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vinny

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I saw a post and it got me thinking. Most kits, in my experience, come with ec-1118 and K1-V1116. I'm just wondering if it is common practice for anyone to replace them with other yeasts, and if you find that you are getting better results.
 
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In general, I expect folks use the yeast included in the kit. For folks on this forum, it's more likely they are swapping but it may not be a high percentage.

EC-1118 is used by kit vendors because it's as fool proof as yeast gets. EC-1118 will ferment a rock. Kits are designed to work for people who do not have experienced help (e.g., they are not WMT members!), and it's honestly the best choice for the situation. FKW is the outlier as they include yeasts that are appropriate to the grape, not the winemaker's experience level.

In the past I used what was included in the kit. Now? I save EC-1118 for later use, and choose a yeast appropriate to the varietal.
 

vinny

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I save EC-1118 for later use, and choose a yeast appropriate to the varietal.
That's what I figured. It's unfortunate that FWK kits are not available in Canada. I would love to try one.

Soooo... How does one determine the yeast appropriate to the varietal. I have a fun kit, so no point in doing anything there, but I think it would be interesting to see what happens with the Pinot Noir and Cabernet Shiraz Montepulciano kits that I just picked up. I really like the kits that I have made, but if there were a complaint, it would be that they taste quite similar. It is not kit taste or anything bad, just a 'brand' flavor. Maybe it can be attributed to the yeast.

Don't get me wrong, I can tell the Merlot is a Merlot, and that it's not the Shiraz, but there's something there. Anyone know what I mean?
 
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Soooo... How does one determine the yeast appropriate to the varietal.
R & R -- Research and Recommendations.

I read yeast selection charts, looking at characteristics -- e.g., if making a red I expect to come in at 14% ABV, I'll want a yeast that is rated for at least 15%, as the rating is based on lab conditions and the yeast I get may be an underachiever. Do I want to enhance varietal character, body, mouth feel, etc? This requires reading numerous charts, as they all have their "hot spots", things the creator of the chart believes are important.

I read vendor sites -- what does the vendor say about their yeast?

And I listen to recommendations -- I purchased a lb of Avante as @CDrew and others recommended it.

As we often tell beginners -- EC-1118 will do the job -- it will produce a good wine. But choosing other yeasts may produce different characteristics we like better. This fall's grapes will be done is 2 batches per varietal -- Avante in one and RC-212 in the other, and then I'll combine them post-fermentation.

I really like the kits that I have made, but if there were a complaint, it would be that they taste quite similar. It is not kit taste or anything bad, just a 'brand' flavor. Maybe it can be attributed to the yeast.
EC-1118 will not produce varietal flavor. Try using RC-212, as one chart says:

Ideal for full bodied red wines. Emphasizes fruit and spice notes, accentuates character in red grapes.

Using RC-212 in the kits you mentioned is a good experiment, to see how the results vary after a year.
 

tttaff

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Winexpert is now including both EC-1118 and RC-212 in some of their higher end kits. Both are to be used. According to Winexpert, EC-1118 is for robust fermentation while RC-212 is for aromatics.
 

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I don't make many kits: I prefer country wines and mead that I make from scratch but I have always assumed that the yeast provided was chosen by the kit makers to work with folk who have never made wine before. Their choices are for all intents and purposes "fail safe" and by fail safe, I simply mean that unless you are taking the fermenter into deep space, the temperature and the oxygen availability will be accommodated by the yeast provided. What might be less available are the nuanced aromatics and flavors that more subtle yeasts highlight or don't mask.
 
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Winexpert is now including both EC-1118 and RC-212 in some of their higher end kits. Both are to be used. According to Winexpert, EC-1118 is for robust fermentation while RC-212 is for aromatics.
IMO this goes along with what @BernardSmith said -- kit vendors playing it safe to ensure that every customer has a successful outcome. I can't fault that thinking -- as a business person I'd want every customer to be successful, and as a winemaker and a mentor, I want everyone I associate with to be successful. I even want the people I don't associate with to be successful.

An idea for an experiment -- make 3 of the same kit: one with RC-212, one with EC-1118, and one with both.

I never thought I would reach a point in my life where changing the type of yeast used in a wine kit would be exciting. I guess I'm officially over the hill.
You are NOT over the hill. You are in the club!
 

vinny

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An idea for an experiment -- make 3 of the same kit: one with RC-212, one with EC-1118, and one with both.
I like all the wines I have made so far. I just ordered 10 RC-212 packets. I think I will make another of the 3 kits I have ready. Then I can compare the yeasts and a year old wine to a 6 month side by side.

It's been a long time since I have gotten a wine going. I am going to have to make up for the gap. I have 3 kits currently and will likely get at least that many more over the next couple of weeks. It will give me lots to play with and experiment.
 

wineview

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In general, I expect folks use the yeast included in the kit. For folks on this forum, it's more likely they are swapping but it may not be a high percentage.

EC-1118 is used by kit vendors because it's as fool proof as yeast gets. EC-1118 will ferment a rock. Kits are designed to work for people who do not have experienced help (e.g., they are not WMT members!), and it's honestly the best choice for the situation. FKW is the outlier as they include yeasts that are appropriate to the grape, not the winemaker's experience level.

In the past I used what was included in the kit. Now? I save EC-1118 for later use, and choose a yeast appropriate to the varietal.
I’m not fond of EC 1118. Strips color and flavor. It does however make a very good Pino Grigio.
 

vinny

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Apparently, this was discussed in the past. I don't remember the post, so I wasn't ready at that time to absorb the different characteristics of yeast, but I do remember making this list into a PDF after someone else shared it. I didn't even remember what it was, but I just checked my wine folder, and voila! A list of yeasts, recommended uses, and characteristics.

Not that I am excitable, but I bet I'm gonna have 10 different yeasts by the end of the week.
 

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vinny

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I have received my RC-212. I was looking around and saw some cautionary tales about nutrient and H2S with this yeast. Any recommendations on how to proceed adding it to my kits. Can I assume the kit has all it needs? Should I add some EC-1118 to the mix? Yeast nutrient? I have a lot of past prime dry bakers yeast, I've kept it to boil and kill it to use as nutrient. I can't see adding it being a detriment, even if not needed.

I don't want to add a package of EC-1118. A tsp maybe as a fail safe, but I would prefer to leave it out if I don't have any serious concerns with RC-212 kicking off. The whole point of this is to compare the yeasts and the flavors they produce/strip.
 
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@vinny, a kit should be balanced for the yeast included with the kit. If you are substituting, it makes sense to take care, especially a yeast with high nutrition needs.

In your situation, I'd add extra nutrient since the included EC-1118 has low nutrient requirements. My thought is to read the package of whatever nutrient you have. Figure out how much you'd use if you were making a grape wine, and divide that number by 3. When the SG hits ~1.065, add a 1/3 dose of nutrient to the wine.

One school of thought is to add 2/3 of a dose at the start and the remaining 1/3 after 48 hours OR SG ~1.065, to ensure the yeast has nutrient to finish the job. I base my advice on that.
 

Sailor323

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The kit should have sufficient nutrient for the initial phase of fermentation. you could add a bit extra if you want but I never do. However, you should add add'l nutrient when fermentation is about 30% underway. I usually add nutrient when the SG reaches 1.050-1.060. Yu
 
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