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Old 11-18-2011, 07:41 PM   #1
ChristelMei
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Default Yeast question

Being very new at this I am still a little unsure about what and how yeast does what it does.
I have a pumpkin recipe that I am about to start and it calls for one package of yeast, in the cherry and apple one it calls for 2. Should I just use the one packet or should I use 2 in my pumpkin mead?

Pumpkin recipe:
Ingredients:
10 lbs sweet cooking pumpkin
11lbs honey
3 T acid blend
6 teasp pectic enzyme
5 teasp yeast nutrient
1 pkg wine yeast

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Old 11-18-2011, 10:34 PM   #2
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The only experience I've had with differing quantities of yeast is that adding more = more yeast eating stuff up. I know that sounds kind of redundant or obvious, but if you've got conditions conducive to krauzen (foam) and not a lot of air space in your fermenter you're probably better off going with the longer ferment (that is, less yeast) with less chance of blowing foam out thru your airlock.

Then again, in some recipes where you're not really giving the yeast the right stuff to eat (meads, for instance - honey is sugar rich and nutrient poor - that's often why people recommend yeast nutrient) you may want it to eat up all the sugar right fast and get on to dying, instead of languishing in a wasteland of insufficient nutrients.

Says me. Hopefully someone more experienced will come along and contribute.

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Old 11-18-2011, 11:41 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChristelMei View Post
Being very new at this I am still a little unsure about what and how yeast does what it does.
I have a pumpkin recipe that I am about to start and it calls for one package of yeast, in the cherry and apple one it calls for 2. Should I just use the one packet or should I use 2 in my pumpkin mead?

Pumpkin recipe:
Ingredients:
10 lbs sweet cooking pumpkin
11lbs honey
3 T acid blend
6 teasp pectic enzyme
5 teasp yeast nutrient
1 pkg wine yeast

Sent from my iPhone using HB Talk
Well that looks like it's not a recent recipe. Most newer ones DO NOT include acids for the ferment - it's added to taste afterwards.

Also, as most home brew sized yeast packs are designed for batches up to 5 gallons, in the majority of cases, that's all that is necessary. Of course, you could make a starter from one pack for larger batches.

If you were making a larger batch then to make sure that the yeast colony is large enough for the ferment to start well, then it might be an idea to increase the yeast, to prevent it being pitched and for spoilage organisms to develop before the yeast gets going - which is what I suspect, this might be all about i.e. that the recipe author considered that there's more wild yeast on apple/cherry that is likely to cause problems.

I mean, I don't know, it's a guess, but the logic of there's being more cells with 2 packs is correct, but even with one pack there'd be the same amount of cells eventually, as long as there's enough nutrient/sugars for the yeast to multiply as well as consume the sugars, converting them to alcohol etc....

Just that with more than one, there's a higher cell count, sooner.

Personally, I'd still normally use just the one pack up to about 5 or 6 gallon batches, but if I was doing say 20 gallons then of course I'd go for 3 or maybe even 4........
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Old 11-19-2011, 12:44 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
Well that looks like it's not a recent recipe. Most newer ones DO NOT include acids for the ferment - it's added to taste afterwards.
Agree!

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Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
Just that with more than one, there's a higher cell count, sooner.

Personally, I'd still normally use just the one pack...
BUT with a higher cell count, sooner, you get a shorter lag time, and a healthier fermentation! I'm a big believer in at least attempting to get proper pitch rates, so for my meads, which are all over 1.100, I generally use THREE packets of dry yeast, or a 1/2 gallon starter if using liquids.

You can say it's excessive if you want, but when I started doing this, I did notice a significantly decreased lag, and also I feel like the meads age out better/faster -- a result I attribute to a less stressed fermentation resulting in less fuesel alcohol and other off flavor production. I also don't discount proper staggered nutrients in assisting this whole process, but I'd still rather have more yeast than less to gang up on the sugars right from the start...
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Old 11-19-2011, 09:21 AM   #5
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-----%<-----

BUT with a higher cell count, sooner, you get a shorter lag time, and a healthier fermentation! I'm a big believer in at least attempting to get proper pitch rates, so for my meads, which are all over 1.100, I generally use THREE packets of dry yeast, or a 1/2 gallon starter if using liquids.

