The Mother Earth News Wine Kit Challenge

We did something interesting! We sent one of our wine making kits to the folks at Mother Earth News, and we had them video themselves making the wine. None of them had ever made wine before, and we provided no information — just the kit and the directions that normally comes with it. Watch what happened.

Below are three videos they shot while making the wine. You can go to Mother Earth News’ website to view more videos on other self-sustaining projects. Click on the pictures to play the video:

Part I

Part II

Part III

These guys did an amazing job and plowed right through the steps with no trouble at all. Hopefully, these videos will help to show others just how easy it is to make your own wine.

For those of you who have never heard of Mother Earth News, it is one of the most popular and longest-running magazines for people wanting to live a self-sustainable lifestyle. It is filled with all kinds of ideas, information and projects. In addition to their magazine, their website is a pleasure to learn from, as well!


Using Campden Tablets: The How, When And Why

Campden tablets to be used in wine makingI crushed fresh Syrah juice from grapes last September into 3 six-gallon plastic fermenters w/air gaps. I added 1 Campden tablet per gallon into the 3 six gallon plastic fermenters 24 hr. before adding the wine yeast. I separated out the sediment in January. I plan to bottle in mid-May. From your guidance, I plan to add 1 Campden tab per gallon before bottling. Should I have also added Campden tabs when fermentation was finished in September? I tasted the wine in January and it tasted good.

Name: Brad T.
State: California
Hello Brad,

This is a great question about using Campden tablets in wine making. I’ll need to answer this from a couple of different perspectives…

When you add Campden tablets to a wine, your are essentially adding sulfites. Sulfites protect the wine by destroying any mold, bacteria or anything else that wants to grow in the wine. During the fermentation this is not a problem. It’s when the wine must is still and not fermenting that sulfites become important.

The issue is that over time the sulfites want to leave. They dissipate into the air as SO2 gas. For example, the Campden tablets you added before the fermentation are long-gone by the time the fermentation had ended. So there is a need to replenish the sulfites to help keep the wine protected.

From a winery’s point of view, you always want 40 to 70 PPM (parts-per-million) of sulfite in the wine after the fermentation. The winery will measure and maintain this level all the way through the clearing process and on to bottling. They can easily afford the time and effort to do this because a lot of wine is at stake.

From an individual winemaker’s point of view, it may be a little overkill to constantly test the sulfites and make adjustments as called for — particularly if you’re only making 5 or 6 gallons at a time, and you’re going to bottle the wine in a few weeks, anyway.Shop Potassium Bisulfite

So as a compromise, I recommend using Campden tablets directly after the fermentation, then again, right before bottling. So to summarize, you are adding sulfites:

  • 24 hours before fermentation
  • After the fermentation
  • Right before bottling.

By handling the wine in this way you can keep the wine more evenly protected without a lot of effort on your part with tests and measurements.

From a home winery’s point of view, say you are making 30, 50, 100 gallons, you may want to spend the time and energy to keep track of your sulfites. This can be done with Titret Test Vials and the Titret Hand Tool that works with it. By running this test you can determine the sulfites that are currently in your wine, in PPM, and how much you need to add, if any.

You may also want to switch to a Campden tablet substitute such as potassium metabisulfite or sodium metabisulfite. These bothShop Grape Concentrate come in a granulated form. They add sulfites to the must or wine, just as Campden tablets, but they come in a granulated form. It’s much easier to use when needing larger amounts. Instead of crushing up a bunch of tablets, you just measure it out by the teaspoon.

This is the basics of using Campden tablets in your wine making. To delve a little deeper you might want to take a look at, Campden Tablets: What They Can And Can’t Do.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Home Brewing With Oats

Oats for Home BrewngLike barley, wheat, and rye, oats are a cereal grain that can be used in home brewing. It would be difficult to make a desirable beer from 100% oats, but nonetheless oats often find their way into a number of beer styles, especially the oatmeal stout. They can be used to add smooth, silky body and oat flavor to just about any beer style. Oats help with head retention, but may contribute a bit of cloudiness. Here’s more information on home brewing with oats…

Oats are found in a number of Belgian and farmhouse styles, namely saisons and witbiers (as in the Brewcraft Belgian Witbier Recipe Kit).

