Author Topic: Dry Wine Yeast in Mead  (Read 1477 times)

Offline punatic

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Dry Wine Yeast in Mead
« on: April 28, 2011, 05:25:38 PM »
I was given some dry wine yeast (dry yeast not dry mead) to try today.  The instructions say to use 1g/gal of mead must.  Is there any advantage or disadvantage to using more than 1g/gal?

Is the 1g/gal dosing based on frugality or something else?

Normally I use approximately 250mL of yeast slurry from a starter to 6.5gal of mead.  That appears to me to be a considerable amount more than 6.5g of dry yeast.  When rehydrated will 6.5g take on 250mL in volume?
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Offline nateo

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Re: Dry Wine Yeast in Mead
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2011, 06:42:43 PM »
More yeast will mean a faster, more complete fermentation.

In practical experience, I've never had "too much" yeast. More yeast means more heat, but as long as you control your fermentation temps, it shouldn't be an issue.
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Offline dbarber

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Re: Dry Wine Yeast in Mead
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2011, 06:15:43 AM »
I make mostly sweet meads, but I usually put 10g (2 packs) dry yeast in a 5 gallon batch.
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Offline andrew11thomas

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Re: Dry Wine Yeast in Mead
« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2011, 11:17:56 PM »
I have never used dry wine yeast , i will surly try this today.

Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Dry Wine Yeast in Mead
« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2011, 11:23:57 PM »
2 packet dry yeast.  No starter necessary.  Use nutrients, though.
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Offline punatic

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Re: Dry Wine Yeast in Mead
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2011, 12:58:20 AM »
2 packet dry yeast.  No starter necessary.  Use nutrients, though.

These packets weigh 80g.  Most single packets weigh 8g.  I followed Lalvin's recommended dosing rate of 25-40 g/hL, going with 1.5 g/gal due to an OG of 1.120.  I have plenty of yeast, so I was curious if there is a downside to pitching more than 1.5g/gal.

I hydrated 10g of Lalvin ICV-K1 with Go-Ferm, then doubled the water hydration volume with mead must, then pitched it into 6.5 gallons of mead must.  Fermentation is going strong. 

I did a parallel batch (split 13gal in two) and pitched ~ 250mL of Wyeast 4184 slurry.  It too is rocking and rolling.  Tomorrow I add the jaboticaba to both batches (10lbs each).

I follow Ken Schramm's Fermaid K and DAP nutrient addition schedule from his article in the Nov/Dec 2005 Zymurgy.  After three days I add the fruit.  Primary fermentation on the fruit is carried out in two 10gal Volrath stockpots with lids.  After a week on the fruit I'll transfer to two 7gal glass carboys.  My fermentation room is temp controled at 68F.

This is an experiment with no heat - no sulfite to see if the killer yeast is cleaner than the sweet mead yeast on a melomel.

I've made several batches of no heat - no sulfite jaboticaba melomel using 4184 in the past, with no signs of infection or off-flavors.  I want to see how K1 measures up.  Rehydrating dry yeast is much easier than doing a two-iteration 4.5L starter.
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Dry Wine Yeast in Mead
« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2011, 05:13:31 AM »
I should have been more specific.  I meant two 5g packets, like you see in most homebrew stores.  Not the larger 8g packets MoreBeer sells (although I do use those).  80g; yowza.  So I tend to pitch 2g/gal.

If I'm doing a melomel, I put the fruit in the primary since it adds good nutrients for the yeast.

Did you do the staggered nutrient addition?  Take the Fermaid-K and DAP and split it four ways, adding one part every day.

If you use fruit, remember to punch down the fruit cap at least daily.  It keeps temps from getting too high and also lets CO2 out.  Better for the yeast.

All the rest sounds fine.
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Offline punatic

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Re: Dry Wine Yeast in Mead
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2011, 09:52:07 AM »
Yes I do the staggered additions.  I make up the full amount of nutrients in a solution of sterile water, then add the appropriate amount of this solution at the appropriate time.  I ferment on the fruit in the stock pots so I can punch down the cap.  With jaboticaba and 4184 I do this several times a day.  It appears this yeast likes to ferment up there in the floating fruit.

Using this nutrient addition schedule, 4184 takes a gravity of 1.120 down to 1.010.  I think it likes the food!
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Dry Wine Yeast in Mead
« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2011, 09:53:33 AM »
All sounds good then.  Should be delicious.
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Offline punatic

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Re: Dry Wine Yeast in Mead
« Reply #9 on: May 05, 2011, 05:33:30 PM »
All sounds good then.  Should be delicious.

This melomel tastes like what I imagine a semi-sweet merlot pyment would taste like.  The jaboticaba skins add nice tanin characteristics to the mead.  Pretty popular with my mead-drinking friends and clients.
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Offline gordonstrong

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Re: Dry Wine Yeast in Mead
« Reply #10 on: May 06, 2011, 05:46:12 AM »
Tannin adds dryness, so factor that in when deciding on the final sweetness.  Even if the sweetness is up a bit, the tannin will make it seem drier.  If you are shooting for a wine-like mead, then a moderate overall sweetness level tastes pretty good.

You can always play with it after it's done.  Take a glass of the mead, take a small spoon of honey, and swirl the honey into the mead (don't dump the honey in, just swirl it once or twice while on the spoon, removing the spoon with the honey quickly; taste, repeat).  That way you can tell how back-sweetening will affect it.  We did that experiment as part of a mead evaluation talk at last year's NHC and I think it helped people understand how the balance and flavor of mead can change with just a slight adjustment in sweetness.
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Offline punatic

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Re: Dry Wine Yeast in Mead
« Reply #11 on: May 06, 2011, 10:15:00 AM »
Past batches with lehua honey, jaboticaba, and 4184 have shown me that an OG of 1.120 is a good starting point.  I like it very much when it finishes at 1.010.  Mrs. Punatic likes it a bit sweeter, so we split the batch in two and back-sweeten half to her preference, then bottle.  I've never had to add anything to the back-sweetened batches to prevent further fermentation in the bottle.  Generally bottling happens at >10 months in the fermenter.

It will be interesting to see how the K1 yeast compares to the 4184 yeast.  K1 is supposed to be toleramt to 14%.  So far the K1 was a bit faster off of the mark.  The 4184 pushes the fruit cap up more in the primary.  The aroma of the ferment from the K1 batch seems a bit more fruity.  

One thing I really like about 4184 is it drops crystal clear very quickly once it is finished fermenting.  Following Ken's nutrient schedule it ferments quickly too.

Time to go punch down some caps...
« Last Edit: May 06, 2011, 10:18:15 AM by punatic »
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