Experiment with EC-1118

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Experiment with EC-1118

Postby KatoFong » Wed May 17, 2006 1:32 pm

So lately there's been a few discussions about EC-1118. Some call it friend, others call it foe. Some people note its fast ferment, while others (myself in particular) say it has a tendency to lag. One source on the parent site recommends it as a good wash yeast, because it ferments out really crisp and clean, while I personally find it tends to be a bit funky when it ferments.

In researching EC-1118, I've found it's a pris de mousse yeast. As near as I can figure, that means it's meant to be added with sugar to an already fermented wine to add carbonation, as you would do in making champagne. Hence the high alcohol tolerance (a low tolerance yeast wouldn't be able to start a good ferment in an already fermented wine). In working with it recently on a mead, I noticed that, when I fermented the primary well under its alcohol tolerance and then added sugar and fruit to it in the secondary, it 1) roared to life in the secondary and 2) fermented out crisper than I had seen it do before. Its ferment also had a better defined end with the yeast settling and the wine clarifying relatively succinctly.

So tonight I'm beginning an experiment. I'm going to start a batch of wine using the following recipe and see what we end up with:

In primary:

25 lbs store-bought white grapes
7 lbs sugar
Water to 3 gallons
10 or so sachets of EC-1118
Some fresh OJ (for fine vegetable matter)
Yeast nutrient

Crush grapes in primary. Invert the sugar by dissolving into 1 gallon of boiling water with a few tsps of citric acid added. Add to primary and top off with remaining water. Rehydrate yeast and stir into the must. Cover with cheesecloth and loose lid and let sit for three days. Aerate regularly.

After three days, strain grape matter from the surface of the must, taking care to press out as much juice as possible. Siphon must into secondary.

In secondary:

Add to must

3 lbs sugar, dissolved into enough water to bring total to five gallons
(potentially) 0ne can 100% grape juice concentrate.

Mix thoroughly into must and afix airlock. Let it ferment out.

Alternately, I may do two secondary additions of sugar to the must, so as to bring the alcohol up gradually. My hope is that the incremental ferment will produce a better "wine" than simply dumping a bunch of sugar and letting the yeast go unsupervised.
Last edited by KatoFong on Thu May 18, 2006 6:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby possum » Wed May 17, 2006 2:08 pm

Good luck KatoFong. It seems like a good plan. I have had good luck with the re-sugaring process for my raspberry, and wineberry wine.

My next wine experiment is going to use a similar plan, but I like sweet wine, so I'll POISON my yeast with some spirit, and keep some sweetness by bosting the %abv to 20+%. That should remove the need for chemical stabilizers or synthetic sweetners.
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Postby KatoFong » Thu May 18, 2006 6:10 am

So you'll basically be making a port-style fortified wine, then?
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Postby possum » Thu May 18, 2006 6:21 am

Exactly, but not with grapes, berry fruit.
The red wineberrys and black raspberrys grow around the cemetaries and roadsides in Southern PA. About the last week of june untill mid july the fruit should be ready. I just hope I can get the time to pick them with my summer classes (away from my usual residence by 200miles). If I can get a good pickin' on I will probably freeze 'em untill I can get the yeasties in effect...it will be a little cooler then in september anyway and I should have more time.

When I fed my fruit wines in multiple stages using REDSTAR CHMPAGNE last year the end result was good. My sister liked it very much, but the supply is gone now.
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Postby WhiteLightning » Sat May 20, 2006 6:34 pm

I've found that the EC-1118 yeast is better than the Red Star champange yeast, but neither are anywhere as good as; http://www.whitelabs.com/gravity.html
This stuff is super-amazing. My local brew shop carries the stuff, and along with most of White Labs yeast products. Anyway this stuff ferments really fast, it says to aerate, but you dont really need to do it.
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Postby possum » Sat May 20, 2006 8:06 pm

I thought that ec-1118 and red* champ were the same, but distributed by different companies ? No matter. I absoloutly love the platnum25 from White labs ! I used it mixed along with crosby distillers yeast for my rum and whiskey. It is the stuff. Crosby distillers gives good results by itself as well. But together my rum came out great, fast, highly alcoholic (before distill), and compleatly dry. I did get to feeding my rum in stages after building up a big yeast population.

I've had "a couple of drops" already tonight, I can't wait untill I get some more of of that rum going again.

Like I mentioned earlier, I had pretty good final product from the red* champ for wine, but for all sugar and nutrient wash, it was poopy.
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Postby KatoFong » Sat May 20, 2006 9:26 pm

Started this batch today. 15lbs grapes, but I'll fortify the taste with grape juice in the secondary. This is the first time I've used whole grapes for a wine, so I wasn't sure how much juice the grapes would release. It turned out they released a lot more than I had thought. Also, lacking a mechanical method to crush them, I had to resort to the old methods...I stomped them. Not with my feet, but it was basically the same method. I feel so Italian.