When home brewing with oats you will find that they are typically found in one of three forms: raw, flaked, or malted. As you might have guessed, raw oats are unprocessed. They have to be cooked prior to mashing in order to extract any fermentable sugar from the grain. Flaked oats are the most common form of oats used in brewing. They are gelatinized as they are pressed through heated rollers, allowing brewers to extract their fermentable sugars by adding them directly to the mash. Malted oats are malted in much the same way that barley is, but they are not very common.

It should be noted that oats are technically gluten-free, so they could possibly be used to make gluten-free beer, perhaps in combination with sorghum, rice, or corn. The only hitch is that oats are often processed on shared equipment with wheat. If making a beer for someone with a severe gluten allergy, only use oats that are certified gluten-free.


Home Brewing Your Own Oatmeal Stout…

If you’ve never try home brewing with oats before, one could place to start is with an oatmeal stout. Oatmeal stouts became popular in England, so it stands to reason to use English ingredients when crafting our recipe. Start with Munton’s Mild Ale Malt or two cans of Munton’s Light Malt Extract.

Next, we’ll derive color and flavor from some specialty malts. Try between 4 and 12 ounces each of Roasted Barley, Chocolate Malt, and Caramel 80L. Extract brewers can steep the grains, all-grain brewers can added them directly to the mash, or partial mash brewers can do a mini-mash with an equal amount of base malt. Add 4 to 16 oz. of flaked oats, or up to 10% of the total grain bill. You’ll find when home brewing with oats that this about the typical amount called for.Shop Home Brew Starter Kit

For the hops, we’ll want to use an English variety. Fuggles would be a good choice. The BJCP calls for 25-40 IBUs, so about 2 ounces of hops should do the trick. This beer should have little to no hop aroma or flavor, so add most (or all) of the hops at the beginning of the boil.

Finally, in the yeast department, English ale yeasts are the way to go and there are many good ones to choose from. Any of the following dry yeasts would give relatively clean flavors: Munton’s, Nottingham, Safale S-04. Wyeast 1318: London Ale or 1084: Irish Ale will give more fruity esters, especially if fermented at warmer temperatures.

Have tips for home brewing with oats? Share in the comments!
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the IBD and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

How Long Does Homemade Wine Last?

Homemade-Wine-LastingHow long can a finished homemade wine be stored or aged before going bad?

Hello Gabe,

There is nothing unique to homemade wine that makes it spoil or go bad any faster or keep any better than commercially made wines. As long as the homemade wine is treated properly, it will keep just as long and as good as wines you purchase at the store. So when you ask, how long does homemade wine last?, the simple answer is, just as long as any other wine!

But what does treated properly actually mean?

  1. It means your wine must be dosed with sulfites, and
  2. Your wine bottles must be sanitized before using


Treating Your Wine With Sulfites
This is very simple do and is very beneficial to the keeping qualities of the wine. If the wine is being made from fresh grapes or other fresh fruits, just add a standard dose of potassium metabisulfite or Campden tablets 24 hour before adding the yeast. If you are making wine from a wine concentrate this process can be skipped.

Another dose of potassium metabisulfite or Campden tablets should be added to the wine right before bottling. This dose before bottling goes for any wine – regardless if it’s made from fresh fruit or grape concentrate. There may be other times that sulfite should be added, depending on how many times the wine is being siphoned or how long it’s being bulk aged. You can find more information on this in the blog post: Using Campden tablets: The How, When And Why.

Shop Campden TabletsBy performing these simple steps your homemade wine will stay fresher much longer and will degrade in quality much slower. And, you will have have virtually eliminated the chance of your homemade wine experiencing out-right spoilage.


Sanitizing Your Wine Bottles
This is the second part of the equation. How long does a homemade wine last? It depends on how well the wine bottles were sanitized. Fortunately, it’s a simple process.

All you have to do is clean the wine bottles as you normally would anyway. Use some dish soap and a wine bottle brush. If the wine bottles are brand new, you can skip this part. Then use a cleaners such as Basic A on the wine bottles to sanitize them. Both of these products come with complete directions on their usage. Once the wine bottles are mostly dry, they are ready to be filled with wine.

The wine bottle can be cleaned ahead of time, but the sanitation part should only be done when you are actually ready to bottle.


Shop Basic AFinal Word…
It’s important to understand that these are the same critical steps that any winery would take. It’s what keeps all those bottles of wine consistently fresh on the store shelves, and that’s why your homemade wine can last just as long as any commercially made wine – stay fresh and free from going bad.

Follow these procedures. Make them habits. And you’ll never have a problem with any of your wines keeping while in storage.

