1 Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2017 12:51 PM

Hi guys and gals

One of my recent extract brews, a Timmy Taylor Landlord Ale clone, has come out with a phenolic taste to it that I’m not happy with. I’d thought I had dealt with the usual suspects and was very disappointed to taste a “failed” batch. I don’t feel it is a consequence of fermentation temp (brew fridge), yeast type (M36 Liberty Bell), yeast amount (built a starter), kit (was Briess extract-only) or ingredients (no wheat!). I’m now turning my focus to the water – chlorophenols as a result of chlorine in my brewing water. I do 9L boils, then top up with water from the tap (or pre-chilled).

I’m on Sydney water supply, which I thought was good, but perhaps they have changed the treatment of the water recently.

How do you guys use Campden tablets? Doing my reading I need to let it sit for some time before the brew/pitch. Thinking I will fill up one of my spare fermenters with cold Sydney tap water, add in the tablet at recommended dosage and let it sit for at least 24 hours. Then this water will be used for the boil, for the top up, etc.

How about for an all-grain batch – do I need to add a Campden tablet to water 24hrs in advance? Or can I add the Campden tablet while heating up my strike water (full-volume BIAB).

Am also considering doing full-volume boils even for my extract brews. I have the large pot and gas burner already (for when I have time to BIAB) – but not a chiller so maybe will do an all-extract full volume boil, no chill. Don't hear of many people doing this though, tends to be stovetop boil.

2 Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2017 1:24 PM

When I use them in my brewing water I just follow the instructions on the packet; crush it up and dissolve it in some warm water (I use about 300mL), then tip it all into the strike water. Then begin heating it. They're almost impossible to dissolve fully though so I just stir it vigorously for a few minutes and then dump it in. They break down the chloramines/chlorine in a matter of minutes; I'm guessing the recommendation to let it sit is to let the SO2 produced fully escape from the water, but boiling it would do this anyway so it's a moot point with AG.

You can get potssium metabisulphate in powder form as well which might be easier to dissolve, I don't know as I've not used it that way yet. Craftbrewer sells it in 1kg bags and since you only need about 0.5-1g per 100 litres of water treated, it would last for about 2000 batches, or at my rate of brewing about 80 years . I may pick some up on my next trip though just to compare it to the tablets for ease of use, it's only 10 bucks anyway and I do have a set of scales to weigh tiny amounts like that.

Cheers

Kelsey

3 Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2017 3:39 PM

joolbag:

Hi guys and gals

One of my recent extract brews, a Timmy Taylor Landlord Ale clone, has come out with a phenolic taste to it that I’m not happy with. I’d thought I had dealt with the usual suspects and was very disappointed to taste a “failed” batch. I don’t feel it is a consequence of fermentation temp (brew fridge), yeast type (M36 Liberty Bell), yeast amount (built a starter), kit (was Briess extract-only) or ingredients (no wheat!).


I feel your pain! As mentioned in previous post I had a Blonde some 5-6 months ago spontaneously turn into a ‘band-aid’ brew over night while resting in the FV. Reason unknown!
If it's any kind of reassurance, I now think the taste does fade in time but in my case it's taken over 5 months so far with this particular off-brew, and still has a wee way to go yet.

I’m now turning my focus to the water – chlorophenols as a result of chlorine in my brewing water. I do 9L boils, then top up with water from the tap (or pre-chilled).

Likewise. And like you, the cause of my ‘Band-Aid’ beer was a bit of a mystery so I too started to consider the water as a possibility. However the water here is not treated with chloramines, but rather chlorine so I gather boiling reduces it to a small degree, though it is of course only 9 litres that's actually getting boiled in this case which still leaves a 14 litres with a full dose.

I’m on Sydney water supply, which I thought was good, but perhaps they have changed the treatment of the water recently.

I too also wondered if there are actually occasional spikes in our waters chlorine levels occurring periodically. I know there's been times with my tap water where I've easily detected the chlorine and then other times where I've been unaware of it.

