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Is yeast nutrient additive, like Go-Ferm, necessary?

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CipolloneWine

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I've read the MoreWine Red Winemaking guide and seen several of you post about using it, but how necessary is it? I'm making wine with a few others and they aren't on-board with using this, so I wanted to see what you all do. Is this something more of preference or is this something you definitely all use?

If this info is helpful, we are making a blend of 2 parts zinfandel grapes to 1 part muscot grapes using Red Star Premier Rouge yeast. This is our 3rd year going at this. We've learned a bit along the way but are still learning. We did not use Go-Ferm last year but I'm always looking to improve.
 

Johnd

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I've read the MoreWine Red Winemaking guide and seen several of you post about using it, but how necessary is it? I'm making wine with a few others and they aren't on-board with using this, so I wanted to see what you all do. Is this something more of preference or is this something you definitely all use?

If this info is helpful, we are making a blend of 2 parts zinfandel grapes to 1 part muscot grapes using Red Star Premier Rouge yeast. This is our 3rd year going at this. We've learned a bit along the way but are still learning. We did not use Go-Ferm last year but I'm always looking to improve.
Is it beneficial? Probably so. Is in necessary? Probably not. Personally, I’ve never used any rehydration products for yeast, and have only rehydrated yeast once, on my first wine. These days, yeast just gets sprinkled on top and the vessel covered with a towel.
 

sour_grapes

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I've read the MoreWine Red Winemaking guide and seen several of you post about using it, but how necessary is it? I'm making wine with a few others and they aren't on-board with using this, so I wanted to see what you all do. Is this something more of preference or is this something you definitely all use?
What is the antecedent to the words I bolded in the quote above. Are there particular parts of the MoreWine guide that you (or your friends) are planning to deviate from? Can you tell us what they are?
 

NorCal

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I see it like insurance. Is it needed? Maybe. I’m doing 1,000 pounds of grapes at a time, around $750-$1,000 of grapes at a time. I’m willing to spend a few extra $ on goferm and fermk, knowing there is a nutrient deficit in our region.

If I was doing a 5 gallon carboy, I’d probably take a chance, if I didn’t have any laying around..
 

mainshipfred

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Ever since I stopped doing kits I've always at least rehydrated the yeast. Last fall I started using Go Ferm and will more then likely continue to do so. However no matter what method I've used I never had a problem with a stuck fermentation so probably not necessary. Like Norcal I use it for insurance and certain yeasts recommend nutrients. My reasoning though is it's not that difficult or expensive and I want to do everything I can to prevent H2S or any other faults do to a poor fermentation.
 

winojoe

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It really depends on the yeast you are using, and the amount of nutrients in the must.

Every strain of yeast is different and, hence, has different nutrient requirements.
For example, Lalving EC-1118 requires very low nutrients. But, Lalvin BM4X4 is a real nutrient hog. Yeasts like this will start producing hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) if it runs out of nutrients.
You might ask yourself "why would anyone select a yeast like that?" ...because it produces really nice complex characters (taste & aroma) versus a yeast like EC1118. You just have to manage it properly with the nutrient additions.

With that said, learn the characteristics and profiles of your yeast.
Scott Lab has a fermentation guide on their web-site: scottlab.com
This guide has a lot of good information.
 

BernardSmith

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But, winojoe, Go-Ferm is not about providing the yeast with nutrients in the must /wine. it is about creating healthy cells BEFORE they begin to ferment sugars.
Here's my thinking: If you really want to be scientific about this why not create three very small test batches. In one don't rehydrate the yeast, simply sprinkle it. In the second rehydrate but don't add Go-Ferm. In the third batch rehydrate with Go-Ferm. After say, three hours take a sample of each and count the viable yeast cells. If the numbers are not significantly different then you have an answer but if the numbers are significantly different then you have a different answer...
 

GEM

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I use both all the time. I look at it as insurance, to make sure I get the best wine I can from my grapes with as few problems as possible. You don’t need to use them, but low nutrient grapes will be apt to caus you problems. I believe in being safe in my winemaking.
 

winojoe

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Yes, Go-Ferm is for rehydration and some fermentations (if not all) can really benefit from using it.
We just need keep in mind that every strain of yeast has different requirements for nutrient and nitrogen, which may require a nutrient addition during fermentation.
 

stickman

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All of the above advice are valid points to consider, but you also have to consider the people you are making wine with. If your fellow winemakers are going to cry foul about the use of additives, are you going to go along with them or challenge them? If the decision is to go along with them and not make any additions, then the yeast selection should be something simple like Red Star Pasteur Champagne or something similar. This type of yeast will ferment reliably and requires less nutrients etc., but it doesn't enhance anything, though it is neutral in flavor and will still give you a wine representative of your grapes.
 

Donz

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It really depends on the yeast you are using, and the amount of nutrients in the must.

Every strain of yeast is different and, hence, has different nutrient requirements.
For example, Lalving EC-1118 requires very low nutrients. But, Lalvin BM4X4 is a real nutrient hog. Yeasts like this will start producing hydrogen sulfide (rotten egg smell) if it runs out of nutrients.
You might ask yourself "why would anyone select a yeast like that?" ...because it produces really nice complex characters (taste & aroma) versus a yeast like EC1118. You just have to manage it properly with the nutrient additions.

