Skip to comments.What's killing my yeast?
Posted on 01/05/2014 11:32:16 AM PST by Oshkalaboomboom
I'm making some cheap wine. When I say cheap I mean one step above Pruno. Right now I'm just getting down the basics, collecting equipment and experimenting with different concoctions. My first try was apple juice, sugar and bread yeast which actually came out quite well. I have 2 bottles of it sitting in the fridge now waiting until my 5 litre box of Blush runs out before I start drinking it. The main reason I chose apple juice first was for the 128 ounce bottle. Now that it's done I'm using the bottle to make other wines 64 ounces at a time then using the 64 ounce empties for storage.
Which brings me to the problem. I bought 2 bottles of Ocean Spray Cherry Juice Cocktail for 81 cents a bottle and 2 bottles of Kroger Cranberry Strawberry Juice Cocktail for 62 cents a bottle (both brands on closeout and both for the bottles more than what's in them). The Ocean Spray is doing okay but the Kroger seems to be killing the yeast and doing little to no fermenting. I'm trying to figure out what could be the culprit. The main difference between the Ocean Spray and the Kroger is that Kroger uses high fructose corn syrup while the other uses cane or beet sugar. They both have fumaric acid and ascorbic acid and the Kroger actually contains 22% juice compared to 15% for the Ocean Spray. One has about 112 grams of sugar per litre and the Kroger has 140. I've added around a cup of sugar to each, which in theory should bring them up to around 10-12% ABV if they ferment well. Do you think the corn syrup is messing with the yeast? I've put yeast in the Kroger bottle twice and both times it foams up, fizzes for a while then dies out. I'll probably end up pouring it down the drain but I would like to figure out if there is anything I should avoid next time I see juices on sale.
You have a yeast infection.
Use a 5 gallon deep rock water bottle and make a larger batch.
Try cranberry juice to get the process down. Or add ascorbic acid. Lower pH (higher acid) works better for beginners.
Mountainlion is right. Larger quantities are better too.
To be a REAL snob, run it through four times and you can call it "fourth run."
It leaves one "legless," that is, no hangover but one's THIGHS ache. I tried it ONCE...and that was enough.
As already mentioned by jrf, preservatives in packaged juices kill the yeast.
Have you tasted it may already have enough alcohol to kill the yeast. Wine yeasts usually have more alcohol tolerance. more sugar the better if you suspect the juice use less with more water sugar and real fruit
I have 20 gallons made of persimmon wine this year. 12 pounds of sugar per five gallons.Citric and ascorbic acid. Will finish out about 17-18 % alcohol.
A lot of folk use a balloon for wine.
Maybe try sterilizing the juice, if it's old it might already have had a lil hep in the fermentation situation.
You may want to check the pH, if you can. Temperature and pH are the most basic conditions for any fermentation process
Cranberry is a very acidic juice, such that it is always sold “in cocktail.” you could not drink 100% cranberry juice - far too bitter.
Strawberry juice is relatively lower acid.
Same in your mouth - yes, plaque is bad, but its also the pH environment in your mouth that does damage to your teeth....
This would be my number 2, after preservatives in the Kroger brand as number 1.
In short, it is highly likely that the yeast cannot properly eat the high-fructose corn syrup, which is why it's not fermenting nicely.
The Ocean Spray bottle specifically mentions no preservatives, artificial flavors or artificial colors. The Kroger doesn't but I also don't see anything on the label that's significantly different from the Ocean Spray other than corn syrup. They both have "natural flavors" added, which could mean anything but other than that there isn't anything in the Kroger label that hints of added chemicals. That's what's so annoying about it.
I don't really have the room to make or store 5 gallons of wine at a time plus I couldn't drink it fast enough. The reason I started to make my own is because I wanted 1 glass per night before bedtime and the least expensive commercial wine I could find came in a 5 liter box for around $15, so it was around $15/month versus less than $5 if I make it myself. If I have a gallon in the fridge and a gallon being made that should keep me stocked up quite nicely.
It's also possible the yeast realized what I put it in and committed suicide.
Lord have mercy. When I read the headline I thought this was going to a gynecological thread.
The juice has potassioum sorbate in it to stop fermentation in the bottle. They don’t have to include it in the ingredients.
You usually can make a starter with sugar water and some yeast nutrient then add it to the container.
Other than yeast inhibitors, too high an alcohol or no fermentable sugars will stop ferment. Some long chain sugars, or polysaccharides cannot be consumed by yeast.
I make beer and wine.... never have stuck ferments....
That makes sense. From now on I'll avoid any juices with corn syrup added. Now that I have enough nice bottles I'll be going for 100% juice anyway but if I see another amazing closeout I'll look at the ingredient label before I buy.
And yet here you are. ;)
A victim of the death panels.
I brew like you and here’s some advice:
The EC1118 is a great and cheap yeast but it leaves very nasty and loose lees (the stuff at the bottom).
You have to be very careful not to disturb the lees- especially when pouring- and you’ll end up throwing the last 2 cups or more away.
Munton’s ale yeast is only 20 cents more for a packet.
It’s lees are not offensive and are easier to keep out of your glass. I switched to Munton’s for my small batches.
Pour a cup of juice out, add up to a cup of sugar and shake well. The air is good for the yeast. Then add a big half-teaspoon of yeast per gallon.