Never used campden tabs myself - but maybe a I should consider it?

4 Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2017 4:31 PM

Hi joolbag.

I had some astringency problems with my beer at one point & didn't know what the cause was. After some reading on the subject, it appeared to be either over-sparging my grain or like you suspect, something to do with chlorine levels in your water. I then asked for some help here.

Hairy suggested I try campden tablets. Which I did, & due to their apparent success at dealing with my issue, continue to use in every brew I make now.

My method is on my brew day after mixing together my current brew, I refill my refrigerated top-up water container(s) placing one tablet per 4-5 litre container. Like Kelsey I pour a little bit of very hot (often recently boiled) water into the container, add the tablet & swish it around until it dissolves, then I top up with cold tap water, mix thoroughly & place back in my fridge to be ready for next weeks brew day.

Coincidentally, PB2 cleverly mentioned once that you can rid the chlorine from your water by simply placing your filled water containers out in the sun (I can't remember for how long ) as this will also rid the water of chlorine.

I hope that helps, & good luck resolving the issue.

Lusty.

5 Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2017 6:01 PM

Beerlust:

Coincidentally, PB2 cleverly mentioned once that you can rid the chlorine from your water by simply placing your filled water containers out in the sun (I can't remember for how long ) as this will also rid the water of chlorine.


I'd read somewhere that it actually took around a week to de-chlorinate in sunlight, a day if it's constantly aerated.

6 Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2017 6:21 PM

When I was at school it took a couple of hours in glass containers and dissolved oxygen was sufficient. Remember your water is susceptible to infection once the chlorine is removed.

7 Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2017 8:13 PM

I think I'm onto something here. It's the next logical place to look.

Thanks for your replies guys, I really appreciate it. I did some.more research and headmaster's Sydney Water thread (https://club.coopers.com.au/coopers-forum/topic/16635/) as well as some.info from other websites confirms that my local water treatment plant (Prospect, which services most of metro Sydney) uses chloramine exclusively to treat the water.

I'm going to buy some Campden tablets and it will form part of my brewing schedule. Will add to strike water for BIAB, and will give it 24hours to work on my extract boil and top up water. By all accounts online they recommend 1/4 to 1/2 a tablet per 5 gallons (for beer). Lusty, your dosage is a lot higher, like that for adding to wine. Any reason for your dosage rate?

Really keen to gwt this next brew down to see if if Campden makes a difference to me.

Juat hope that my latest brew, the Hop Hog clone isn't cursed by chlorophenols. If it is, a grown man may just cry

8 Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2017 9:04 PM

Probably because they're just about impossible to split in half or quarters. The tablets are quite hard almost like boiled lollies. I have to use a fair bit of force with a spoon to get them to crush up when I use them.

A lot of water supplies are moving to chloramines because free chlorine has the potential to react with other things in the water and form potential carcinogens, or something like that anyway. Boiling will remove free chlorine easily, but it doesn't work on chloramines, which is where the potassium metabisulphite comes in.

I've never had issues like that in my beers, however I figured using this stuff to remove the chloramines wasn't much effort to prevent it from being a problem in the first place.

Cheers

Kelsey

9 Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2017 10:13 PM

joolbag:

…By all accounts online they recommend 1/4 to 1/2 a tablet per 5 gallons (for beer). Lusty, your dosage is a lot higher, like that for adding to wine. Any reason for your dosage rate?

I'm not sure what size your campden tablets are but the ones I am using are only very small. The dosage rate for mine is one tablet per 5 litres & that is all I use. I generally only use one of the refrigerated top-up water containers per brew that further dilutes that one campden tablet into 21-23 litres.

So my dosage is actually only a quarter of the recommended rate.

Cheers,

Lusty.

10 Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2017 10:21 PM

Thanks Lusty I didn't realise they came in different sizes. The ones I am getting must be bigger. So you only treat your top up water? Not concerned about the chloramines in the boil?

