Sorry I haven't been very active here lately, but I'm currently working on some new content and updating my site. Forgive me for any pages that aren't functioning properly.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Little More from Last Week's Swell

I've been busy this past week with commitments and haven't had time to edit all the shots I received from last week's swell. With another swell in the water now and perfect tides this morning for my favorite spot, I'm heading out for a surf! I should be finished editing tonight, so I'll have some more to share tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fermentation Nutrients

Wine yeast have a high demand for nutrients, not only during rehydration, but also throughout fermentation. Nitrogen deficiency is the most common cause of fermentation problems, but also the most easily remedied (nitrogen deficiency will be discussed in a later post).

Micro-nutrients (sterols, lipids, vitamins, and minerals) are naturally occurring in grapes, but are also commonly deficient in juice/must. Unfortunately, such deficiencies are not typically identifiable prior to fermentation, meaning winemakers have a difficult time forecasting their corresponding negative effects on wine quality; that being said, one can usually guarantee problems with such micro-nutrients if grapes have been subject to poor growing conditions (mold/rot) or have a history of deficiency. Fermentation nutrients are a class of products that help remedy these deficiencies and can be classified into two different categories: complex yeast nutrients and vitamin supplements.

Complex yeast nutrients such as Fermaid K/O, Bioactiv, and Superfood, are proprietary blends of nutrients; many provide some level of nitrogen (whether inorganic, organic, or both), but all provide sterols, fatty acids (lipids), and vitamins (thiamine, biotin, etc.) at varying levels. Inactivated yeast cell walls present in these products absorb medium-chain fatty acids that are toxic to yeast, helping prevent alcohol toxicity and yeast stress that would lead to undesirable aroma and flavor development. They also provide nucleation sites that help keep the yeast in suspension throughout fermentation. Winemakers have varying views on when, why, and how to use complex yeast nutrients (% additions at different stages throughout ferment, combination of more than one product, only for stuck ferments, etc.). I have used them in most of my winemaking experiences and believe they are very beneficial, if not essential in many cases, to successful fermentation.

Vitamin supplements, such as Cerevit and Vitamix, provide an array of key nutrients such as thiamine, biotin, nicotinamide, magnesium sulphate, calcium panthothenate, and folic acid. Though many of these micro-nutrients are contained in complex yeast nutrients, they can still be at deficient levels. Vitamin supplements help ensure that undesirable sulfur compounds are not created due to yeast stress. Again, winemakers all have varying views on when, why, and how to use vitamin supplements (at certain brix levels, only with problem ferments, etc.); the main thing is to make sure that legal levels of certain micro-nutrients are not exceeded, particularly when using vitamin supplements in conjunction with out yeast nutrients (for example, Cerevit added at its recommended rate contains the legal limit of calcium panthothenate). With any hint of a problem or for higher price-point wines, I recommend using vitamin supplements as a safety precaution for several reasons: they don't add a whole lot of money to your production expense, don't effect aroma/flavor, and give you peace of mind.

Check out these related links: Yeast Rehydration NutrientsSuccessful Wine Fermentation - Introduction, Selecting the Right Yeast (Part I, Part II), Preparing Juice/Must for Fermentation, Indigenous Yeast, Inoculation, Yeast Propagation (Part I, Part II, Part III).

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Some More Big Waves in Bali

Just like two weeks ago, a nice swell filled in overnight Thursday, provided a great weekend of waves for Bali, and then quickly disappeared. This swell was a better direction for many of Bali's most famous waves, and as always, there were plenty of surfers trying to get their fair share; even Kelly Slater was on hand.
I happily logged more daylight hours in the water than on land for the duration, and scored some of the best waves I've had in recent memory. I was on target (pun intended) with my 6'9" single-fin; I've got plenty more on the way, but here are a few shots of me I picked up from this swell.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Indonesian Painting II

Last year, I met a Balinese artist named Agut. Over a year later, I was finally able to get a painting from him. This acrylic charcoal piece is beautiful, I really like the detail and the use of blank space. I happily hung it on my bedroom wall, and now I get to wake up to a barrel every morning even when the swell's flat! (See also: Indonesian Paintings)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Bali Paddy Fields and Cattle Egrets

Paddy fields are commonplace throughout Asia. They require a stunning amount of materials to construct, back-breaking labor to maintain, and huge quantities of water to irrigate, but are ideal for growing semiaquatic crops (they are particularly suited for rice cultivation). The terraced design can be built into steep hillsides and irrigated from above, allowing water to flood top paddies before passing through intricately designed channels to flood the paddies below. This age-old agricultural technique originated in China and Korea, and dates back to over 5,000 years ago.
Today, rice cultivation consists almost exclusively of paddy fields: Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam all have extensive rice paddies (areas of note outside of Asia include France's Camargue, Haiti's Artibonite Valley, and California's Sacramento Valley).
Rice paddies can be found throughout Bali, and are particularly prevalent in the steep terrain of central and northern Bali. During a recent trip up Bali's west coast with Kristin, we stopped to admire this small rice paddy situated in a residential area. I was also able to get a nice photograph of a Cattle Egret; this species of bird is native to Asia, but can now be found around the globe. They typically inhabit wetlands and rice paddies, where they build nests in colonies (the picture above shows the buff plumes commonplace of a Cattle Egret during breeding season; they are usually all white). They usually accompany large mammals (water buffalo are typically used for rice paddy management), whom they enjoy a symbiotic relationship (the Cattle Egrets feeding off of ticks and flies that follow such mammals).

