There’s A Yeasty Smell In My Wine. Should I Dump It!?

Noticing Yeasty Smell In WineI’m still learning this process but haven’t had this happen. Got 3 gallons of Muscadine wine I was gonna bottle up. When opened up it has a very strong “yeasty” smell in the wine. Made this a couple times and never had this happen. Only thing I did different was use a different wine yeast. (Montrachet instead of lavlin 71b 1122.) I may have forgotten to rack the wine after it had been placed in the secondary fermenter. Either forgot to write it in log or didn’t do it. Seems I read somewhere that could cause this issue. Anyway, should I bottle this or dump it and start a new batch when the Muscadines ripen this summer. Thanks for the advice……..

Name: Bill B
State: SC
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Hello Bill,

There is absolutely no reason to dump any wine because it has a yeasty smell. This is an issue that comes about from time to time that is easily overcome.Shop Wine Yeast

It is true that different wine yeast have different amounts of yeast odors, but the yeast smell also increases the more the yeast become stressed. If the fermentation is done in an environment that does not make the wine yeast happy, you will get more of this odor.

Examples causing stress are:

  • Fermenting at too warm of a temperature
  • Fermenting with not enough nutrients in the wine must
  • Fermenting with too little yeast to perform the job at hand

The last one typically happens with old wine yeast is used, or a significant portion of the yeast cells are killed in the rehydration process.

Most of the time this odor will go away on it’s own throughout the natural course of the winemaking process. Racking the wine is one of the times that this odor is able to release from the wine and dissipate. You stated that you are not sure if you racked the wine, so this could be all that’s wrong with the wine.

Shop Potassium BisulfiteAnother normal activity in the winemaking process that releases this odor is adding sulfites. This would either be Campden tablets, potassium metabisulfite or sodium metabisulfite. If you do not ever add any of these then this can contribute to the yeasty smell in the wine.

A sulfite should always be added to a wine anyway to protect it from spoilage and oxidation, but doing so also drives out unwanted volatile gases that are in the wine from the fermentation – such as the ones you are smelling. If you haven’t done so already, the simple task of adding a standard dose of sulfites and waiting a few days may be all that is needed.

Since you are not sure if you racked your wine or not, I’m guess that all you need to do is rack the wine and add sulfites. Hope this should get rid of the yeasty smell in your wine. In not, repeat the process. Rack the wine in a splashing manner and then add sulfites again.

If you find that the yeast smell in the wine is not leaving that you may want to take a look at what to do about treating wine with a hydrogen sulfite issue.Shop Mini Jet Wine Filter

Just remember next time to keep your wine yeast happy, regardless of the type used; rack your wine sufficiently; and always use sulfites in your wine. Do these things and you should not have this problem again.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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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.

8 thoughts on “There’s A Yeasty Smell In My Wine. Should I Dump It!?

  1. I have a similar issue, I made my wine and it smells real yeasty and when I checked the alcohol it read zero. Please help, this is the second batch and I don’t have the heart to throw them out.

    • Josh, actually your wine is in good shape. A yeast smell is something that is normal at the end of fermentation. It will diminish as the wine clears and time passes. By the time you get ready to bottle the wine, it shouldn’t be noticeable. The 0% alcohol reading on your hydrometer in not telling you how much alcohol is in your wine. It is telling you how much more alcohol can be made with the sugars that still remain in the wine must. That’s why the scale on the hydrometer is called “potential” alcohol. In your case 0% more alcohol can be made, which is another way of saying your fermentation is done. Here is some more info on this:

      What Happened! There’s No Alcohol In My Wine
      http://www.eckraus.com/blog/there-is-no-alcohol-in-my-wine

  2. I alsi have a problem like this. I made a batch of strawberry wine and once the bubbling slowed down to almost a stop i racked it until it was crystal clear (about 3 times) until the bubbling had completely finished. When i tasted it, it had a yeasty taste. I figured it just wasnt finished settling out but its been sitting for about 2 months now and there hasnt been any settlement and the taste is still there.

    • If wine that lacks charater is rested on the lees, usualy light lees, it picks up some intricacy that can be called bready. In some wines this is a good thing. I bet if you try this test, if it is in glass, in darkness, shine a flash light through it. Suspended particles that you may not see witha naked eye in daylight will scatter light and you’ll maybe able to see the beam. In a perfectly clear wine the light will pass straight through. Fruit wines can sometmes take a year to completely settle on their own. If you scrub it up by filtering or fining a fragile wine like strawbery you risk stripping it of color and flavor. Keep the meta levels correct, keep light and oxygen away from it, store it at an even cool temperature and wait. It will be fine.

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