Best Wishes,
Ed Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Style Guide: How to Brew an American Amber Ale

American Amber AleAn American Amber Ale profile, as the name implies, lies somewhere in the spectrum between a pale ale and a brown ale, with a rich, amber color matched by a sweet, caramel malt flavor. They’re often moderately to aggressively hopped, more so than a golden ale or pilsner, but not as much as an India Pale Ale. Their middle-of-the-ground nature makes them agreeable to many a beer fan, ideal for every day drinking, and part of many craft breweries’ year-round line-ups.

There are many good examples of American Amber Ales on the market. New Belgium’s Fat Tire, Bell’s Amber, and Highland’s Gaelic Ale all come to mind.

The BJCP Guidelines for an American Amber Ale profile offer the following: “Like an American pale ale with more body, more caramel richness, and a balance more towards malt than hops (although hop rates can be significant).” That emphasis on caramel richness makes Caramel malt a critical ingredient when brewing.

Further, according to the BJCP, Amber Ales should fit more or less within these guidelines:

  • IBUs: 25 – 40+
  • Color (SRM): 10 – 17
  • OG: 1.045 – 1.060
  • FG: 1.010 – 1.015
  • ABV: 4.5 – 6%

We carry an excellent Fat Liar Amber Ale beer recipe kit, but if you’d like to create your own beer recipe, here are some suggestions:

Grain Bill



  • A classic American Amber Ale should use a clean fermenting American ale yeast strain. All of the following beer yeasts are great options: Safale S-05, Wyeast 1056: American Ale, or Wyeast 1272: American Ale II. There should be little to no yeast character or esters in the aroma, so try to keep fermentation temperatures in the recommended range for your selected yeast strain.

These are the very basics of an American Amber Ale profile. What ingredients and techniques do you use when home brewing your American Amber Ale? Share in the comments below!

Til next time…Cheers!
David Ackley is a beer writer, brewer, and self-described “craft beer crusader.” He holds a General Certificate in Brewing from the IBD and is founder of the Local Beer Blog.

3 Questions About Using Potassium Sorbate In Wine Making

Potassium Sorbate For Wine MakingThanks again for being there.  You’re greatly helping an amateur wine-maker get by the label “amateur”.

Three part question, all using potassium sorbate in wine making.  This is a question recognizing that potassium sorbate does not stop fermentation, but is used to keep wines from starting to ferment again after the fermentation has been completed.

1).  When should the potassium sorbate be added to the wine — is it sufficient to add to the wine at day of bottling or should it be added earlier (like 7 to 10 days before bottling)?

2).  Will the answer to part 1) change if the wine has a sweetener added?  Is the potassium sorbate ALWAYS added to the wine AFTER the sweetener, or does it not matter as to the sequence?

3).  Does using a wine filter at time of bottling impact any of the above? Or is the filter process just the filter process?

Thanks, Steve S.
Dear Steve,

Thanks for the great questions on using potassium sorbate in your wine. Let me see if I can put a dent in this subject.


First, A Little Background On Potassium Sorbate And Wine:

Potassium sorbate is one of those wine making ingredients that often gets used incorrectly or confused with other ingredients such as sodium metabisulfite.  I’d like to go over exactly what potassium sorbate will do for your wine and maybe that will clear up how it should be used.

Potassium sorbate does not destroy wine yeast. Let me repeat this for more emphasis:


“Potassium Sorbate Does Not Destroy Wine Yeast.”


What potassium sorbate does do is keep wine yeast from increasing in numbers. It stops the wine yeast from reproducing itself into a larger colony.

Shop Wine BottlesAs an example, if you add potassium sorbate to an active fermentation you will see the fermentation become slower and slower, day after day. This is because some of the wine yeast is beginning to naturally die off and new cells are not being produced to take their place. Eventually the yeast colony will either run out of sugars to ferment, or they will all die off from old age.

If you add sugar to a finished wine to sweeten it, and the wine is still laden with residual wine yeast, it does not matter if you add potassium sorbate or not. The wine yeast will ferment in either case. The only difference the potassium sorbate will make is whether the fermentation is going to become a full-blown one or just sputter along, almost unnoticeable, until the aging yeast cells can do no more.


What This Means For The Home Wine Maker:

What this all means for you is that before you add a sugar to a wine to sweeten it, you need to make sure that it is completely done clearing out as much of the wine yeast as possible. You want to give the wine plenty of time to drop out as many of the yeast cells as possible. Then rack the wine off these yeast cells. This is key to eliminating any chance for re-fermentation when sweetening a wine.

