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Wild yeast - Juice pails

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crcarey

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I have made about 30 batches of wine from 5 gallon juice pails and have never added yeast or inoculated. I have had no issues of stuck or low alcohol fermentations. The issue I have is that my ferment seems to be really slow. To get below 1.000 it takes almost a month. My temperature always around 70 degrees. Think it would speed up if I raised temp to 75 degrees? Wild vs package yeasts? Since I have never had a problem with wild yeast it's hard to change. Thoughts
 

scodoublet

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I almost always use pails, too.
Packaged yeast is stronger, so your fermentation should be stronger, as well.
Also, packaged yeast is bred on purpose for specific things, like red wine, to give you the results/flavors you want.
Wild yeast is a bit of a gamble.

I always toss packaged yeast into the buckets. It's stronger and should overpower the wild yeast.
 

Scooter68

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I have made about 30 batches of wine from 5 gallon juice pails and have never added yeast or inoculated. I have had no issues of stuck or low alcohol fermentations. The issue I have is that my ferment seems to be really slow. To get below 1.000 it takes almost a month. My temperature always around 70 degrees. Think it would speed up if I raised temp to 75 degrees? Wild vs package yeasts? Since I have never had a problem with wild yeast it's hard to change. Thoughts
Think that line from Forrest Gump can be adapted to this - 'Wine making with wild yeast is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.'
Some better than others. That's the reason for the use of k-meta and package yeast - to control the fermentation to be what you want it to be.
 

pete1325

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I agree......store bought yeast is the way to go. Although I don't use any k-meta prior to pitching.....I just let the wild and store bought yeast fight it out. I think store bought wins, but how do you really know for sure?
 

Scooter68

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I agree......store bought yeast is the way to go. Although I don't use any k-meta prior to pitching.....I just let the wild and store bought yeast fight it out. I think store bought wins, but how do you really know for sure?
That would be why you use k-meta - to knock out wild yeast or at least weaken it so that the yeast you add is the dominant one.
 

stickman

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Sulfite at normal doses does not kill everything in the pail. Even when allowing the wild yeast to conduct fermentation, sulfite should be added at 35 to 50ppm. The sulfite suppresses certain bacteria and yeasts allowing the stronger more resistant yeast to prevail. On the other hand, the sulfite is not needed if you add the appropriate amount of commercial yeast early in the process.
 

Ajmassa

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That would be why you use k-meta - to knock out wild yeast or at least weaken it so that the yeast you add is the dominant one.


I have yet to add any sulphite to must. And just pitch yeast. I never thought of it as the two battling it out though, since I am inoculating before any activity is visible. Always thought it was pretty safe to assume 1g/gal of commercial yeast rehydrated with nutrients would dominate any wild.
But even if it was wild yeast that dominated, would that be risky at that point ? Thinking that since the wild yeast was strong enough to win out it would be strong enough for the rest?
 
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Scooter68

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I have yet to add any sulphite to must. And just pitch yeast. I never thought of it as the two battling it out though, since I am inoculating before any activity is visible. Always thought it was pretty safe to assume 1g/gal of commercial yeast rehydrated with nutrients would dominate any wild.
But even if it was wild yeast that dominated, would that be risky at that point ? Thinking that since the wild yeast was strong enough to win out it would be strong enough for the rest?
That would depend on the characteristics of that wild yeast. If your sugar level exceeded the ability of the wild yeast to convert it, you could end up with an overly sweet/incompletely fermented wine. Your own yeast might not be able to take over at that point. Commercially produced yeasts exist to provide for repeatable and reliable fermentation. Even with commercial yeasts one needs to know what that particular yeast needs in terms of temperatures, nutrients as well as the pH level and ABV levels it can tolerate. A wild yeast may or may not flourish and produce a good wine in some circumstances - you just don't know what that wild yeast can do or what it needs. Many experienced folks on this board have recommended caution when doing a ferment with wild yeast.
 
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Ajmassa

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That would depend on the characteristics of that wild yeast. If your sugar level exceeded the ability of the wild yeast to convert it, you could end up with an overly sweet/incompletely fermented wine. Your own yeast might not be able to take over at that point. Commercially produced yeasts exist to provide for repeatable and reliable fermentation. Even with commercial yeasts one needs to know what that particular yeast needs in terms of temperatures, nutrients as well as the pH level and ABV levels it can tolerate. A wild yeast may or may not flourish and produce a good wine in some circumstances - you just don't know what that wild yeast can do or what it needs. Many experienced folks on this board have recommended caution when doing a ferment with wild yeast.


I understand and agree 100% - I notice now that my question doesn't make sense. Because as Stickman pointed out- pitching proper commercial yeast early enough in the process even without so2 would be adequate enough dominate any natural yeast. So the question 'would wild dominating commercial that was pitched early therefore be strong enough?' isn't a realistic thought since it's not likely to ever happen.
A juice already showing signs of activity is a whole other ballgame. Learned that one the hard way.
 

Scooter68

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Not having delved into purchasing grape juice buckets I don't know a lot of the details BUT from reading a variety of threads and posts on this forum, it seems that some sellers of the juice innoculate their juice with a yeast as they package it. Therefore as the juice warms up that yeast becomes active and the fermentation starts with our without any action other than letting warm up.
So I guess a lot depends on your source and what they do or do not do in preparing and packaging your grape juice. The only issue I see with a pre-innoculated juice is that you have no say in that yeast ( I guess) and any customization you want to do will not involve a different yeast unless you sock the juice with enough k-meta to weaken the existing yeast and then add your own - still a gamble if that existing yeast is a strong or hardy yeast variety.
 
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