What is the best wine yeast to substitute for bread yeast in old recipes.

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JLegel

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I am trying to recreate my grandpa's dandelion wine recipe, for which he used bread yeast, but I don't want to bother with bread yeast's unpredictable performance and poor flocculation. Its a real pain to work with...
What wine yeast (or mead yeast??) would be a good replacement? This is a high sugar recipe that finished sweet, meaning the bread yeast crapped out before it could finish. I know a modern recipe would probably call for enough sugar to get to the ABV that you want, then backsweeten as desired, but I want to change as little as possible. I guess I am looking for similar alcohol tolerance to bread yeast.

Recipe for reference:

Dandelion Wine - 2 Gallons

4 qt Blossoms
8 qt boiling water
1/2 cake (moist) Fleischmans Yeast
2 lbs seedless raisins
6 lbs sugar
2 lemons
2 oranges

Scald blossoms with the boiling water abd let stand for 12 hours. Strain and add fruit chopped up. Add sugar and yeast which has been dissolved in 1 cup of warm water. Stir every day (for 7 to 10 days?). Let set for 3 weeks, then strain into keg or bottles. Do not cork bottles tightly at first. Let settle and you can strain or pour into other bottles
 

cgoldberg3

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Sorry I can't help you with the wine yeast. But with that much table sugar and so little other fermentables, I would definitely add some yeast nutrient to the recipe.
 
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JLegel

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Sorry I can't help you with the wine yeast. But with that much table sugar and so little other fermentables, I would definitely add some yeast nutrient to the recipe.
Yes, that was one other change I had planned!!
 

DuncB

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I haven't got a lot of experience with these, only making an elderflower fizz. No raisins in that, I did add the liquid from some stewed tea bags to add some tannin. I used a packet of Voss kveik yeast and that fermented down to 1020, it needed a lot of feeding much more than a beer, I used wine and beer nutrient. Fermented at 35 celsius under pressure.
When it stopped progressing and I wanted it drier I just added in some champagne yeast and that soon finished it off to 0.998.

Maybe try the kveik and then if it isn't dry enough add a wine yeast.
They make some dandelion mead ( I think ) on the you tube Doin the most, very careful to use the petals only might give you a yeast tip there as well.
Interested to hear how it comes out.
My grandfather used to use bread yeast in some of his homebrews but they were strong and in the bottle a long time. Lots of sugar in those early UK homebrew recipes so quite similar to the wine in a way.
 

bernardsmith

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In my opinion the problem with bread yeast as we know it is NOT that it cannot ferment as well as a wine or ale yeast but that it has not been bred to flocculate and drop out of solution. Bread yeast a few generations ago (and my experience is from the UK and not the US) was not dried yeast and so was sold in blocks and that yeast may not have been as vigorous as what we have today. So, what you MIGHT want to consider is the use of indigenous yeast rather than lab cultured yeast and for that you MIGHT consider growing yeast from raisins or raw honey. That yeast is unlikely going to thrive at anything like the same concentration as lab cultured wine or ale yeast.
To grow indigenous yeast I would simply add some spring water to a a few ounces of raisins and if that takes off then harvest the yeast and add a few ounces of sugar and if that takes off add a few ounces more... What you are trying to do is select for the most virile and rigorous yeast cells by slowly increasing the amount of alcohol they are asked to tolerate. Of course, if the yeast colony produces a "wine" that smells or tastes unpleasant you should reject that batch and try again...
In short, you want to create the colony long before you are harvesting the dandelions.
But that said, I made a lovely batch of dandelion wine last summer - no raisins and I strained the petals after 48 hours. I aimed for about 12% ABV and back sweetened.
 
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JLegel

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Thanks all for replies. To clarify, I am looking for a yeast that will perform (stop at similar point) as bread yeast, I assume due to alcohol tolerance, and leave the wine sweet. I think I read somewhere that bread yeast can go up 10 12 or 14%. Maybe in a Joe's Ancient Mead thread.
 

DuncB

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Well the Voss


Fermentation that is completed in:

2 days at 40°C (104°F)
3-4 days at 30°C (86°F)
5-7 days at 25°C (77°F)
Medium to high attenuation and very high flocculation.
Neutral flavor profile across the temperature range with notes of orange and citrus.
The optimal temperature range for LalBrew Voss yeast when producing traditional
styles is 35-40°C (95-104°F)

And tolerant to 12 % according to their info so might leave some sweetness for you.
Plus it drops so should clear well.
 
