Top fementing yeast VS bottom VS femetation speed

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Amoun

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Hello everyone!
New to the forum and very new to wine making, loving it so far.
I have gotten started with kits for wine, and real honey for meads. Liking the results so far and I have started doing a little bit of experimentation to see what I like, what I don't like and how yeast behaves.

Have an issue/question that I was not able to find on the forum, or online.

I have tried an experiment where I pitched a top fermenting yeast into a white wine. Before when I used bottom, it was a very straight forward process, nothing complicated. Now that I have tried top fermenting I have had an interesting experience....I have let the wine ferment for about 10 days, and at this point I would do secondary fermentation with gravity being about .0994 with very low airlock activity...... but this time it was sitting about 1.018 and was still very sweet......that said, fermentation was very active to the point where it would spill out of the airlock for a better part of 3 days of nonstop action.

My questions are :
- I am thinking about pitching in bottom fermenting yeast (as I am more familiar with it, I guess) to give a boost to the fermentation and try and bring down the gravity, pushing the wine into the dry territory. I have read that mixing yeast is technically not bad, but it makes me wonder what could have caused this type of active yet low yielding fermentation?
- Should I simply leave the wine to ferment longer, even-though the activity has slowed way down? (I get a bubble every maybe 10 seconds, making 25L / approx 6.5 Gallons) Is this typical of top fermenting yeast?
- Perhaps there are some variables I have not considered?
- Due to it being top fermenting yeast, could it simply have pushed itself out of the fermenting vessel?

Super, super curious and appreciate any advice and criticism!

Thank you!
P.S. Thank you to sour_grapes for help with hydrometer reading

Edit: pardon the typo in the title
 
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sour_grapes

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Hello everyone!
New to the forum and very new to wine making, loving it so far.
I have gotten started with kits for wine, and real honey for meads. Liking the results so far and I have started doing a little bit of experimentation to see what I like, what I don't like and how yeast behaves.

Have an issue/question that I was not able to find on the forum, or online.

I have tried an experiment where I pitched a top fermenting yeast into a white wine. Before when I used bottom, it was a very straight forward process, nothing complicated. Now that I have tried top fermenting I have had an interesting experience....I have let the wine ferment for about 10 days, and at this point I would do secondary fermentation with gravity being in .90s with very low airlock activity...... but this time it was sitting well above 1.1, approaching 1.2 and was still very sweet......that said, fermentation was very active to the point where it would spill out of the airlock for a better part of 3 days of nonstop action.

My questions are :
- I am thinking about pitching in bottom fermenting yeast (as I am more familiar with it, I guess) to give a boost to the fermentation and try and bring down the gravity, pushing the wine into the dry territory. I have read that mixing yeast is technically not bad, but it makes me wonder what could have caused this type of active yet low yielding fermentation?
- Should I simply leave the wine to ferment longer, even-though the activity has slowed way down? (I get a bubble every maybe 10 seconds, making 25L / approx 6.5 Gallons) Is this typical of top fermenting yeast?
- Perhaps there are some variables I have not considered?
- Due to it being top fermenting yeast, could it simply have pushed itself out of the fermenting vessel?

Super, super curious and appreciate any advice and criticism!

Thank you!


Edit: pardon the typo in the title
Welcome to WMT!

Can you tell us what yeast strains in particular you are using? Are they strains designed for beer?

Also, I do not understand your numbers for your gravity: "gravity being in .90s with very low airlock activity...... but this time it was sitting well above 1.1, approaching 1.2 and was still very sweet..." What units are you using? Are those Brix numbers?
 

Chuck E

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Hello everyone!
Have an issue/question that I was not able to find on the forum, or online.
I always stir my white wine fermentations, so I am not following your concept of "top & bottom ferments."
 

Amoun

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Thank you Paul and thank you for your reply!

I was using a typical EC 1118 yeast for red (which fermented nicely) and a Red Star Premier Rouge Dry Wine Yeast for the white (ok I will admit it was supposed to be the other way around but I mixed them up and decided to roll with it for the experiment lol)

As for gravity, sorry about that, will clarify:

Red wine ended up in the 90s for gravity, which is what I expected.

The wine that ended up in the higher Specific Gravity was the white, that had red wine yeast added to it and was sitting closer to 1.200. Not sure how to describe those numbers as I was using Specific Gravity indicator using a hydrometer.
 

sour_grapes

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For the specific gravity (SG), it is always best to report a number to three decimal places, like 1.110, or 0.996. My hydrometer does not go up as high as 1.200 (which is VERY high), and I am not yet sure what "in the 90s" means. I assume you mean that it was 0.99x, where x is some number?

