Author Topic: Campden tablets to sterilise fruit for secondary in beer  (Read 1163 times)

Offline Fettucini

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 9
  • Karma: 0
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Campden tablets to sterilise fruit for secondary in beer
« on: August 18, 2017, 06:38:31 AM »
Has anyone tried using campden tablets to sterilise fruit before it's added to secondary fermentation? We wanted to produce an unpasteurised fruit beer but found it was inconsistent, always depending on whether the fruit pulp had some wild yeast in it or not.
Tried pasteurising fruit too at 70 oC, but find it takes quite a bit of character and aroma away from the finished product.
Thinking campden tablets could be a good alternative, although a little worried about sulphur tastes/ smells.
Anyone used these?

Offline Oginme

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1277
  • Karma: 61
  • Goats, guitars, and a home brew; Life is good!
    • Longvu LaManchas
Re: Campden tablets to sterilise fruit for secondary in beer
« Reply #1 on: August 18, 2017, 09:14:08 AM »
When adding fresh fruit, I have found the best way to prevent outside yeasts/bacteria from spoiling the batch is to pulp the fruit, add just a small amount of vodka or grain alcohol, and freeze for at least a week.  Remove and thaw, then toss into the fermenter.  I use zip lock freezer bags and for storing and freezing the fruit, then sanitize the outside of the bag before opening and adding to the wort.

I've never tried campden tablets, so I really don't know how well that would work.

Recycle your grains, feed them to a goat!

Offline brewfun

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1903
  • Karma: 148
  • STAND BACK! I'm going to try Science!
Re: Campden tablets to sterilise fruit for secondary in beer
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2017, 05:35:48 AM »
Has anyone tried using campden tablets to sterilise fruit before it's added to secondary fermentation? We wanted to produce an unpasteurised fruit beer but found it was inconsistent, always depending on whether the fruit pulp had some wild yeast in it or not.
Tried pasteurising fruit too at 70 oC, but find it takes quite a bit of character and aroma away from the finished product.
Thinking campden tablets could be a good alternative, although a little worried about sulphur tastes/ smells.
Anyone used these?

Typically, a 24 hour soak of potassium meta will burn off and the secondary fermentation will not produce significant sulfur. You may have to allow another week or so if you detect some, but it does reduce.

There are excellent aseptic purees available, which may solve the issue for you. Look into companies that create ice cream fruit purees.

I've also experienced the inconsistency of whole fruit, and usually keep those to special or seasonal releases. You can only be as consistent as your source(s). My experience has been that anything that's year-round needs a little bit of fruit concentrate and/or natural flavoring to be consistent because of the changes during the year. Often, a similar or slightly contrasting fruit will bring out more of the intended flavors. For instance, in the past I made a pomegranate beer that needed just a little strawberry to round out the flavor and make it recognizable to more people. I'm currently refining a specialty IPA that uses an unusual citrus fruit puree as the base with the same process.

In the US, adding alcohol to a beer or an additive is fortifying it if the total exceeds 0.5% by volume. That can cause tax issues which no brewer wants. There are many fruit additives that use alcohol as part of their formula, but are not approved by the TTB for beer.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline jtoots

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 432
  • Karma: 8
Re: Campden tablets to sterilise fruit for secondary in beer
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2017, 12:15:05 PM »
I've used Campden tablets for this purpose with no adverse side effects.

Offline Fettucini

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 9
  • Karma: 0
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Re: Campden tablets to sterilise fruit for secondary in beer
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2017, 08:07:05 PM »
Has anyone tried using campden tablets to sterilise fruit before it's added to secondary fermentation? We wanted to produce an unpasteurised fruit beer but found it was inconsistent, always depending on whether the fruit pulp had some wild yeast in it or not.
Tried pasteurising fruit too at 70 oC, but find it takes quite a bit of character and aroma away from the finished product.
Thinking campden tablets could be a good alternative, although a little worried about sulphur tastes/ smells.
Anyone used these?

Typically, a 24 hour soak of potassium meta will burn off and the secondary fermentation will not produce significant sulfur. You may have to allow another week or so if you detect some, but it does reduce.

