Author Topic: can white labs sweet mead yeast ferment at low temp?  (Read 2140 times)

cornershot

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can white labs sweet mead yeast ferment at low temp?
« on: March 20, 2013, 01:17:23 PM »
So the Chilean wine grape season is almost here and I want to make a sweet reisling pyment. I want to use wlp720 for which the recommended temperature is 70-75F but a white wine should ferment below 50F to avoid losing aromatics in a more vigorous, higher temp fermentation. Does anyone have experience with using this yeast at cooler temps?

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Re: can white labs sweet mead yeast ferment at low temp?
« Reply #1 on: March 21, 2013, 07:23:54 AM »
No idea, but I'd guess no if they say 70-75. Red Star Premier Cuvee is a white wine yeast that will ferment down to 45F. Any reason you want to use the sweet mead yeast?
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Offline erockrph

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Re: can white labs sweet mead yeast ferment at low temp?
« Reply #2 on: March 21, 2013, 08:01:49 AM »
You could always ferment the wine separately then blend it afterwards.
Eric B.

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Re: can white labs sweet mead yeast ferment at low temp?
« Reply #3 on: March 21, 2013, 09:05:10 AM »
Though I imagine the cold ferment will benefit the mead too.
Jimmy K

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cornershot

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Re: can white labs sweet mead yeast ferment at low temp?
« Reply #4 on: March 21, 2013, 12:09:18 PM »
I've had great results with the wlp720 in my meads so it's become my go-to yeast. Many strains work well below their "optimum" temp and I hoped this might be one of them. But 20+F below the recommended temperature is probably a bit of a stretch. I'm targeting a sweet pyment and the cuvee is too alcohol tolerant at 18%. I anticipate the juice to measure around 1.080 and plan on adding 1-1.5# per gallon to bring the gravity to 1.130. The Lalvin D-47 looks like it might be a better choice with an alcohol tolerance of 14% and a low temp of 50F. This would give me an fg in the mid-1.020s which would be about my (wife's) target fg. I've made melomels but this would be my first pyment. Will a pound of honey/gallon contribute enough honey character?  I've considered blending but that means I need to make a separate batch of mead and right now fermentation fridge space, carboy space and $ will rule out that option. Thanks for the suggestions!

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Re: can white labs sweet mead yeast ferment at low temp?
« Reply #5 on: March 21, 2013, 01:16:21 PM »
Alternatively, you could let it ferment to dryness, then add sulfite and sorbate to nix the yeast. Backsweeten to your (wife's) liking with honey. That will help with the honey flavor/aroma too. Unless you want to avoid sulfite/sorbate.
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cornershot

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Re: can white labs sweet mead yeast ferment at low temp?
« Reply #6 on: March 21, 2013, 01:40:44 PM »
Thanks but I would prefer to avoid the sulfate and sorbate. We have some friends who are allergic to sulfates and my palate is quite sensitive to sorbate. Besides, the taste of backsweetening with honey is just not the same as having residual sugar in a mead.

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Re: can white labs sweet mead yeast ferment at low temp?
« Reply #7 on: March 21, 2013, 04:23:50 PM »
Understand that. You should write to White Labs and ask them how low it can go. I'm sure they know all about it.
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cornershot

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Re: can white labs sweet mead yeast ferment at low temp?
« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2013, 08:34:11 PM »
So I inoculated a 1L starter w/ a very fresh vial of wlp720 30 hours ago and held at 50F. After 24 hours no activity, the yeast just laid on the bottom of the flask. So I ramped up to 60F and within 6 hours, full krausen. I guess this answers my question. I can ferment at cooler than optimum temperature but nowhere near white wine temperature.  I guess I'm gonna put my money on D-47. Thanks again for the suggestions.