Monday, April 16, 2012

Successful Wine Fermentation - Yeast Propagation Part III

See previous Successful Wine Fermentation posts: Introduction, Selecting the Right Yeast (Part I, Part II), Preparing Juice/Must for Fermentation, Indigenous Yeast, Inoculation, Yeast Propagation (Part I, Part II).

After getting everything organized (equipment, staff, etc.), yeast propagation can began. As mentioned previously, timing is one of the most difficult parts of yeast propagation. This guide is written in regards to yeast propagation for white juice; for red juice, the primary difference is that the juice for yeast starter creation is saignee.

If possible, I like to have a stock of juice designated solely to creating yeast cultures; this can be difficult for many wineries because parameters need to be met (more tank space made available, ability to have minor crossover of juice batches, ability to hold clarified juice stable for several days, ability to quickly heat juice, etc.). Larger wineries will be more successful in setting up this type of program, which will in turn help streamline the production process. Since most wineries won't be able to have juice for culture creation only, I'll talk about propagation on a batch-to-batch level (contact me here to discuss large winery yeast propagation).

My experience with yeast propagation shows an average inoculum volume of 1-2% (that is, an inoculum of 1-2% of total 'juice to be inoculated' volume; in smaller scale propagation procedures, this may be unachievable for several reasons so aiming for a 5-10% inoculum volume may be advisable). Once the juice to be inoculated (will refer to as 'juice TBI' here) is clarified, its analytical data should be measured and a percentage should be heated via heat exchanger to yeast propagation tank; this small portion of juice should ideally be heated to around 25° C (77° F). The remaining juice TBI should be placed in its fermenting tank where it can be held safely until inoculation.

Using the analytical data, the yeast starter juice can be prepared for fermentation in the same fashion as any juice TBI. Keep in mind that yeast do not like SO2, so levels need to be low (less than 5 ppm FSO2 ideal, but less than 10 is doable). Usually, I add extra nitrogen (NH4) and fermentation nutrients to the yeast starter just to make it an extra happy environment. Thoroughly mix in any amendments to the yeast starter juice and turn on the oxygen to the tank to the necessary level, then  inoculate at regular rate (200-250 ppm yeast); I highly recommend using a yeast rehydration nutrient for optimal preparation. Make sure the tank temperature is held at 25° C.

The culture can then be left for several hours (6-12 hours) before analysis (cell count and sensory evaluation is essential, but I like to have brix, pH, and VA checked as well just to ensure everything is going well). If the cell count is strong (>300 mcell/mL), I like to feed the culture, decrease the temperature, and adjust oxygen flow rate; this is when experience with yeast propagation is essential to know how to balance yeast starter volume and cell count to obtain your desired inoculation rate (3-5 mcell/mL), while adequately bringing temperature down to not such the culture when inoculating juice TBI.

Once the culture is ready, simply pump the culture into the juice TBI tank and mix it through. Fermentation can now be tracked as per usual.

Check back for the next Success Fermentation installment on fermentation monitoring.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

You Want Bakso?

Translated into English, bakso means meatball. In Indonesia, bakso is usually made with beef, but can also be chicken, shrimp, or fish. It is served almost exclusively in a soup; typically, this includes a mixture of broth, egg noodles (mie), bihun noodles (rice vermicelli), vegetables, tofu, egg, and crispy wonton. Originating from Java, several different variations of bakso can be found throughout Indonesia today.
There are a myriad of establishments offering bakso on Bali's bukit peninsula, along with dozens of carts and motorbikes weaving through the streets delivering it to hungry customers. My favorite is Bakso Lumayan, a place I have dubbed "Bakso Headquarters"; it has a small shopfront and controls over half the carts that offer bakso to the surrounding area.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Little Swell for Bali

After last week's short-lived swell, Bali has been pretty much flat for the past few days. I guess this is a welcomed chance for surfers to recover; I know it's given my back a chance to recover from the grapefruit-sized contusion I got from a minor reef encounter.
That being said, another short pulse is set to hit the island tomorrow. Unfortunately, it won't be anywhere near as big as last week and it looks like it will be accompanied by a bit of wind as well. Still, there should be some fun surfing conditions at certain spots and hopefully a lot less broken boards (the one below belongs to my friend Adam, who was one of about six boards I saw snapped over the weekend). Another swell could be arriving late next week as well.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Bali Secret Spot

I hope everyone enjoyed the Easter holiday. Surfers here in Bali sure did, getting their first taste of Dry Season surf; the weather has been brilliantly clear, the winds switched, and a solid swell began filling in Wednesday. At its peak on Friday, Uluwatu's famous Outside Corner had solid 10+ ft bombs coming through and Padang Padang was double overhead. I checked the tides and knew that my favorite Bali secret spot would be pumping too. I took my new 6'1'' from Alexander Surfboards out to Black Plains Mustard and picked off a few good ones (thanks for the photo Drew).

