Selecting a Wine Making Yeast – WMA005

Selecting a Wine Making Yeast – WMA005

http://traffic.libsyn.com/winemakersacademy/wma005.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSSSelecting the Right Wine Making Yeast Choosing a wine making yeast has both practical and artistic considerations. You have to consider the alcohol tolerance as well as the different flavor profiles they can produce. In the main topic for this episode I walk through my own method for Choosing the Right Wine Making Yeast as well as the resources I use to make sure my yeast strain of choice will work for me. Here are direct link to the  resources mentioned in the podcast: The Yeast & Grape Pairing Guide from MoreWinemaking.com Lellemand Yeast Quick Reference Sheet The article on Dr. Henick-Kling, How Yeast Affects Wine Flavors Lastly, here are the articles I wrote outlining an experiment I did using different wine making yeast to ferment juice from the same source. Collectively these articles are referred to as the Great Riesling Yeast Experiment: Part I, Inoculating the Yeast Part II, Secondary Fermentation Part III, Clarifying & Bottling The Tasting, find out if non-wine geeks could tell the difference Winemaking Questions Here are all the questions addressed in this podcast. Listen using the player above to hear the answers. What is wine conditioner? Isn’t oxygen introduce my wine when I punch down the cap? How do you (Matt) manage oxygen when you make wine? Should different grape varietals be fermented seperately and then blended together? Or can you ferment more than one varietal in the same container? How long before I can lay down my newly bottled wine? The following pages and products were also mentioned in this podcast: Winepros article regarding aerobic vs anaerobic conditions during fermentation, click here. Winemaker’s Answer Book by Alison Crowe. Bottle Shock (a movie about how Chateau Montelena won the famous 1976 Judgement of Paris wine tasting, I highly recommend watching this, it’s a fun movie) What do you think, can different yeast strains produce different flavor and aroma profiles from the same grapes? Please share your thoughts in the comments...

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The First Winemaker’s Academy Wine Tasting

The First Winemaker’s Academy Wine Tasting

The First Winemaker’s Academy Wine Tasting This past weekend (July 7th 2013) my wife and I hosted the very first wine tasting showcasing the wines produced during The Great Riesling Yeast Experiment (part i, part ii, part iii). It was held at our house with just one other couple we invited over. The point of this wine tasting, and the point of the experiment, was to determine if you could produce distinctly different wines by fermenting the same grape juice with different strains of yeast. I split a six gallon World Vineyard Riesling kit into two three gallon batches and fermented them separately, one with RHST and the other with W15 yeast strains. Setting The Stage The wine tasting was conducted blind so no one knew which Riesling was which. I didn’t want my wife or I to have any prejudgments based on previous bottles we had consumed. Because each bottle was labeled with the proportions of the blend it contained I had to cover the bottles. To do that I simply taped a sheet of printer paper around the bottle and gave it a number. Each taster had a place-mat with five glasses on it and the wines were poured in order from one to five. This way we would each be tasting the same wine at the same time and could share our thoughts along the way. The Wine Tasting We tasted each wine in turn taking the time to chat about what flavors we were picking up and how it came across. All five wines were identical in color which was not really surprising given that they came from the same grape juice. Between each wine we snacked on club style crackers to clear the palate. In hind sight I would have liked to have more pairing foods to go with the wines, however, more flavorful foods may have interfered with the objective of this experiment. The Results As the wine tasting progressed it became apparent that each of the five blends was in fact quite different from one another. Our guests, who are not wine fanatics like we are, commented that they definitely could tell a difference in the wines. The 100% W15 and 100% RSHT Rieslings of course showed the greatest difference in flavors as these were the unblended wines. In general if someone preferred the 100% W15 wine they also favored the blend that contained 75% W15 over the blend with only 25% W15. This was a great indicator that everyone could honestly tell the difference between each of the blends and there weren’t any issues playing with their perception. Some times during wine tastings your taste buds get worn out after a few wines and the later wines you drink all taste about the same. However, this was not a problem as indicated by the taster’s preferences. My wife liked the 75% W15 / 25% RHST blend the best while I preferred the 100% RHST. The husband of our guest couple preferred the 100% W15 and his wife also liked the 75% W15 / 25% RHST blend. So there was a bit of a spread between...

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Choosing The Right Wine Making Yeast

Choosing The Right Wine Making Yeast

There are many factors that go into choosing a wine making yeast. This is the second most important decision you’ll have to make next to picking the grape varietal to make your wine from. Choosing the right yeast is important for two reasons. First, different yeasts produce different flavor and aroma profiles to finished wines. This has to do with how the yeast processes the must when it’s digesting the sugars and nutrients. The second reason your choice of yeast is so important is that not all strains have the same alcohol tolerance. Many wild yeasts have tolerances of only five to six percent alcohol. Other strains specifically cultivated for wine making may have alcohol tolerances upwards of 18% or more. While this topic has been covered here before we’re going to dive into the specifics of how to do it right. So let’s get to it! Choosing a Wine Making Yeast Step One: Pick Your Flavor Profile The first step in choosing a wine making yeast is to figure out what flavor profile you’d like to have. The stellar folks over at More Winemaking provide a great free resource called the Yeast and Grape Pairing Guide. This guide breaks down what yeast strains give what flavor and aroma profiles for different grape varietals. Open up the guide and look for the varietal of wine you’re looking to make. For each varietal they list the most common yeasts used along with the different flavors and aromas that can be expected from using them. You’ll notice that some yeasts are not meant to be used on their own. They’ll say something like “good for adding _____ to a blend”. This may be because that particular strain does not offer very much flavor but really packs in the aromas. These yeasts are best paired with another strain in either a mixed fermentation or a split fermentation. Here’s a quick look at the difference between the two. A mixed fermentation is where you pitch more than one yeast strain at the same time in the same must. A split fermentation is where you ferment the same varietal grape must with different yeast strains in different fermenters keeping them separate until they’re finished. After fermentation you blend them back together. Step Two: Verify the Yeast Alcohol Tolerance Once you’ve got a handle on the flavor and aroma profiles it’s time to make sure that your yeast of choice is strong enough to completely ferment your wine. If the yeast you choose is not strong enough to finish fermenting your wine there’s a good chance it will be sweeter than you prefer. To check the alcohol tolerance of your yeast strain head over to Lallemand and check out the Lallemand Yeast Charts. In addition to alcohol tolerances they provide other important information such as nitrogen demand, how competitive the yeast is, and a few others. Be sure to book mark that table as you’ll want to refer to it at the start of any fermentation. I use it all the time to plan my wine making efforts. Step Three: Estimate the Final Alcohol Content...

