Bread yeast experiment

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by Clem, Sep 23, 2016.

  1. Clem

    Clem Realist

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    Hey, fellow brewers. I was fixing up some wine, looked in the coolerator, and lo and behold, I was completely out of Lalvin 1118. Well, I have been giving it away so no real shocker. However, I'd already mixed up my stuff, so I just put in 1 tablespoon of regular store bought yeast. This was Fleishmann's, it came in 2 one pound bags at Sam's club, or BJ's, or Costco. One of those places.

    Anyway, I made my first batch of wine in 1981, using 5 gallons of blackberries, 6 bags of sugar, and a pack of yeast. Back then, there was no real information around, like the internet. However, it worked fine, and I used that formula for 25 years or so, until I got fancy, and started buying wine yeast. To be perfectly honest, I didn't see any improvement.

    Anyway, lot of naysaying on the internet, but I went on with it, anyway. After 24 hours, when everything was active and room temperature, I took this picture. As you can see, even though it's a bit blurry, the hydrometer says a PAC(potential alcohol content) of 15.6%, more or less. This particular batch was made from some really sweet, oddball hybrid grapes. I added the sugar, and got the total sugar content to around 15% using the sugar per gallon numbers at this web page: http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/hydrom.asp

    The chart there was darn near dead on, there may have been a fraction more sugar in the grapes than I figured, based on entering numbers on this page: http://nutritiondata.self.com/

    So, every few days, I'll post picture so that you can see the PAC going down, which means that the mix is approaching the 15,6% potential. I'd much rather stop it off around 12% and have it a little sweet, completely extra-brut just don't do anything for me. Like a child, I would have to add sweetener. Probably sorgum. Anyway, if the yeast dies before it reaches my goal, I'll show that too.

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  2. k9

    k9 Well-Known Member

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    I will be following this.
     

  3. Clem

    Clem Realist

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    OK, it's been 5 days(minus an hour) since I took the previous reading. Here's another one, which shows a PAC of another 13.5%, more or less. So, in 5 days, we've developed an alcohol content of 2%, with a potential, still, of 13.5% more which would be 15.5% alcohol by volume. Pretty stiff, but I'll start drinking some around 10%. Some people like aged wine, and some people like new wine. They just don't know it until they have a cup, then sit down and have another.

    What's happening right now, the yeast is feeding, and procreating. The "boiling effect" look of fermentation is speeding up. At some point in time, the activity will level out, then start slowing down. I'm sure that people who have studied this sort of thing know all the proper terminology, and it's also quite possible that my observations are inaccurate, because I might not know exactly what I'm looking at!! I base what I'm saying on experience, and not only that, it's been a few years since I used regular bread yeast and switched to wine yeast. So, this is just how I interpret what I've always seen. I'm glad to be corrected, if I'm wrong. I have found out that the more I read about anything, the more conflicting information I get. As Benjamin Franklin said, "It's as easy to post misinformation on the internet as it is to post actual facts"

    Anyway, here's the picture, showing more or less 13.5% PAC, down from the previous 15.6% PAC.

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    Last edited: Sep 28, 2016
  4. CajunSunshine

    CajunSunshine Joie de vivre!

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    I will be following this thread also. I had always thought that the "bread" strain of yeast is not as pH and alcohol-tolerant as "wine" yeast. While alcohol can be made with either yeast, supposedly a tastier version results from using "wine" yeast.

    I dunno, because the only kind of yeast I ever used for this purpose is several varieties of "wine" yeast.

    Interesting experiment, Clem!


    .
     
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  5. Clem

    Clem Realist

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    I'd ordered some wine yeast in order to run a "control". Every experiment deserves a control! It should arrive early this week. 10 packs for $7, free shipping, I can't complain if it wakes a long time to get here. That'll be making Christmas presents for a couple years, anyway. Although I won't be able to do the two batches side by side, I can compare the days past, which will give the number of days and end result of both the bread yeast and the wine yeast. I'm using Lalvin 1118. A yeast that is supposed to have an alcohol tolerance of 18%. I guess if the ferment gets stuck in the bread yeast batch, after careful notation, with sample after sample after sample tried by everyone I know, and myself...well, I can always salvage what's left by restarting with the 1118. Waste not, want not.
     
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  6. Clem

    Clem Realist

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    OK, a week since last picture, and 12 days from the beginning, the PAC is now between 11 and 12%. If we figure from the beginning, the alcohol is now more or less 4%, with as much as 11.6%(more or less) to go. A little weaker than the alcohol content of store bought beer which is around 4.8%.

    I got my order of wine yeast in the mail, and will mix up a batch this afternoon. I will get it to the same original PAC, and I'll notate how many days it takes to catch up to the reading I took today.

