RC-212 Yeast Substitution In Kits.

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vinny

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I now have 4 reds that I am working towards putting in primary over the next couple of weeks. 2 are premium Vineco kits, Passport and signature series, the other 2 are WinExpert classic kits. I have decided to add nutrient and pay more attention than I would using kit yeast, but I am wondering if I should use the same yeast in all 4 kits.

The main reason I am doing it is because I find all my kits have a 'brand' taste. Not a bad thing, They are all very good. They all just have similar mouth feel, balance, and flavor profile. I want to see what the yeast will do to bring out the flavours of the different varietals. If I do all 4 with RC-212 am I doing the same thing as if I were to use EC-1118 in all? Or is RC-212 going to enhance the distinct varietal flavors enough that it is a good choice for all 4.

Long story short. I am trying to make 4 distinctly different wines. Is that better achieved with 4 different yeasts?
 
What are the varietals you're making? If you're making 4 Merlot, they're going to have that in common (just pointing out the obvious). Knowing what you're making helps make the feedback less generic.

Look at vendor docs regarding EC-1118 and RC-212, and read a few yeast selection charts. This can offer a lot of helpful insight, beyond the opinions you will receive.

EC-1118 is a workhorse -- it will ferment a rock if given the chance. Kit vendors use it 'cuz it's as close to foolproof as a yeast can get. The trade-off is that it doesn't do much (if anything) to enhance the wine. It produces a good result consistently, but doesn't necessarily produce a great result.

OTOH, RC-212 is more temperamental, but emphasizes what's already in the grape. I found this blurb in several charts (I'm guessing one copied from the other):

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

This description is a solid reason why I've used it. While some of that will be general red grape character, I expect you'll experience the highlights of each grape. Regardless.

Keep in mind that you're making kits, where the concentrate have undergone processing. This may limit the varietal character it's possible to get, although IMO you'll get more character than if you used EC-1118.
 
Since you are planning already to change yeast, make a big change. I might go look at the morewinemaking yeast pairing guide and consider strongly using a compatible yeast for each. What have you got to lose. I find most kits are very similar, even with yeast changes, but that's just my experience.
 
Long story short. I am trying to make 4 distinctly different wines. Is that better achieved with 4 different yeasts?
I would say yes. I’ve started my last 10 juice buckets, with each varietal using 2 different yeasts. Once the SG gets to 1.020, I blend them together and start MLF. At this stage they are very young, but it seems like I get different flavors at this early point.

For the varietal that is now in the bottle, In my opinion, the blend was better than either of the two yeast separately.

Another option to get rid of the kit taste might be to blend in a few bottles of store bought. Just an idea.
 
I find most kits are very similar, even with yeast changes, but that's just my experience.
And if that is all that I find out with this experiment then so be it. I'm enjoying them all, I just want to keep questioning, changing and learning. If I can't get something interesting and distinct, well, then it's juice bucket time. I just didn't want to jump on that with as busy as I was this fall. I am limited on yeasts I can get locally. The LHBS had KV1 and 1118, so I ordered RC-212.

Yes, I remember reading that. But I still think I would go whole big.
I asked because it crossed my mind. I appreciate the input. If I don't do it now, I will later.
 
What are the varietals you're making? If you're making 4 Merlot, they're going to have that in common (just pointing out the obvious). Knowing what you're making helps make the feedback less generic.

Look at vendor docs regarding EC-1118 and RC-212, and read a few yeast selection charts. This can offer a lot of helpful insight, beyond the opinions you will receive.

EC-1118 is a workhorse -- it will ferment a rock if given the chance. Kit vendors use it 'cuz it's as close to foolproof as a yeast can get. The trade-off is that it doesn't do much (if anything) to enhance the wine. It produces a good result consistently, but doesn't necessarily produce a great result.

OTOH, RC-212 is more temperamental, but emphasizes what's already in the grape. I found this blurb in several charts (I'm guessing one copied from the other):

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

This description is a solid reason why I've used it. While some of that will be general red grape character, I expect you'll experience the highlights of each grape. Regardless.

Keep in mind that you're making kits, where the concentrate have undergone processing. This may limit the varietal character it's possible to get, although IMO you'll get more character than if you used EC-1118.
I have a Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Malbec, and a Cabernet Shiraz Montepulciano blend.

I have some charts which is why I picked RC-212 first due to a similar caption. This is my pre juice bucket experiment, I think I can get grapes through the LHBS as well, but I like to plod along and note small changes before changing up the entire process.

I am limited to Amazon. I will check the charts I have and see what else might be interesting to try that is available, but please speak up if you have a note based on the varietals.
 
Another option to get rid of the kit taste might be to blend in a few bottles of store bought. Just an idea.
I don't find they have kit taste, unless I just can't identify it. I just find they are all similar in makeup. Like choosing between 6 burgers on the same menu, same patty, same sauces, and buns. They are distinctly different, but they have that house flavour..?

