Yeast Energizer and Nutrient

September 1, 2010

Yeast likes to have a little bit of nitrogen, thiamine (vitamin B1), and pantothenate when it is eating sugar. Actually, if it does not have enough panthothenate, it actually releases hydrogen sulfide, which in the beer making world is referred to as “rhino farts.” It can manage to stink up a room, and the deficiency can cause the fermentation to slow or stop prematurely. The way to get these vitamins and minerals to the yeast is by using a yeast energizer or yeast nutrient.

There are a lot of such products out in the market, with each company making its own unique blend of for the yeast, as there really isn’t any difference in the functionality of the two. They keep the yeast healthy.

Most wine recipes make it sound like you should add the yeast nutrient when you are making the wine. That is to say, add the yeast nutrient with all the other things at the beginning, then wait 24 hours as the sulfites require before pitching the yeast. Thing is, you could actually be giving nutrients to the bad bugs, and if your fermentation doesn’t start, you have also wasted money. Since I took Peter Mitchell’s cider class, I now wait to get the fermentation up and running before I add yeast nutrient as he recommends.

Yeast nutrient comes in a powder. If you add any powder to an active fermentation, including sugar, the powder has all these pockets in which carbon dioxide can form in, a process called nucleation. As a result, it creates something like a volcano, and I’ve heard stories of adding dry yeast nutrient and setting off a reaction so violent that the must hits the ceiling! I added some yeast nutrient the other day that I apparently didn’t hydrate well enough, and it started bubbling, foaming, and fuming like a science fair volcano. All that escaped juice now wasted.

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3 Responses to “Yeast Energizer and Nutrient”


  1. […] Once the juice is fermenting, add yeast nutrient. […]


  2. […] changed the look of Measurements, Fermentation, and Racking.  Because Peter Mitchell taught me to add yeast nutrient after fermentation started, I move that down into the Fermentation portion. Again, it is kind of a check list, as is the […]


  3. […] especially since the pH is a bit high. Yesterday, I pitched a Montrachet yeast, and I will add yeast nutrient once it gets […]


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