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Home Brew Forums > Wine, Mead, Cider, Sake & Soda > Mead Forum > Yeast Nutrients & Energizer
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Old 08-03-2008, 04:23 AM   #1
John Long
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Default Yeast Nutrients & Energizer

Under what circumstances should I use yeast energizers and nutrients? All the meads I have brewed so far contain nutrient and some contain energizer. When should they be used?

Are there differences in nutrients and energizers? I have one bag of nutrient that is white and round, about the size of kosher salt granules and another bag of very fine light tan nutrients. Anyone know what the difference is?

Thanks!

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Old 08-03-2008, 10:14 PM   #2
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Under what circumstances should I use yeast energizers and nutrients? All the meads I have brewed so far contain nutrient and some contain energizer. When should they be used?

Are there differences in nutrients and energizers? I have one bag of nutrient that is white and round, about the size of kosher salt granules and another bag of very fine light tan nutrients. Anyone know what the difference is?

Thanks!
Hi John Long: I use yeast both yeast nutient & yeast energizer in every mead/melomel/wine must. The reason is simple: I want a good, healthy fermentation with as little stress on the yeast as possible. Stressed yeast can produce some off flavors. Yeast energizers are usually a mix of diammonium phosphate, magnesium sulphate, with some other stuff thrown in, like yeast hulls, and/or vitamin B complex. Yeast nutrient is usually thiamin, vitamin B complex, biotin, free amino acids, and yeast hulls. The main difference is that the energizer contains DAP & other mineral micro-nutrients, while the nutrient does not. There are several formulations of each on the market & some are pretty much interchangable. The stuff I use looks like there was simply a measure of DAP mixed into a measure of yeast nutrient to create yeast energizer. You could use something like Fermaid K, Go-Ferm, or even Servomyces (expensive) if you wanted; I find that the stuff I get locally works well enough with each other & a little DAP I add to it. I'd guess the white, granular stuff you have is mostly DAP & magnesium sulphate, while the tan stuff is mostly pasturized yeast hulls & vitamin B complex. All meads benefit from added nutrients, as there are so few in honey or water to begin with. Fruit will add some, but for the cost (I think I pay about $1/oz.) of a few cents per 6 gallon batch, it's well worth it to me to know that the yeast will have everything it needs for a good, healthy fermentation. Hope you find this info useful, GF.
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Old 08-04-2008, 04:03 PM   #3
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I think all meads should use yeast nutrient and yeast energizer at the start of fermentation. gratus fermentatio gave a good explanation of why.

The best recommended yeast nutrients are Ferm-K by Lalvin and DAP (diammonia phosphate). DAP provides the nitrogen requirements for the yeast growth an Ferm-K provides the many other nutrients required.

The Yeast Nutrient i have purchased in a brewing store was from LD Carson and contained ammonia phosphate and urea. This also provides nitrogen but in perhaps a less desirable form.
Yeast Energizer from LD Carson is similar to Ferm-K and can be used to provide many of the nutrients needed in mead.
I have usually added half the recommended nutrients (Energizer and Nutrient) just before pitching and then added the rest 3-4 days later. I also aerate the must once or twice a day during that time to help the yeast growth.

Good luck

Craig

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Old 08-05-2008, 05:57 AM   #4
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I think all meads should use yeast nutrient and yeast energizer at the start of fermentation.
+1
Unless I were making a braggot I will never make mead without Nutrients.
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Old 08-07-2008, 04:42 AM   #5
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Thanks for the replies! I assumed everyone added energizer and nutrients to their meads. Though, I've never heard of a braggot, sounds excellent.

Some wine makers put their N & Es in their must 24 hours before adding yeast. Is this common with mead?

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Old 08-07-2008, 02:35 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies! I assumed everyone added energizer and nutrients to their meads. Though, I've never heard of a braggot, sounds excellent.

Some wine makers put their N & Es in their must 24 hours before adding yeast. Is this common with mead?
It is common to put nutrients in the must when you mix the water and honey. If you use sulphite to sanitize the must, like is commonly done with wines, then you should wait 24 hours before pitching the yeast. If you are making mead without fruit in the primary then sulphite is not needed at that time and you can pitch the yeast as soon as you have mixed and aerated the must.

A staggered nutrient addition is a newer method that appears to have very good results with mead. In this method you add 1/3 of your nutrients before pitching the yeast. Another 1/3 at the end of the lag and the last 1/3 at the 1/3 sugar break or some similar schedule. Also you should aerate 1-2 times a day until the 1/3 sugar break. This helps to improve the health of the yeast.

Craig
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Old 08-10-2008, 06:14 AM   #7
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It is common to put nutrients in the must when you mix the water and honey. If you use sulphite to sanitize the must, like is commonly done with wines, then you should wait 24 hours before pitching the yeast. If you are making mead without fruit in the primary then sulphite is not needed at that time and you can pitch the yeast as soon as you have mixed and aerated the must.