It's bubbling happily away and my kitchen smells pleasantly of yeast. In about a week, I'm going to rack it into the secondary and add sugar and juice.
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Postby possum » Sat May 20, 2006 9:33 pm

Did you use campden tablets or anything like that to kill off the wild yeasts ?
It is not 100% required, but it helps to have only the organisms that you desire in there. It will probably work anyway, it might be too late to mention it.
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Postby KatoFong » Sun May 21, 2006 7:03 am

I didn't use a campden tablet, no, but I gave them a good thorough washing beforehand. And I think I used enough EC-1118 in the wash that any wild yeasts will quickly be rubbed out. I just aerated the wash and it's bubbling pretty vigorouslY, so someone's working on it.
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Postby pothead » Mon May 22, 2006 4:32 pm

Here is what I did with the last few grape batches....
Put 20lbs grapes in nylon bag(the coarse kind), then I put them in a big stock pot and boiled them, added 5lbs sugar, then simmered them for a couple hours(mashing them in the bag heavily every 10 minutes or so). Then I let it cool, pour it into a fermenting bucket(keeping the grapes in the bag in the fermenter) add my nutrients, a little lemon juice, and yeast, and let it go. I gave the bag a good pressing twice a day. I let it go for 2 weeks, then pull the bag out and toss it. I let it settle for another 2 weeks, than run it.
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Postby KatoFong » Wed May 24, 2006 6:44 am

Where do you get the nylon bag?

I strained the grape matter from the top last night and transferred into a secondary and gave the yeast a second feeding of grape juice and sugar. This wash is fermenting far more vigorously than I've ever seen before with EC-1118...seriously, it's a little frightening to watch. So I'm either on to something with this staged feeding thing or something wild has taken hold.

I'm going to let this run until things settle a bit and I can rack it, then I'll rack off the lees, add another two to four pounds of sugar (total added sugar to=12 lbs) and as much grape juice as it takes to pull everything up to 5 gallons. Then I'll let it go until it fairly well clears and run it. Really I've got no reason to rush this one. My still is with a welder right now, so it's going to be a while before I can run anything anyway.
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Postby Tater » Wed May 24, 2006 11:05 am

Paint store carry bags to strain paint. They have them big enough to fit a 5 gallon bucket.
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Postby KatoFong » Wed May 24, 2006 11:50 am

I'll remember that next time I make a wash like this or any wine from grapes. I know a suprising number of people who have fruiting grape vines growing around their houses. A Chicago vintage could be in order.
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Postby Big J » Fri Jun 30, 2006 6:03 am

Any updates on this? Curious how it went.

I started out using EC-1118 but have been experimenting with other yeasts on my molasses washes, as I wasn't happy with the flavor of my rum. I spoke with some really knowledgeable people in the local wine industry and they weren't big fans of EC-1118. I'm looking forward to seeing how other yeasts affect the flavor of my finished product.

Curious to see how it works out for you as its made for grapes and not molasses!

Cheers,
J
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Postby pothead » Fri Jun 30, 2006 6:18 am

I prefer bakers yeast for molasess and grapes
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Postby KatoFong » Fri Jun 30, 2006 6:47 am

Whoops...I had forgotten all about this. The five gallons are sitting in my closet at the moment. I haven't seen any activity in the airlock for a while, so I'm going to run it this weekend.

Oddly, the yeast didn't roar to life quite like I had expected when I added extra sugar and juice. I had thought it would really wake right up, but it didn't. I'll give it a taste test tomorrow and see if the sugar has been fermenting...there's alcohol there, but how much of its potential alcohol has been consumed is still a mystery.

I might also run the orange mead I made, since it's also having a bitch of a time clearing.

I've got a lot of EC-1118 left from my last yeast purchase, so I'm a bit stuck with it, but in the future, I may forego it entirely. If anyone's got recommendations on other yeasts to use, I'd love to hear them.
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Postby Uncle Remus » Sat Jul 01, 2006 6:51 am

I have had pretty good luck with EC1118 with rum, and sugar washes. It does however take a long time to ferment. My last sugar wash stuck, so I poured it over some spent grain from a whiskey wash and away it went, finished fermenting in 2 days. I don't know why it stuck-everything was the same as previous washes? But anyway I haven't written EC off because of one stuck wash. I'm really happy with the vodka I've made from EC, it's better than any turbo wash vodka I've made by a long shot.

For gains I swear by Gert Strand whiskey distillers yeast. Pot distillers yeast is great for fruits.