I blend them together and start MLF.
Maybe MLF is something to consider? I know it is malolactic fermentation, and I believe it converts malic acid to lactic creating a more buttery, creamy sense? I don't want to blend my kits as I am looking to enhance the varietal, but MLF is another side by side comparison I can weigh.

Can it be done with stabilized kits. What is required to kick off MLF vs your standard transfer to carboy.
 
I have some charts which is why I picked RC-212 first due to a similar caption.
You have a couple of options. One is the use the yeast you have, and the experiment is how the 4 varietals are different using a yeast designed for reds. This is what I'd do, as you have yeast in hand. While I also like Craig's idea of using different yeasts, I'd buy several of the same kit and use different yeasts, so you are comparing apples-to-apples.

Maybe MLF is something to consider?
Not for kits. Kits supposedly have the acid balanced, and converting malic to the milder lactic acid will unbalance a kit. Additionally, MLF only works if you have malic acid in the wine, as if there isn't, there's nothing to convert.
 
Not for kits. Kits supposedly have the acid balanced, and converting malic to the milder lactic acid will unbalance a kit. Additionally, MLF only works if you have malic acid in the wine, as if there isn't, there's nothing to convert.
Well. If there was a stomp your foot pouty emoji.. That would be my choice!

You have a couple of options. One is the use the yeast you have, and the experiment is how the 4 varietals are different using a yeast designed for reds. This is what I'd do, as you have yeast in hand. While I also like Craig's idea of using different yeasts, I'd buy several of the same kit and use different yeasts, so you are comparing apples-to-apples.
The classic kits are not a bad price to double up on. I'm actually surprised how good they are in comparison to the higher end kits given more time. I don't have anything to add to primary that I used EC-1118 in, but I'm not too worried about that comparison. Maybe a duplicate kit and another yeast just to entertain all of my curiosities?

I feel so alive. 😂
 
Well. If there was a stomp your foot pouty emoji.. That would be my choice!
Keep looking, I'm sure someone on Facebook has one! :p

Maybe a duplicate kit and another yeast just to entertain all of my curiosities?
Consider doing 3 kits -- EC-1118, RC-212, and a third one for contrast. It would be interesting to see a direct comparison between EC-1118 and other red wine yeasts.
 
Consider doing 3 kits -- EC-1118, RC-212, and a third one for contrast. It would be interesting to see a direct comparison between EC-1118 and other red wine yeasts.
It's definitely an option, but I feel like I have a base line having done 4 kits with EC-1118. If there is a substantial difference in flavours between any kits with different red yeasts I think I will have my answer. If it still seems to have that 'brand' flavor then I know it is time to start sending Matteo messages weekly to see how he is making out with getting FWK kits to us eager Canadians.
 
It's definitely an option, but I feel like I have a base line having done 4 kits with EC-1118. If there is a substantial difference in flavours between any kits with different red yeasts I think I will have my answer. If it still seems to have that 'brand' flavor then I know it is time to start sending Matteo messages weekly to see how he is making out with getting FWK kits to us eager Canadians.

I think you will find the second thing to be true. It is more the basic building block (the juice itself) that brings the final tastes, than the yeast. Certainly there is variations caused by the yeast, but they are minor compared to the impact of the biggest element, the juice. And I could be day drinking when I think this also, so take it for what it's worth.
 
We know what you are planning to make but what have you made that has that "brand taste"?
 
We know what you are planning to make but what have you made that has that "brand taste"?
Merlot, Shiraz, Diablo Rojo, and a mystic blend -Merlot, Cab Sauv, and Syrah.

Just to be clear. I am not complaining, they are good. I am just trying to make wine that is as good as I can make it. Having noted posts about EC-1118 stripping flavours, I am just trying to identify ways to improve.
 
Having noted posts about EC-1118 stripping flavours, I am just trying to identify ways to improve.
IMO EC-1118 doesn't strip flavor, it just doesn't add to it.

Amending my advice, buy 2 of something you've already made, as you have already made an EC-1118 version.

I'm wishing I had reserved 1.5 liters of each of my batches, as I used RC-212 and Avante for each varietal, and blended post-fermentation. It would have been nice to compare the 3 versions.
 
I’m by no means an expert in wine making. Given the varietals you list I would personally change out the yeast.
With the Pino Noir I would use RC212, with Sangiovese I would use BM4x4, with Malbec D254, and with your blend it’s up in the air possibly the RC212.
 
I’m by no means an expert in wine making. Given the varietals you list I would personally change out the yeast.
With the Pino Noir I would use RC212, with Sangiovese I would use BM4x4, with Malbec D254, and with your blend it’s up in the air possibly the RC212.
It looks like I'm hitting up a LHBS next time I am in the city. Anywhere I've looked either doesn't have any stock, or doesn't have an online store. Amazon has none to offer, either.
 
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