Whether or not the sugar is added to the wine before or after the potassium sorbate is immaterial. Just adding them both on the same day is sufficient. And to take this a step further, you can bottle the wine right after adding them. The only requirement is to be doubly sure that both the sugar and potassium sorbate are completely dissolve and evenly disbursed throughout the wine.Shop Wine Filter System

As a side note, you should always add sulfites such as potassium metabisulfite to the wine at bottling time, regardless if you are sweetening it or not.

As to your question about wine filtration… running a wine through a wine filter can only help not hurt during this process. This is simply due to the fact that wine filtration will get more of the yeast cells out of the wine. All three of the pressured wine filter systems we offer have sterile filtrations pads at .50 microns available to them. This will typically get 90% percent of the residual yeast cells that are left.

Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

A Simple Guide To All-Grain Brewing Equipment

All-Grain BrewingAll-grain brewing is the closest thing to being a professional brewer. If you’re already brewing with malt extract, advancing to all-grain means that you need to learn how to mash, i.e. extract fermentable sugars from barley malt by mixing the grains with hot water. To do this effectively, you’ll need to add a few pieces to your existing home brewery:

• A large pot for heating water. Professional brewers call this a hot liquor tank. You will need to heat mash water, and then sparge water. Larger is better, so you can heat all the water you need at once. Also keep in mind that the larger the pot, the easier it is to brew larger batches later on. The Polar Ware 30 Qt. Brew Pot will work for a 5 gallon batch of brew.

• A mash tun – Mashing requires 1-1.5 qts of water per pound of grain. A typical 5 gallon batch of homebrew uses 10-12 lbs. of grain, plus you need to account for the grain itself. At the very least, you’ll need a 20 qt brewpot, but the larger the better. Some brewers like to build their own mash tuns from a large water cooler, but a Polar Ware Brew Pot with a false bottom, thermometer, and ball-valve is the way to go.

• A large kettle for boiling wort. If you play your cards right, you could move wort from the mash tun back to the hot liquor tank for the boil, but many brewers prefer to have three separate vessels. Keep in mind that over the course of a 60 minute boil, you’ll probably evaporate 20% or more of your volume. You also don’t want the wort to go all the way to the top of the kettle. If you want to end up with 5 gallons of wort, you need a brew kettle that holds 7 gallons or more.

• Wort chiller – Beginning homebrewers might get by with an ice bath in the kitchen sink, but if you need to cool 5 gallons of boiling wort, an Immersion Wort Chiller makes things much easier. Depending on the temperature of the cold water going through the chiller, these can chill wort to pitching temperature in 15-20 minutes.

• pH Testing EquipmentpH Test Strips are the most affordable option, but a Digital pH Meter is much more accurate and easier to use.

Thermometer – even if you have a thermometer built in to your mash tun, it help to have another one to measure the temperature of your sparge water.

Grain Mill – You can get by without one, but you will have to buy pre-crushed malt (or borrow a mill from a friend!).

Gypsum and Calcium Carbonate – These minerals will help you adjust mash pH.

Gas burner – Not essential, but if you have the space to safely use one, an outdoor gas burner will save a lot of time when heating water.

There are about as many different homebrew setups as there are homebrewers, but these are some of minimum requirements for all grain brewing. From there, you can easily customize your setup with countless doo-dads and gizmos. If you’re looking for ways to save a little money, consider the Brew-in-a-Bag (BIAB) technique, which we will cover in another post.

Want to learn more about all grain brewing? Stay tuned for more!

Restarting A Stuck Mead Fermentation

Stuck Mead FermentationI just started my first batch of Mead. I followed your recipe to the tee. Now after 4 days my SG is 1.062. The Mead is fermenting slow or may have stopped fermenting completely. When will it drop to 1.030-1.040.?

Name: Tony A.
State: SD
Hello Tony,

What you may be experiencing is a stuck mead fermentation. This is something that is not all uncommon when fermenting honey, so don’t feel like you’ve done anything wrong or that the mead is doomed to failure. A slow or stuck mead fermentation is a simple issue with a simple fix. I’m confident you will be successful in restarting the fermentation.

The reason this is happening is because there is an array of varying sugars in honey, each with its own molecular makeup. Some of the sugars have a very complex cell structures. Others are not so complex. These are called complex sugars and simple sugars.

