How Much Wine Yeast Do I Use?

Packet Of Wine YeastI completed a wine recipe for 1 gal of Dandelion Wine. My Question is: The packet of wine yeast I received was enough for 5 gals of wine. In my logic I decided to just use on 1/5 of the yeast. I poured all the yeast out on a dish and divided it into 5 equal portions. Then I used just 1/5 of the yeast for my 1 gal of wine. Was this correct? I don’t know how much wine yeast to use.
Dear Bill,
Thank you for this great question on how much wine yeast to use. You’ve done what many home winemakers have done. It make perfect sense and is very logical. However, the amount of wine yeast you should use is one whole packet, even if you are just making 1 gallon of wine. There are a couple of reasons for this:
What you are adding to the wine is not an amount of wine yeast as much as you are adding a starting colony of yeast. The wine yeast in the packet represents the minimum number of yeast cells recommend to start a viable, active fermentation, regardless of batch size. When adding a packet of yeast to 5 or 6 gallons of wine, the yeast will typically multiply to around 100 to 150 times what you start with.
Shop Wine YeastIn the case of a one gallon batch of wine, the yeast will multiply to many times its original size, but not quite as many times as it does when pitched into a larger batch. The yeast will reproduce itself into great enough numbers to complete the job at hand.
So, when you add a whole packet of wine yeast to 1 gallon of wine, you are not adding too much yeast. You are simply adding the minimum amount required to support a healthy, active fermentation. Adding less then a packet could result in a slow starting fermentation that will take extra time to finish the job. It may also over-work the yeast which can result in off-flavors.
There is also the issue of what to do with the rest of the wine yeast anyway. These packets of yeast are packaged under sterile – not food-grade – conditions. They are sealed with nitrogen gas to maintain this sterile level of freshness while in the package.
Once they are opened, they are no longer sterile. The seal has been compromised. So, storing an opened package of wine yeastShop Wine Making Kits for any length of time is really not a good idea, particularly when you weigh it against how much a packet of wine yeast costs.
So the answer to the question: “how much wine yeast to use?”, is very simple. Always use the whole packet up to 5 or 6 gallons. If you are making more wine than this, add a second packet.
Happy Wine Making,
Ed Kraus
Ed Kraus is a 3rd generation home brewer/winemaker and has been an owner of E. C. Kraus since 1999. He has been helping individuals make better wine and beer for over 25 years.

38 thoughts on “How Much Wine Yeast Do I Use?

  1. hello friend
    i’m planning to make a 20 gallons batch of wine.h\what is the required quantity of wine yeast to use.
    i have lalvin ec1118 packs each for 5 gallons.

    • You will always add 1 packet of wine yeast for every 1 to 6 gallons of batch. If you have a 7 to 12 gallon batch add 2 packets, 13 to 18 gallon: 3 packets, and so forth…

    • Dano, each 5 gram packet of wine yeast will ferment 5-gallons of wine so you will need 10 packets of yeast for 50-gallons.

  2. What will happen If I use 2 packets (10 grams) of yeast to 6 gallons of wine? Is this to much yeast? Will I damage or hurt the wine? How much yeast should I use per 6 gallons of wine?

    • Nick, some wine yeast packets will only ferment up to 5-gallons of wine so adding to packets is what i would do if that were the case. Using the 2 packets will not harm your wine.

    • Barry, each packet of yeast will ferment 5-gallons of wine so you need to convert the liters into gallons. The 500 liters is about 132 gallons so you would need about 26 packets of yeast. The 300 liters is about 79 gallons so you would need about 16 packets of yeast.

  3. Hi Ed, I recently purchased a rock hard block of Lalvin EC 1118 – net : 125 g. As I say, it is rock hard but there are no instruction on the pack on how much to use, to get optimum returns. If I use a knife to shave pieces off the block – how many grams should I use in a 20 litre sugar wash ?
    Also I am told I should add a yeast nutrient & I naively bought Di ammonium Phosphate (which is the best nutrient, so I am told) but once again I ran into the problem of – how much to use ? Could you please tell me how much I need to add to a 20 litre wash ? With great thanks Garry

    • Garry, our packets of dry yeast are packaged in 5 grams. Each of these packets will ferment up to 5-gallon of wine. So for 20 liters I would say you need 5 grams.