With that said, learn the characteristics and profiles of your yeast.
Scott Lab has a fermentation guide on their web-site: scottlab.com
This guide has a lot of good information.
I have always added nutrient to my BM4x4 in the past and was considering not doing so this year... I may re-consider as you said, it is a real nutrient hog.
 

mainshipfred

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I believe there a few different types of home winemakers and there is nothing wrong with any of their train of thoughts. You have the beginners of course just trying to learn the ropes and make something that will satisfy them. Others have been making wine from kits and happy with the results by just following the instructions and maybe experimenting a little. Some trying their luck with juice buckets and grapes just to give it a go. But then there are the students of the hobby and I believe there are a lot on the forum. Although the student and more experienced winemakers still use kits and juice buckets I think their optimum goal is to use primarily grapes which is a little bit of a different animal. More precautions and measures have to be taken and a greater knowledge of the process is involved. It is probably this group who would have a greater appreciation of the insurance aspect of winemaking.
 

CipolloneWine

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If you really want to be scientific about this why not create three very small test batches. In one don't rehydrate the yeast, simply sprinkle it. In the second rehydrate but don't add Go-Ferm. In the third batch rehydrate with Go-Ferm. After say, three hours take a sample of each and count the viable yeast cells. If the numbers are not significantly different then you have an answer but if the numbers are significantly different then you have a different answer...
My scientific mind loves this!!

All of the above advice are valid points to consider, but you also have to consider the people you are making wine with. If your fellow winemakers are going to cry foul about the use of additives, are you going to go along with them or challenge them? If the decision is to go along with them and not make any additions, then the yeast selection should be something simple like Red Star Pasteur Champagne or something similar. This type of yeast will ferment reliably and requires less nutrients etc., but it doesn't enhance anything, though it is neutral in flavor and will still give you a wine representative of your grapes.
This is my main sticking point....I'm doing it with others and they don't agree. Based on the responses, it doesn't seem absolutely necessary so I won't push the issue for now. But I may see if I can pull 5 gallons worth out of the main batch and do my own side experiment. I'll use the additives and see how the flavor is different.
 

mainshipfred

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This is my main sticking point....I'm doing it with others and they don't agree. Based on the responses, it doesn't seem absolutely necessary so I won't push the issue for now. But I may see if I can pull 5 gallons worth out of the main batch and do my own side experiment. I'll use the additives and see how the flavor is different.[/QUOTE]

I believe the original post was referring to Go-Ferm as a rehydration additive and not sure if it would change any flavor profiles alone, just a potential assurance of a good fermentation. Other additives such as FT Rouge should have an affect on the tannin structure, Lallzyme would add to juice extraction and Opti Red might get you a fuller body and color. There are other pre fermentation additives of course.
 

meadmaker1

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Like @mainshipfred said true to the title of the post.
Probably not necessary.
But i do it anyway.
As far as additives go i look at it like using compost or mulch in the garden. I could probably get away with not bothering with it but it improves the result so i do.
How to navigate your group is a different forum, try searching Dr. Phill lol.
I would be ready to receive your share in bulk asap just in case. Too many possible directions and time lines.
I could possibly make a large group batch but it would be in writing that "i am in charge" at least to a point, as i am the most experienced wine maker i know and a bit of a control freak.
If i were to join a venture with a gruop like say @NorCal and @4score it might (would) be different, as they are some of the folks that i would go to for advice, but i still would as they do, divide and finish my way on my terms and time line.
 

mainshipfred

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Like @mainshipfred said true to the title of the post.
Probably not necessary.
But i do it anyway.
As far as additives go i look at it like using compost or mulch in the garden. I could probably get away with not bothering with it but it improves the result so i do.
How to navigate your group is a different forum, try searching Dr. Phill lol.
I would be ready to receive your share in bulk asap just in case. Too many possible directions and time lines.
I could possibly make a large group batch but it would be in writing that "i am in charge" at least to a point, as i am the most experienced wine maker i know and a bit of a control freak.
If i were to join a venture with a gruop like say @NorCal and @4score it might (would) be different, as they are some of the folks that i would go to for advice, but i still would as they do, divide and finish my way on my terms and time line.
The Dr. Phill line was great. I think we should invite him and Judge Judy to the forum to settle disputes!
 

pgentile

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My scientific mind loves this!!



This is my main sticking point....I'm doing it with others and they don't agree. Based on the responses, it doesn't seem absolutely necessary so I won't push the issue for now. But I may see if I can pull 5 gallons worth out of the main batch and do my own side experiment. I'll use the additives and see how the flavor is different.
I don't use go-ferm when I re-hydrate yeast. I do use fermaid O in the must after lag and again at 1/3 sugar consumption. Just my opinion, but I feel that all the nutrients/additives for yeast are needed more in non grape fruit wines than grape wines.

I'd be surprised if there were a taste difference in wines made with go-ferm and without. As Fred says it's just really insurance and gives the yeast a leg up.

I don't think most of my all grape batches need the fermaid O either. But without getting any YAN analysis I would never know when any one batch is deficient, so as insurance I do the fermaid 0 additions.
 
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