When a mead fermentation starts off, the simplest of the sugars are consumed first. This is because these are the sugars that are easiest for the wine yeast to consume. The yeast grab on to the lowest hanging fruit, first, so to speak. But as the fermentation continues there slowly becomes a point when all that’s left are the more complex sugars.

These sugars have large cell structures that can not be readily consumed by the wine yeast in their current state. The wine yeast must first break down the complex sugars into a simpler form. This is done with enzymes. The wine yeast will naturally excrete enzymes through out the fermentation and even more so when simple sugars are less available. The enzymes break down the complex chains of molecules into something smaller, simpler and easier for the yeast to digest.

Tony, this is where your mead fermentation stands, currently. This is why you have a stuck mead fermentation. It has seemingly hit a brick wall because the wine yeast have ran out of simple sugars to consume. What’s happening now is that they are nibbling away the best they can at the more complex sugars as the yeasts’ enzymes slowly break them down. This equates to a slow fermentation or on that stops, too early.

If you do nothing, the mead fermentation will more than likely finish on its own… eventually. But this is something that could take months to run its course. Fortunately, there are some things you can do to help restart the stuck mead fermentation:Shop Yeast Nutrients

  • Add magnesium sulfate to the mead. Another struggle for the wine yeast is that a honey fermentation is low in pH. By adding a small amount of magnesium sulfate to the must (1/2 teaspoon to 5 gallons) you can put the wine yeast in the proper playing field for a healthier fermentation.
  • Add a 1/2 dose of yeast nutrient to the mead. This would be 3/4 tablespoon to 5 gallons.

By doing the above three procedures, restarting a slow or stuck mead fermentation should come about very easily.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

Hops, Malt and Zen: How I Learned to Relax, Not Worry and Enjoy Homebrewing

Zen HomebrewingToday we have a guest post from beer blogger Bryan Roth, who explains why sometimes it’s nice to just sit back, relax, and let the beer brew itself.
Technically, homebrewing is a science. But you’re not defusing an atom bomb – it’s just beer.

While I spent time on my early batches worrying about the intricate details of IBUs and grain bill percentages, I eventually let all that melt away. I’m a homebrewer. It’s fun. We should treat it that way!

No matter how you achieve the end product, the journey that gets you to a cold, frothy brew in a glass should be an enjoyable one. So let’s put away our refractometers, cool our jets in an ice bath, and reflect on the fun meaning of homebrewing.

Here are five lessons I learned to make sure homebrewing is always fun and stress-free:

Beer is flexible
A common adage among homebrewers is how forgiving beer can be. Compared to baking a cake or cooking soup, where small recipe changes can completely change the final product, a few extra ounces of malt isn’t going to make or break your brew.

There is some room for error with homebrewing, especially with styles like stouts or even a hopped-up IPA. It’s amazing what a little yeast, CO2 and alcohol can do to fix a mistake like a fly nose-diving into cooled wort (my SMaSH IPA last summer).

Brew time = play time
I homebrew outside on a small concrete slab in my backyard next to my wife’s garden. Being in close proximity to herbs and flowers constantly makes me second-guess recipe outlines I use for my brews. Half the fun of homebrewing is being able to experiment.

Don’t be afraid to grab something from home or your own garden and think how it could improve your next brew. Last-minute decisions to toss in some rosemary in an IPA I made this spring gave it some extra piney notes and lavender in a saison offered an incredible herbal aroma that paired with fruity Belgian esters.

Don’t sweat the small stuff…
There are just two aspects of homebrewing I pledge complete allegiance to: temperature and sanitation. As far as I’m concerned, there’s no need to get caught up in the nitty-gritty.

Some homebrewers may find good fun in having complete oversight of quality control and the brewing process, but for others, pH levels or water quality are something that may never cross your mind. That’s OK.

… but a little preparation goes a long way
A lot can seem to go wrong on brew day, but I’ve found it’s nearly always my anxiety making me worry. No need to be a helicopter parent to your brewing baby, especially when it’s easy to have an “emergency kit” of supplies just in case.

Instead of making extra trips to your homebrew store, keep some emergency items around the house. I always store two clean-fermenting Safale US-05 dry yeast packets in my fridge as a precaution and love having some extra muslin bags and Star-San sitting around.

Most important – don’t forget to always keep at least one chilled beer at the ready for brew day!

