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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Wine Making Forum > Need help with skeeter pee
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Old 10-02-2011, 07:59 PM   #1
OHIOSTEVE
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Default Need help with skeeter pee

I have two five gallon batches of Skeeter Pee started. I have made a BUNCH of it in the past but these 2 batches are NOT starting for some reason. Here is what I did and if someone could critique it I would appreciate it..

I made a batch of wine with some concord graped I picked. I made my skeeter pee in two batches added the extra ingredients and wisked it up really good. I waited until the next day and racked the grape wine into a clean carboy. I took two cups from each skeeter pee batch and poured it into the wine slurry and mixed it up really well then divided it in half and added it back to the skeeter pee. It came out to 3.5 cups for each batch so IMO plenty of slurry per batch. I wisked it up again and covered them with towels...this was 3 days ago and so far NOTHING. I have wisked them 2-3 times a day and just checked the temp and it is right at 70 degrees. I did sprinkle a packet of PASTUER RED over each one just now hoping to get it going. I may be just impatient but it has never taken this long to take off. and yes I checked the SG to make sure it is NOT fermenting.

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I started brewing 69 days ago, 35 gal so far. SWMBO hasnt complained yet! Better than the hookers, gambling, and crack I used to do, I guess.
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Old 10-02-2011, 09:25 PM   #2
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Some things to consider ... in no particular order ...

Bottled lemon juice contains metabisulfite so it usually needs to spend time not only stirred up but also with good air exposure such as in an open bucket primary, for about 24 to 36 hours to reduce the effect of the sulfites prior to use.
Read the lemon juice label to make sure you did not obtain a product that happens to contain any Potassium Sorbate (not likely in lemon juice but ya never know).

If your Pasteur Red was used also as your original wine yeast, if your wine was particularly strong it may have started the process of killing off the yeast ... Pasteur Red’s ETOH tolerance is 15% according to Fermentis. Any conditions that began to damage the yeast will reduce its viability. Using additional yeast starter would help correct this.
As well the nutrients being used up doesn't help. I'd say your starter slurry was not as active ... and the sulfites in the lemon juice make everything even more tricky.

With the dry yeast I would have rehydrated as if starting from scratch ... to rehydrate you would add the yeast to 95 degree sugar water (or ratio of 1/3 must to 2/3 sugar water ... but *not* if the must contains metabisulfite ... you would just rehydrate with sugarwater). Let sit for 20 minutes (stirring occasionally), *then* you would add the rehydrated yeast slowly to the intended starter must (though not to one which contains sulfites ... I’d use more sugar water, apple juice or grape juice). 1 to 2 ratio ... so 1 cup (etc) rehydrated yeast slurry to 2 cups starter must ... then make two more must additions 3 hours apart with the last one being an addition of the sulfited lemon juice must.

What I would do now ...
I would keep the starter in an open top vessel.
I’d also add additional sugar water to the starter (but not any more of the chaptalized lemon juice).
Pasteur Red is a slightly higher temp range yeast ... 62* to 86* ... I would hold it at 86* to start and once activity is seen, reduce the temp to about 75* to 78*.
Once the yeast starts, build the starter using sugarwater, apple juice or grape juice for 2 additions, add the lemon juice must only on the third addition.

If it just will not start (say in 36 or so hours) add a half dose of yeast nutrients and/or a fermax type energizer (proportionately to the volume), oxygenate and wait at least overnight.

If it still won't go, personally (this is just what I would do) I would rehydrate yeast from scratch as noted above ... and then would make a fresh starter. Then in the primary I'd use a few cups of chopped raisins per 5 gallons ... or, if you were really a glutton for punishment ... add two or 3 bananas (instead of the raisins) that had been smashed with water and had amylase added and allowed to work overnight, then add that to each primary. This would be a sort of workaround to getting the extra character that the re-used lees would otherwise have provided.

Hope this helps.

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Old 10-03-2011, 01:36 PM   #3
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I was just too impatient...took off like gangbusters last night. Too quickly to be the repitch. Nice lemony smell and a foamy head. Thank you for the reply.

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I started brewing 69 days ago, 35 gal so far. SWMBO hasnt complained yet! Better than the hookers, gambling, and crack I used to do, I guess.
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Old 10-03-2011, 03:51 PM   #4
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ohio, try adding some yeast nutrient and perhaps another yeast packet, the original yeast might have been strained too far on the first batch you pulled it from.

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Old 10-04-2011, 05:16 AM   #5
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This thread made me start a batch I didn't have a slurry so I'm doing a 1 gal starter, I assume it should work

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Old 10-04-2011, 01:57 PM   #6
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Skeeter Pee is one of those things that makes me wish I had a big house with a basement and not a Queens apartment. I've got the feeling I would love having a couple dozen gallons of the stuff on tap.

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Old 10-05-2011, 08:59 AM   #7
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Ok just for public information my starter kicked off 3 hours after being pitched. My SP is bubbling like crazy and airlock activity is 2-3 a second. I took 3/4 a gal of water , added 2 tsp nutrient and 2 packs of Montrachet last night. I allowed the must to aerate over night anyway. This morning I added the nutrient to the must as dictated by the recipe and pectic enzyme. After I took a 3 hour nap I pitched the huge starter and it started fermenting in a couple of hours. a slight mod to the recipe is I added 2 small limes and 1 minneola cut into slices. This stuff smells great.....so far

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