You can say it's excessive if you want, but when I started doing this, I did notice a significantly decreased lag, and also I feel like the meads age out better/faster -- a result I attribute to a less stressed fermentation resulting in less fuesel alcohol and other off flavor production. I also don't discount proper staggered nutrients in assisting this whole process, but I'd still rather have more yeast than less to gang up on the sugars right from the start...
Fair enough. Yet more yeast just means, initially, that you have more cells trying to get started at the same time.

While at the same time, if the yeast you're using isn't hard to get hold of and reasonably cheap, then there's nothing too stop someone trying this.

At the same time, reading stuff "around the bazaars", there doesn't seem to be justifiable benefits i.e. a HBS sized pack of whatever from "morewine" is 8 grammes, while the lalvin packs are 5 grammes. Both are recommended for batches up to 5 gallons, and while the "morewine" offering being 60% more yeast, there doesn't seem to be any advantage gained.

I'm sure that there's probably a ratio of yeast to must, weight to volume somewhere. I'm just happy to run with the package recommendations for quantity.

If you've experienced a slight difference, then all power to you, it's not as if we're taking 10's or even 100's of £'s or $'s here is it.

I'm just thinking about a small cost addition, as to whether over all, there's any gain in the time it takes to finish. What with "finished meads" still taking a number of months to be ready to drink, as opposed to the saving of a few hours, to maybe a day or two.....
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Old 11-19-2011, 03:25 PM   #6
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So don't use the acid?? Also I've been looking at different recipes and sine say to add pumpkin pie spice so I bought some and the ingredients say sulfating agents, I know that is commonly used as a preservative and I have been told to stay away from anything with preservatives... So should I not use the spice?

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Old 11-19-2011, 04:47 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by fatbloke View Post
Fair enough. Yet more yeast just means, initially, that you have more cells trying to get started at the same time.

While at the same time, if the yeast you're using isn't hard to get hold of and reasonably cheap, then there's nothing too stop someone trying this.

At the same time, reading stuff "around the bazaars", there doesn't seem to be justifiable benefits i.e. a HBS sized pack of whatever from "morewine" is 8 grammes, while the lalvin packs are 5 grammes. Both are recommended for batches up to 5 gallons, and while the "morewine" offering being 60% more yeast, there doesn't seem to be any advantage gained.

I'm sure that there's probably a ratio of yeast to must, weight to volume somewhere. I'm just happy to run with the package recommendations for quantity.

If you've experienced a slight difference, then all power to you, it's not as if we're taking 10's or even 100's of £'s or $'s here is it.

I'm just thinking about a small cost addition, as to whether over all, there's any gain in the time it takes to finish. What with "finished meads" still taking a number of months to be ready to drink, as opposed to the saving of a few hours, to maybe a day or two.....
Generally, I don't notice that the *fermentation* finishes quicker per se; only that I get a quicker start, and the mead seems to 'come into it's own' much more quickly in terms of drinkability. This does indeed sometimes cut months off the end of the process...if you manage your fermentation well with proper pitch rates and SNA's, you won't be left waiting months/years for that fuesel bomb to cool down...

The fact that there's a minimal cost difference does definitely play into my decision to use multiple dry packs/yeast starters for liquid yeast...

There's very little data on the proper pitch rates for mead...a couple of older threads have touched on it before:
link
link
link

This certainly would be worthy of a 1 gallon test batch experiment; ie, 4 one gallon batches, all with equal rehydration practice and staggered nutrient treatment:
2) 0.2 gm/gal (obvious underpitching, deviating from my usual practice by the same order of magnitude in reverse)
3) 1 gm/gal (the same as 1 packet of yeast in the standard 5 gallon batch)
4) 5 gm/gal (about what I'm doing with 3 packets in my usual 6 gallon batch)
5) 10 gm/gal (really going crazy to see if you could even possibly produce the 'oft dreaded but rarely tasted autolysis)

File this one in the 'to do list' along with repeating the boil/no-boil experiment...
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Old 11-19-2011, 04:52 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by ChristelMei View Post
So don't use the acid?? Also I've been looking at different recipes and sine say to add pumpkin pie spice so I bought some and the ingredients say sulfating agents, I know that is commonly used as a preservative and I have been told to stay away from anything with preservatives... So should I not use the spice?

