First Batch Skeeter Pee

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PPBart

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I've read enough here and elsewhere about Skeeter Pee to convince me that I have to try it. My wife was going shopping yesterday (her favorite pastime!) so I asked her to pick up some lemon juice. She reminded me that a neighbor had given us a bunch of lemons last fall, which she had juiced and frozen, so I decided to use that instead (it's free, after all!). I started the batch today following the published directions but had not anticipated the pulp in the lemon juice, normal for the squeezed juice, but which did not become evident until it thawed.

Do I need to do anything different or in addition to the original directions, considering the pulp?
 
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The pulp in my SP fell out of the wine after a week or so. Mine is still cloudy, but that could be a pectin issue. I don't think you have to worry, but you should probably wait for an answer from someone with more experience.
 

Minnesotamaker

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One thing I was wondering about was whether to add pectic enzyme.
I haven't made it from fresh squeezed or frozen, so I can't speak from experience. First you should decide whether you want your finished product to be clear or not. Some people leave their Skeeter Pee cloudy like natural lemonade. Others, like me, like to clear it. You won't hurt it by adding some pectic enzyme.
 

PPBart

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As noted in original post, I started working on this batch 7/19th. I used home-squeezed and then frozen lemon juice. SG was adjusted to ~1.080. Acid measured 0.6% without any adjustment. After reading thru the Skeeter Pee site, I decided to add Campden tabs (5) since there was no preservative previously added to the juice. The C-tabs were crushed and mixed in, then the batch was allowed to sit ~28 hours. Then I added pectic enzyme and allowed the batch to sit again for ~24 hours. Since I did not have a slurry available, I prepared a healthy yeast starter with Lalvin EC-1118 and pitched it in. That was Wednesday night. It's Friday morning and still no evidence of yeast activity. Should I continue to wait or do another starter? Should I use a different yeast?
 

PPBart

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As noted in original post, I started working on this batch 7/19th... It's Friday morning and still no evidence of yeast activity. Should I continue to wait or do another starter? Should I use a different yeast?
Now it's Sunday night, still no bubbles(!)
 

Minnesotamaker

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People seem to have more trouble when using fresh squeezed. Lemons must have a natural yeast inhibitor in them (cranberries are the same way). The bottled juice doesn't usually have the same problem.

You could try to make this in the style of the old hard lemonade recipes. In those, you keep the batch warm (80+) and you whip it up good with a wire whisk three to four times a day. Another starter might help.
 

PPBart

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People seem to have more trouble when using fresh squeezed. Lemons must have a natural yeast inhibitor in them (cranberries are the same way). The bottled juice doesn't usually have the same problem.

You could try to make this in the style of the old hard lemonade recipes. In those, you keep the batch warm (80+) and you whip it up good with a wire whisk three to four times a day. Another starter might help.


Batch temp is ~74F; I'll set it on a heating pad and warm it a bit more. I've already pitched 3 starters; guess I might as well try a fourth(!)
 

djrockinsteve

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Are you following the recipe on this site. I had no trouble getting mine to start and I did use a strawberry/peach slurry. It was underway in 2 hours if not less.

You don't want to add all the lemon in the beginning. My starting gravity was a little lower if I recall. My wife just sampled some Friday and loved it. I had sweetened it to 1.009

I would say is give it a good whipping to introduce a lot of air into it. Then try a slurry or a real good starter.
 

PPBart

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Are you following the recipe on this site. I had no trouble getting mine to start and I did use a strawberry/peach slurry. It was underway in 2 hours if not less.

You don't want to add all the lemon in the beginning. My starting gravity was a little lower if I recall. My wife just sampled some Friday and loved it. I had sweetened it to 1.009

I would say is give it a good whipping to introduce a lot of air into it. Then try a slurry or a real good starter.

Except as noted in my post from 7/23rd I've followed the recipe, including holding back 1/3 of the juice. I'm wondering now if the root causes are not the use the fresh squeezed juice and must temperature. I can't do anything now about the choice of juice, but I have begun gradually heating the batch up -- will target 80-85F.

