YAN testing

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RPh_guy

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YAN = Yeast Assimilable Nitrogen, which includes both ammonia and amino acids (FAN)

Along with pH, TA, and s.g./Brix, YAN is one of the most important aspects of a wine, and one that we can measure.

Does anyone measure it? If yes, can you describe your process?
 

stickman

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I agree with @cmason1957, most home winemakers don't do the YAN analysis, but the Vinmetrica is a reasonable way to go if you decide to move ahead. The "old school" wet method can also be done, but involves handling 37% formaldehyde which is fairly nasty stuff.
 

RPh_guy

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I agree with @cmason1957, most home winemakers don't do the YAN analysis, but the Vinmetrica is a reasonable way to go if you decide to move ahead. The "old school" wet method can also be done, but involves handling 37% formaldehyde which is fairly nasty stuff.
....
The Vinmetrica test uses 37% Formaldehyde.

From my understanding, the only function of the Vinmetrica device in this test (called a "formol titration") is to serve as a pH meter. Any pH meter will work fine for the test.
 
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stickman

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The point is that you can do much more than YAN with the Vinmetrica, all of the reagents needed are available in proper concentrations etc.
 

stickman

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No, so far Brehm has been providing YAN values determined from a certified lab.
 

Ajmassa

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I have been thinking about getting it. But at the same time I never had any issue using standard dosages of nutrients without YAN levels known.

(Nutrient protocol pretty basic. FermK 1g/gal full dose at beginning and another at 1/3 of the way through. Will also add in some DAP or substitute with FermaidO when a situation calls for it.)

Not exactly necessary to test for it. Clearly since most are successfully making wine without it. But would minimize risk.
Vinmetrica does make it very convenient. If you already own & use Vinmetrica for so2 and ph/TA - then adding on YAN testing reagents is only $35.
 

RPh_guy

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The sticky in this subforum says it's impossible to test YAN at home. :(

I'm surprised no one here thinks knowing nitrogen levels is helpful. Are you guys also not testing pH, TA, or density? None of those tests are necessary either.

If you already own & use any pH meter - then adding on YAN testing reagents is only about $25.
 

stickman

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I don't think anyone said the YAN numbers aren't helpful, just that most people at home don't do the testing. I've used YAN data for 19 years, most of the time an average dose of nutrients is acceptable, but there are some musts that are at the extremes and having the YAN value is very helpful. As an example, in 2016 I had a Pinot Noir with a YAN of 369, in 2018 I had a Cab with a YAN of 22, obviously these musts required vastly different nutrient additions.
 

RPh_guy

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So, what's holding people back from testing? The titration is relatively simple, not much different than measuring TA. I suspect you could even use the phenolphthalein indicator instead of a pH meter.

I think research is pretty clear that excessive or inadequate nutrient levels both have adverse effects on the fermentation and resulting wine quality, and as you pointed out the natural levels have extreme variance.
 

cmason1957

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I don't do it, because I don't like have unnecessary chemicals around the house. I do test PH, but generally not TA, if it tastes good TA must be fairly good is my mode of operation. I don't run MLF chromotography either, I use the test strips. I don't think my wine making would improve greatly by knowing the absolute numbers from those tests, so why do them. If the family and I are happy with the results, why bother?
 

Ajmassa

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The sticky in this subforum says it's impossible to test YAN at home. :(

I'm surprised no one here thinks knowing nitrogen levels is helpful. Are you guys also not testing pH, TA, or density? None of those tests are necessary either.

If you already own & use any pH meter - then adding on YAN testing reagents is only about $25.
If you read the reply directly above your response quoted here you’ll see direct contradiction of your deductions. Nobody is denying that it’s helpful. That’s why I’ve been looking into it

Gotta keep in mind how niche this actually is though. You seem unable to understand it from a hobbyists perspective— which ranges wildly. Majority of home winemakers aren’t immersed enough to regularly frequent an online forum let alone perform their own lab work. Hell, my family made wine forever and tested nothing. Literally NOTHING. Many others strictly make wine from kits. Only a very small % are performing routine tests for gravity, ph, TA, So2, malo etc.
YAN is much less popular because it’s less crucial to the process. (That’s not to say it’s not helpful). Plus the reagents needed are not typically marketed. Vast majority of winemaking supply sites don’t even sell it so you would need some sort of chemistry background or actively seek out information to even be aware. All the while successfully making wine without it. And any sites that do sell it are simply re-selling Vinmetrica’s reagents kit- giving the impression only Vinmetrica owners could utilize. Outta sight outta mind kinda thing.

it’s like owning an inert gas system. Does it help eliminate risk? Sure. Do you need it? No. Not at all. Remember, it’s a hobby for most. Not a profession. Some are more immersed than others.

you seem very knowledgeable regarding winemaking chemistry and intent on sharing it. But should not be surprising to know the popularity of testing YAN is low.

