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Les Sulfites

Sulphites – Wine and Beer

August 13th, 2023

We often hear about the presence of sulphites in wine. Apart from giving us a headache, what exactly are they used for? Let’s try and demystify the issue together.

Sulphites are compounds containing sulphur. They are added to wine because they have antioxidant and disinfectant properties. In this way, they protect the wine from oxidation caused by oxygen and bacteria harmful to these products. Sulphites can be found in 2 compounds: sodium metabisulphite and potassium metabisulphite.

The main difference between these two compounds is the quantity of sulphates released by each. Sodium metabisulphite releases more sulphites than potassium metabisulphite. This means you need less to get the same result, which is better for your wallet. If you’re sensitive to sulphites, potassium metabisulphite is an interesting option.

If you don’t intend to make wine, you can also use this product to bottle your delicious NEIPA. With their antioxidant properties, you can use metabisulphites to preserve your big hop juices without worrying about them turning brown and tasting like cardboard. It’s a good idea to add them if you use bottles to package your NEIPA. If you’re very sensitive to sulphites, you could also use ascorbic acid instead.

You can buy these products in powder form or in capsule form (campden tablet).

Jocelyn Bernier-Lachance is a home brewer with ten years’ experience. He is also a microbiologist by training, having previously worked for Lallemand, the Gallicus craft brewery and Beer Grains. Now he’s keen to share his experience with you and spread his passion for micro-organisms and fermentation.