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Yeast nutrient detracting from cider flavors

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Post time 2022-10-31 12:45:02 | Show all posts |Read mode
Have done some historical reading on this - however doesn't seem to be much available and little consensus...
Started a few micro cider batches couple of weeks ago and have done some sampling and it seems flavors are down. What changed? Recently, having finished a container of diammonium phosphate and food-grade urea yeast nutrient, which I was adding at one third the recommended amount, I purchased one advertised to have "a balanced blend of proteins, amino acids and vitamins to improve yeast activity during fermentation" and began adding that according to instructions.
There have been historical discussions of whether yeast nutrients are recommended for ciders. This seems like a bit of an unexplored frontier, thoughts on yeast nutrient potentially detracting from flavors? I might go out on a limb and propose in addition to being less flavorful the ciders are now slightly tasting like what the new nutrient smells like. Insights and word of any similar experiences appreciated -
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Post time 2022-10-31 14:01:02 | Show all posts
Tiny amounts of nutrients shouldn't be adding any perceptible flavors to your cider, not detracting from the cider flavors, or I'd highly doubt it.
That being said, I don't use nutrients in my ciders. I see zero reason to. My ciders turn out great without nutrients added.
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Post time 2022-10-31 20:38:57 | Show all posts
Interesting questions! I am also curious about the role of DAP and other nutrients and certainly haven't seen anything about their effect of taste. I am definitely no expert on the subject but following is my understanding of the nutrient situation and, although it doesn't answer the questions, it at least colours in the background.
I started making cider years ago when we moved out of town to a rural property which just happened to have a small orchard which included eight apple trees (after all, how many apples can you eat in a year???)
My first foray into cider was to visit the nearest (2 hours away) big town home brew shop and walk away with a bunch of stuff including EC1118 and DAP... "put a teaspoon of this stuff in every gallon", the man said. So initially that is what I did.
Along the way, I found HBT and managed to get enough advice about yeasts, processes, etc, which with time and experience turned some really horrible ciders into a few that have won prizes at the local rural shows, as well as being great to drink.
Moving on a few years and Santa gave me both Claude Jolicoeur's and Andrew Lea's books... another great leap forward, which brings me to the present day.
I have backed off with the DAP. The recommended teaspoon per gallon is about 1000ppm. CJ also had backed off on DAP having found that with a teaspoon per gallon "fermentation picked up like a rocket". Not what he wanted because he is a fan of slow fermentation and is happy to use 10ppm to progress a stuck fermentation by about SG 0.004. He also writes about using stabilisation rackings to reduce the nutrient level to a point where fermentation can't continue, so a sweet, stable cider remains.
Similarly, at Long Ashton Research Station AL found that 50ppm is needed for each 0.010 of SG drop required. I currently add 1/4 teaspoon of DAP (bout 250ppm) with a teaspoon of yeast to a gallon which adds around 50ppm of YAN. When this is added to the YAN already in the juice it is probably more than is needed but is an insurance policy against incomplete fermentation as I like to have about 2 volumes of carbonation which requires carbonation sugar to be fermented. Generally, this results in about a two-week primary fermentation down to around 1.030 then a month in secondary before fiddling around with priming sugar, bottling, pasteurisation etc. Maybe the DAP/YAN makes it happen all a bit too fast.
All of this is based on the notion that complete fermentation requires the apple juice to have over 50ppm of YAN (Yeast Assimilable Nitrogen), which may not be the case with old, unfertilised trees and very ripe apples (possibly like mine,). Although, cider has been successfully made for the past squillion years from all sorts of trees without the need for added nutrients (maybe we are becoming too clever for our own good!).
So, it seems that a stuck fermentation may require the addition of YAN in the form of DAP or a similar nutrient. I have certainly found that adding DAP and yeast (1/4 tsp plus 1/4tsp to a gallon) has kick started the odd stuck fermentation after bringing it into the warmth didn't work. Having said that, too many apples led to "let's make a straight Red Delicious natural ferment, just to use them up" (no yeast, no DAP) which turned out to be excellent by itself with no help from me except for bottling!
I wonder if commercial cideries use nutrients to manage the speed of production.
Although the above is about fermentation, I haven't noticed any DAP effect on taste but haven't done any comparison tests either... let the discussion continue.
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Post time 2022-10-31 23:48:15 | Show all posts
I think that the amount of nutrients you need to add is dependent on the existing YAN of the apple juice and the nitrogen requirements of the yeast. I usually add some nutrients to my cider, but I have been moving away from DAP to using organic nutients.
If you add too much nutrient, the leftover nutrients once the yeast have finished digestig the sugar might add an unwanted flavor. So it is important to get the amount of added nutrients right.
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Post time 2022-11-1 03:39:07 | Show all posts
Just try them. Do you want this taste in your cider? If not, can you be 100% sure that the yeast can metabolize the whole amount you put into the cider?
