Starter Yeast, Temp and Sugar question

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Brewing rookie
Jan 13, 2009
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Thank you for taking the time to look at my questions. I'm making my second batch of wine, Peach was my first, and allthough drinkable, did not taste very good. I decided to try and make the simplest recipe in a book i got. Dry Apple Wine, I'm using apple juice without perservatives. I have two questions:

1. I'm trying to create a yeast starter, and the recipe states the following:
In a jar (i used a stearile hard plastic cup with lid) combine wine yeast (used champaigne yeast) 1 teaspoon of yeast nutrient, 1 1/2 cups of apple juice. then covered and shook vigorously. Now this is where i'm confused, the recipe says let starter stand for 1 - 3 hours, until bubbly; then add to must. In 3 hours my starter wasn't doing anything, yeast was just sitting on bottom, it's been 2 days now and it is cloudy, but not really bubbling, but if i give it a little shake, i can hear the gas escaping from the container and it bubbles up quite a bit. the temp is probabley around 65 - 67, it felt a little cold so put the container in a pair of socks to see if warming it up would help, but still no bubbling.

2. My must is sitting downstairs in my basement, the basement temp ranges from i'm guessing 55 - 65, i'm afraid this might be too cold once i add the yeast starter, i wrapped it up pretty good with a large comforter, do you think that will help? Unfourtantley I live in upstate NY and our basement is some what heated (gets heat when upstairs needs it, but no thermastate in basemnet)

3. Last question. In the first batch of wine I had someone help me and we boiled down the sugar into a liquid then added it to the must. In this recipe it said just add the sugar, didn't say anything about boiling it down, am i just expected to know this, or am i alright just adding the sugar to the must the way i did.

So right now i have the must downstairs covered tight, and the yeast starter upstairs awaiting the bubbling process before adding it.

Any tips our ideas would be greatley appreciated. Thanks
I'd start over on the yeast starter, what you said it's doing just doesn't sound normal. Into a clean glass add a packet of yeast. Pour a couple inches of 95-100F water into the glass, do not cover. Within 30min. you should see bubbling action then add to this a couple more inches of the must from your basement. You should see vigorous action within 30-40min and you can then add this to your total must. Follow your recipe from there.

A comforter wrapped around the carboy won't do anything without some internal heat. Wrap an electric blanket around it if possible and attempt to get the temp. up to 75-80F.

To make an invert sugar solution (my preferred method) determine the amount of sugar needed and draw half this amount in water. Heat water to a boil and add the sugar and the juice of a lemon. Allow to simmer for 10min. Cool mixture and add to your must.
Thank you

Thank you very much, i will restart my yeast starter. I don't have an electric blanket, i was thinking about picking up one of those brewing belts, do you know if those work well?

And one last question, i will do the sugar as you suggested in the future, but for this batch i already added the sugar directley into the must, will this still work?

Thanks again
I don't have a brew belt but assume they work, hence the name.

You'll be fine with the sugar you've added as long as it is completely dissolved. An invert sugar solution, sugar, water and the juice of a citrus fruit prepared as described creates a glucose/fructose mixture and is the perfect environment for fermentation.
Thanks again

Thanks again, i appreciate you taking the time to help me out :)

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