Put in a cool place where it will be undisturbed and drink after 10 to 14 (or more) days. It just gets stronger, less fizzy and less sweet the longer you wait.
In warm weather I tape the loose caps on the bottles with cheap paper packing tape to keep the bugs out.
Just a question, I have noticed some *very* yeasty grapes lately at the supermarket, on some of the bigger grapes. Would it be worth the effort to grow those naturally-occurring yeast strains?
You could find an excellent new yeast but the odds are against you.
Yeast is so cheap at ‘about’ a buck for 5 gallons’ of wine I would leave the experimenting to the pros.
Maybe a pro will see your post and say more.
Make kool-aid and let it age in the frig for a few weeks.
Likely preservatives in juice that stalls fermentation. I’ve fermented gallons of apple juice but only use that which specifically says “no preservatives”. Works great.
Cranberry juice should go like crazy with a wine, not bread, yeast.
Also make sure your containers are clean and allow no outside air to enter while venting CO2.
My grandma makes wine every spring from the mulberries off her huge tree, which only puts out fruit in the spring. This is her recipe: Put a gallon of fresh mulberries in the blender and puree them. Let the puree sit overnight at room temperature, then skim off the chaff (which will float to the top). Add four cups of regular cane sugar and one eighth teaspoon of plain old baker’s yeast. The quantity of yeast is very important. If you add too little, your wine will rot. If you add too much, your wine will turn to vinegar. I guess it’s a trial-and-error thing. And the more sugar you add, the stronger your wine will be. The yeast eats the sugar and turns it into alcohol, and the finished product isn’t even sweet. It has to sit around at room temperature for about a month to cure. And whatever you do, DON’T SEAL THE BOTTLE. The gasses will build up in the bottle, and eventually it will explode and turn your kitchen into a huge purple mess. But when you get it right you end up with some strong, dry, 30 proof mulberry wine. She makes gallons of the stuff every spring and gives much of it away to friends and neighbors.
I actually have a recipe for something similar. Take a gallon of water, add a few cups of sugar, your yeast and let it ferment. After a couple of weeks stir in a package of your favorite flavor Kool Aid and you have a cheap but potent party punch or wino special.
Jacob's Creek, 5 bucks a bottle. And it tastes quite good.
I've read that the reason people use wine yeast and not baker's yeast is because the baker's yeast tends to die off at about 9% ABV. The wine yeast I ordered has been bred to top off at 17/18%. They may be making heartier baker's yeast or that 9% thing may be an urban legend but that is the reason most people buy yeasts made specifically for alcohol fermentation. Perhaps one of the experts will weigh in on that.
You’re better off testing with a hydrometer. Measure before and after fermenting and finishing.
Your local brewery supply should have them for sale.
That was the word I was looking for I have one does a good job but a taste will do he said he was just starting.
This is where I ordered tools and supplies
If you are only looking for inexpensive vino go to the dreaded Walmart they have a lot of choices at $2.97 per bottle save the bottles to put your own in eventually. They also have 3l boxes for $9.95. The local winemaking store here will sell you a kit and make your 5 gallon batch for you for less than $100 they do make you save up 30 bottles to put it in when you are done but they walk you through the whole process find one near you and put it on your if you want to give me a present list.
I intend to store my wine in the empty 64 oz bottles of juices that I buy to make my wine. They are sturdy food grade plastic with good screw on caps and if the wine is still fermenting they will bulge out rather than explode like a regular wine bottle could. I take blank stick on labels from an office supply store, write the ingredients used and the date started then stick it on the bottle. Perhaps some day I may get a kit and make something more exotic but for now it's all about cheap and easy.
What you get from the kit has some intangibles beyond high quality spirits at appx $3 per bottle with recycled bottles. I thought the guy who was serving it at his Christmas parties had his own vineyard until he turned me onto the store. Personalized labels that the store prints with your name on them turn three bucks into a very welcome hostess or Christmas gift that has a lot of cachet beyond your minimal cost especially for a business person. They really do think you own your own vineyard especially if you present them with 3 or 4 different varieties.
Cheap & Easy?
Buy pasteurized apple juice - Wal Mart sells Musclemans (SP) for less than $5 per gallon. Unscrew the lid, pour out a cup, dump in a bit of your EC 1118, put the lid on loosely. Shake. I like this method because it is simple, safe, and fast. No need to keg or bottle, just pour carefully to leave the sludge behind. You can make it fizzy by carefully screwing on the lid before you fridge it & monitoring pressure by squeezing the bottle.
In scientific terms store bought Apple Juice has a Specific Gravity of 1.050. This will ferment to about 6% if you let it go all the way dry (you can stop it by putting it in the fridge).
If you want to make wine you need to learn a few things- grape juice has nutrients absent in apple juice, so in order to get a healthy yeast in apple juice include Nutrient (DAP) and energizer (cheap & readily available on e-bay or at your local brewing store). As you advance cleaning & sterilizing become vital if you are fermenting & storing outside of the original container.
Just read that.
Put lid on tight.
Loosen lid a bit to let out CO2.
Thanks. I joined that forum. It looks like I can learn a lot there.
I wish to make wine as I cannot eat all the grapes that I can grow.
Does your grandmother use an airlock or open crock?
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