Step Feeding Protocol

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drainsurgeon

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I've finally got my chocolate raspberry port started and the goal is to run the ABV up as high as possible, until the yeast croaks. There is not that much clear information out there about step feeding that I can find. One poster here stated that he waits until the SG gets down to 1.0 and then adds 1/2 lb of sugar per gallon of must and keeps doing that until the yeast dies of alcohol poisoning.

Questions are: At what SG do you feed at and how much?
: Is there a SG # that you shoot for when driving it back up?
: Is there an easy way to keep track of how much the ABV is?

Just looking for ideas. Fire away!
 

salcoco

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it is important to follow good yeast nutrient practices wine setup feeding. start step feeding at sg=1010 and increase to 1020. monitor the wine asit reduces to 1010 again then add sugar syrup to 1020. continue to do so until sg does not change.
for abv calculation use formula %abv=(begining sg-final sg) 131 do so at each step and then add the abv's together. for example
first ferment step with beging sg=1090 and first step addition at sg=1010 the first calculation is (1090-1010)131=10.48%
next step feed
(1020-1010)131=1.31%
next step feed
(1.020-1.010)131=1.31% if stopped her then tonal abv would be 10.48+ 1.31 + 1.31 =13.1

I did this with EC1118 and got 20% abv. I used sugar syrup witch is two cup sugar to one cup water.

good luck
 
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drainsurgeon

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it is important to follow good yeast nutrient practices wine setup feeding. start step feeding at sg=1010 and increase to 1020. monitor the wine asit reduces to 1010 again then add sugar syrup to 1020. continue to do so until sg does not change.
for abv calculation use formula %abv=(begining sg-final sg) 131 do so at each step and then add the abv's together. for example
first ferment step with beging sg=1090 and first step addition at sg=1010 the first calculation is (1090-1010)131=10.48%
next step feed
(1020-1010)131=1.31%
next step feed
(1.020-1.010)131=1.31% if stopped her then tonal abv would be 10.48+ 1.31 + 1.31 =13.1

I did this with EC1118 and got 20% abv. I used sugar syrup witch is two cup sugar to one cup water.

good luck
Thanks, I'll keep the yoyo going between 1.01 and 1.02. I originally thought that adding up each step was the way to figure out total ABV also. When I suggested this on a post last fall, I was corrected and told that you also have to account for additional volume created by adding more sugar. Another poster gave a pretty complicated formula to figure this out and was hoping there might be something simpler. Like adding up like you suggested, minus 12% of additional alcohol made, or something like that. I'll see if I can find the post.
 

Arne

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Thanks, I'll keep the yoyo going between 1.01 and 1.02. I originally thought that adding up each step was the way to figure out total ABV also. When I suggested this on a post last fall, I was corrected and told that you also have to account for additional volume created by adding more sugar. Another poster gave a pretty complicated formula to figure this out and was hoping there might be something simpler. Like adding up like you suggested, minus 12% of additional alcohol made, or something like that. I'll see if I can find the post.
Just figure it with what you put into it. The small volume you add won't make much difference in the end results. If it bothers you having to know the exact abv, you might have to do all the calculations, most folks I know are just going to say "That stuff has a big kick." Just sayin it sounds like a bunch of work for very little results. Drink hearty, stay safe. Arne. Btw, what I tell most folks "My wines are 11 to 13% abv. I added enough sugar to get them up there and that is about what they are." Not very scientific, but that is the way I am. Arne.
 
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sour_grapes

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Also, if you can lay your hands on dextrose (AKA glucose), that is better for step feeding. (The yeast have an easier time fermenting it, so you can push the ABV a bit higher that way). Should be available at your LHBS.
 

salcoco

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your suggestion with regard to considering volume is correct. however the amount of volume difference compared to overall volume is insignificant for the calculation as far as I am concerned. who cares if the abv is 18% or 19% the objective is to get it to the yeast limit. Even the government allows a deviation of 1.5% on abv for wine labeling.
 

drainsurgeon

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All good ideas guys, thanks very much. I'm at 1.078 tonight so I'm ok for a couple of days anyway. It's got the biggest foam cap I've ever seen! I had to pull a gallon out tonight after stirring as it was foaming over the top of my 7 1/2 gallon primary. I've never seen ec 1118 do that before. I think it likes the Dutch Cocoa powder that's in there.
 

ljewels4u

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Also, if you can lay your hands on dextrose (AKA glucose), that is better for step feeding. (The yeast have an easier time fermenting it, so you can push the ABV a bit higher that way). Should be available at your LHBS.
so to get the glucose - couldn't you make "invert sugar"? (2c:1c:2t - sugar:water:lemonjuice)?
 

sour_grapes

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so to get the glucose - couldn't you make "invert sugar"? (2c:1c:2t - sugar:water:lemonjuice)?
Well, that would leave you with half glucose, and half of the other part of the sucrose disaccharide, namely, fructose. It is that sugar that the yeasties find a little harder to ferment, and that is why I was suggesting pure glucose/dextrose.
 

drainsurgeon

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Well I'm not sure about the glucose part, but the port turned out fantastic! The wine ended up at almost 19% after step feeding and with the addition of brandy I fortified it up to 22%. It was good 3 years ago but aging has really smoothed it out and the bottle I opened this winter was really something. I still have a case at home and will enjoy this batch for another year or three....I have to pace myself. Thanks again to all of you here and Jack Keller for the recipe.
 

