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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Natural Alternate Yeast Nutrients
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Old 07-29-2014, 02:33 AM   #1
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Default Natural Alternate Yeast Nutrients

Hello! I'm sure this has been asked to death, and I apologize for asking again, but I didn't see a lot in the search for it and so I wanted to ask. I'm planning to make a couple gallon-sized batches of mead soon (I have a bunch of empty 1 gallon jugs). I keep kosher, and so I wanted to verify my ingredients were kosher. The honey I'm good with, and the yeast I'm (mostly) good with.

I'm less good with the yeast energizers and nutrients, though. From what I've learned, Fermaid-K is kosher, but I would prefer not to use it, as all of the packages I've seen seem to be repackaged by another distributor. And that's the only nutrient I've seen that's even suggested at being kosher.

So my question is, are there "natural" alternatives to Fermaid-K, DAP, GoFerm, and the like? I've seen raisins mentioned, but I'd like to avoid those as well (their use in fermentation turns a mead into a wine for kosher purposes, and then things get far more complicated than I'd like to go into here ). And if there are alternatives, how would I use them and how much per gallon? Would a staggered nutrient addition still be recommended, or just add them in at the beginning and let it age for a year?

If it helps, I'm thinking of using Red Star Montrachet yeast with Orange Blossom Honey (quantity TBD but I want a dry or semi-sweet mead), and preferably no other "ingredients" (above nutrients notwithstanding). Thanks a lot for your help!

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Old 07-29-2014, 10:28 AM   #2
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For part of your alternative yeast nutrient, you can boil some active bread yeast to kill it, then when it's cooled, add it to the must. The wine yeast will cannibalize it. "Yeast hulls" or "Yeast ghosts" are essentially the same thing in a dry form & is part of all yeast nutrient formulations.

You'll need some trace minerals, most of which you'll get from the water, you can add a pinch or 2 of epsom salts for the magnesium sulfate, this too is part of almost every yeast nutrient formulation. The tough part is going to be the free nitrogen. DAP usually comes from 2 sources: urea or processed stone. I doubt the type sourced from urea would be kosher, but I have no idea as to that sourced from stone.

This will give you a better idea as to the importance of free nitrogen in the fermentation process:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yeast_assimilable_nitrogen

Mead has been made for a few thousand years & only in the last 60 years or so have we had modern additives like yeast nutrient & DAP. You'll get a much better end product if you use them, but you might be happy with the end product if you don't use them. I guess sometimes you just have to have a little faith.
Regards, GF.

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Old 07-29-2014, 12:03 PM   #3
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From memory, normal Fermaidk isn't kosher. One of the ingredients doesn't qualify.

But Lallemand do produce a kosher version. Just like they do a slightly different version sold down under.

Your issue would be tracking some down. There's likely to be only the one area/place where it may be available.......

You could go down the fruit batches route, using fruit considered kosher, then get some yeast hulls or just boil or microwave some bread yeast.........

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Old 07-29-2014, 03:14 PM   #4
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Thanks for the help! fatbloke, that makes sense; I now recall seeing Scott Labs saying they had "Fermaid K" and "Fermaid K (Kosher)." Given the repackaging, it would be hard finding the latter (I haven't been able to do so yet).

GF, thanks for the link. It gave me the idea that mead making is pretty similar to wine making (duh), so I went looking for wine supplies in particular. I found http://thevintnervault.com/product/1344/Superfood.html, which is kosher. It's also repackaged, but at least it's a source I can find online. Would I be able to just use that, or would I be missing a component?

I also noticed that the Wikipedia link mentions that yeast hulls also provide a "source of assimilable nitrogen from amino acids." So maybe yeast hulls + epsom salts, while not ideal, would be "good enough" for my purposes? That would be my preferred route by far. Do you have any estimates on how much of these to add per gallon, and whether they can be added all at once in the beginning of fermentation or if they should be staggered?

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Old 07-29-2014, 04:56 PM   #5
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Scroll down on the super food link, it seems to answer your Q.

Presumably, "kosher except for Passover" is ok.......

You could likely just use more yeast hulls if it proved to be an issue, but it looks fine for most thinks........

I'd guess that any fruit based brews'd be fine. You may find that only traditionals might need nitrogen enhancement as honey is famously lacking naturally.......

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Old 07-30-2014, 01:14 PM   #6
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Sounds to me like this superfood is exactly what you're looking for. The description says it contains DAP along with everything else AND it's kosher, Looks like you've solved the problem.
One thing I would recommend to you, pick up a copy of this:
http://www.amazon.com/The-Compleat-M.../dp/0937381802

It'll really help you to avoid common mistakes, answer questions you haven't thought to ask yet & give you recipes & ideas for future brews. I have a copy on my bookshelf & still use it; I think it's worth every penny.
Regards, GF.

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Old 07-30-2014, 01:50 PM   #7
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Just to pile on, here are some BOMM calculations using just dried fruit - the nutrient calcs are specific to the wyeast 1388 ale yeast but maybe it' something you can work with.

http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthr...l-Natural-BOMM

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Old 07-30-2014, 06:37 PM   #8
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Bee pollen, royal jelly and propolis, all hive products like honey, will work as well for your fermentation, but I don't know about kosher.

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Old 07-31-2014, 01:10 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ostensibly View Post
Just to pile on, here are some BOMM calculations using just dried fruit - the nutrient calcs are specific to the wyeast 1388 ale yeast but maybe it' something you can work with.

http://www.gotmead.com/forum/showthr...l-Natural-BOMM
Thanks, that's also intriguing (and it got me to register at gotmead.com). I've got 6 empty one gallon jugs; maybe I'll make a couple of batches with Superfood, and a couple with dried fruit, and compare. The only recipe I'd seen so far using dried fruit was JOAM, which I made for my first batch with a few modifications (no spices, and Cote des Blancs yeast instead of bread yeast). But as mentioned above, raisins made it problematic and I wasn't sure if others could be used (e.g. craisins instead of raisins). That chart gives me something to work with.
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