Sent from my iPhone using HB Talk
Not don't use the acid, just don't add it in the beginning... Acid blend can be very useful in balancing the taste profile of a mead, just as it can be with winemaking, but it isn't necessary for fermentation, and can potentially be detrimental if it lowers the pH too much.

I personally don't believe sulfates are needed at all, unless you are trying to stabilize your mead for backsweetening before bottling; if there is a small amount in the spice blend you bought, I don't think it will be harmful at all...the amount that's in the spices will be negligible.
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Recent Meads: Mead Day '11 Ginger Metheglin, Mead Day '12 Traditional (orange blossom) Mead, Fresh Simple Cyser '12, Cherry Melomel, Belgeglin, Bochet
Primary: Nada!
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Old 11-20-2011, 08:57 AM   #9
fatbloke
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biochemedic View Post
Generally, I don't notice that the *fermentation* finishes quicker per se; only that I get a quicker start, and the mead seems to 'come into it's own' much more quickly in terms of drinkability. This does indeed sometimes cut months off the end of the process...if you manage your fermentation well with proper pitch rates and SNA's, you won't be left waiting months/years for that fuesel bomb to cool down...

The fact that there's a minimal cost difference does definitely play into my decision to use multiple dry packs/yeast starters for liquid yeast...

There's very little data on the proper pitch rates for mead...a couple of older threads have touched on it before:
link
link
link

This certainly would be worthy of a 1 gallon test batch experiment; ie, 4 one gallon batches, all with equal rehydration practice and staggered nutrient treatment:
2) 0.2 gm/gal (obvious underpitching, deviating from my usual practice by the same order of magnitude in reverse)
3) 1 gm/gal (the same as 1 packet of yeast in the standard 5 gallon batch)
4) 5 gm/gal (about what I'm doing with 3 packets in my usual 6 gallon batch)
5) 10 gm/gal (really going crazy to see if you could even possibly produce the 'oft dreaded but rarely tasted autolysis)

File this one in the 'to do list' along with repeating the boil/no-boil experiment...
Oh, ok, that makes a lot of sense. I hadn't thought of it that way i.e. only about whether it's necessary from a fermentation POV. If it helps post-ferment then maybe worth looking into - though I'm quite lazy when thinking about experimentation these days, now I'm settled on my technique etc......
Quote:
Originally Posted by biochemedic View Post
Not don't use the acid, just don't add it in the beginning... Acid blend can be very useful in balancing the taste profile of a mead, just as it can be with winemaking, but it isn't necessary for fermentation, and can potentially be detrimental if it lowers the pH too much.

I personally don't believe sulfates are needed at all, unless you are trying to stabilize your mead for backsweetening before bottling; if there is a small amount in the spice blend you bought, I don't think it will be harmful at all...the amount that's in the spices will be negligible.
Well, I agree with that, mostly. I seems not to do much harm if some of the ingredients need to be hit with sulphites if it's likely that they carry wild yeasts, just to stun them before pitching the yeast. Though I do the sulphites and then leave for 36 to 48 hours before pitching to allow the sulphur to dissipate.

I suspect that with sulphites that have been used as a preservative, they're more likely to be "bound" to the material being preserved. I believe that some people will take the material (thinking along lines of dried fruit here) and boil them for a while, then let the fruit/liquid cool to room temp before adding to musts or already active ferments.

Plus as you point out biochemedic, if you're not back sweetening, then there's definitely a ? as to whether it needs sulphiting or not. After all, if there's not more fermentable sugars to be dealt with, it would only be used from the preservative POV wouldn't it ?
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