As for using a slurry -- I do have a 1-gal batch of apple in primary now. Would that slurry work? If so, at what SG is best for the slurry addition?

Come to think of it, what if I just add the entire gallon batch of apple into the Pee?
 
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If you still have no activity, you might need to re-pitch.

Make the usual yeast starter with sugar + water + yeast nutrient, and when it is going strong, start adding some of the must to the starter to acclimatize the yeast. I started mine with a 1 Liter starter, then added a cup or two of must to it every 12 hours, with a tablespoon of sugar to keep the yeast alive. Once the starter was at 2 liters, I threw it in the must. Batch took off like crazy and fermented dry (10% ABV) in 5 days; with stepped sugar addition.

A couple of days is a long time to grow a starter, but it pays off.
 

PPBart

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If you still have no activity, you might need to re-pitch.

Make the usual yeast starter with sugar + water + yeast nutrient, and when it is going strong, start adding some of the must to the starter to acclimatize the yeast. I started mine with a 1 Liter starter...

I follow a similar process, just a smaller volume and shorter time; by the time I pitch the starter it's at least half must. That usually works fine, but not this time! I've already done 4 starters, and each one looks strong when I pitch it, then nothing happens...

That batch has been sitting there for 7(+) days, wonder how much longer before it sours?
 

PPBart

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...That batch has been sitting there for 7(+) days, wonder how much longer before it sours?
UPDATE! We have bubbles!

Just checked and there's a layer of foam on the batch. I suspect the key factor was temperature of the must -- once I raised it over 80F the yeast seem to be coming to life.
 

PPBart

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Another Update(!)

Even after my (1st) batch started fermenting, progress seemed slow. Finally, the SG got down to ~1.02 and I figured it had been in primary long enough (if not too long!). On 7/31 I racked into a 6-gal carboy, and the batch seemed to really come to life -- airlock has been burping steadily since (now about 40-45 burps per minute), the batch seems to be clearing slowly, and there's a noticeable layer of sludge in the carboy.
 

arcticsid

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BART!
Stop right now!

No reason to panic. Dont add nothing or try to adjust anything.

Get a sachet of champagne yeast, Red Star Cuvee or the Lalvin 1118, or whatever it is.

rehydrate this as directed. )1/4 cup of water at "x" degrees)

While it is doing that, whip, not stir, actually do this before you rehydrate your yeast.

Give the yeast about 20 minutes to do its thing, then add about a cup of your pee must, allow it to "do its thing"/

It goes without saying, it needs to be warm.

No problem. After about an hour or so, add another cup of the must to the starter, and again, allow it to "grow".

I use a two litre soda bottle. When it is full, I now have a very strong starter. I whip the snot out of the pee and pour it in.

Most of the gang will tell you other ideas on a satrter, but this is what I do, not just for the Pee, but for all my wines.

I had a batch of cranberry a while back, pitched the yeast twice and it just wasn't going to go.

This was like a week orr more.

Wade and the gang told me how to make a starter, I did it, and son of a gun she fired right up.

There are several factors that can prevent a ferment to go.

Sounds like yu have it all going.

Make a starter. Do it now, then, let us know.

We'll help you get the sucker started.
 

PPBart

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BART!
Stop right now!

No reason to panic. Dont add nothing or try to adjust anything.

Get a sachet of champagne yeast, Red Star Cuvee or the Lalvin 1118, or whatever it is....

Make a starter. Do it now, then, let us know.

We'll help you get the sucker started.
LOL -- I think you missed my last post(!) The batch is bubbling away in carboy, looks to be beginning to clear.

With lessons learned, I'll be starting another batch soon, this time using RealLemon juice (Sam's Club has 96-oz for <$5). I've followed a standard procedure for yeast starters for years and it's always worked well (except for this SP!), but I have made some notes from your advice and others and plan to adjust my procedure next time. Thanks for the advice!
 
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