There’s A Yeasty Smell In My Wine. Should I Dump It!?

Noticing Yeasty Smell In WineI’m still learning this process but haven’t had this happen. Got 3 gallons of Muscadine wine I was gonna bottle up. When opened up it has a very strong “yeasty” smell in the wine. Made this a couple times and never had this happen. Only thing I did different was use a different wine yeast. (Montrachet instead of lavlin 71b 1122.) I may have forgotten to rack the wine after it had been placed in the secondary fermenter. Either forgot to write it in log or didn’t do it. Seems I read somewhere that could cause this issue. Anyway, should I bottle this or dump it and start a new batch when the Muscadines ripen this summer. Thanks for the advice……..

Name: Bill B
State: SC
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Hello Bill,

There is absolutely no reason to dump any wine because it has a yeasty smell. This is an issue that comes about from time to time that is easily overcome.Shop Wine Yeast

It is true that different wine yeast have different amounts of yeast odors, but the yeast smell also increases the more the yeast become stressed. If the fermentation is done in an environment that does not make the wine yeast happy, you will get more of this odor.

Examples causing stress are:

  • Fermenting at too warm of a temperature
  • Fermenting with not enough nutrients in the wine must
  • Fermenting with too little yeast to perform the job at hand

The last one typically happens with old wine yeast is used, or a significant portion of the yeast cells are killed in the rehydration process.

Most of the time this odor will go away on it’s own throughout the natural course of the winemaking process. Racking the wine is one of the times that this odor is able to release from the wine and dissipate. You stated that you are not sure if you racked the wine, so this could be all that’s wrong with the wine.

Shop Potassium BisulfiteAnother normal activity in the winemaking process that releases this odor is adding sulfites. This would either be Campden tablets, potassium metabisulfite or sodium metabisulfite. If you do not ever add any of these then this can contribute to the yeasty smell in the wine.

A sulfite should always be added to a wine anyway to protect it from spoilage and oxidation, but doing so also drives out unwanted volatile gases that are in the wine from the fermentation – such as the ones you are smelling. If you haven’t done so already, the simple task of adding a standard dose of sulfites and waiting a few days may be all that is needed.

Since you are not sure if you racked your wine or not, I’m guess that all you need to do is rack the wine and add sulfites. Hope this should get rid of the yeasty smell in your wine. In not, repeat the process. Rack the wine in a splashing manner and then add sulfites again.

If you find that the yeast smell in the wine is not leaving that you may want to take a look at what to do about treating wine with a hydrogen sulfite issue.Shop Mini Jet Wine Filter

Just remember next time to keep your wine yeast happy, regardless of the type used; rack your wine sufficiently; and always use sulfites in your wine. Do these things and you should not have this problem again.

Happy Winemaking,
Ed Kraus
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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.

16 thoughts on “There’s A Yeasty Smell In My Wine. Should I Dump It!?

  1. I have a similar issue, I made my wine and it smells real yeasty and when I checked the alcohol it read zero. Please help, this is the second batch and I don’t have the heart to throw them out.

    • Josh, actually your wine is in good shape. A yeast smell is something that is normal at the end of fermentation. It will diminish as the wine clears and time passes. By the time you get ready to bottle the wine, it shouldn’t be noticeable. The 0% alcohol reading on your hydrometer in not telling you how much alcohol is in your wine. It is telling you how much more alcohol can be made with the sugars that still remain in the wine must. That’s why the scale on the hydrometer is called “potential” alcohol. In your case 0% more alcohol can be made, which is another way of saying your fermentation is done. Here is some more info on this:

      What Happened! There’s No Alcohol In My Wine
      http://www.eckraus.com/blog/there-is-no-alcohol-in-my-wine

  2. Hi, I have taken and done all the steps to making wine, I have made wine for 3 years now this is the first batch that I do not dare to bottle as even after filtering I smell and even taste yeast. How can I fix this?, or can I fix this?

    • Yolanda, a yeast taste or smell normally means that the wine is still fermenting or you have not allowed enough time for it to clear. Have you verified with a hydrometer that the fermentation is complete? If the fermentation is complete, you might allow more time for the yeast to drop out. You can try adding a fining agent to assist the process.

  3. I alsi have a problem like this. I made a batch of strawberry wine and once the bubbling slowed down to almost a stop i racked it until it was crystal clear (about 3 times) until the bubbling had completely finished. When i tasted it, it had a yeasty taste. I figured it just wasnt finished settling out but its been sitting for about 2 months now and there hasnt been any settlement and the taste is still there.

    • If wine that lacks charater is rested on the lees, usualy light lees, it picks up some intricacy that can be called bready. In some wines this is a good thing. I bet if you try this test, if it is in glass, in darkness, shine a flash light through it. Suspended particles that you may not see witha naked eye in daylight will scatter light and you’ll maybe able to see the beam. In a perfectly clear wine the light will pass straight through. Fruit wines can sometmes take a year to completely settle on their own. If you scrub it up by filtering or fining a fragile wine like strawbery you risk stripping it of color and flavor. Keep the meta levels correct, keep light and oxygen away from it, store it at an even cool temperature and wait. It will be fine.

  4. I have this same problem. I added potassium metabisufate at the beginning of the process but maybe not enough? If I add it now, how much would I add to a 5 gallon carboy?
    Thank you,
    Jeff

    • Jeff, if the fermentation is still in progress, you do not want to add any at this time. Once it is complete, the dosage is one tablet per gallon of wine.

  5. Hello, I really appreciate the help. I made apple wine with your apple recipe. I opened a bottle last night and it smelled really yeasty, and had a little carbonation in it? It also looked a little like there was gas at the top of the bottle? When it was bottling, I knew it was drier than some would like so I added a little sugar for flavor. Is there any way to salvage this?

    • Amanda, if you did not also add potassium sorbate to prevent re-fermentation when you sweetened the wine, what is occurring is fermentation activity in the bottle. If this is what is happening, you can put the wine back in bulk, let it finish the fermentation and re-bottle the wine.

  6. I have made some pear wine, after 2 rankings it is a beautiful blush colour as I used our ‘old fashioned orange pears’ from our trees
    Fermentation seemed to have stopped no more bubbles and very clear so decided to bottle .
    It smells very yeasty and very sour/ sharp
    Do I add potassium sorbate and further sugar or honey, if so presume this needs to be in a demijohn again and wait till bottling

    • If you are sure the fermentation has completed, then yes, go ahead and add potassium sorbate. I would also add a dose of sulfites, as well. But, I would not add any sweetening to it at this point. Rather, I would let it age for a while in bulk… say 6 months. Then sweeten to taste and bottle. The reason for this is a lot of what you find disagreeable with the wine now, will diminish later. If you sweeten now to cover it up and it’s gone later, the wine can end up being too sweet.

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