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WineXpert Yeast Selection - big red kits

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tjgaul

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I'm going to be starting 2 kits soon and I am looking for yeast recommendations, I have an Eclipse Lodi OV Zin kit and a Sommelier Select OV Cab Sauv kit on the shelf and I have open fermenters so it's time to pitch some yeast. Both kits are 18L with skin packs and both came with EC-1118. I'm looking for suggestions on substitute yeasts. I'm hoping to make some big, dark, jammy wine with structure and complexity, while retaining the fruit. I will be aging these for about a year before bottling and I am planning to add more oak and tannins along the way.

Any suggestions would be welcome. I have RC-212 and BM 4x4 on hand and was leaning toward one of these unless I get a convincing argument for alternative action.

Thanks!
 

AZMDTed

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I've been using BM 4X4 on just about all of my red kits for the last 18 months. I don't know if I could ever tell the difference between it and a wine with the sure fire EC 1118. I've never had any issues with the 4X4. Maybe others with a better palate can discuss any flavor or structure differences they've noticed.
 

Johnd

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BM 4x4 is my personal go to for big red wines, I believe it to be a very hearty and effective fermenter, especially when you have grapes or skin packs involved. It's a blend of two yeasts, as you can see below, which are designed to compliment each other. My vote is BM 4x4.

BM 4x4

Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon, Grenache, Zinfandel, Nebbiolo, Chardonnay

S. cerevisiae • blend
  • Lalvin BM 4X4® is a blend of BM45 and a complimentary strain chosen by Lallemand to provide all the advantages of BM45 with even greater reliability under difficult conditions.
  • Positive interaction between strains means a more dependable fermentation together with increased aromatic intensity, color intensity and length of finish.
 

sour_grapes

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I favor BM45 on a jammy Zin and other big, jammy reds. I understand that this is a slight risk compared to BM4x4, but I have not had any problems with BM45.
 

rustbucket

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What yeast did the Master Vintner™ Sommelier Select™ Old Vine Cab Sauv come with?

Not being familiar with that kit, I looked it up. It sounds like a great wine kit from the description I read on Northern Brewer's website. I hope you keep us up to date on your progress with that kit.
 

Ajmassa

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Yes! I've been very curious about those Somellier kits too. Figure if Vandergrift approves then they would be legit.
4x4 is a proven winner for big reds. But so is RC 212 so I don't think you can go wrong I've used 212 on big red kits, juice, and grapes with no issue ever
BM45 and BDX and ICVd21 I was looking into before and seemed like reasonable options. But I was told those could require unique nutrient protocols given different variables and backed off.
 

Johnd

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What yeast did the Master Vintner™ Sommelier Select™ Old Vine Cab Sauv come with?

Not being familiar with that kit, I looked it up. It sounds like a great wine kit from the description I read on Northern Brewer's website. I hope you keep us up to date on your progress with that kit.
OP said both kits came with EC 1118.
 

Trick

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I would use BM4x4. I did two reds with it without big problem. Just found it started slowly but once it starts, it goes smoothly. My yeast was bought from amazon and is a little bit old (close to expire date), that might be a reason.
RC212 was originally from Pinot but should also be good to big red I guess.
To be honest, I cannot tell the difference from yeast to yeast. A guy in the winemaking shop told me the same thing. So after several trials, I might soon go back to the monster EC1118. I have a big collection of EC-1118 in my fridge now.
 

jgmann67

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I think (and this is with no facts to back it up) that the Master Vintner Somm kits are just box-engineered RJS EP's. Maybe they monkey with the yeast and oak, but I'd bet the juice and grape packs are the same.

The BM4x4 and RC212 are favorites of mine. If you want to try something different, take a look at the D254.

D254
Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Zinfandel, Sangiovese, Chardonnay

S. cerevisiae • cerevisiae
Isolated by the ICV from a Rhône Valley Syrah fermentation.
It has been known to have an alcohol tolerance of up to 16% (v/v) when the fermentation is aerated and the temperature is maintained below 28°C(82°F).
In red wines, Lalvin ICV D254[emoji768] develops ripe fruit, jam and cedar aromas together with mild spiciness. On the palate it contributes high fore-mouth volume, big mid-palate mouthfeel and intense fruit concentration.
When used for white wines (particularly Chardonnay), sensory descriptors include butterscotch, hazelnut and almond aromas.
 

tjgaul

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Thanks for all the comments. Started both kits on Saturday and pitched BM 4x4 in both. In spite of wrapping each in a jacket and putting them on a heat mat, it appears that it will be a cool fermentation. Musts are holding right at the 70 degree mark. We'll see what happens as the ferment kicks in with more gusto. Good starting SG's 1.100 and 1.098. Gave each kit a shot of yeast nutrient and tannin powder.
 

benchmstr

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I have used red star premier rouge on all of my big reds thus far...nothing to compare it to though

the bench
 

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