when can i tell yeast is active ---

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A kinda newbie question. I'm looking for pictures of what primary must
looks like when the yeast is active. I'm using EC-1118 Lavin in a
Chardonnay. But really, the last several attempts at recipes (not
kits)has left me wondering if my yeast is working.
I hydrate and add a little must as the yeast bubbles up (always looks
impressive grey-ish foam), but when I add it to my must - it kinda
doesn't continue this layer of foam on top, instead it just sits there.
I see bubbles when I stir it (CO2?)but was expecting more of a 1 inch
layer of foam on top.
I tried Keller's site and Google, but does anyone know of pictures of
what it should look like?

My latest "Welch's Grape Concentrate" after working it since October
still tastes and smells like grape juice. I fear my other fruit recipes
may have the same fate. Now that I'm doing grapes again, i'm
disappointed with the yeast "foam". Or maybe i should not look for that
and just wait to see it drop from 1.84 down to closer to 1.00?


patient, but concerned.

I can provide pictures of my current 2 gallon in a primary, if that
would help anyone.

Re: when can i tell yeast is active ---

My experience is limited at this point to fermenting juice concentrate
in one gallon jugs, but I can assure you that you should see active
fermentation within a day after pitching the yeast.

Most wine yeast strains create minimal foam on top, but you should see
a little foam and very active bubbling very soon after pitching the
yeast. If you don't, then the fermentation might be stuck for some
reason and you should consider inoculating with another yeast.

My kitchen smells yeasty... kind of like rising bread after the yeast
gets fully engaged.

Did you pick the correct concentrate?  You should only use a
concentrate with no preservatives at all. A small amount of sulphites
is ok, like the Welch's Niagara concentrate has, but anything else will
prevent fermentation.



Re: when can i tell yeast is active ---

thanks for the info. I used a wine making concentrate from a wine making
retail site (I should have mentioned this). So this is primo stuff. It's
at 1.86 so it's not too strong (hear 1.9+ is not possible or easy to
pitch a yeast)
It appears I am STUCK again. i will use energizer and nutrient to see
what I can do.
thanks. DAve

gregmg@my-deja.com wrote:
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Re: when can i tell yeast is active ---

2 things:

1) You should use yeast nutrient--just follow the directions on the

2) If you are re-hydrating before you pitch, it should not take more
than about 24 to 36 hours for foaming to occur...one way to find out if
your fermentation is going is to use an airlock on your primary
fermentor at first--if there is bubbling through the airlock, it's
going so give it some more time...

Re: when can i tell yeast is active ---

Still stuck here. (Literally) I used Energizer and Nutrient per
instructions. I re-hydrate the yeast, and even slowly introduced some of
the must - all is fine until I put it in the batch. I raised the
temperature to 75-80. Maybe I am destined for Kits only. :*)

This is a wine making concentrate Pinot Chardonnay from Alexanders -
from http://www.homebrewheaven.com/- the PH is 6 (i only have the little
dabby sticks, it appears to be a 6 in a scale of 1-14) the Hydrometer
says it's 1.084. These seem like ok readings?

I used Lalvin EC-1118 and then more nutrient and energizer and 24 hours
- tried another yeast - Cote Des Blancs Wine Yeast(can you put too much
yeast into a batch? ya'd think after about a while, it would mess up the
taste?) and tried again (24 more hours)after more energizer and nutrient
with yeast - Montrachet Wine Yeast. It smells like grapes (not yeast)
and i get some bubbles when I stir it, but nothing happenin'.

I don't mean to whine or drive you all nuts, but if there is another
rock I can look under, advice would be appreciated. thanks.

(if it's more equipment, make suggestions, I'm committed to getting this
right eventually) ha

DAve Allison wrote:
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Re: when can i tell yeast is active ---

     Dont get excessive on your addition of Nutrients as they can impart off
flavors in your wine. You can add plenty of yeast and not be concerned as
they are going to multiply into the millions if all goes well. Not all musts
will foam up, and you should trust your hydrometer and look at the top of
the juice and see if it looks like a light fiz is going on there. Also if
the juice was clear before it should be getting progressively cloudy as the
yeast multiply. Did you add any Potassium Metabisulphite to the must? If so-
how much? A ballpark amount would be a 1/4 teaspoon to 5 GALLONS.
John Dixon

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Re: when can i tell yeast is active ---

I was just reading this, and noticed I forgot my last sentence.... If you
add too much sulpite then it can definitely prevent the fermentation from
starting. Not saying you did, but just an idea. Chances are it will be going
today and all will be well. HTH

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Re: when can i tell yeast is active ---

Thanks for the reply.
I added no Potassium Metabisulphite. The juice has gone from almost
clear to milky, with a lite fiz. I will check with hydrometer to see if
it's dropped. Good idea. Holy crow - it's now reading .0998!
Does this mean it worked without the crust and foam? wow.
Maybe I have hope in this hobby after all? Time to rack into secondary!!


J Dixon wrote:
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Re: when can i tell yeast is active ---

    It depends on the yeast you're using. I don't have any pics; its a bit
different with each yeast you use and the temperature of the must.
Montrachet yeast is very foamy, but other yeasts (like Cotes de Blanc
yeast)I have used are not. I usually look for bubbles, a little foam, and I
listen for that sound (bubbling, swishy noise) the must makes during the
initial fermentation when everything is working. In fact, I usually listen
now rather than look about 12 hours after I add the yeast. The other way to
tell if your yeast is working is to test the SG to see if it is dropping.
    As I was rereading your post to see if I missed something, I noticed you
hydrate your yeast and add it (which is good). I usually just sprinkle the
yeast on top, but the yeast doesn't usually stay there. I've watched it
hydrate and sink to the bottom, and then about 12 hours later you can see
that its working. I would think that even when you hydrate your yeast prior
to adding it to the must, you would still need to give it some time to get
itself really going in its new environment.

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Re: when can i tell yeast is active ---

On 3/1/2006 6:01 PM, DAve Allison wrote:
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Reading through the thread it seems as though your ferment has gotten
past whatever issue it may have had.  For future ferments, the one sure
way to give you great peace of mind regarding the efficacy of your yeast
is to make a yeast starter.  This has multiple benefits.  If the packet
of yeast you either sprinkle on your must (as many kit instructions
direct) or rehydrate and add (as many dry yeast packets direct) is dead
for whatever reason, neither of these two methods will detect that.  But
making a yeast starter a day before you pitch will reveal this, as the
airlock on your starter will remain inert, rather than bubbling away as
it should be after 24 hours.  Another benefit is that you'll be pitching
a greater number of yeast cells into your must, which will speed the
rate at which they dominate the must and compete better against any wild
yeast or bacteria.

Ken Taborek

Re: when can i tell yeast is active ---

Thanks all for your insights and thoughts. what I learned:
1. Yeast does not always foam and have a layer of "neat bubbly stuff" on
top. Sometimes it's just milky colored and when you stir, it bubbles.
2. Always hydrate yeast before using. It's ok to use a few yeasts, but
don't use too much nutrient, as that will taint the taste. (per input I
3. There is a lot of experience here in this newsgroup. thanks.

I felt like I was whining - so thanks for your inputs. I start a Cab
from concentrate tomorrow. smile.

p.s. The Pinot Chardonnay is in secondary and starting to clear. It went
from 1.86 or so down to .998 in a few days. USE your hydrometer.

mail box wrote:
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