“Relax. Don’t worry. Have a homebrew.”
There’s a reason Charlie Papazian is considered the godfather of modern homebrewing, and that little gem of a quote is part of it. I always think of it as I’m sitting in my backyard with the wort boiling and my cares fading away.

Brew days can be long and tiring, especially when worrying about hitting efficiencies and getting temperatures just right. It’s easy to forget in the middle of mashing in just how exciting it will be to take the first sip of the beer you’re making. It never hurts to reflect on how pleasant an afternoon can be brewing with friends or even by yourself. Even if you think you screwed something up, all will be fine in the end.

From the beginner to the award-winning homebrewer, it’s important for all of us to remember what a great experience homebrewing can be and the people we’ll meet because of it. It’s a hobby that becomes more fun the more comfortable you are with it.

Next time you strain water from your malt or add your hops, keep in mind it’s OK to give yourself leeway. Relax, don’t worry, have a homebrew. Chances are you’ll still get tasty beer in the end.
Bryan Roth is a beer nerd and homebrewer living in Durham, North Carolina. You can read his thoughts on beer and the beer industry on his blog, This Is Why I’m Drunk, and send him suggestions on how to get his wife to drink craft beer via Twitter at @bryandroth.

What Are Yeast Nutrients In Wine Making?

Yeast Nutrient In Wine MakingIn home winemaking for the keep-it-simple winemakers, you toss yeast into wine must and see what happens.  What’s the problem here?  There are a lot of problems here, but the one we are referring to relates to the ability of that yeast to complete a wine fermentation.   One major component that’s missing from this equation is yeast nutrients!  Just as humans need sustenance to move and be active, wine yeasts also need nutrients to keep their metabolism going and to keep the fermentation going strong. But what are yeast nutrients in wine making?…

For wine yeasts, it takes a heck of a lot of energy to multiply themselves into a viable colony, then turn the sugars of the juice into alcohol and carbon dioxide, so their energy really needs to be thoroughly replenished in order for them to not give up and die from exhaustion. The alternative is a stuck fermentation where the yeast activity comes to a complete halt.  Wine yeasts are living creatures (yes, they are teeny tiny, but they are still alive and kicking!), and they need to have their nutrients replaced when it is depleted through the rigorous activity of fermentation!

OK, so your wine yeasts need yeast nutrients in order to avoid a stuck or stopped fermentation.  What do I give them?  Multivitamins?  Pasta primavera?  Red Bull?  Surely those items will cause more harm than good for your wine, so instead, we’ll recommend some nutrient products for your wine yeast to munch on in order to ensure your wine fermentation keeps on going until the end.
Shop Wine Yeast

  • Di-Ammonium phosphate:  This is a common ingredient in a lot of wine yeast nutrients, and is the primary ingredient in the product Yeast Nutrients.  Basically, the yeasts utilizes the nitrogen component of the Di-Ammonium phosphate in order to supply the energy they need to keep that fermentation going strong.  Nitrogen to the wine yeast is like oxygen to us humans.  How much Yeast Nutrient to add will depend upon what kind of wine you are making, You can always add more Yeast Nutrient later if your fermentation becomes sluggish, so don’t worry too much if you think you aren’t adding enough.
  • Yeast Energizer: Sometimes when the yeast nutrients you added aren’t enough, you end up with a slowing, sluggish, or otherwise stuck fermentation.  Yeast Energizer is a great product to help jump-start the fermentation again and get your wine back on track.  The primary ingredients in Yeast Energizer are Di-Ammonium phosphate (the same stuff we’ve seen before), yeast hulls, magnesium sulfate, vitamin B complex, and tricalcium phosphate.  Not only will these ingredients help re-start your fermentation, but they also will ensure that your wine fermentation will keep going and at a rapid rate.Shop Wine Making Kits

As a general rule-of-thumb, Di-Ammonium phosphate is used by itself with wines made from grapes or hearty fruits similar to grapes such as bush-type berries. But as you start making wines with fruits that are more dissimilar to grapes, you are more likely to need Yeast Energizer. Herb wines such as dandelion, rose hip are prime candidates for Yeast Energizer, as is honey wine or mead. If you are following a wine recipe it will most likely tell you which type of yeast nutrient to use in your wine.

Remember, a wine that is lacking in yeast nutrients will not only cause a slow, sluggish, or even stuck fermentation, but can cause off-flavors and aromas in your finished wine.  So, don’t forget to feed your yeasts!
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.