There are excellent aseptic purees available, which may solve the issue for you. Look into companies that create ice cream fruit purees.

I've also experienced the inconsistency of whole fruit, and usually keep those to special or seasonal releases. You can only be as consistent as your source(s). My experience has been that anything that's year-round needs a little bit of fruit concentrate and/or natural flavoring to be consistent because of the changes during the year. Often, a similar or slightly contrasting fruit will bring out more of the intended flavors. For instance, in the past I made a pomegranate beer that needed just a little strawberry to round out the flavor and make it recognizable to more people. I'm currently refining a specialty IPA that uses an unusual citrus fruit puree as the base with the same process.

In the US, adding alcohol to a beer or an additive is fortifying it if the total exceeds 0.5% by volume. That can cause tax issues which no brewer wants. There are many fruit additives that use alcohol as part of their formula, but are not approved by the TTB for beer.

Great, will try the tablets on the next batch. The recent batch we pasteurised 25 kilos of fruit pulp which was pretty time consuming.
The main issue we're having is that the first batch we did there was an amazing fruit aroma, but the subsequent batches have had almost no aroma.. not sure why this is. Looking into shorter cold crash time (currently 7 days),  increasing fruit additions by 50%.. any other ideas why we could be losing the aroma? Thanks

Offline brewfun

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1903
  • Karma: 148
  • STAND BACK! I'm going to try Science!
Re: Campden tablets to sterilise fruit for secondary in beer
« Reply #5 on: September 12, 2017, 06:43:57 AM »
Great, will try the tablets on the next batch. The recent batch we pasteurised 25 kilos of fruit pulp which was pretty time consuming.

The main issue we're having is that the first batch we did there was an amazing fruit aroma, but the subsequent batches have had almost no aroma.. not sure why this is. Looking into shorter cold crash time (currently 7 days),  increasing fruit additions by 50%.. any other ideas why we could be losing the aroma? Thanks

I'd hazard the guess that the pasteurization process is causing the loss of aroma. Pasteurization itself causes accelerated oxidation, while having the fruit open to the atmosphere lets volatiles distill out (they boil at low temperatures). You want to avoid volatile aromatics from boiling off or oxidizing.

I think the sulfate method will work for you. There's still the aseptic puree route, too.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

Offline Fettucini

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 9
  • Karma: 0
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Re: Campden tablets to sterilise fruit for secondary in beer
« Reply #6 on: October 18, 2017, 11:26:31 AM »
We've just kegged our first passion fruit batch that we used campden tablets for to sterilise the fruit pur?e. Flavour is way better, but there's a strong sulphur smell. Hoping this will get better over the next  few days if we re-purge the kegs with co2 a couple of times a day.
Also paranoid about a slight taste of the campden tablets, will that go away?

Offline Fettucini

  • BeerSmith Apprentice Brewer
  • **
  • Posts: 9
  • Karma: 0
  • BeerSmith 2 Rocks!
Re: Campden tablets to sterilise fruit for secondary in beer
« Reply #7 on: October 18, 2017, 11:40:37 AM »
One other thing, should we always purge the fermenter headspace with co2 after making fruit additions?

Offline brewfun

  • BeerSmith Grandmaster Brewer
  • *****
  • Posts: 1903
  • Karma: 148
  • STAND BACK! I'm going to try Science!
Re: Campden tablets to sterilise fruit for secondary in beer
« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2017, 07:31:34 AM »
We've just kegged our first passion fruit batch that we used campden tablets for to sterilise the fruit pur?e. Flavour is way better, but there's a strong sulphur smell. Hoping this will get better over the next  few days if we re-purge the kegs with co2 a couple of times a day.
Also paranoid about a slight taste of the campden tablets, will that go away?

Yes, the sulfur will reduce over time, if it can vent. In any vessel, trapped gas is trapped gas, so it probably won't reduce quickly in a keg. Your original question mentioned the secondary, not kegs.

A strong sulfur note is a sign that you can cut back on the amount of campden a bit.
Beer Appreciation is the space between pints.

 

modification