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The Great Riesling Yeast Experiment Part III

The Great Riesling Yeast Experiment Part III

The Great Riesling Yeast Experiment has drawn to a close. The two different Rieslings produced during the experiment have now been finished, blended, and bottled. If you missed the first two parts here is Part I and Part II. Otherwise here’s a brief summary of the experiment. Starting with a single six gallon World Vineyard Riesling Kit from Winexpert I split it into two three gallon batches. Each batch was then fermented with a different strain of yeast. The purpose of the experiment was two fold: 1. determine if different yeast strains could produce different flavor and aroma profiles. 2. see if I could create a more complex wine by blending wines made from the same grapes that had been fermented with different yeast strains. Parts I and II cover making the wine. In this part I’ll share how the wine was finished, blended, and bottled. Degassing Degassing turned into quite a project. I ended up degassing on two separate occasions because of how long it was taking. Up until the first degassing the wine had been stored at around 66 degrees (F). When wine is stored below 72-75 degrees (F) the degassing process can take much longer because the cooler temperatures help carbon dioxide stay suspended in the liquid. This was evidenced by the 20+ minutes of degassing during this first round that didn’t get all of the carbon dioxide out. After my first attempt I moved both wines where I could store them in the low 70’s. They sat for one week before I started round two of the degassing process. The increased storage temperature made all the difference in the world! I was able to fully degas both wines in about 30 minutes. Clarifying The Wines The problem with degassing in two stages was that the second degassing stirred up everything that had cleared up to that point. I added the isinglass clarifier at the time of the first degassing per the kit instructions. However, when I degassed the second time the wines were just as cloudy as they were prior to the first degassing. The RHST Riesling cleared completely within a week of the second degassing without any additional clarifier. This wine was never really that cloudy to begin with. The W15 Riesling was another story. This wine had always been really cloudy. The isinglass didn’t do much to begin with but the second degassing undid any progress it had made to date. To clear the W15 I had to add a bentonite slurry. It took two more weeks but it did finally clear. Just in time for my parents to give me a hand  blending and bottling. All in all both Rieslings sat for four weeks during degassing and clearing. This was much longer than I would have liked, however, it was necessary to keep from bottling sediment and floating isinglass. No off flavors were picked up from sitting on the lees though. That was a relief. Blending and Bottling The last step was to get these two wines blended together and into the bottles. Keeping in mind the purpose of the experiment I...

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The Great Riesling Yeast Experiment (Part II)

The Great Riesling Yeast Experiment (Part II)

The saga continues with the racking of my experimental Riesling fermented with two different yeast strains. Read this if you missed part one. Up to this point the two batches of Riesling have been fermenting separately.  One in a primary fermentation bucket and the other in a six gallon carboy. Little could be observed of the two wines save for the airlock activity. However, I recently got a chance to see, smell, and taste the two Rieslings when I racked them into their respective carboys. Here’s what I found. Opening the Primary Fermenters After seven days in their primary fermentation containers it was time to check chemistry and rack off of the lees. I opened up the lid to the plastic fermenter with the R-HST Riesling in it and was greeted by an interesting aroma. Not only was it a different aroma than the W15 Riesling, it smelled odd. I’m not entirely sure what it was but it had a tinge of sulfur to it. My wife really disliked the aromas wafting her way as she helped me prepare to rack. The W15 had been bold and fruity up to this point and didn’t disappoint when I removed the airlock. This wine smelled very fruity. I was expecting the same when I taste tested it. Testing the Wines With the lids removed I drew a sample of each wine to test it’s chemistry. The first thing I checked was the specific gravity. The R-HST weighed in at 1.008. This means there is still a bit more sugar yet to be fermented. The W15 Riesling was at an even 1.000. So in the same period of time the W15 yeast had burned through a bit more sugar than the RHST. This was particularly surprising because both wines came from the same kit and were inoculated at the same time (within about one minute of each other). I expected some differences in behavior between the two but this was a much larger difference then what I was anticipating. The W15 did seem to ferment more vigorously. The airlock looked like it was boiling at its peak. The difference in airlock activity was a solid indication that the W15 yeast was fermenting more quickly. Not only was the specific gravity different, the titratable acidity (TA) different as well. The pH, however, remained the same between the two. Sampling the Wines Any time I take a sample for testing I also taste it. This is why I love making wine. But before I tasted it I took a good look at the two wines. They both had similar yellow colors and were quite cloudy. The W15 Riesling was more cloudy than the RHST Riesling. I tasted the W15 Riesling first and what a surprise! Despite the bold grape smell it had strong grapefruit flavors. My wife picked out lemon and lime. Both of us agreed that it had an intense citrus flavor. Not much grape flavor at all. Then I moved on to the R-HST. This wine was noticeably sweeter, as evidenced by the higher specific gravity. I could taste a faint hint of pear as well as white or unripe...

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