    • Bruce, The first thing that needs to be understood is that any sugar you add at the beginning of a fermentation should have nothing to do with how sweet your wine will turn out. This sugar is added simply for the wine yeast to turn into alcohol. When the fermentation is complete, all of the sugar will have been turned into alcohol and CO2 resulting in a dry wine. If you like it that way, just bottle it as is without back-sweetening.

    • Bruce, The first thing that needs to be understood is that any sugar you add at the beginning of a fermentation should have nothing to do with how sweet your wine will turn out. This sugar is added simply for the wine yeast to turn into alcohol. When the fermentation is complete, all of the sugar will have been turned into alcohol and CO2 resulting in a dry wine. If you like it that way, just bottle it as is without back-sweetening.

  4. Ed,
    Reading the above replies, I applaud your patience. I just wanted to say thank you for the post, information, and chuckles.
    Best regards,

  5. Hi Ed.
    I’d like to ferment a juice in it’s bottle. I’m using 1/2 gallon of apple juice (about 2 litres) and will take about 500ml out to allow space for adding sugar and yeast. It is clear, listening to you, that a 5g packet of yeast is what I need for this amount.
    What I am unsure about is how much sugar to add, especially considering that the apple juice also has sweetness.
    If the yeast creates alcohol by feeding on the sugar, then can the process still work if you don’t add sugar and allow the yeast to feed off the natural juice sugars only? What is the difference?
    Second question: If I’ve fermented a juice like described above, then I am wondering why it is still sweet after 10 days? I was thinking that I’ve added too much sugar or too little yeast. The latter I understand is not the case because you’ve explained the the yeast multiplies and there will never be too little to handle the natural sugar and the added sugar.
    Third question: Will more time spent fermenting (let’s say another week) remove more sugar and progressively make the brew less sweet, which is what I’m trying to achieve?
    NB! I have used instant yeast (E491) and brewer’s yeast. Is this something that I should change?

    • Hi Lance,
      Question 1: Apple juice typically has enough natural sugars to produce 5% to 7% alcohol. I don’t know how the math will break down for the size containers you are using, but for every pound of sugar you add to 5 gallons of wine must, you will raise the potential alcohol by 1%. With a little calculation you should be able to come up with an amount for your situation.
      Question 2: Yeast can only ferment so much alcohol then it comes to a slow crawl, then will eventually come to a complete stop. The alcohol starts acting as a preservative. If you’ve added more sugar than the yeast can handle, then the remaining sugars will contribute towards the sweetness. Any wine yeast can achieve 12% – 13%, and this is the range I recommend you shoot for.
      Question 3: More time can help. It depends on if the wine is still fermenting. If it’s not fermenting then more time will not make the wine less sweet.

  6. 1. Sir, How much yeast we have to use while using red star wine yeast and how much if using simple bread yeast (in spoon / grams) , if we are making wine more than 10 litre… Say 11 – 20 litre?
    2. Can you let me know the ideal sugar is to water ratio while fermenting in grams per litre in fermentation, if we want to produce 14 % alcohol in wine?

    • 1. In either case you want to use 5 grams per 5 gallons of wine.
      2. It comes out to 2.8 US pounds to every US gallon of water you add. I do not know what this converts to, but I’m sure you can get it converted on Google.

  7. So I’m just testing so I don’t want to make a lot. so how much would I use for a water bottle lets say 18 fluid ounces?I’ve been reading online and seeing answers like. it depends on how much sugar you use depends on how much yeast. So then the other question is how much sugar do you use?And since I’m here my other question is it better to crush the fruit and leave it in there or drain the juices? Also I don’t have traditional yeast I have fleischmanns.I know I can use this but should I do more than the original yeast or less?

