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Campden tabs or KSorbate?

Howdy, I haven’t made cider in a bit. Previously, I added truvia to sweeten before kegging. Can I use campden tabs again (i added to cider before fermentation) to kill any remaining yeast and then add apple concentrate to sweeten? Or do I need to use KSorbate? Are they the same?

The truvia wasn’t bad, I just thought I would step away from adding fake sweeteners…thanks for the help.

Neither Campden nor sorbate are entirely effective at killing wild beasts. That’s why hitting them with both is best.

But, since I don’t have any KSorbate, I could just use the Campden tabs, right? Would I use the same amt I used to kill the wild yeast? Or more? Again, thanks.

The two chemicals do different things. Campden is a pre-measured form of Potassium Sulfite. KSulfite will kill some organisms, but will typically stun yeast. How much you need to use depends on the pH of what you are trying to protect - it is more effective at lower pH, which is why it isn’t typically used in beer. Cultured yeasts have been bred to be resistant to sulfite, which allows them to get a head start on fermenting while the wild stuff is still struggling - that’s why you add it up front. However, over time the free sulfite level drops and the yeast can make a come back. So if you plan to back sweeten something, don’t count on campden to keep the yeast from restarting the fermentation.

KSorbate won’t kill the yeast, but it will stop them from budding. That cuts off the main method that yeast use to recover from a high dosage of campden. So to be effective, you need to use both.

I’m pressing apples tomorrow for the first time in many years (20+). In the past I used cider from a local orchard and didn’t add anything but yeast.

What pH is optimal for the campden? Also, I’ve seen 1 tablet per gallon. How long does it need to sit before adding the yeast?

My wife loves cider, so I don’t want to screw it up.


Don’t know the optimum pH for k-meta, but 24 hours is generally recommended before adding yeast.

What yeast are you planning for your cider? Last year I used Nottingham after 24 hours, and ended up with an absolutely horrible sulfur/boiled egg aroma that took about a year to age out of the cider. You should be OK with a standard wine yeast after 24 hours, but if you’re using an ale yeast I would probably wait a little longer, maybe 48 hours or so.

Wait 12-24 hours between adding the Campden and adding the yeast. That will stun the native yeast that is present and then start to dissipate so the cultured yeast can take off and dominate the fermentation.

K-sulfite effectiveness decreases as pH decreases, but the yeast will have problems if the pH is too low. The lower limit is somewhat dependent upon yeast strain, but you don’t really want to get below 3.1 (where wine yeasts start to have problems) or above 4.0 (where the campden becomes ineffective). Cider typically falls in the middle of that range, so no worries.

I would only add acid if you need it for taste. Some apple varieties don’t have enough on their own, in which case you can add a little malic acid. That is something I wouldn’t due however until just before you are ready to bottle.

Good luck.

Thanks, guys. I have Wyeast cider yeast. I want it semi sweet and sparkling, so I plan on kegging.

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