when can i tell yeast is active ---

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.
Reply to
DAve Allison
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.
Reply to
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
Reply to
DAve Allison
2 things:
1) You should use yeast nutrient--just follow the directions on the package.
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...
Reply to
Hi. 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
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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
Reply to
DAve Allison
Dave, 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. HTH John Dixon
Reply to
J Dixon
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
Reply to
J Dixon
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!!
Reply to
DAve Allison
DAve, 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. Darlene
Reply to
Dar V
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.
Cheers, Ken Taborek
Reply to
mail box
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 received) 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.
DAve 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.
Reply to
DAve Allison

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