Use Camden Tablets? Yes? No?

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by KPlen, Dec 17, 2021.

  1. KPlen

    KPlen Initiate (55) Apr 19, 2017 Colorado

    For the last all-grain batch I brewed (my first all grain batch), the home brew shop advised to use Camden Tablets in the water for the Mash, and also for the Sparge Water. Going to brew my second all grain batch tomorrow. Should I use Camden tablets for this batch? Is this a good idea to just always use them? I've read a bit online about what they are for and they sound like a good "preventative" measure, but are there possible downsides to them as well? Thanks in advance!!
     
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  2. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,003) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
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    If you, like most people, have chlorine or chloramines in your water, you should get rid of them. Campden tablets do that. The only potential downside would be excess sulfur compounds, but that won't happen if you use Campden in the correct amounts.

    If you don't get rid of chlorine/chloramines, you could end up with chlorophenols in your finished beer. They smell/taste like plastic and/or medicinal.
     
  3. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,437) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    Do you use municipal tap water for your brewing water? If so, then removing the chlorine/chloramine is a very good idea. I personally use a three stage block carbon filter to remove this stuff from my water but using campden tablets works as well.

    I am personally unaware of downsides to using Campden tablets to remove chlorine/chloramine but hopefully some BAs who use them will provide input here.

    Cheers!
     
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  4. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,003) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
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    Hopefully.
     
  5. utahbeerdude

    utahbeerdude Devotee (419) May 2, 2006 Utah

    I highly recommend them for removing chlorine/chloramine. They work nearly instantaneously and have no downside (AFAIK) if used at the recommended amount. Cheers!
     
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  6. mijclarke

    mijclarke Initiate (63) May 4, 2014 Illinois

    I did my first tap water with campden tablet batch the day before thanksgiving. So far no off flavors, tasting good but not fully carbonated yet.

    I’m pretty sure you need 1/2 tablet per 5 gallons. Tip #1 crush tablet Tip #2 warm up a couple gallons of water on stove and mix crushed powder in. Then add to remaining 3 gallons of cold water and stir. I wouldn’t use warm water out of tap bc it may contain more metals. I basically did this for 5 gallons of strike water and then repeated the process for the sparge water. Dropping an uncrushed tablet in 10 gallons of cold water will be a pain to dissolve. I get Lake Michigan water from Chicago suburb and don’t have any chloromines in my tap water.
     
  7. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,437) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    The amount of Campden to use is really dependent on the municipal tap water:

    “Another method to remove chloramine from tap water is using Campden tablets. The often-recommended dosage is 1 Campden tablet per 20 gallons of tap water. This recommended value is predicated on a ‘worst case’ value of 3 mg/L of chlorine all as chloramine of the tap water. I use Haach test strips to measure the chlorine/chloramine value of my tap water, both pre-filtered and post filtering, and I can report that my municipal tap water only contains between 0.5 – 1 mg/L of chlorine as all chloramine. If you know the value of chloramine in your tap water you can tailor the amount of Campden.”

    https://www.morebeer.com/articles/Brewing_Water

    I am pretty sure that using ½ tablet per 5 gallons of water is ‘overkill’ here.

    Cheers!
     
  8. mijclarke

    mijclarke Initiate (63) May 4, 2014 Illinois

    I wonder if that campden (potassium metabisulfite) at higher than needed concentration is adversely affecting my yeast’s bottle conditioning abilities?
     
  9. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (5,437) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
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    I personally do not use Campden in my homebrewing so I do not have experience here. My guess would be that the amount of Campden you use is unrelated to carbonation/bottle conditioning but perhaps some other BAs who have used Campden can provide input.

    I replied to your other post with my thoughts about the carbonation level of your Sweet Stout.

    Cheers!
     
  10. VikeMan

    VikeMan Poo-Bah (2,003) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
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    Unlikely. Metabisulfite not used up in reaction with chlorine will be used in reaction with oxygen in the mash, after the boil, when oxygenating the wort before pitching yeast, and during transfer to bottling bucket/bottles. I haven't done the math (and some variables would be unkown anyway), but I would bet the farm that half a campden tablet per 5 gallons of strike/sparge water didn't harm your yeast or significantly slow your carbonation.
     
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  11. MrOH

    MrOH Poo-Bah (1,923) Jul 5, 2010 Malta
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    I boil up all my mash and sparge liquor together with a campden tablet, and I boil up my priming solution with a campden tablet, and all my bottles carbonate.
     
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  12. dmtaylor

    dmtaylor Aspirant (237) Dec 30, 2003 Wisconsin

    Another reason people add sulfite to a brew is to scavenge oxygen. Ever hear of LODO? Yeah. But don't ask me for details, I don't do it.

    If using for elimination of chlorine, it needs to be added before the water touches the malt. But if for deoxygenation, all bets are off.
     
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  13. MrOH

    MrOH Poo-Bah (1,923) Jul 5, 2010 Malta
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  14. skivtjerry

    skivtjerry Zealot (596) Mar 10, 2006 Vermont

    It takes a LOT of metabisulfite to prevent fermentation. Look at the amounts the winemaking world calls for. Putting 10-20ppm in the finished beer will prevent oxidation without causing any real harm. It is a common practice in UK commercial breweries. I only do this for hoppy beers; I want some oxidation in many big beers. Though be aware that a few people are sensitive/allergic to sulfites and can get headaches or worse from quite small amounts. This is why commercial labels must say "contains sulfites" if they are added.
     
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