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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Yeast not Proofing
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Old 10-21-2012, 02:00 PM   #1
amazinglarry
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Default Yeast not Proofing

Hi all, was making a mead yesterday and my yeast didn't proof (5 g D47 in 2 oz water 7g Go-Ferm). Figured it was a bad batch then did my second packet, no go. Then my third, still the same. I've never had this happen before. I find it hard to believe that three different packets of yeast that I bought within the last month and have been sitting in my temp controlled fridge are all bad. I should also mention I didn't use a thermometer to check the temp of the water, it's possible the water was a little cool but had to be at least 80 degrees.

My question is, does the absence of foam normally associated with proofing definitely mean the yeast is no good? Can this be the result of using cooler water, and if so, does that also mean that the yeast in not good anymore.

Lastly, I said f**k it and pitched the last two packets anyway. It is been 16 hours and there is no activity in my air lock, I was planning on running out to my LHBS and getting two more packets to repitch. Is this necessary/recommended or is the yeast just going to be a bit sluggish because of the possible low proofing temp. BTW my must is sitting at 68 degrees right now if that matters.

Thoughts?

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Old 10-21-2012, 02:16 PM   #2
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I reconstituted a pack of Red Star Cote du Rhone three days ago and there was no foaming. However it did ferment the must down to 1 Brix in three days, too quick for me. You could raise the must temperature as that does seem too low. Bring it down again after fermentation starts.

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Old 10-21-2012, 02:37 PM   #3
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Did you have sugar or go ferm in the water? You'd only be rehydrating it otherwise.

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Old 10-21-2012, 05:08 PM   #4
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Foaming is not an indicator of yeast activity...big misnomer. I would check your S.G., keep the airlock off until 2/3 sugar break and warm that up to at least 70 until it gets going. Use your hydrometer, you will be shocked at how many people just keep pitching yeast because they do not see bubbles or airlock activity only to find their wine is fermenting.
On the chance that three packets of yeast are dead...I would notify your source.

Is this a high gravity must by chance?

Good luck!!

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Old 10-21-2012, 05:40 PM   #5
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Hi Saramc, are you saying that yeast not foaming during proofing is a misnomer? The reason I ask is that I know with bread yeast the manufacturer specifically says if its not foaming its no good and when I've done beer using dried yeast I've always seen foaming, is wine yeast different? Also, can you explain why I would keep the airlock off? I know it's probably not necessary because of the Co2 being heavier then oxygen but I wouldn't think it would hurt either. By the way this is a high gravity mead (4lbs per gallon of water).

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Old 10-21-2012, 11:44 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amazinglarry
Hi Saramc, are you saying that yeast not foaming during proofing is a misnomer? The reason I ask is that I know with bread yeast the manufacturer specifically says if its not foaming its no good and when I've done beer using dried yeast I've always seen foaming, is wine yeast different? Also, can you explain why I would keep the airlock off? I know it's probably not necessary because of the Co2 being heavier then oxygen but I wouldn't think it would hurt either. By the way this is a high gravity mead (4lbs per gallon of water).
A rep told me that when hydrating per the pkg instructions the foam you typically see is due to the formulation of the yeast, just part of the rehydrating process. I have actually had wine yeast that foamed and never took off. Took the one pkg left to HBS and they also got failure. Who knows what the issue was. Another yeast I had was fine, different type, same store, same time. I just went to the Llalemand website and they even have a foam related question/answer. Now foam during fermention is different, though not every yeast causes noticeable foam.

As far as oxygen, you will have a better chance during early stages if your must has access to 02. Many do not airlock until 2/3 sugar break or even dry...I am a 2/3 gal. Though many people do ferment from Day1 under airlock, but when troubleshooting oxyfen access and temperature are commom go to issues. High gravity musts alone can be hard to start due to high sugar content, shocky yeast, etc.
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Old 10-22-2012, 01:16 AM   #7
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When I proof yeast i do it in a sealed mason jar. when it starts building pressure I know it is making co2 and is working.

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Old 10-22-2012, 02:27 AM   #8
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Maybe I'm missing something, but I've never seen the point of leaving the airlock off a mead fermentation. I'm not saying it's bad. I just don't see the advantage and I prefer the piece of mind of an airlock. Once fermentation starts, there is enough CO2 coming out that I can't imagine a significant amount of oxygen getting in.

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