop off flavors.
Potassium metabisulfite is often called a stabilizer because it serves to prevent spoilage and further fermentation by removing oxygen.
However, adding potassium metabisulphite preserves the flavor and color of a wine.
An oxidized wine can turn red wines orange and eventually a very unappealing brown.
White wines will also turn brown with too much oxygen.
This additive is available in a powdered form as pictured here as well as in tablets called campden tablets.
Potassium metabisulfite may also be used as a sanitizing agent due to its antioxidant properties.
When you dissolve Potassium Metabisulphite in water it forms three different compounds, sulfur dioxide, bisulfite, and sulfite.
Each of these is able to bond with free oxygen floating around in wine.
When this happens the free oxygen is no longer available to be consumed by micro-organisms.
The removal of oxygen chokes off most micro-organisms and will prevent them from reproducing.
It does not, however, stop a fermentation.
Yeast produces alcohol only when forced to live without oxygen but it does go on living.
By adding potassium metabisulfite after you’ve stopped fermentation completely you can then back sweeten a wine with little risk of rekindling the fermentation of newly added sugar.
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