Tips for Fermentation Rate Management
- Know the characteristics of the yeast strain used: The yeast strain may be performing exactly as it should under the circumstances depending upon temperature, nutrient and sulfite tolerances. On the other hand, the stain may not be performing as it should meaning something is wrong with the composition of the juice.
- Know nutrient levels: blanket nutrient additions may lead to overfeeding and too rapid of a rate of fermentation just as underfeeding may lead to a sluggish rate of fermentation. Analysis of juice nitrogen is of benefit in determining more precisely the amount of nitrogen to add.
- Keep calculations on the production floor simple: Complex calculations of sulfite or nutrient additions should not be relegated to the production floor. Things are often too hectic and interruptions too frequent for errors not to occur.
- Monitor microbial populations: A microscope is a sound investment. The presence of bacteria and non-Saccharomyces yeasts can be detected and the vitality of the Saccharomyces population determined by assessing the percentage of budding cells. Cell counts can also be made using a counting chamber.
- Develop practices that facilitate communication: Simple communication methods for additions made to tanks during hectic times of production should be in place. This will avoid multiple additions being made to the same tank and lack of additions to others. Even if a single person is making the addition, they can make errors if interruptions are frequent. Something as simple as removing a colored tag when an addition has been made can prevent errors in both multiple additions and lack of communication among crew members. Assume a scenario of complete chaos when devising a communication and tank recording strategy for crush. Also make sure additions are well labeled. All strains look remarkably similar when sitting in a rehydration bucket.