Take a look at this to make sure you and I are on the same page:
 

Amoun

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Well this is embarrassing and thank you very much for this.
I correct myself (and will edit the original post)
My red (which fermented well) is approximately 0.994
While the white would be about 1.018
 

sour_grapes

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Okay, great! So are you saying that the white wine fermentation seems to have stalled at about 1.018?

Now, let's talk about your yeast. I may be unaware of some things; can you tell me why you refer to Red Star Premier Rouge (nee, Pasteur Red) as "top fermenting" and EC-1118 as "bottom fermenting"? AFAIK, both EC-1118 and Premier Rouge are regular S. cervisae yeasts, (same species as each other), and are both "top fermenting" (in beer-making terms).
 

VinesnBines

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Our original poster may be slightly confused by the recommended fermentation temperature of white wines vs red wines. Fermenting whites at a cooler temperature may be confused with lager brewing - cool fermentation and bottom fermenting yeast. Just a hunch.
 

Amoun

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Okay, great! So are you saying that the white wine fermentation seems to have stalled at about 1.018?

Now, let's talk about your yeast. I may be unaware of some things; can you tell me why you refer to Red Star Premier Rouge (nee, Pasteur Red) as "top fermenting" and EC-1118 as "bottom fermenting"? AFAIK, both EC-1118 and Premier Rouge are regular S. cervisae yeasts, (same species as each other), and are both "top fermenting" (in beer-making terms).
I do apologize if I seem a little all over the place and I do sincerely appreciate the help!!!

I honestly do not know if this would qualify as stalled, per-say, as there is some activity as I get about 1 bubble every 5-6 seconds in a 23L fermenting vessel but this is after a lot of activity to the point of foaming just spilling out of the airlock (never had that happen before) so I did not expect the gravity to be in those numbers based strictly on my previous (albeit very limited) experience.

As for the yeast:
I have only arrived to that conclusion based on things I have read here and there (primarily that white wines would have yeast doing work "at the bottom" of fermenting vessel, while reds would be doing work "at the tom" of the vessel. Also the observation itself where white wine (which had red wine yeast) added was going all sorts of crazy and foaming like there is no tomorrow, while the red wine (which had white wine yeast) has activity taking place at the bottom, with very little foaming in comparison, producing a lot of froth.
Hence my conclusion.

Our original poster may be slightly confused by the recommended fermentation temperature of white wines vs red wines. Fermenting whites at a cooler temperature may be confused with lager brewing - cool fermentation and bottom fermenting yeast. Just a hunch.
TBH you may be right...I think I need to do a lot more reading in regards to this as I may have misunderstood the terms of top vs bottom fermentation
I have gotten answers from sources such as:

 

VinesnBines

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Amoun, it appears you are reading articles on brewing beer which is a very different process than making wine (I do both). While both processes share some similar techniques and terminology, the process and end results are very different. I suggest when researching in the internet don't use the term "brew" or "brewing" in your search because you end up on the beer info sites.

As Sour_Grapes pointed out, all wine yeast is S. cervisae so it acts similar. I would quit worrying about top or bottom fermentation. Keep checking your SG and plug on. Some wines will have very active fermentation and others very low foaming or no apparent activity. Your hydrometer is the only true indicator of progress.
 

winemaker81

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@Amoun, welcome to WMT!

You started out the best way -- doing research. Unfortunately, if you don't know the right words to search on, you get the wrong sites. This is what happened to you -- but keep in mind your plan was the best plan. And it brought you here, so it worked!

The MoreWine! site has free manuals that will help you. The manuals won't answer all your questions, and if anything isn't clear, ask questions here.


Regarding the yeast varieties you used -- all wine yeast is good for all types of wines. Much better than beer yeast, and FAR better than baking yeast. You will get a good result if you maintain good hygiene and avoid too much head space.

That said, each variety of wine yeast is cultivated for specific traits -- color extraction, aroma preservation, flocculation (dead yeast clumps on bottom of fermenter), etc. Red wine yeast is cultivated for red grape, white wine yeast for white juice, EC-1118 is a workhorse that will ferment a rock if given the opportunity, etc. So we tend to choose yeast that is intended for the fruit, so for your next batches you'll have a better idea of what to use.

One last tip -- make sure all your additives are clearly labeled. There are many wine additives that are a white powder, and it's easy to put the wrong one in the wine if things aren't labeled well.
 

Amoun

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@VinesnBines
@winemaker81

Thank you both :)

I guess I read way too much into it...which seems to be my general problem (if you give me a "whats 1 apple plus 1 apple" problem, i will create layers like "ok but are we measuring color here? weight?" issue)

Ok so I guess it was just fermentation itself. I will make sure to keep reading, exploring and experimenting :)

Definitely an extremely exciting hobby, and skill
 

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