Evidence for TOSNA?

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Pendragon524

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I started using the tailored organic staggered nutrient addition (TOSNA) protocol in my mead-making. I have yet to run any one-to-one tests between TOSNA and non-TOSNA brews, but I assume the former is significantly better than a one-time addition of Fermaid-O, and even better than a one-time addition of DAP. Most homebrewers writing online are unified that staggered nutrient additions, and Fermaid O + GoFERM in particular, are superior yeast nutrient regimens than other approaches. Now, they are almost certainly correct. The theoretical arguments I have read about reducing off-flavors and keeping fermentation temperatures down seem plausible, and I do not imagine that so many serious mead-makers are completely wrong. However, there is very little (if any) published research about yeast nutrition to support these claims, so far as I can tell. Where is the evidence for TOSNA's detailed protocols? Where are the publications that support the many claims made about it?

Again, I'm not asking these questions to cast doubt on TOSNA; rather, it is just odd to me that we seem to be at the mercy of anecdotal evidence for proper yeast nutrition. Am I right in that conclusion?
 

Dan O

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I started using the tailored organic staggered nutrient addition (TOSNA) protocol in my mead-making. I have yet to run any one-to-one tests between TOSNA and non-TOSNA brews, but I assume the former is significantly better than a one-time addition of Fermaid-O, and even better than a one-time addition of DAP. Most homebrewers writing online are unified that staggered nutrient additions, and Fermaid O + GoFERM in particular, are superior yeast nutrient regimens than other approaches. Now, they are almost certainly correct. The theoretical arguments I have read about reducing off-flavors and keeping fermentation temperatures down seem plausible, and I do not imagine that so many serious mead-makers are completely wrong. However, there is very little (if any) published research about yeast nutrition to support these claims, so far as I can tell. Where is the evidence for TOSNA's detailed protocols? Where are the publications that support the many claims made about it?

Again, I'm not asking these questions to cast doubt on TOSNA; rather, it is just odd to me that we seem to be at the mercy of anecdotal evidence for proper yeast nutrition. Am I right in that conclusion?
From my own experiences, (my first meads were made with bread yeast & no additions of any kind, nutritional or otherwise) I saw the differences immediately with TONSA vs no additional feedings. For me, it's a no brainer. I don't need to see what someone wrote about what they researched , @ least not if the results are right in front of me ...in my glass🍷🥂😉😋 I suppose, seeing how much success people have had & written about, for me, is all I need to be convinced it works & is a good thing. Besides, and I hope to be corrected if I'm wrong, about this, but, I think yeast manufacturers have nutritional requirement documents on their websites that can be referenced on request.
 

Ty520

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I agree with Dan that It is readily apparent that nutrient supplementation works. my first few runs were without nutrients, and they took upwards of 7 weeks to finish fermentation whereas my supplemented meads finished in 2-3 weeks.

One thing i have noticed, however, is that when i have done a taste comparison between my meads sans nutrients or supplemented with natural ingredients like raisins, versus fermaid-supplemented meads, i can detect the taste of nitrogen on the palette - i've also been able to detect it on the palette in several commercially produced meads - typically trads where there aren't other flavors to mask it.

I would need to do more investigation, but part of me feels that a successful mead without fermaid does inevitably taste better
 

dmtaylor

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I don't baby my meads. I add one dose of old-school urea + DAP on day 1, then leave it the hell alone for several months. Always get excellent results so I see no need to do any more research. Ya'll can have a blast discussing theories and research and experiences, and talking about me after I leave like I'm a royal idiot. I couldn't care less. Cheers.
 

Dan O

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I suppose that depends on what you think is labor intensive. For me, I'm like a kid in science class, I can't wait to make another one. I like all the steps. It keeps me on my toes if I want my meads to be finished faster. Everybody has their own style & nobody's knocking it. I'm just sharing what I've learned in the hopes that someday I'll be able to help other newbies as I have been educated through more experienced mazers than myself.
Happy meading 😎
 
