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Does anyone use yeast cake for consecutive batches?

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Jim Welch

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Understand I am new to seriously making wine and have been lurking and searching here for various concepts and specific information.

What I do not see much info or many posts about is using a yeast cake from a previous batch. Coming from a homebrewing background where I have from time to time when making an identical, a similar, or a compatible beer style as another finishes fermentation, have "pitched" my cooled wort directly into a fermentor with a yeast cake in it.

Does anyone do this in winemaking, with more or less predictable results?

I am currently making a batch of ~14% wine and want to make the identical batch immediately and am wondering if this is advisable?

I understand in beer brewing a yeast that went to 14% would be pretty stressed and probably not a good candidate for using its yeast cake. I was thinking that perhaps with wine yeasts this may not be such a problem.

Thanks in advance for sharing your experiences or knowledge.
 

CDrew

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I've never tried it, but I suspect it would work. At least 1 generation. I used to brew too, and did the same thing with good results. But yeast is so cheap, and grapes significantly more expensive than barley malt, that I think I'd want full control over the process.

Plus, there's the whole issue of lees, and the desire to rack the wine off the lees to avoid off flavors. The lees would have most of your previous yeast "cake'. Just me, but I'd spend the extra $5 and use quality (NEW) yeast.

I'm new at this too and would not do a native ferment, even though many here have made it work. I want to stack all the odds in my favor. New yeast would be part of that.
 

pillswoj

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If you read the skeeter pee and Dragons blood threads, many use the yeast from a previous batch of wine since those recipes are hard to get going. Also if making a batch of wine from grapes, many will follow that with juice buckets of kits on the skins and and yeast of the grape batch.
 

Jim Welch

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...Also if making a batch of wine from grapes, many will follow that with juice buckets of kits on the skins and and yeast of the grape batch.
Now you've given me an idea. I picked up two cans each of Blackberry and Black Currant Vintner's Harvest Fruit Wine Base and I have two 6 gallon batches of wine just about finished primary fermentation. I may try to drop these two batches right onto not just the yeast cake but the grape pack too of each of these fermenting batches.
I think that is kind of like what you mention in your post.
 

jgmillr1

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I understand in beer brewing a yeast that went to 14% would be pretty stressed and probably not a good candidate for using its yeast cake.
Re-using yeast that has experienced alcohol over 9% is not advised. As you noted, the yeast will struggle in a new batch of wine. The reason is that the yeast physically change their outer cell wall to protect against the higher alcohol concentration and therefore are less able to reproduce (bud) and metabolize the sugar.

Best to use a new packet of yeast or inoculate using yeasty wine from a newly started batch (below 9%)
 

Jim Welch

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Re-using yeast that has experienced alcohol over 9% is not advised. As you noted, the yeast will struggle in a new batch of wine. The reason is that the yeast physically change their outer cell wall to protect against the higher alcohol concentration and therefore are less able to reproduce (bud) and metabolize the sugar.

Best to use a new packet of yeast or inoculate using yeasty wine from a newly started batch (below 9%)
Ok, I was thinking it may be too risky and will just pitch new yeast. I know this is not what I originally posted about but how about reusing the grape packs in a new batch of wine from canned fruit wine base?
The grape packs are from two different Cellar Craft Showcase kits just about finished primary fermentation, one Zinfandel and one Amarone.
Will there be any thing positive to get out of them after a 10ish day primary fermentation?
 

cmason1957

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Ok, I was thinking it may be too risky and will just pitch new yeast. I know this is not what I originally posted about but how about reusing the grape packs in a new batch of wine from canned fruit wine base?
The grape packs are from two different Cellar Craft Showcase kits just about finished primary fermentation, one Zinfandel and one Amarone.
Will there be any thing positive to get out of them after a 10ish day primary fermentation?
When I have made wine kits using grape paks there is nothing much left that would do any good for the next batch.
 

mainshipfred

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Last spring I added 7 half lugs of Cab Sauv skins to a juice bucket of Malbec without adding any additional yeast. In fact it was 3 different yeasts in 3 different buckets where I split the juice equally. It fermented dry with no problems. I also used 10 half lugs of Carmenere skins @Boatboy24 Jim gave me with a bucket of Carmenere which also fermented dry. Both wines are fine for what I would expect from a juice bucket. That's my only experience with it.
 

BernardSmith

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I have to agree with jgmillr1: when you brew beer the pH is high and the ABV is low. The colony size is typically huge. The yeast are not stressed and you can harvest the yeast after three weeks more or less. When you make wine the pH is low, the ABV is high, the starting yeast colony is far smaller (not sure why but it is) and the nutrient load can be minimal. The yeast are stressed and you may harvest the yeast months later. Yeast "cakes" under those circumstances can be a bit..um.. stale. Good enough (or perhaps perfect) for SP because of the high acidity they are now being asked to thrive within but not just as suitable for pitching into a top quality bucket full of grapes or fruit juice, which for the sake of - what? a couple of dollars for a fresh pack of yeast , you are willing to sacrifice a couple of hundred dollars of wine?
 

Ajmassa

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Adding freshly fermented skins to a grape juice bucket IMO greatly benefits the wine, regardless of already fermenting once. Helping color and body

And if you cooinnoculate malo like I do your also getting the MLF going. It’s kinda been my routine now to freeze a juice bucket and add the cake when ready.
 
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