Al Hatfield

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Should I add yeast nutrients when step feeding? I mean after the initial. Should I add more nutrient when I add more sugar?
 

salcoco

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one dosage of yeast nutrient should be sufficient
 

dmw_chef

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Just make sure you calculate the YAN target based on your expected theoretical OG.

also, be aware that most ABV calcuators can be off by 1-2 points at really high ABVs. The calculator here is reliable up to at least 20% (lab verified): http://meadcalc.freevar.com/
 

Al Hatfield

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New question about the same topic so I figure better to keep it in this thread for others to find easier. If you step feed until the yeast dies do you always end with a FG between 1.010 and 1.020? Is that the proper sweetness for a port? Or should I tap out early if fermentation slows so it goes down to 1.000 or below? It’s my first port attempt.
 

Dmaley

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it is important to follow good yeast nutrient practices wine setup feeding. start step feeding at sg=1010 and increase to 1020. monitor the wine asit reduces to 1010 again then add sugar syrup to 1020. continue to do so until sg does not change.
for abv calculation use formula %abv=(begining sg-final sg) 131 do so at each step and then add the abv's together. for example
first ferment step with beging sg=1090 and first step addition at sg=1010 the first calculation is (1090-1010)131=10.48%
next step feed
(1020-1010)131=1.31%
next step feed
(1.020-1.010)131=1.31% if stopped her then tonal abv would be 10.48+ 1.31 + 1.31 =13.1

I did this with EC1118 and got 20% abv. I used sugar syrup witch is two cup sugar to one cup water.

good luck
Forgive me for high jacking this thread but I have a noob question... I have a stalled ferment of a fruit wine I need some help with. My intent was to step feed up to about 17 - 18%. I started with 1.095 and it feremted down to 1.00. I added 1.5 lb of table sugar (in a 6.5 gallon batch) to push the gravity back up to 1.010. And before I added the sugar I was still seeing signs of slow fermentation. After adding my sugar it did not start back up. Its been about 1.5 days without a single bubble. What do you think is going on? Do you think the yeast just crapped out? Using EC1118, added nutrient at start.
 

Rice_Guy

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Forgive me for high jacking this thread but I have a noob question... I have a stalled ferment of a fruit wine I need some help with. My intent was to step feed up to about 17 - 18%. I started with 1.095 and it feremted down to 1.00. I added 1.5 lb of table sugar (in a 6.5 gallon batch) to push the gravity back up to 1.010. And before I added the sugar I was still seeing signs of slow fermentation. After adding my sugar it did not start back up. Its been about 1.5 days without a single bubble. What do you think is going on? Do you think the yeast just crapped out? Using EC1118, added nutrient at start.
* the hydrometer is a better measure than counting bubbles, has the gravity changed?
* time is a question, as yeast uses the sugar up it enters senescence and the viable population will decrease, the longer the time the more yeast will have died. If I am setting up a plug flow reactor (long pipe) I would design the sugar addition at 1.020 to 1.010 when the population is larger and actively metabolizing sugar.
* my guess is that you will have some active yeast for at least six months and be at risk of a bottle bomb till nine months, but since the population is reduced it will be slow.
* if you really, really want high alcohol a restart procedure with a fresh actively growing starter and mixing air in should be tried.
 

salcoco

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per rice guy check with hydrometer. Is temp in right area ie about 70f or better. stir the fermentation that might help. if none of these help and you still want to continue. make a good yeast starter once foaming well add one cup of must get it foaming and two cups start it foaming add 4 cups continue doubling volume after each fermentation restart.
 

salcoco

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for @Al Hatfield I usually let it go at whatever sg it want to end at. a final sg of 1010 for a port is not bad as some sweetness is desired. another thought is to calculate the abv as the fermentation continues and once at 18-19% reduce the amount of sugar to let it go to 1000.
 

Dmaley

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* the hydrometer is a better measure than counting bubbles, has the gravity changed?
* time is a question, as yeast uses the sugar up it enters senescence and the viable population will decrease, the longer the time the more yeast will have died. If I am setting up a plug flow reactor (long pipe) I would design the sugar addition at 1.020 to 1.010 when the population is larger and actively metabolizing sugar.
* my guess is that you will have some active yeast for at least six months and be at risk of a bottle bomb till nine months, but since the population is reduced it will be slow.
* if you really, really want high alcohol a restart procedure with a fresh actively growing starter and mixing air in should be tried.
* the hydrometer is a better measure than counting bubbles, has the gravity changed?
* time is a question, as yeast uses the sugar up it enters senescence and the viable population will decrease, the longer the time the more yeast will have died. If I am setting up a plug flow reactor (long pipe) I would design the sugar addition at 1.020 to 1.010 when the population is larger and actively metabolizing sugar.
* my guess is that you will have some active yeast for at least six months and be at risk of a bottle bomb till nine months, but since the population is reduced it will be slow.
* if you really, really want high alcohol a restart procedure with a fresh actively growing starter and mixing air in should be tried.
You and salcoco were right on. Thanks for the advice! Rechecked gravity and it was down from 1.010 to 1.002 so it was doing its thing without looking like it. I pushed it back up to 1.010, stirred it in well and it's off again. Thanks, again!
 

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