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Old 12-29-2009, 12:58 AM   #1
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Default Yeast Question

Hi, I racked my wine from my primary to secondary fermenter at about 12% alcohol. Then I added 3% potential alcohol with sugar. Everything settled out and the wine became quite clear in two weeks at which time bubbling had stopped. This is the second batch and the I did the same thing to the first one but when I added the sugar the airlock when crazy and the yeast fermented all the sugar.

Obviously this batch had a weaker yeast population. Probably didnt help that I dumped the lees. Next time I will add sugar to the primary.

Anyway, I racked the wine and removed all the lees and decided to add new yeast. I started it in warm water with high alcohol tolerant yeast, added a teaspoon of sugar, added it to a bit of the warm must and let it get some momentum for an hour or two. Then I added it to my must. It's been 48 hrs and I don't se any bubbles in the primary fermenter. I do see a lot of suspended yeast though near the surface. Could this yeast be dead? or would dead yeast sink?

I'm not sure if I should leave it longer to see, or what?

Please help if you can,

thanks for any replies



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Old 12-29-2009, 02:14 AM   #2
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Hmm, normally I say sometimes 48 hours isn't really enough, but more like 72 hours. I would be worried if it went a week. But it already has alcohol... Is it at the same temperature it has always been, or did you change locations?



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Old 12-29-2009, 05:04 AM   #3
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I moved it to a slightly warmer place (maybe about 69-72 deg) to see if that would help the yeast. Im sure the alcohol is what is slowing them down. I just want to make sure that suspended yeast are still alive.

Do dead yeast cells always sink?

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Old 12-29-2009, 02:55 PM   #4
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Some yeast strains will go to 12-14% ABV and then just give up due to the alcohol content. Some yeast stains can be pushed up to 18% or so, though.

Even though you removed the yeast from the lees (and you should!), there are plenty of yeast in suspension.

I'm not sure what you're saying, though. You had a wine that seemed fine, and then added more sugar? Why? What are you trying to do? Sweeten the wine? Make a higher alcohol wine? Without knowing what you're trying to accomplish and the exact hydrometer readings (12% and 3% are potential alcohol readings, and not really a true reading of fermentation being finished or active), it's hard to give you advice.

I'd suggest leaving it alone for about a month. Rack whenever you have lees more than 1/4" thick, or every couple of months, if needed. Check the SG and record the reading. Check it on the SG scale, not the potential alcohol scalre. I suspect one of two things- that either the SG is 1.000 or under, or it's at 1.010 or so and a bit sweet. The reason it's not bubbling is simply because it's done.

You've either overwhelmed the yeast with alcohol, in which case the wine will be slightly sweet, or it fermented out and it's done. Either way is fine. Just leave it alone now.

Check your recipe- that seems like a very strange way to make a wine.

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Old 12-29-2009, 11:11 PM   #5
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Yea, I'm trying to push up the alcohol percent. The yeast activity stopped and most yeast settled out before the sugar had been converted. A stuck fermentation.
That is why I racked it and added some killer yeast. I read that you can push up the alcohol percent slowly adding more sugar until fermentation stops, but I know that the alcohol isn't that high yet.

So my question is: Since adding the yeast I notice a lot of yeast in suspension near the surface, but no real bubbling activity. Is this yeast dead? Or is it alive?
Does dead yeast typically settle or can it float?

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Old 12-30-2009, 12:38 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
Some yeast strains will go to 12-14% ABV and then just give up due to the alcohol content. Some yeast stains can be pushed up to 18% or so, though.

Even though you removed the yeast from the lees (and you should!), there are plenty of yeast in suspension.

I'm not sure what you're saying, though. You had a wine that seemed fine, and then added more sugar? Why? What are you trying to do? Sweeten the wine? Make a higher alcohol wine? Without knowing what you're trying to accomplish and the exact hydrometer readings (12% and 3% are potential alcohol readings, and not really a true reading of fermentation being finished or active), it's hard to give you advice.

I'd suggest leaving it alone for about a month. Rack whenever you have lees more than 1/4" thick, or every couple of months, if needed. Check the SG and record the reading. Check it on the SG scale, not the potential alcohol scalre. I suspect one of two things- that either the SG is 1.000 or under, or it's at 1.010 or so and a bit sweet. The reason it's not bubbling is simply because it's done.

You've either overwhelmed the yeast with alcohol, in which case the wine will be slightly sweet, or it fermented out and it's done. Either way is fine. Just leave it alone now.

Check your recipe- that seems like a very strange way to make a wine.
Same answer, let it set
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Old 12-31-2009, 11:00 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone for your replies. I appreciate your help.

I left the wine int he primary fermenter for a few days hoping that the yeast would gain some momentum. I transferred it back to the carboy and there is definitely activity.
It's no where near where the last batch was at the same time tough. Hope it can ferment all the sugar.



Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
Check it on the SG scale, not the potential alcohol scalre. I suspect one of two things- that either the SG is 1.000 or under, or it's at 1.010 or so and a bit sweet. The reason it's not bubbling is simply because it's done.

You've either overwhelmed the yeast with alcohol, in which case the wine will be slightly sweet, or it fermented out and it's done. Either way is fine. Just leave it alone now.

Check your recipe- that seems like a very strange way to make a wine.
I mentioned that the wine was stuck at a potential alcohol of 2%, that is the equivalent of an SG reading of 1.014 and is quite a bit of sugar so it's definitely not done fermenting. Also, I mentioned that I used a high alcohol tolerant strain of yeast. My wine is nowhere near 18% so I haven't overwhelmed the yeast.

And to answer my own question, floating yeast is alive and active. I would guess that yeast settles when it's dead because buoyancy is lost after CO2 production stops.
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Old 01-02-2010, 04:51 AM   #8
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Default Do dead yeast cells always sink?

I moved it to a slightly warmer place (maybe about 69-72 deg) to see if that would help the yeast.


I am sure the alcohol is what is slowing them down.



I just want to make sure that suspended yeast are still alive.



Do dead yeast cells always sink?


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