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Article On Pitching Yeast After Sulphite


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#1 drew22to375

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Posted 09 September 2004 - 05:41 PM

Here is a article from Jack Keller about using sulphite before pitching yeast.



I receive many emails in which the writer alludes to sterilizing the must or wondering if adding sulfites (potassium metabisulfite or Campden tablets) to the must kills the yeast. I usually do not comment on these mistakes unless they are the central point of the email, but let me address these subjects now in hopes of clarifying a few misconceptions.

We don't really sterilize wine. We sanitize it. The difference is that in the first you kill all germs (bacteria, viruses and molds), while in the second you only kill the more pedestrian ones (not the ones that can live in steam vents at Yellowstone) with sulfites and the acidity and alcohol in the wine kill the rest later.

Sulfites don't kill yeast, but they do kill most bacteria and molds. All they do to yeasts is shock the wild varieties into inactivity for a period of hours, and during that time the cultured yeasts, which are largely sulfite tolerant, get a big growth head-start and dominate the must. The cultured ones crowd out the wild ones and don't allow them to gain more than a toe-hold. So, after sulfiting you do not want to wait too long before inoculating with cultured yeast or you lose the advantage the sulfites give them.

In older recipes a waiting period of 24 hours was often specified between sulfiting and inoculating with yeast, but as science clarified the role of sulfites that period was generally reduced to 10-12 hours. Personally, I almost never wait more than 6-8 hours between sulfiting and pitching the yeast, as the cultured yeasts seem to do just fine at that time -- especially if you start them outside the must in a starter solution and introduce a little must or juice to the solution at half-hour intervals so they get used to the new environment before being pitched into it wholesale.

When you use boiling water in the recipe, you do not need to sulfite right away because the boiling water does a fair job of killing bacteria and wild yeasts. But, you do need to wait until the water temperature drops below 100 degrees F. before pitching cultured wine yeast. I wait until the must is below 95 degrees F. (and prefer waiting until it returns to room temperature) before adding yeast. Most wine yeasts die (or at least stop metabolizing sugar or reproducing) at 104 degrees, so it is best to get well below that temperature before introducing them. Also, pectic enzymes do not work well in higher temperatures, so allowing the must to drop to room temperature is a good idea before adding the enzyme to your must.

You can take water bottles, empty out an inch or so of water, freeze them, and then drop two or more of these into the must about an hour after adding boiling water to get the temperature down quicker. Just mix up an amount of cold, 1% sulfite water first and submerge the frozen water bottles in it for two minutes to sanitize the outside before dropping them into the must. To make up a 1% sulfite solution, dissolve 10 grams of potassium metabisulfite in one liter of water. It can be saved to sanitize wine bottles, corks, or winemaking equipment.

#2 WWJD

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Posted 10 September 2004 - 06:02 AM

interesting, thanks for sharing!

hmm, when does Jack recommend adding the pectinase? As soon as the must cools as well, or when you pitch the yeast?

later

#3 glen65

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Posted 12 September 2004 - 05:59 PM

I AM CONFUSED!!!!!

I just purchased some fresh juice today that was trucked in from California. I added my 1/4 tsp of meta to kill off the wild yeast as soon as I got the juice to room temp. The posting above says "I almost never wait more than 6-8 hours between sulfiting and pitching the yeast". The guy at the store told me wait 3 hours. Their web site says 6 to 12 hours and a book I have says 24 hours.

When do you add yeast?

#4 drew22to375

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Posted 12 September 2004 - 07:22 PM

I pitch my yest 12 hours after I add the pot. meta. I do make a yeast starter 12 hours before pitching the yest tho...

#5 leiavoia

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Posted 12 September 2004 - 08:09 PM

QUOTE (glen65 @ Sep 12 2004, 06:25 PM)
I AM CONFUSED!!!!!

I just purchased some fresh juice today that was trucked in from California. I added my 1/4 tsp of meta to kill off the wild yeast as soon as I got the juice to room temp. The posting above says "I almost never wait more than 6-8 hours between sulfiting and pitching the yeast". The guy at the store told me wait 3 hours. Their web site says 6 to 12 hours and a book I have says 24 hours.

When do you add yeast?

you know, i've done the whole works all at once before, including boiling water, and never had problems. I don't think it's really an issue. The exact hour doesn't matter much. Usually i will whip up a batch and sulfite it in the evening along with starting the yeast culture, then pitch in the morning before i head off to work.

#6 glen65

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 05:49 AM

That's good to hear. I added the meta at 6 PM last night and I plan on adding the yeast when I get home at 5 PM today, so that will only be 23 hrs. This is only my 3rd batch of wine, so I'm still a little unsure of myself and tend to get worried when I read that there are 100 different opinions on how to do something.
Thanks for your help.

#7 WWJD

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 06:21 AM

QUOTE (glen65 @ Sep 13 2004, 06:15 AM)
...there are 100 different opinions on how to do something.

Welcome to wine making!! That's why people have to relax when making wine, and enjoy it. It really is pretty hard to screw up wine making. Once you get the basics, you can make good wine. The refinement will come with practice, resulting in better wine. smile.gif

#8 Seb

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 06:33 AM

Some book refer to "wait 24 hr" and some say " wait 6hr". Go for 12 to 18 hrs and you should be ok laugh.gif

Seriously, you have to wait some time before pitching the yeast but you should be ok either with both end. I personnaly add my yeast after a 6 hours period because it took me 6 hours doing all my destemming/crushing, testing and adjustments to all of my must so i add my yeast after that. Remember that it depend on how many sulphite you added to the must. You should wait longer if you added 75 ppm and less if you added 25 ppm.
Sébastien Mailloux
Certified Wine Judge, WJC
Consultant Winemaker
Domaine & Vins Gélinas
www.domainegelinas.com

#9 Hippie

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Posted 13 September 2004 - 08:09 PM

I now understand pectic enzyme works better at temps of 80*F and higher, so I will start adding it before the must cools off.

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