How Much Yeast?

by David

Here is the down low. Let’s assume you’re making a one gallon batch of homemade wine. You buy a dry yeast packet like Lalvin D-47; I’m guessing there is somewhere between 25-50 thousand yeastes in there. (I know yeastes is not a technical term) If you rehydrate it and add it to your must, wait 30 minutes and you will have double that. The yeast will continue to grow exponentially till the wine runs out of sugar or the alcohol level gets so high that it kills the yeast.

What all this means is that if you add two packets to a gallon batch of Homemade Wine your fermentation will finish

Yeast Yeast

about 30 min sooner than if you add only one yeast packet.

So based on what we have learned you can start to see why people use starters. Simply put, they want to add more yeast to bigger batches ensuring that the desired yeast takes hold and kills off the natural yeast and bacteria. Bigger batches mean more yeast is needed to get it going.

Pitch the Yeast!

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Abby Ovitsky May 1, 2011 at 03:15

so, is there any danger to the wine from using TOO MUCH YEAST? i started small with my first experimental batch, one gallon. I followed the recipe, but AFTER putting the whole packet of yeast in the fermenter, i re-read the recipe which says I only needed 1/5 a packet for ONE gallon. Well, i started 2 weeks ago and it’s been fermenting like crazy, the airlock is on there, if I sit in the room with the wine i can smell it fermenting and i can see the bubbles of CO2 rising up through the airlock. All of that is how it should be…but what, if anything do i need to do to it now? it’s in that 2-4 month “leave it alone” stage, it a glass jug with an airlock on it, and there is a LOT of sediment i can now see on the bottom, which precipitated out the first few days, making it look less like a berry juice smoothie and more like wine…Do I need to add more juice? More sugar? Just wait?

David Mon May 1, 2011 at 11:56

Great question Abby. Now just wait the yeast can only ferment the sugar you put in there. If there is enough sugar to make 8% alcohol then thats what you get no matter how much yeast you add. You might just get 8% a bit quicker by adding a lot from the beggining. Once the sugar is gone the yeast just sits idle. Besides im guessing even with adding thats much yeast that you still ended up with more at the end of fermentation

Abby Ovitsky May 1, 2011 at 14:19

Thanks, David. I re-read the instructions and noticed every recipe is for one gallon and they all say to use a “1 pkg” of yeast. So i guess my fear was that it was going to taste all yeasty, but the sugars were placed in the brew according to the tested recipe, the fructose in the berries, the refined sugar and malt i added…in the amounts and proportions stated (more of a chemistry experiment now)

i did not video tape it but i kinda wish i had so i could try to make a time lapse for blueberry port wine…it starts out looking like berry juice, like mushy coolaid. then after a day, add yeast, then a week later looks like a smoothie. a week after THAT it looks a little like wine with sand down on the bottom of the jug…so next step is racking at 4 weeks or can i do that sooner? and is it not ready for bottling or drinking until it’s been aged for at least 2 months, or is it much longer? (is there a limit to number of total posts i can do as “free” member?) your site looks great, BTW! i am glad i found it. i am also interested in making sweet Mead and organic root beer (like Virgil’s only cheaper) 🙂

David Mon November 8, 2011 at 19:47

Hey Abby, Hows the blueberry wine?

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