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JLegel

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Well the Voss


Fermentation that is completed in:

2 days at 40°C (104°F)
3-4 days at 30°C (86°F)
5-7 days at 25°C (77°F)
Medium to high attenuation and very high flocculation.
Neutral flavor profile across the temperature range with notes of orange and citrus.
The optimal temperature range for LalBrew Voss yeast when producing traditional
styles is 35-40°C (95-104°F)

And tolerant to 12 % according to their info so might leave some sweetness for you.
Plus it drops so should clear well.
Ive used Hornidal Kviek in a NEIPA. Never Voss. I always assumed all kviek would add too much of its own character.
 

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Thanks all for replies. To clarify, I am looking for a yeast that will perform (stop at similar point) as bread yeast, I assume due to alcohol tolerance, and leave the wine sweet. I think I read somewhere that bread yeast can go up 10 12 or 14%. Maybe in a Joe's Ancient Mead thread.
You can try an ale yeast- but keep in mind that 6 pounds of sugar in 2 gallons will finish SWEET, like hurt your teeth sweet, with a less attenuative yeast. I'd probably with a neutral wine yeast, and cut the sugar in half and then sweeten after it's done if it doesn't finish sweet enough for your taste.
 

DuncB

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@JLegel The kveik is super clean if you ferment under pressure hot or ferment without pressure at lower temps +- pressure.
I've used Opshaug kveik in stouts, bitter and pilsner and it doesn't have any of that fruity floral stuff going on abiding by my first line rules.
 
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JLegel

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You can try an ale yeast- but keep in mind that 6 pounds of sugar in 2 gallons will finish SWEET, like hurt your teeth sweet, with a less attenuative yeast. I'd probably with a neutral wine yeast, and cut the sugar in half and then sweeten after it's done if it doesn't finish sweet enough for your taste.
That's what I am worried about! You are probably right. I'll shoot for the ABV I want with sugar and then backsweeten.
 

bwible

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The one and only time I ever made dandelion wine I used Lalvin D-47. Thats not going to leave it sweet, though. I had also been using that yeast for mead. I stopped making dandelion wine and mead because they mess us up too much. Very different effect that beer or regular wine, and we don’t like it.

I’d imagine you want a sweet mead yeast
 

bernardsmith

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The one and only time I ever made dandelion wine I used Lalvin D-47. Thats not going to leave it sweet, though. I had also been using that yeast for mead. I stopped making dandelion wine and mead because they mess us up too much. Very different effect that beer or regular wine, and we don’t like it.

I’d imagine you want a sweet mead yeast
It is hard for me to imagine what a "sweet mead yeast" would look like. You use too little honey and your mead will finish brut dry no matter what yeast you pitch. You use too much honey and there is no yeast that will survive in that poisonous bath of ethanol. Yeast is yeast and and each yeast has its own character and adds its character to whatever you are making BUT the idea that some yeasts are for "sweet meads" is 99.999 % marketing and packaging and zilch to do with the yeast cells themselves.
 

bwible

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It is hard for me to imagine what a "sweet mead yeast" would look like. You use too little honey and your mead will finish brut dry no matter what yeast you pitch. You use too much honey and there is no yeast that will survive in that poisonous bath of ethanol. Yeast is yeast and and each yeast has its own character and adds its character to whatever you are making BUT the idea that some yeasts are for "sweet meads" is 99.999 % marketing and packaging and zilch to do with the yeast cells themselves.
If you were trying to make a sweet mead, you would want a yeast with a lower alcohol tolerance. Not champagne yeast, for example, which can go to 18%.
Sure, some of it is marketing. Wyeast makes a yeast they call sweet mead yeast. It says it goes to 11%. Most wine yeasts go to at least 12%, so I guess there really is no low tolerance wine yeast.
2 schools of thought for a sweet mead:
- keep adding honey until the yeast can’t take it anymore and ods from alcohol then add more honey.
- ferment the mead dry, then sorbate and back sweeten with more honey.
I think thats why I was using Lalvin D-14 - because it was one of the lower tolerances as far as wine yeasts go? Or it was recommended in Ken Schramm’s book?
 
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bernardsmith

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Not familiar with D-14 but Wyeast's Sweet Mead Yeast is spec'ed to go to 11% . That likely means that it will go to 13 or 14 % without too much of a problem and most mead (and wine) is made to 12%... (1.090)... Sure you can make a wine or a mead by step feeding the yeast until the particular batch gives up the ghost because of alcohol poisoning but that means you have no control over the final ABV and that means that you have no control (or very little) over the overall balance. If that is what you prefer more power to ya.
You have far more control over balance and over the final ABV if you select the amount of honey you want to ferment and then when you have monitored and /or tweaked the acidity, the tannin, the mouthfeel you can stabilize and back sweeten to taste. A mead that is at 17 or 18% ABV may delight those who want a buzz but that amount of heat from the alcohol may mask everything else in that wine. And if it is just the buzz those folk are seeking then a shot of cheap vodka would do the trick.
 
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