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  7. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    I've done some mead recipes with bread yeast. Joe's Ancient Orange is the most popular of them. Fleishmanns seems to top out about 11 to 12% alcohol on all that I've tried and it ferments slower as you've noticed. It also seems to prefer a higher temperature range than D-47 or EC-1118. So if you're fermenting in the 65 to 70 degree range you might try and increase that to 75 to 80.

    WWW
     
  8. Clem

    Clem Realist

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    I checked it yesterday, it has slowed down, the PAC looks to be around 10 now. I didn't take a picture and blow it up so I could get an accurate reading. It's still fizzing, but slow. I think you're right about the temperature, since I usually make it on the porch in August, where it's over 80 all the time, and as high as a hundred plus some of the time. Inside, it's been as low as 66. I'll see about putting it in front of a south facing window, that'll warm it up through the day, anyway. If all else fails, I'll scrounge around for a hundred watt incandescent bulb and put it in a closet.
     
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  9. Bret

    Bret Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Interesting. Way to follow through.
     
  10. wy_white_wolf

    wy_white_wolf Just howling at the moon

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    Don't let the sun shine on it. UV will break down the yeast cells and kill fermentation. You also get skunky off tastes from it.

    WWW
     
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  11. ardismae

    ardismae New Member

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    Not sure if I am doing this correctly. Been awhile. I had a question for Clem. Could you please share the ingredients and amounts for your wine that you're using bread yeast. My last batch came out WAY too sweet and not sure what I did wrong or what to do to correct it. Thank you for your help.
     
  12. Clem

    Clem Realist

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    I measure using standard measurements, ie: cups, quarts, gallons...But I also tend to weigh everything. Except water. I already know how much a gallon of water weighs. I don't remember the exact weight of the grapes I used in this particular batch, however this is my standard methodology.
    For 5 gallons.
    Measure out 5 quarts of fruit and weigh it. Go here: http://nutritiondata.self.com/ type in the fruit, set the serving size to one ounce, and do the math to however many ounce I have. So, lets say, there is a total of 7 pounds in the 5 quarts. I need to break it down to the per gallon number, which would be 1.4 pounds. Which is 22.4 ounces of grapes per gallon of wine. Then, according to the NutritionData for American slipskin grapes...5 grams sugar per ounce, I would have 22.4 times 5, or 112 grams sugar, from the grapes. 112 grams equals 4 ounces.

    At which point I go to http://winemaking.jackkeller.net/hydrom.asp and look at the chart near the bottom of the page. In order to get a potential alcohol content of 15.6%, the chart shows me I need 2 pounds, 8 ounces of sugar per gallon. I already have 4 ounces of sugar per gallon, from the grapes, so I add 2 pounds, 4 ounces of sugar per gallon, or 11 pounds 4 ounces for the 5 gallons. Not quite 3 of the 4-pound bags that I get sugar in. It's around 1.69 a bag, so about $5 of sugar. The only cost.

    In this particular case, I ran the grapes through a processor, and strained out the pulp because I had another use for it. However, generally: Pour in hot water, stir til sugar is dissolved, mash fruit(I don't use a food processor if there are seeds, but I imagine it would be OK) then fill to the 5 gallon mark with room temperature water. Put the yeast in(one one tablespoon is all I use, it does multiply) and stir it up, close it up, and wait. Some people like to rehydrate their yeast, I've not noticed any difference.

    I'd prefer my wine not to get to 15.6%, that's too dry for my taste. When it is about halfway done, showing a PAC of 8% or so, I'll start tasting it. At some point, the taste just suits me perfectly, which is when I'm ready to stop it from working and put it up in jugs. I never care what the finished alcohol by content is, I want it to taste good, and be easy to drink. The alcohol will take care of itself. I imagine that somewhere around 11-12.5% ABV, it'll taste about right. Somewhat sweetish, but still fairly potent.

    The heat from being in front of the back door seems to have reactivated the yeast. It's in a solid color blue bucket, light can't penetrate. Here's the reading from just now, looks like 9.3% PAC, which indicates that right now, the wine is sitting at 6.3% alcohol by volume. Probably really sweet, but getting there. it's fermented a further 2.5% since the last picture I posted, which was exactly 4 weeks ago. It seems pretty slow. BUT, other than the $5 for sugar(along with the negligible cost of a tablespoon of yeast from a one pound package...8 cents), it's free.So, a dollar a gallon. I can wait. I long for the days when it only cost me 80 cents a gallon...

    Anyway, That's how I make it. After about the 4th day, I strain out and squeeze out the pulp. Then top off with water back t the 5 gallon mark. If left in, the pulp lends a bitterness eventually. Especially blackberries, because of the seeds. Whatever you do, do NOT give your wine pulp to your chickens.