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Pendragon524

Pendragon524

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From my own experiences, (my first meads were made with bread yeast & no additions of any kind, nutritional or otherwise) I saw the differences immediately with TONSA vs no additional feedings. For me, it's a no brainer. I don't need to see what someone wrote about what they researched , @ least not if the results are right in front of me ...in my glass🍷🥂😉😋 I suppose, seeing how much success people have had & written about, for me, is all I need to be convinced it works & is a good thing. Besides, and I hope to be corrected if I'm wrong, about this, but, I think yeast manufacturers have nutritional requirement documents on their websites that can be referenced on request.
I'm totally on the same page with you. Anecdotal evidence is not accidental evidence, and it is certainly sufficient for me on a personal level to make decisions about how to made mead. However, it doesn't rise to the standard of science. I find it concerning that there seems to be a lack of professional investigation into nutritional requirements for yeast. Moreover, we must always remember that correlation isn't causation. Just because I used TOSNA and made an awesome mead doesn't mean that every specification offered by TOSNA was responsible for the superior product. Maybe it's just Fermaid-O added in a staggered fashion. Maybe it's a combo of Fermaid-O and Go-FERM, rather than the specific measurements that TOSNA recommends. Maybe it is the whole protocol in all its glory. But how can we know? I want more evidence for all the little details that TOSNA recommends. That is what I cannot seem to find.
 
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Pendragon524

Pendragon524

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I suppose that depends on what you think is labor intensive. For me, I'm like a kid in science class, I can't wait to make another one. I like all the steps. It keeps me on my toes if I want my meads to be finished faster. Everybody has their own style & nobody's knocking it. I'm just sharing what I've learned in the hopes that someday I'll be able to help other newbies as I have been educated through more experienced mazers than myself.
Happy meading 😎
I agree; I love the detail work that goes into making mead and wine. For me, it makes it more fun, not less.
 

Dan O

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I agree; I love the detail work that goes into making mead and wine. For me, it makes it more fun, not less.
Correct. For me it's a fun hobby, that I get to enjoy not only the creation of, but, I get to enjoy it on the other end of the line, too. I see the point you're making about wanting more data available. I suppose I would be more concerned about it if I was making failures instead of drinkable product, but, I'm happy with what I'm able to produce, yet, I always strive for one better recipe. Cheers🍷🥂
 

Ty520

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I'm totally on the same page with you. Anecdotal evidence is not accidental evidence, and it is certainly sufficient for me on a personal level to make decisions about how to made mead. However, it doesn't rise to the standard of science. I find it concerning that there seems to be a lack of professional investigation into nutritional requirements for yeast. Moreover, we must always remember that correlation isn't causation. Just because I used TOSNA and made an awesome mead doesn't mean that every specification offered by TOSNA was responsible for the superior product. Maybe it's just Fermaid-O added in a staggered fashion. Maybe it's a combo of Fermaid-O and Go-FERM, rather than the specific measurements that TOSNA recommends. Maybe it is the whole protocol in all its glory. But how can we know? I want more evidence for all the little details that TOSNA recommends. That is what I cannot seem to find.
I just saw that melovino relaunched their website and podcast, and introduced a revised TOSNA calculator that has lowered the nutrient addition quantities - maybe see if you can get in touch or submit it as a question for the podcast to see if he would go into more depth on how he devised tosna?
 

Redeemer

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From personal experience I can see that my mead, and the one wine I made, before using nutrients were trash. Even at 6 months in it tasted like I was drinking liquefied rubber bands and fire. Then I read about SNA, BOMM, and TOSNA. As the same time my methods improved as well so I am sure that helps but now I am making meads that I can drink in a month. Most sit in carboy secondary for 2 months due to lack of bottles, but they are delicious. To my pallet, better than most commercial meads. For my money, that's worth the price of admission.
That said, there are many many scientific articles and research papers available for free on the interwebs (Too lazy to Google them for you) that discuss the role of nutrients and timing in wine making. Mead is more like wine than beer in terms of how it is traditionally fermented, and available nutrients. I feel like this alone warrants the elevation in status from "anecdotal" to at least "tribal knowledge" in terms of the evidence.
 

apisgallus

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For those that did a basic mead without nutrients (with and without raisins, then tried batches (similar recipes with SNA) did you notice that clearing after racking seemed to take longer? Just a general observation that mine seem to. If people need the minutiae I can send it.
 
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Since I started this year in producing mead, I have always gone with TOSNA. I know that honey is nutrient poor for fermentation, so why not just keep a schedule and rock on with some Fermaid-O and enjoy mead that can finish up within a month. Then you can age it for as long as you like, or not. I have two gallons currently hiding in my closet waiting to be bottled, purely due to letting them finish clearing, but I haven't been in a hurry, both are clear as a bell. Now to get around to getting that bench corker... back on topic. Do or do not. We all have our own processes and techniques, go with what works for you.
 