A staggered nutrient addition is a newer method that appears to have very good results with mead. In this method you add 1/3 of your nutrients before pitching the yeast. Another 1/3 at the end of the lag and the last 1/3 at the 1/3 sugar break or some similar schedule. Also you should aerate 1-2 times a day until the 1/3 sugar break. This helps to improve the health of the yeast.

Craig
The staggering sounds efficient.

So... If I'm brewing melomel I need to add sulphite at the time I add fruits? I haven't read much on sulphite ... any recommendations?
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Old 08-12-2008, 02:45 AM   #8
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The staggering sounds efficient.

So... If I'm brewing melomel I need to add sulphite at the time I add fruits? I haven't read much on sulphite ... any recommendations?
I learned the hard way to sulfite ALL fruits I add to primary, along with ANY juice that's unpasturized. I use potassium metabisuphate in the form of Camden tablets. Just crush the tablets & stir into your must. Follow the directions on the packet, it's usually 1 tab/gallon. You have to wait an additional 24 hours before you pitch your yeast (I wait 36, just to be certain), but it's definately worth it to avoid some nasty problems that could ruin your batch. The sulfites kill off any wild yeasts, or any other nasties in the must so that your yeast of choice has free reign in there & is able to do just what it's supposed to do. Hope you find this info useful, GF.
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Old 08-28-2008, 03:22 AM   #9
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Does anyone here have any experience of using dried ground kelp; 1000mg vitamin C tabs; epsom salts or sulphate of ammonia in their brews?
I've been using the ES and SOA in my fruit wine musts, 15 different batches on the go presently, none quite ready for the bottle yet. Inexperienced enough to detect any off flavours in any during racking tastings, so fingers crossed.
Have only made 5 meads. JAO a few months back, long since consumed so followed up with another and Malkore's variant 2 weeks back. Gave Malkore's a pinch of ES for some reason, but not Joe's.
Made up a green ginger mead last week that called for kelp, Vit. C. and a beer yeast - used a generic one from the local HBS here.
Vitamin C was said to be a 'modern addition to give the yeast a good start'; I'm assuming the kelp had similar intent.
First time ever had a failure, ferment would kick in but not keep going, maybe the yeast wasn't up to it - SG 1074.
After 3 days tossed in some campden. Gave that 24 hours then pitched prestarted Lalvin EC1118, with some ES and Tronozymol. Singing like a bird ever since - SG 1010 and still heading south.
Curious whether any or all of these additives are desirable.

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Old 08-28-2008, 05:11 PM   #10
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Does anyone here have any experience of using dried ground kelp; 1000mg vitamin C tabs; epsom salts or sulphate of ammonia in their brews?
I've been using the ES and SOA in my fruit wine musts, 15 different batches on the go presently, none quite ready for the bottle yet. Inexperienced enough to detect any off flavours in any during racking tastings, so fingers crossed.
Have only made 5 meads. JAO a few months back, long since consumed so followed up with another and Malkore's variant 2 weeks back. Gave Malkore's a pinch of ES for some reason, but not Joe's.
Made up a green ginger mead last week that called for kelp, Vit. C. and a beer yeast - used a generic one from the local HBS here.
Vitamin C was said to be a 'modern addition to give the yeast a good start'; I'm assuming the kelp had similar intent.
First time ever had a failure, ferment would kick in but not keep going, maybe the yeast wasn't up to it - SG 1074.
After 3 days tossed in some campden. Gave that 24 hours then pitched prestarted Lalvin EC1118, with some ES and Tronozymol. Singing like a bird ever since - SG 1010 and still heading south.
Curious whether any or all of these additives are desirable.
While I've not used any of those additives in those forms, there are many things present in yours that are also present in commercial nutrient/energizer mixes. The kelp would be a source some trace minerals, like manganese, as well as a possible source for B vitamins. It's also used as a fertilizer, so it might be a source for some nitrogen and/or phosphorous & maybe amino acids. "Sulphate of ammonia" or ammonium sulphate is your primary nitrogen source & was once used commonly in winemaking, but has been abandoned in favour of diammonium phosphate (DAP) The epsom salts are primarily a source of magnesium sulphate. The vitamin C doesn't seem like a good idea to me, most meads are a bit on the acidic side to begin with, so lowering the PH even more with ascorbic acid (vitamin C) would seem to make things more difficult for the yeast... Though there are several mead recipes (some quite old) that say to add the juice of 1 lemon to the mead must, so I guess it could go either way on that. Dr's Morse & Steinkraus (Cornell University) did some extensive research on these very things back in 1966 & came up with the standard mix that is now the cornerstone for all commercially produced yeast nutrient/energizers. I think you'd probably pay a lot less for the commercially produced stuff & get a better product for your money, but how you do things is of course entirely up to you. Hope you find this info useful. Regards, GF.
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