11 Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2017 10:32 PM

Mine are down in the brewing area at the moment but they're about the size of a Nurofen tablet, or a little smaller. The dosage rate listed on the packaging for them is for wine and is listed at 1-2 tablets per 5 litres or thereabouts. It doesn't mention anything about using them in water, but given they're Vintners Harvest brand, that's not a great surprise

The dosage rate for potassium metabisulphite for removing chloramines from water works out at about 5-10mg/L; these tablets contain about 700mg of it, so using that in 35 litres in a BIAB actually works out about 20mg/L. It hasn't caused any issues doubling the dose, though.

12 Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2017 11:16 PM

Interesting that I have just performed my first treatment of these chemicals last night! Was for batch no. 50 in 2 years.

I bought some muntons sodium met, $8 for 300g. does same thing as potassium met, but does leave behind a small amount of sodium maybe 1 to 2 ppm if you dose right. looking into that dose it should be only about 80mg to treat 3ppm chloramines in about 20 litres from what I researched.

I used 60mg for my batch last night, under dosed for the 32 litres but our water unlikely to have 3ppm as that is the high end. Made a NZboplis with Motueka hops. Weighed on the hop scales, this was a tiny pinch. Like in a quarter teaspoon measure it's just sitting way down the bottom..

You do not want to use too much of this stuff! Esp if sodium met, will leave behind too much sodium.

I'm guessing when we get a whole lot of rain like we just have, Sydney water probably turns up the disinfectants so that's what motivated me to get a jar of this stuff. So at this rate my 300g will give me 5000 batches, almost 16,000 cartons of 24 330ml stubbies or 100 years of brewing at my current rate!

13 Posted: Thursday, March 02, 2017 11:21 PM

My tiny dose research comes mainly from this thread:

http://www.homebrewtalk.com/showthread.php?t=163230


“Campden tablets contain sodium metabisulfite, Na2S2O5, they weigh 0.44 g according to wikipedia. According to the chemistry, 1 milligram of chlorine is neutralized by 1.5 mg of bisulfite. Typically municipal water has 3 or less ppm of Cl2 or NH2-Cl (chloramine). So, if one liter of muni water has 3 mg of chlorine, it needs 4.5 mg of bisulfite for chlorine removal. 20 gallons is roughly 80 liters, so 3 X 80 = 240 mg chlorine X 1.5 mg bisulfite = 360 mg bisulfite to neutralize the chlorine in 20 gallons. Since one tablet is 440 mg and probably includes some binder to hold it together, the one tablet per 20 gallons makes sense.”

14 Posted: Friday, March 03, 2017 2:46 AM

Hi fellas,

I think Headmaster is correct that you only need one Campden tablet per 20-23L batch if you are just neutralizing chloramines. The instructions on the packet which say to use one tablet per 4-5L is directed at wine makers who are trying to stun the large numbers of wild yeast and other microorganisms in fruit must. You are then meant to wait for 24 hours before adding your chosen yeast, otherwise it will stun your chosen yeast as well. If you are only adding one tablet per batch, and are using a starter, you might get away with adding the Campden tablet to your strike water on brew day, but ideally one would wait 24 hours….I have read that brewer's yeast are more sensitive to sulphites than wine yeast.

About Campden tablets, there are two kinds floating around the market, ones made with sodium metabisulphite and ones made with potassium metabisulphite. Both contain about the same amount of active ingredients. (Lusty, I agree with Joolbag that you are likely using more than you need to.) The ones made of sodium can add a salty note which may or may not be detectable if you are only using one tablet per batch. Personally, I make a point to seek out ones made with potassium metabisulphite. Note, I only use them for wine and cider making. My brewing water does not contain chloramines.

Cheers,

Christina.

15 Posted: Friday, March 03, 2017 7:01 AM

Most of the AG brewers I've seen using them add them to the strike water at the start of a brew day. That's my method but given that I no-chill in cubes, the wort sits around for longer than 24 hours before it is pitched with yeast. I certainly haven't had any issues with fermentation from using them.

