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Is yeast extract the same as yeast hulls and yeast nutrient? And what is the best way to use it?

TroubleShooting

Bryce Eddings — Cape Girardeau, Missouri asks,
Q

Dear Wine Wizard,

I am planning to brew my first mead this weekend. I will be using a recipe that calls for “yeast extract,” which I take to be the same as products I’ve seen called “yeast hulls” and “yeast nutrient.” Are they all the same?

Also, how worried should I be about my champagne yeast taking off in honey? I asked my buddy what he thought; he suggested a good shaking for aeration. If I do that and it doesn’t take off, can I add nutrients a few days later without fear of contamination.

A
Have no fear of the Champagne yeast failing to take off in your honey. As long as you dilute the honey accordingly, you’ll have a sugar solution that the yeast should happily ferment to dryness (in other words, minimum residual sugar) — or to whatever point at which you want to arrest fermentation with cold temperatures or sulfite additions. It ‘s always a good idea to add yeast extract, nutrient or hulls to a honey fermentation because honey lacks many of the essential nutrients that yeast need to survive. Though they serve a similar purpose, the above additives are not one and the same. Yeast hulls (sometimes called “yeast ghosts”) are essentially yeast skeletons. They’re the freeze-dried empty shells of yeast cells that have had the water and other liquid elements sucked out of them. Sounds a little gruesome, but yeast hulls provide extra nutrients that are critical to a fermentation. Yeast extract, on the other hand, is basically a concentrated slurry of dead yeast cells. It’s sold dehydrated or wet. This slurry is rich in vitamins, minerals, nitrogen and
Response by Alison Crowe.