Been keeping a chart of EC-1118 Vs Youngs Vs Kit Yeast

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I am doing a SG Gold Chardonnay Style kit (30 bottle) and while it's a cheap kit, it's certainly a step up from the wines I was making from orange juice. It's also about the same price as making wine from orange juice, making the kit a no-brainer.

I typically use 1 sachet (5g) of EC-1118 per 5L liquid, or 1.25 tsp of Young's Super Wine Yeast Compound (because that has added bentonite in the yeast powder so I add a bit more to make sure it's at least 5g yeast).

I typically aim for around 1.126 SG and 16% ABV.

When getting the SG Gold kit, I found that they only gave me 2.25g of yeast to put in 22.5L of wine. To bulk it out to 25L (5 x 5L bottles) I also add 500ml Apple juice to each. This kit only has enough yeast to put 0.45 tsp per 5L.

After thinking the first kit wasn't going very fast (and dumping some Youngs in) on the second I decided to have a little "yeast showdown" between all three yeasts. As expected, EC-1118 is winning and the kit yeast, being only about half a tsp instead of a full tsp, did take a while longer to multiply into a colony that would be at the stage EC-1118 and Youngs had got to, but anyway here's the chart if anyone's interested.

I know using ABV and days is probably not the proper way to do this (charts I see all measure gas release and the lines go down, not up!) but for me personally it's been good to actually see it on a chart like this.

All I am trying to work out is... if the wine kit only supplies half the yeast I usually use, is that going to do enough over say 14 days. I'll find out after 6 more days of SG tests, but the kit yeast is in fact doing better than I expected. I just wish I knew what strain it was, or what strain Youngs is for that matter. They don't tell you. When you get the kit it just says "Yeast" on a white sachet.

Red: Lalvin EC-1118 (5g per 5L)
Blue: Youngs Super Wine Yeast Compound (7g per 5L)
Green: Yeast from SG Gold Chardonnay Style kit (0.45g per 5L)
Start Gravity: 1.128 SG

Yeast Tests.png

At day 6 I gave all bottles a swill around which I think gave the SG Gold kit yeast a bit of a kick and the chart shows that. From days 6-7 and 7-8 it gained more ABV per day than the other two. That kit yeast got to 11.33% ABV in the "7 Days" claimed by the kit makers, albeit this is a far higher start gravity, they probably aren't making that up (the kit calls for less than half the sugar I used to make a wine at 10.5% ABV after 7 days, fully dry).

I shall try to update the above chart if I remember to, so it has the full 14 days on. Of course we all know it's going to be mostly flat now but this is the most important stage for me because I want to see what that reduced amount of kit yeast ends up at!
 
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After 12 days the EC-1118 is the first to make zero gains in the past 24h.

I wonder why it only got up to 15% when the gain would be 17% if it were to hit 1.000 SG.

I am sure the reduced fermentation (Vs orange from concentrate or pure orange) is because of using this kit and its included grape concentrate - it seems yeast just likes orange more than it likes grape juice.

I did start these too high at 1.128 SG and shall aim at around 1.120 SG for the next batch, perhaps making it this ABV but taking away the sweetness. The kit yeast after 12 days is at 1.028 SG and that's just a bit sickly sweet for my taste...

After 12 days:

Yeast Tests 02.png
 
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Really cool experiment you've got going with the yeasts! It’s fascinating to see how different strains behave under the same conditions. Sounds like EC-1118 is the robust choice as usual, but it's interesting that the kit yeast is holding its own better than expected. Keeping the starting gravity a bit lower next time sounds like a solid plan.
 
Keeping the starting gravity a bit lower next time sounds like a solid plan
This is a nice little experiment with the yeasts, but I agree a lower starting SG point may be a good idea. I'm not sure I've ever had a 15% sweet Chardonay before. Sounds a bit 'hot', maybe unbalanced on the taste. @Grape Expectations it would be nice to post your findings on the taste...does the yeast impart any different flavors? Although there is a difference in ABV, so I would expect a mild difference.
 
I'm not sure about the different tastes from the different yeasts because this is the first time I've tried a kit with 3 different yeasts. Maybe Youngs isn't different, it might be EC-1118 since it's pretty much kept up with it, I mean what else is that aggressive?

Today is the 18th day and I'm about to stabilize/clear/add flavour. The best thing about these kits is the finings, that clears the wine to a reasonable amount in only 4 to 6 hours. I almost had to rub my eyes the first time I used that stuff, it's a miracle compared to using bentonite and certainly far less messy.

Here's the chart now after 18 days. I think all three yeasts could possibly gain another 1% ABV if left another 2 weeks but, enough is enough now. :h

Yeast Tests 03.png

The numbers as a table:

Yeast Tests 03b.png

The SG levels:

Yeast Tests 03c.png
 
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