Maylar

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I've never made a mead other than a JAOM that didn't use a staggered nutrient schedule. Honey haze takes time to clear unless you use some sort of fining adjunct. I would not want to claim that using TOSNA had any influence on how long a mead takes to clear. There's no precedent for that. There may be more yeast cells in suspension with a healthy ferment, but typically that isn't what clouds a mead and once finished fermenting they fall into the lees.
 

pdhirsch

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Much depends on what you mean by "evidence for TOSNA." Staggering nutrient addition (SNA) instead of dumping it all in at once -- that absolutely positively helps to produce mead that tastes better and matures more quickly. It's hard to imagine anyone seriously arguing that SNA is not an improvement.

But that's SNA, not TOSNA. Is there evidence that organic nitrogen in nutrients is clearly better than inorganic? Is there evidence to support the detailed add-X-grams-of-this-at-Y%-sugar-break? Why not X + .25 grams, or Y - 5% sugar break? I haven't seen any convincing evidence proving that the specific details of the TOSNA calculations are optimal.

No matter what yeast, what temperature, what SG, or anything else, there is ample evidence that an SNA approach (whether exactly TOSNA or not) is better than all-at-once; I've seen it myself in my own mead and I would never go back to the old approach. So I don't for a minute doubt that TOSNA, being an SNA protocol, is better than all-at-once. But is TOSNA specifically better than any other particular SNA schedule that you might follow? I have not seen any evidence to say that it is.
 

MostlyMetal

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The part I like about TOSNA (I'm still new to all of this FYI) is it gives me a reason to go visit my mead! I've made JAOM which I also like but setting it and forgetting it for someone like me is almost like torture. I like to see what the brew is doing and adding the nutrients etc. to see how it impacts. That being said, I've used TOSNA and made JAOM and love them both!
 

pdhirsch

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I think that experimental evidence is much more reliable than anecdotal evidence. I found this article to be very informative: Session Mead Recipes They did 37 different batches using S-04 yeast with varying amounts of nutrients and recorded their results. There are more experiments here: Staggered Nutirent Timing in Session Meads – Inorganic
That's good stuff; we need more of this kind of thing. Those results are for very fast-maturing, low-OG short meads, which I've never made. Maybe worth a try though...
 

Raptor99

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That's good stuff; we need more of this kind of thing. Those results are for very fast-maturing, low-OG short meads, which I've never made. Maybe worth a try though...
I'm getting ready to try a short mead using this recipe. It will be interesting to see how it goes.
 

Kyzaboy89

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I view tosna as a middle of the road starting point for newer brewers seeking advice on sna and where they should start. Not so much a requirement or "best method" but a decent start, in my opinion there's no all encompassing sna on its own. With all the possible combinations and directions a brew can go, creating a standard sna that works across a broad spectrum is impressive no doubt. But, as you gain experience with your recipes and better understand how your brew reacts, I can't imagine one wouldn't adjust at least a little bit to boost fermentation earlier or avoid that little bit of sulfuric stress. Well done to those who worked to make a "standard" sna like tosna, and if you have any doubts or thoughts that another nutrient schedule might work better, make a must and split it, do a side by side test. See what works best for you, I find sna and tosna to be far better than the old mix, pitch and sit methods.

Just my two cents, I hope even when we refine our methods we would still venture to experiment with crazy ideas whether it be a poor idea or even widely discouraged.
 

Raptor99

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Here is an detailed article about YAN and pitch rate:
The key take-away for me is that with smaller batches (e.g. 1 gal.) we risk significantly overfeeding our yeast, especially if we use over-pitch the yeast and use the corresponding amount of GoFerm. This is especially a problem for short meads and other low ABS ferments. With yeast nutrients, it is definitely not the case that "the more the better."
 

videojunkie1208

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I'll throw this out there. As stated above, the SNA of TOSNA seems to be the critical aspect. I am finding that my yeast often over perform, and I wind up skipping the later additions (the yeast don't need more nutrients when they've blown through half the sugar in 3 days. They're doing just fine.)
 

Raptor99

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I'll throw this out there. As stated above, the SNA of TOSNA seems to be the critical aspect. I am finding that my yeast often over perform, and I wind up skipping the later additions (the yeast don't need more nutrients when they've blown through half the sugar in 3 days. They're doing just fine.)
I have come to the same conclusion. If the yeast quickly consumes half of the sugar, it does not need any more nutrients regardless of the schedule.
 
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