I found these on MoreBeer:

What’s being added to your beer? The amount of metabite required to neutralize the levels of chlorine and chloramine typically found in municipal tap water results in by-products at concentrations that are insignificant when brewing all styles of beer except those that require very soft water (for example, Bohemian Pilsener).

Good thing I use distilled water for pilsners!

Any excess metabite winds up as potassium or sodium plus sulfur dioxide in the beer. The L.D. Carlson tablets are potassium metabisulfite, which is about 35% potassium and about 55% sulfur dioxide (the rest is oxygen). Because these tablets weigh 695 mg, this means an extra tablet (that is, one that has no chlorine or chloramine to react with) would leave 243 mg (3.2 mg/L in 20 gallons) of extra potassium and 382 mg (5 mg/L in 20 gallons) of sulfur dioxide. The sulfur dioxide will either reduce something in the mash to a reductone (a reduced-state organic substance thought to prevent staling reactions in beer) and become sulfate in the process, or be driven off as a gas during the boil. If it all converted to sulfate, 1 tablet in 20 gallons would increase sulfate by about 9 mg/L. As metabite, in either form, is a basic salt, excess metabite will increase the alkalinity of the water slightly.


I can't see anything on that page about leaving the water to sit for 24 hours before using it, but perhaps with all grain it doesn't really matter anyway given the process takes a number of hours to get the wort ready for pitching.

Cheers

Kelsey

16 Posted: Friday, March 03, 2017 9:30 AM

joolbag:

I think I'm onto something here. It's the next logical place to look.

The puzzling aspect of all this is that it seems to be the first time you've had this issue?

17 Posted: Friday, March 03, 2017 9:50 AM




EDIT:

I posted before:

Ryde Water report (which serves a large area north of the harbour) in their 2014 report (most recent one I can find and none more recent available) has no mention of chloramines, just:
Free chlorine 0.04 – 0.04 mg/L (ppm)
Monochloramine 0.28 – 1.32 mg/L (ppm
)


Doing some more research both on the Sydney water website and elsewhere, it does seem as though these water people are using chloramines now, (usually by introducing ammonia which then creates the chloramines) can be cheaper and lasts longer for longer runs.

Even back in 2013 there was a fact sheet from Sydney water about how to protect your fish http://www.sydneywater.com.au/web/groups/publicwebcontent/documents/document/zgrf/mdq3/~edisp/dd_047549.pdf that indicated chloramines could be there and that they are very difficult to get rid of from the water.

18 Posted: Friday, March 03, 2017 9:55 AM

By the way, I think it's a lot easier to use the powder rather than the tablets. Apart from being a lot cheaper, you dont need to crush them up to dissolve. The powder seems to mix in to water very easily. I note some doods are using coffee grinders/spice grinders to crush the tablets.

Sounds too complex.. I'd rather learn what size pinch and simply put one in to the strike water while heating, then bob's your uncle.

I recommend 60mg to 120mg to treat say 25 to 35 litres. If you measure this out on scales with 1mg res, it's a small pinch..

19 Posted: Friday, March 03, 2017 11:15 AM

Ease of use is one reason I am gonna buy some of the powder from CB on my next trip. If the powder is more easily dissolved than the tablets then it sounds a lot easier, aside from more easily being able to dose it at the proper rate. I have scales that measure in mg so that's easy enough; I use them for the brewing salts for my pilsners mainly.

Does it matter whether the small amount of water with the K-met in it is added to the urn before or after it's filled with the strike water?

20 Posted: Friday, March 03, 2017 11:34 AM

headmaster:

If you measure this out on scales with 1mg res, it's a small pinch..

Could be a problem for many! My digital scales only resolve down to .1g (100mg). I guess it doesn't have to be precise though… so maybe a ‘small pinch’ is accurate enough