    • You should add 5 grams of yeast. I does not depend on the amount of sugar. Always use 5 grams for a small water bottle or even 5 gallons.
      The amount of sugar you use depends on how much sugar is already coming from the fruit or fruit juice naturally. A hydrometer would help to answer this question in each individual case.
      Whether or not you keep the fruit pulp in the fermentation depends on the fruit. With apples you do not want the pulp. With blueberries you want the pulp, etc. In all cases you want to crush the fruit. Do not puree or excessively pulverize the fruit. This will bring out too much bitter tannins.
      I might suggest that you look at this a little differently. Find a wine recipe you want to try. Doesn’t matter if it’s a 1 gallon or 5 gallon recipe. Simply divide all the ingredients proportionally bases on the size batch you want to make. The only exception is the yeast. Use 5 grams.

  8. Hi, Does it matter how long the wine brew sits. I have 3 separate gallon brews. I started them on September 10, 2020. 1 apple juice, 1 pineapple juice, and the last is a mixture of the apple and the pineapple juice because the 1st 2 kept over flowing the air lock. The airlock on the Apple is still slowly moving. The airlock on the pineapple juice is even and not moving. The mixture of apple and pineapple is in a gallon juice bottle with a loosened cap. Since they were all started on the same day; I was thinking I would rack them all when the apple airlocks stops moving. Would letting the other two sit while waiting on the one hurt anything?

    • PakTV, Actually, you do not want to let the wine sit on sediment too long, so if it has been almost a month, I would rack all of them at this time. Leaving it on the sediment too long can cause off favors in the wine. Also, you can make several different batches exactly the same way, sitting side by side and they can ferment at different rates.

  9. Hi – I’m really enjoying reading your tips.
    I’m starting my wine-making journey with initially 4 litres (just under 1 gallon) of 100% red grape juice – not from concentrate – in a demijohn. I was going to start things off with 5g of yeast in half a ltr – but I will maybe make a yeast starter by rehydrating the 5g in a little warm juice and then add it to the half ltr. My questions are-
    1. can I add some yeast nutrient to the half ltr prior to adding my yeast and how much?
    2. Do I shake this initial juice/yeast mixture to get things going?
    3. After 3 or 4 days in the jar with a clean cloth over the opening, I was going to add the rest of the juice (4ltrs in total) and then a juice syrup of 10oz caster sugar? Does this sound ok? I will then put in the airlock and leave for the 3 or 4 weeks it might take until the bubbles stop before racking.

    Does any of this initial process sound ok to you. Thanks for your patience.

  10. Hi Ed,
    Thanks for all answers. I have a specific Q also. I’m trying to understand the nature of yeast. Your answers give lots of enlightenment. What I dont master yet is this – you talk about wine as a unit, without discussing the amount of sugar irt the yeast. I have come to believe Its about the amount of sugar. For example – i produce wine in 100L tanks. I use grape concentrate containing 8kg of grape concentrate (with its natural sugar 600gr/kg) and 20kg of sugar syrup, with 75L of water. I use 8gr of yeast per 25L + 20gr of nutrition per 25L = 32g yeast + 80gr nutrition. NOW, I have the feeling it’s way too much yeast. Why? Because when the yeast have eaten all sugar, batch is still Loaded with active yeast, just waiting for some more sugar. It takes me a week of shaking to get rid of all co2 after using stabiliser, if getting rid of it at all. I’m increasing production to 1000L per run, but now realise that I really don’t know how to stop fermentation or how to kill the remaining yeast. Hope this makes sense 😊🤔

  11. Hi Ed Kraus brewer/winemaker, I’m planning on buying 12 lb. of black ( dark grape) to ferment a 1 gallon batch. I want to reach over 14% alcohol. I got yeast that handles about 18 grade. My questions: how much sugar, and yeast, to add to the crushed grape for first fermentation, and for how long to ferment before transfer to the 1 gallon carboy?
    Thank you in advance for your HELP!!!

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