Tried starter for the first time - some questions

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Siwash

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Hey folks,

I followed a WMT member's recipe for a starter:

  • In a sanitized wine bottle add 1 cup water at 90-95 F
  • 1 packet yeast (I used 3 teaspoons of Renaissance AvantI)
  • 1/2 tsp nutrient (I used a bit more)
  • 1 tsp sugar (probably 1.5)
  • Swirl to mix, loosely cover (I use foil), and leave in a warm place (e.g., kitchen counter) for 2 to 6 hours (It's been sitting since 2:45 PM yesterday)
  • The yeast should bubble up within 30 minutes (it did then both subsided, one more than the other)
  • Then place the bottle next to your fermenter.

I've followed the above steps with the added alterations. When I went to bed last night there wasn't any visible activity. As stated above, it did "fizz"initially.. a few hours passed and I swirled it again and added a bit more sugar and nutrient as I did initially add more yeast than a standard packet of 5 grams.. 3. teaspoons was probably too much but Renaissance does recommend up to two.

Instructions I got here also stated: The following morning, swirl to mix, then gently pour the starter down the inside of the fermenter so it doesn't spread much. Do not stir for 24 hours.


So should I not have expected much activity? There is a bit of foam in one of the two starters. I see a fair bit of yeast just sitting on the bottom of the wine bottles.

Thoughts? Can I just pitch it now? It is going into 2 pails of must that were refrigerated and now has come up to room temp of 70F.
 

VinesnBines

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If you are accustomed to beer yeast starters, this is very different. In my experience wine starters are underwhelming. If you can see a layer of yeast, the yeast colony is growing

You should be fine to pitch the yeast now. While starters are the best plan, sprinkling dry yeast on the surface works as does hydrating the yeast just before pitching.
 

Bossbaby

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Hey folks,

I followed a WMT member's recipe for a starter:

  • In a sanitized wine bottle add 1 cup water at 90-95 F
  • 1 packet yeast (I used 3 teaspoons of Renaissance AvantI)
  • 1/2 tsp nutrient (I used a bit more)
  • 1 tsp sugar (probably 1.5)
  • Swirl to mix, loosely cover (I use foil), and leave in a warm place (e.g., kitchen counter) for 2 to 6 hours (It's been sitting since 2:45 PM yesterday)
  • The yeast should bubble up within 30 minutes (it did then both subsided, one more than the other)
  • Then place the bottle next to your fermenter.

I've followed the above steps with the added alterations. When I went to bed last night there wasn't any visible activity. As stated above, it did "fizz"initially.. a few hours passed and I swirled it again and added a bit more sugar and nutrient as I did initially add more yeast than a standard packet of 5 grams.. 3. teaspoons was probably too much but Renaissance does recommend up to two.

Instructions I got here also stated: The following morning, swirl to mix, then gently pour the starter down the inside of the fermenter so it doesn't spread much. Do not stir for 24 hours.


So should I not have expected much activity? There is a bit of foam in one of the two starters. I see a fair bit of yeast just sitting on the bottom of the wine bottles.

Thoughts? Can I just pitch it now? It is going into 2 pails of must that were refrigerated and now has come up to room temp of 70F.
Depending on the type of yeast I've noticed not all starters foam up and look alive, most dont do a whole lot maybe some bubbles or you will see particles rising and falling. I would pitch the yeast into the must and see what happens..
 

Flufnagel

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The instructions are geared toward producing a "vitality" starter (perhaps it's a beer term, but it applies), providing an environment that allows the dried yeast to rehydrate and become viable. The time allotted - a few hours, or even just 20 minutes - is not adequate to promote significant cell count growth. Nor does it need to be.

As such, you only need evidence of yeast rehydration, or "bloom," which is obvious when it turns from tiny pellets into a creamy consistency. At that point, you swirl it up and pitch it. Easy peasy. No need to monitor it for precise conditions or dramatically extend the starter duration.
 

Siwash

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Okay thanks guys. I will pitch it now! I will double check the must temp.

Should I stir after I pitch? The above instructions state to just pitch it and leave it alone for the first 24 hours.
 

CDrew

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Here is a method that is miles easier, faster and always produces satisfactory results.



In the case of Avante, it usually foams right up even within minutes. What was your water temperature?
 

Siwash

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93f

It did foam then settled down. I could see the little bits of yeast floating up and down, sort of circulating.

Anyhow it's been pitched. I took an SG reading then added zante raisons.
 

Jim Welch

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Stirring is not necessary I’ve read that it is better not too stir initially after pitching.
The instructions in the first wine kit I made in 2015 states to “sprinkle the year on the must” and coming into this from brewing I didn’t like that but did it after reading advice here and other sites for beginners to follow the instructions exactly.
Once I really got into winemaking in 2019 I quickly took to making big starters with grape juice and then later reconstituted concentrated wine grape juice.
Here’s a pic of one of the starters I made for my first wine I made from crushed CA grapes a couple weeks ago. BC3D18FB-938D-4EB2-8799-EE95C5C8B774.jpeg
 

Jovimaple

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Should I stir after I pitch? The above instructions state to just pitch it and leave it alone for the first 24 hours.

The reasoning behind NOT stirring rafter adding the yeast is that the yeast colony will reproduce faster if the yeast is all grouped together. I now wait a day or two after yeast pitch before stirring.
 

wineview

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Here is a method that is miles easier, faster and always produces satisfactory results.



In the case of Avante, it usually foams right up even within minutes. What was your water temperature?

I’ve seen that video before. It’s excellent and Rick always has some great wine making tips.
 

Siwash

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I've yet to add my oak chips. Only because I rushed out the door today after pitching yeast. Should I add the chips now (and without stirring?) or wait til the batch starts going? I bought a 200 gram oak chip bag. Does 100 grams per 6 gallon pail sound about right ?
 

Siwash

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By the way, there's already a tiny bit of foaming on the surface occurring. Wow, that was fast!
 

Ohio Bob

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I've yet to add my oak chips. Only because I rushed out the door today after pitching yeast. Should I add the chips now (and without stirring?) or wait til the batch starts going? I bought a 200 gram oak chip bag. Does 100 grams per 6 gallon pail sound about right ?
100g seems light only because I usually add that in cube form for 3 months at a time. You’ll probably rack off those chips in a few weeks. But because they are chips maybe equivalent. Keep good notes so you’ll know next time if you were right, whatever you decide.
 

Siwash

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This is for sacrificial purposes. I have more but it's been sitting for a few years in zip lock. Still good? I could add the old stuff too.
 

Siwash

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Happy to report that the fermentation is underway! Added the oak just a while ago.

My guess is that the Sg reading I got pre-zante currant addition will be different now that I added 250grams of it. There's a lot of sugar in those raisins! I'll take a reading tonight to see if it went up.
 

Siwash

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Here is the SG reading taken yesterday evening. I can never understand the the initial SG readings.. I get it once it's past 1.000 but I get confused at this stage. Is this 1.092 or 1.094?Screen Shot 2022-10-10 at 7.29.28 AM.png
 

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