**the sticky I see is from 2013. Definitely can be updated to show current home testing available now 7 years later.
 
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RPh_guy

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You seem unable to understand it from a hobbyists perspective
I'm unable to understand that hobbists are happy with bare minimum effort to achieve subjectively adequate results? Wow, I must not be very bright.

FYI Formol titration was invented in 1907. It's not new technology, and not particularly difficult or expensive when compared to the rest of the process. However, I'm not here to convince anyone testing YAN is necessary. It should go without saying that it's up to you to make your decision.

Back on topic, I am looking for any useful insight from any winemakers experienced in YAN testing. I fully realize not everyone is doing it and precious few have any interest in learning techniques to improve their winemaking skills.

Thanks in advance guys!
 

Ajmassa

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I'm unable to understand that hobbists are happy with bare minimum effort to achieve subjectively adequate results? Wow, I must not be very bright.

FYI Formol titration was invented in 1907. It's not new technology, and not particularly difficult or expensive when compared to the rest of the process. However, I'm not here to convince anyone testing YAN is necessary. It should go without saying that it's up to you to make your decision.

Back on topic, I am looking for any useful insight from any winemakers experienced in YAN testing. I fully realize not everyone is doing it and precious few have any interest in learning techniques to improve their winemaking skills.

Thanks in advance guys!
Lol ok. Not sure why you felt the need to be condescending. I explained my thoughts thoroughly and objectively. Explaining to you why some people may think differently than the way you think. But you imply these people are ‘less than’, and disregard the million other variables factoring in.

I would never refer to the decision to not seek out YAN testing as “the bare minimum”. at all. You can feel strongly about YAN testing but no need to degrade all winemakers who choose not to test for it. That’s just plain rude. Rude af.

YAN testing helps when must is at an extreme unhealthy YAN level. If in range then standard nutrient dosages will give a healthy fermentation and YAN level is a non factor
In these cases knowing the YAN would NOT make the wine any better. Just as lacking the YAN level does not make wine any worse.

Not advocating for it or against it mind you. Just explaining why you may find it difficult to get feedback on different testing techniques since it is not commonly tested by home winemakers.
 

CDrew

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Wow, this went nuclear quick.

@RPh_guy you may know your stuff, but you do come across as a bit pedantic. This is just feedback not an attack. Just curious have you personally done any of this testing? Or is this a theoretical discussion? I'm ok with either. I do have a background (shockingly distant now) in analytical chemistry, so I hear where you're coming from.

Me personally, I do think that in the end, I will be doing YAN testing, but, in 4 years I've gotten away without. I am a huge believer in adequate yeast nutrition. So, I do think it's important. It's just that standard supplementation works so well and basically every time, that YAN testing goes into the background. My guess, is, that kit's are already fed with YAN, so no YAN testing needed for any kit wine making. For grape wine making, though, it's in play. Especially with central valley grapes (what the East Coast guys get) grown for yield.

Let's start over on this topic, because it is a good one. @Ajmassa is a good dude and you should lighten up a bit. Just sayin'.

And BTW there is a lot of info in the "stickies" that is wrong/outdated/silly in retrospect.

So don't go away, just mellow out a bit. Chemistry is good and mostly makes life better. If you have special knowledge here, welcome to Wine Making Talk!
 
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KCCam

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Wow, this went nuclear quick.

@RPh_guy you may know your stuff, but you do come across as a bit pedantic. This is just feedback not an attack. Just curious have you personally done any of this testing? Or is this a theoretical discussion? I'm ok with either. I do have a background (shockingly distant now) in analytical chemistry, so I hear where you're coming from.

Me personally, I do think that in the end, I will be doing YAN testing, but, in 4 years I've gotten away without. I am a huge believer in adequate yeast nutrition. So, I do think it's important. It's just that standard supplementation works so well and basically every time, that YAN testing goes into the background. My guess, is, that kit's are already fed with YAN, so no YAN testing needed for kit any wine making. For grape wine making, though, it's in play. Especially with central valley grapes (what the East Coast guys get) grown for yield.

Let's start over on this topic, because it is a good one. @Ajmassa is a good dude and you should lighten up a bit. Just sayin'.

And BTW there is a lot of info in the "stickies" that is wrong/outdated/silly in retrospect.

So don't go away, just mellow out a bit. Chemistry is good and mostly makes life better. If you have special knowledge here, welcome to Wine Making Talk!
Here, here! What @CDrew said! 👍 All of it.
 

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