Campden tablets? Is that the name given to those special ‘disco biscuits’ you can buy in dodgy north London pubs?
No, you are thinking of ‘Camden tablets’. Campden tablets are commonly used in home brewing to sterilise equipment and/or juice. They are small doses of metabisulphite in tablet form, which produce sulphur dioxide, the sanitising agent.
Adding chemicals to my artisan brew? What is this sacrilege you suggest?
People have been sterilising brewing apparatus for centuries… the traditional method was to burn sulphur candles in wooden barrels to cleanse them before brewing.
Oh. But why would I want to?
Wines, and in particular cider, are prone to bacterial infections during the fermenting process which could ruin your hard work. Campden tablets help protect your brew.
Righto…So how many should i add?
For cider making, we add one tablet per gallon of juice after pressing, then another tablet per gallon before storing in bottles or barrels.
Are there any downsides to using campden tablets?
Around 2% of the population are allergic to sulphites, hence the ‘contains sulphites’ warning on wine and cider labels. Also, many cider making purists see the addition of metabisulphite to be the work of deviants and will fight you for even daring to mention it.
Ok, I’ll keep it quiet. Where can I get hold of some?
All good home brew shops will sort you out. If you prefer your deals to be conducted in cyberspace, we recommend using The Home Brew Shop… we use them all the time.