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Post time 2022-11-1 08:43:36 | Show all posts
Definately can add off flavor if adding too much. DAP or Fermaid K / O. I had a mead that I calculated incorrectly x2. To correct it I split it and added additional water and honey in effect doubling the volume.
As mentioned by @Raptor99 the key is to calculate the amount of nutrient / YAN required taking into account tge amount the apple juice or cider brings to the table,
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Post time 2022-11-1 17:06:59 | Show all posts
Raptor99, what organic nutrients do you use for increasing the YAN? I believe that, DAP is also used as an agricultural fertiliser, which sounds a bit gross although I guess that the product sold for cider etc is a bit more refined than that.
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Post time 2022-11-1 17:50:11 | Show all posts
I use GoFerm when I hydrate the yeast, then I use Ferm-O. Part way through the first half of fermentation I use Ferm-K or "Yeast Energizer," both of which contain some DAP. But DAP by itself should be used sparingly, because it is like junk food for yeast. They will use it first, but it is not very healthy for them.
I have discovered that "Yeast Nutrient" is mostly urea plus some DAP. See this post for a discussion: LD Carlson 'Yeast Nutrient' may be as much as 5/6 urea and provide north of 500 YAN at package dosing
I learned about SNA (Staggered Nutrient Addition) from making mead, so I have been applying a simplified version of that to making cider. Something like this:
* Hydrate yeast with GoFerm
* 12 hours after yeast pitch, add Ferm O
* 36 hours after yeast pitch, add Ferm K
As to the amounts of Ferm O and Ferm K, I use an SNA calculator.
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Post time 2022-11-4 18:43:11 | Show all posts
Hmm, I came across this thread because I am having a similar issue. I do not know all the exact jargon as you experts certainly have shown with your YAN calculations, etc.
Suffice it to say for me, my previous nutrient was kind of small clearish crystals, and I think my current may have those 'added for best' or whatever in it as it is a yellowish powder, smells like dead yeast and now my cider is actually seeming to take longer to finish ferment, and smelling and tasting a lot more yeasty. How do I get back to the good stuff. Anyone have an amazon linkage for this poor old man?
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 Author| Post time 2022-11-5 08:06:00 | Show all posts
Amazon.com : Yeast Nutrient 1 lb. : Health & HouseholdAmazon.com : Yeast Nutrient 1 lb. : Health & Householdwww.amazon.com
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 Author| Post time 2022-11-5 08:13:29 | Show all posts
Agree with everything you wrote. I've been avoiding commenting on this because I also don't appreciate the technical details. All I know is I went from adding the "small clearish crystals" in less than one third the recommended amount and was turning out tremendous results, then switched to the "added for best" and stupidly added that in the rather large suggested amount and my flavors went over a cliff, blagh, never again
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Post time 2022-11-5 19:28:04 | Show all posts
Agreed, and thanks for the link. Yeah, I only make one gallon batches, so what one tsp per gallon of the crystals, yet it didn't matter how little of the powder I used, kind of yuck.
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Post time 2022-11-5 20:03:38 | Show all posts
I am afraid that the biochemical carry on is way beyond me also, but I wonder if the "small clearish crystals" you used previously were simply food grade DAP (there is a grey/brown "fertiliser grade"... yuk!). It sounds like the stuff I have used, bought on-line from one of the many local home-brew suppliers. I imagine that it is available where you are, although I also notice that there are DAP + other ingredient products available which can be a brown colour.
Because I was "told to do it" when I started, I have used DAP with every fermentation but will now try without to see what difference it makes.
Regular readers of posts will know that I am a fan of Jolicoeur and Lea for information. They both suggest small amounts of DAP for complete fermentation or even to control where fermentation stops with low YAN apples. They indicate that DAP is 21% Nitrogen, so as suggested above, 1/4 tsp of DAP per gal should ensure a modest boost in YAN to ensure a "happy" fermentation without overdoing it. The "normal" manufacturers recommended dose of a teaspoon per gallon is 1000 ppm of DAP, but this just sounds like too much to me and as suggested by others, may contribute to strange tastes.
There is a website ciderworkshop.com which sometimes gets into technical aspects of cider making and often gets answers from Andrew Lea or Clause Jolicoeur. It might be worth asking the question there.
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 Author| Post time 2022-11-5 21:40:46 | Show all posts
Indeed, you cider artists ... As a simple ingredients-adder ... I have just received delivery of ...
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 Author| Post time 2022-11-5 22:11:18 | Show all posts
..... there is a commonly available granular "yeast nutrient" available in NA that certainly sounds like is being discussed
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Post time 2022-11-5 22:16:41 | Show all posts
Welcome to CJ's book. Chapter 14.2 is where the above stuff came from.
Cheers.
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