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  13. Clem

    Clem Realist

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    Well, the bucket of wine stayed in one spot so long, I started putting stuff on it, like a table or something! Finally checked it again today, It's still working, slow, but a little bubble foam, so you know it's still kicking. The hydrometer is sitting right at 7, which means the alcohol content has only moved up 2.5% since the post above, on November 2. I drank a coffee cup full, it's good, but overly sweet. In the past, I've bottled wine that wasn't finished, it would activate in the bottles and have to be burped regularly. I learned that in 1994. Bunch of broken bottles in the basement. Since then, I check them at least once a week, and use plastic cola bottles. They're already food grade, have a reusable cap, and will swell before rupturing.

    So, I can either bottle this up and see if it finishes in the bottle. Possibly, I could put a bubbler in the bucket of wine. I'm pretty sure that would kick the yeast back in gear.

    This is commonly known as a "stuck ferment" Working, but way too slow. What I'm going to do is siphon the wine into a different bucket, leaving the sludge in the bottom. Then, because I'm trying to work with bread yeast, I'm going to put a tablespoon of a new batch of yeast I just got today, especially for that. Plus, the 2 pound pack of yeast I've been using for the last year finally ran out. You know, 2 pounds of yeast translates into a whole lot of bread.

    Anyway, right now the wine is 8.6%, more or less, and I'm going to try kicking it back in gear, using bread yeast again, because I'm hard headed. And I'm going to put the bucket inside a closet with a little bitty heater, and thermostat set to 80. First though, I'm going to have another coffee cup full. Or maybe 2. The experiment is not over, I will overcome this setback to accomplish my goal of making fairly good wine, strong, with just bread yeast, although I do have Lalvin 1118 now.
     
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  14. Cobber

    Cobber Well-Known Member

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    YEP! But kudos to you for not giving up. Have you added any yeast nutrient during the fermentation? Maybe try some now and see if it kick starts again, as well as the warmth.

    Most importantly, how does it taste? It's hard to tell with small batches if it is the yeast or other factors but does it have any off flavours like vinegar, H2S or acetaldehyde? Is it frothier than wine yeast? "Bready, yeasty"?
     
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  15. Clem

    Clem Realist

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    Ashamed to say, I've never used yeast nutrients. Maybe that would have kept it going in the first place. If there was an off taste, the sweetness was so overwhelming I didn't notice.. No frothiness when I pour it or anything. Once it gets around 12% or so, it ought to be enough like wine I could tell if there was anything odd about the taste.

    Many years ago, I left some in a barrel for a year or so, and it captured an acetobacter and hag a huge mother of vinegar on top next time I checked. A few months later, the barrel developed a leak. I had all that stuff in an old factory that had been converted into storage units, on the second floor. I pulled up in the parking lot one afternoon, there was a crowd milling around in the parking lot. I kept hearing "It's a miracle" and stuff like that. As it turned out, the barrel had completely leaked its 55 gallons onto the concrete floor, puddled in a weak spot, dripped through a crack, and spread out through the ceiling downstairs, where it dripped into the religious organization's storage space. When they came that morning, it was raining spoiled wine out of their ceiling.

    Sad to say, I didn't explain it to them, just asked had anyone called the Vatican yet.
     
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  16. Clem

    Clem Realist

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    I never did move the wine, and checked it yesterday. It showed 5% PAC, so the wine is 10.6% alcohol. Strong enough. I tasted it. Sort of sweet, but not unpleasant at all. So I had a glass. Good stuff. I would have made this post then, but wisely had another glass, just to be sure. Then, once I was sure, had one purely for the pleasure of it. Bottled it up, and it's ready for anybody that comes around and gets past the dogs. I'll let them(the visitors, not the dogs) try it out, and if they like it, take home a half gallon. Won't be long til it's time to start making blackberry jelly, jam, preserves, cobbler, and of course, wine. Lord have mercy on me for my excessive blessings. Surely goodness and mercy will follow me, all the days of my life. I mean, they have so far.
     
  17. stanb999

    stanb999 Well-Known Member

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    What you should try next time is adding sugar after the ferment is under way. That much sugar inhibited the yeast reproduction so you only had the few million you started with the initial pitch. 15% is pretty sweet for bread yeast. I like it around 8% as a max. to start.

    I mostly make jungle juice hi alcohol stuff with finish percentages over 20.. I never pitch above 14% as a rule. Too many stalls, false starts, or stinky brews.
     
  18. Shrek

    Shrek Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    As mentioned above, bread yeast is not as alcohol tolerant as true wine yeast, however as a teen I watched my father work 6 consecutive batches of muscodine wine using frozen wild grape must and sour mashing yeast innoculations in each batch in the progression and sugar feeding the batches every few days a quarter tsp of sugar to feed the yeast.

    On the last batch one of our neighbors who was a chemist at a area manufacturing company and also a home wine maker used a siphon to harvest live lees from the batch and cultured it using a rice base as I recall and he dried it and vacuum sealed it so we could all use the alcohol tolerant mutated bread yeast a few years later to make decent ACV muscodine wine from the vines between our homes.