Yeast Starter?

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BillK

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Does anybody Make a Yeast Starter a couple of days before starting your wine? In Beer making starters are a common practice.
If you make a starter what are you using to make the starter and how much?
100% pure grape juice from the store or use a small amount from a kit?

Does your fermentation go much faster then and are you able to rack to the secondary quicker?

Thank you for any info.
 

Malkore

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Starters are common in beer making when using liquid yeasts, to get a good cell count.
I think most wine makers use the dry yeasts, which have significantly more yeast per 10g sachet than a vial or smack pack of beer yeast.

Speeding up wine making/primary fermentation isn't exactly a good thing IMO.
 

arcticsid

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I am sold on making a starter!! as opposed to just sprinklig it on top. 24 hours isn't really necessary but it cant hurt. When dealing with a tough "must" like cranberry, lemon, or any of the citrus based wines. Make a starter. Use about a cup of water and put a little sugar in it. Put your yeast in it and wait 30 mins or so. Than after an hour or so put about a half cup of your must in it and let it grow. Then, do this again, a few times. You will be starting with a strong yeast colony ready to do its "business". No need to stir.

It won't make it go faster, I don't think, but it is the way to go. Like was just said a fast fermentation really isn't good, but not bad! Figure that one out.

I would recommend using a starter on every batch, no matter what type of yeast you use.

Troy
 

Manimal

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I'm not so convinced about the benefits of making a starter 24hrs. or more in advance unless you're trying to acclimate the yeast to a difficult fermentation environment, such as bottle fermentation in sparkling wine. However, I'm a strong believer in the benefits of properly rehydrating the yeast prior to inoculation. I always rehydrate in ten times the weight of water (5g yeast to 50 ml water) at 40 degrees C. When I have it, I use a rehydration nutrient, such as GO-FERM in the rehydration medium. After about 15 minutes, give it a stir and add 30ml of must. Wait 20 minutes, and provided the rehydration medium is within 10 degrees C. of the must, you can go ahead and inoculate. This procedure ensures that the count of viable yeast cells is high and minimizes the risks of a stuck or sluggish fermentation.
 

arcticsid

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I agree with Manimal although i couldn't say it ten times fast! This whole idea of sprinkling the yeast on top of your must has always intrigued me. Just don't understand why you would do it that way. Make a strater, you will never go wrong!

Troy
 

smurfe

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Nothing wrong at all with a starter. Most people re-hydrate or as I call Proof their yeast and call it a starter which it isn't really. I recommend at least proofing the yeast. Depends on the wine. I always make a full blown starter for blueberry wines. I will use orange juice a lot for that. Get it built up and then decant the yeast off the juice.
 

phermenter

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If you're doing a kit, I really think it makes sense to just sprinkle the packet and be done with it. It's what most (if not all) the kitmakers recommend in their instructions and it seems to work just fine. Fermentation begins within hours.

That's one of the benefits of winemaking over brewing: lazy man's yeast. If you're going from fresh grapes or something I will leave that to others since I've only done kits.

Also, do yourself a favor and don't be in a hurry to rack to secondary or do anything else. Give all the steps AT LEAST the amount of time in the directions. Often more time is better.

Jim
 

Racer

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I agree with Manimal although i couldn't say it ten times fast! This whole idea of sprinkling the yeast on top of your must has always intrigued me. Just don't understand why you would do it that way. Make a strater, you will never go wrong!

Troy
Well Troy one reason to just sprinkle the yeast on top is that it is hard to screw that up. When making kits who wants to be the maker that has to tell you to go out and buy a thermometer to properly hit the temperature range the yeast maker wants you to be in to start with. Adding more steps might also turn some folks off to the whole deal of making wine(can you tell I've met some lazy people in my time).

All that said I do believe in making sure the little yeastie boys are going strong before they get in the pool too. Starters do rule :r
 

arcticsid

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Agree there Racer! and to paraphrase what Pherment just said. I think alot of trouble beginers, and those with some experince find is impatience. As Tom Would say, "patience, patience, patience", but, if by making a starter we can increase our chances of success than I say why not?
 

BobF

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Does anybody Make a Yeast Starter a couple of days before starting your wine? In Beer making starters are a common practice.
If you make a starter what are you using to make the starter and how much?
100% pure grape juice from the store or use a small amount from a kit?

Does your fermentation go much faster then and are you able to rack to the secondary quicker?

Thank you for any info.
I usually make a starter a few hours before pitching. For example, if I plan to pitch this afternoon, I'll rehydrate in a small amount of water for 15 minutes about 4 hours or so before I plan to pitch. After hydration, I add roughly half a cup of must. A couple of hours later, I add another half cup.

Does it make racking to the secondary faster? Not that I've noticed. It does shorten the time to an active fermentation by a few hours.

Is this always necessary? Not really. OTOH, if you have a difficult must (as someone else pointed out), it's a big help.
 

Tom

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Troy you took the words right out of my mouth ! :i
 

BillK

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Thanks for the info. Think I wil try a starter out. Probably start one the day before. There is a US Elite Shiraz kit that I have been eyeballing so I will try it on that. :h
 

Mud

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I'm pretty sure it's bad policy to add sugar or nutrient to the water before the yeast is rehydrated. Little foggy right now as it's 2:00 am here, but osmotic pressure is an issue with dehydrated cells walls, right? I think best practice is to wait something like a 1/2 hour before any additions.

-home late from the company Christmas party Mud
 

arcticsid

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Tom, I only have knowledge because of people like you who shared their wisdom with me, some things "are no brainers" but true wisdom is something to cherish. I am glad I have some of each to share!!

Thank You, and everyone else in here who share that wisdom freely, it doesn't go unrecognized!


Troy
 

Manimal

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I'm pretty sure it's bad policy to add sugar or nutrient to the water before the yeast is rehydrated. Little foggy right now as it's 2:00 am here, but osmotic pressure is an issue with dehydrated cells walls, right? I think best practice is to wait something like a 1/2 hour before any additions.
The specific recommendations might vary a bit from one manufacturer to the next, but generally the yeast is only supposed to rehydrate for 15 min. before adding must to it or adding it to the fermenter. I generally wait the 15 min. and then add a small amount of must to the rehydration medium (I add 60% of the original volume of water, so in other words, 30ml juice in 50ml water when rehydrating a 5g packet of yeast.)
 

Wade E

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I dont always make a yeast starter when making wine even though I know I should but I do when making beer!
 

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