The distributer up here for Gert Strand decided to stop carrying the whiskey yeast (which pisses me off to no end-no one else can sell Gert Strand products in Canada cuz these people at Brewhaus hold the licence and yet they stopped carrying many products I use :evil: )

So anyway I've been keeping a culture going. I take a gallon jar of the grain and dregs from the bottom of the fermenter and add a little sugar water to keep it happy and then throw it in the fridge. The next time I make a grain mash I throw it in. So far it starts fermenting very quickly and finishes up in just a couple days.
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Postby theholymackerel » Sat Jul 01, 2006 10:39 am

I have a rum wash workin' right now that has a blend of EC-118 and bakers yeast.

My favorite use for EC-118 is with fruit... it makes wonderful brandies.
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Postby KatoFong » Sat Jul 01, 2006 1:10 pm

That it does...takes forever, though.
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Postby Tater » Sat Jul 01, 2006 1:19 pm

Yep its slow but sure .End results have so far made wait worth it. :D
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Postby Rebel_Yell » Sun Jul 02, 2006 9:59 am

Uncle Remus wrote:I have had pretty good luck with EC1118 with rum, and sugar washes. It does however take a long time to ferment. My last sugar wash stuck, so I poured it over some spent grain from a whiskey wash and away it went, finished fermenting in 2 days. I don't know why it stuck-everything was the same as previous washes? But anyway I haven't written EC off because of one stuck wash. I'm really happy with the vodka I've made from EC, it's better than any turbo wash vodka I've made by a long shot.

For gains I swear by Gert Strand whiskey distillers yeast. Pot distillers yeast is great for fruits.

The distributer up here for Gert Strand decided to stop carrying the whiskey yeast (which pisses me off to no end-no one else can sell Gert Strand products in Canada cuz these people at Brewhaus hold the licence and yet they stopped carrying many products I use :evil: )

So anyway I've been keeping a culture going. I take a gallon jar of the grain and dregs from the bottom of the fermenter and add a little sugar water to keep it happy and then throw it in the fridge. The next time I make a grain mash I throw it in. So far it starts fermenting very quickly and finishes up in just a couple days.


That's great to know there UR.
Thanks for the imfo.

I would love to hear the continuing details of your efforts to keep your yeast strain alive.

What are you using for yeast nutrients?

RE-RAIL... Thanks for the imfo on EC-1118. I have been considering the case of it versus Red-Star yeast.
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Postby Uncle Remus » Mon Jul 03, 2006 1:57 pm

Haven't added any nutrients yet. I'm hoping the yeast will find enough nutrients in the grain. Like I said all I've done is collected some of the dreggs from the bottom of the fermenter, added a bit of sugar water and threw it in the fridge...It's made it through a couple generations so far and seems to work well when added to a new wash.

...if anyone has experience in saving yeast cultures and has any suggestions, I'm all ears. :)
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Postby Rebel_Yell » Tue Jul 04, 2006 5:38 am

That's good to know. Thanks for the reply.
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Postby KatoFong » Sat Jul 08, 2006 7:53 am

Quick update: The wine I made from the EC-1118 has cleared and I'm racking it off the lees and the remaining vegetable matter right now. The wine that came of it is very dry and lacks any of the usual funk I've come to expect from this yeast. I'm going to strip it today and refine it down to 85% over the week. Last time I made brandy from this wash, it came out very smooth.
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Postby KatoFong » Fri Jul 14, 2006 8:25 am

Further update: I've been running this brandy for the past couple of days. Started with a stripping run and then ran the whole thing again last night. I took about two liters of 80% and two liters of 60% (cumulative), then stopped the run at 95 C. I'll take that 60% and further rectify it later this weekend. I'm going to fall short of my end goal of four liters of 85% alcohol, so I'll do what I did last time and supplement it with a few jugs of Carlo Rossi blended with Everclear.
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Postby Enlikil » Sat Sep 22, 2007 1:12 am

I been using EC -118 in my rum for over 30 runs now.. i love it.

It takes 5 weeks at 70 degree's to finish out. to 15%.
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Postby new_moonshiner » Sat Sep 22, 2007 7:08 am

I still prefer the EC-1118 mine takes 16-20 days to do a DWWG @ 15 percent ..well worth the wait :D
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Postby Uncle Jesse » Sat Sep 22, 2007 8:10 am

That's some slow fermentation. I've had 100% molasses mashes ferment completely overnight using a packet of baker's yeast.
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Postby wineo » Sat Sep 22, 2007 10:03 am

I have used 1118 on lots of different things,and I do like it for sugar washes,and corn mashes.It will ferment out clean if fed sugar but it is a little bland on some stuff,and takes a long time at the end to finish.It is a champangne yeast,and other strains will do much better for brandy,or wine.I still like the stuff,but not for everything.
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Postby new_moonshiner » Sat Sep 22, 2007 10:27 am

I guess thats why im so hung up on it it does make for nice clean washes .. since I do only sugar washes so far it works great for me ...I like the clean in = clean out theory ..
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