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Yeast Rehydration Nutrients

As fermentation proceeds and yeast continue to propagate, they pass along a certain amount of cellular material to future generations. In juice/must without proper yeast rehydration, a gradual reduction in cell membrane thickness and decreasing amounts of nutrient reserve transfer from generation to generation is common as fermentation continues. This had led many producers to include the use of yeast rehydration nutrients to help make their yeast 'happy' during the rehydration process, and lead to a healthy yeast population, essential to successful fermentation.

There are several proprietary yeast rehydration nutrients available today, including Dynastart, GoFerm, and PreFerm. They are created from autolyzed yeast cells, and provide many essential micronutrients (including membrane lipids and sterols) and vitamins (including biotin, niacin, and thiamine) that are readily absorbed by active yeast cells. Providing these during the rehydration process reactivates the yeast's internal metabolism quicker and leads to a substantial increase in cell volume; the original structures of the yeast's plasmatic membrane are modified, leading to better viability, increased membrane fluidity, increased resistance to ethanol (essential towards the end of ferment), increased resistance to osmotic shock due to high sugar concentration (essential at inoculation), and increased aroma production (essential for good tasting wine!). Yeasts prepared with yeast rehydration nutrients also maintain a steadier metabolic rate throughout fermentation. Less stress also means far less volatile acidity formation and negative sulfur-containing compounds (hydrogen sulfide, disulfides).

The use of yeast rehydration nutrients is recommended at a 5:6 ratio with yeast (5 parts yeast to 6 parts rehydration nutrients, usually 250 ppm yeast with 300 ppm nutrient). I tend to use the recommended rate only when I know that strenuous fermentation conditions are inevitable (high brix levels, low fermentation temperature, low turbidity juice, historically deficient juice, etc.) or during yeast starter culture propagation. For normal fermentation conditions, I tend to use a 1:1 ratio (usually 200 ppm yeast and 200 ppm yeast rehydration nutrients).

Winemakers also need to be wary of legal dosages of particular ingredients (i.e. thiamine) when using yeast rehydration nutrients in conjunction with other fermentation nutrients.

Please see here for yeast rehydration preparation.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

A Day at the Siem Reap Temples (Part II)

After visiting Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, Cambodia's hot and humid climate was starting to wear Kristin and I down. Unfortunately, we knew we couldn't visit all of the dozens of temples scattered around Siem Reap, so we decided on two more before heading back into town for a very late lunch and a rest.
We jumped on the tuk-tuk, exited Angkor Thom's Victory Gate, crossed the Siem Reap River, and soon arrived at Ta Keo. Older than both Angkor Wat and Angkor Thom, Ta Keo was the first temple built entirely of sandstone when it was constructed in the late 10th century. It was never truly completed and lacks much of the ornate decorations of other temples. Steep staircases attach the three terraces, reaching a height of over 21 meters (70 feet) and providing some good exercise for those willing to have a go climbing up.
Our final stop was Ta Prohm, often referred to as the 'jungle temple' and popularized in Indiana Jones' Raiders of the Lost Ark. Ta Prohm was built around the same time as Angkor Thom, and has a similar architectural style. It was originally constructed as a Buddhist monastery, which was very powerful and rich. At its height, it was home to over ten thousand residents and controlled nearly 3,000 surrounding villages. After the Khmer Empire fell in the 15th century, it as abandoned and began merging with the jungle; massive fig and silk-cotton trees weave around its walls and throughout the complex. Since temple restoration efforts began in the early 19th century, Ta Prohm is one of the only to be largely left as it was found though work was underway while we were visiting to ensure structural integrity.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A Day at the Siem Reap Temples

After a pretty late night at the pagoda dedication ceremony, Kristin and I awoke before dawn once again and prepared ourselves for a day visiting temples around Siem Reap. Our tuk-tuk driver was running a bit later than expected, but we made it in time to enjoy a beautiful sunrise at Angkor Wat.
Much of Cambodia's relative prosperity can be attributed to Angkor Wat (it's on the country's flag). This majestic temple dates to the early 12th century, when it was constructed as the state temple and capital city of the Khmer Empire. Angkor Wat is known as one of the greatest architectural masterpieces in the world; its 5-tower design symbolizes Mount Meru (sacred mountain in Buddhist cosmotology) and incredibly was built in accordance with solar and lunar cycles. The symmetry of its design and intricacy of its bas-reliefs, devatas, and pediments display the craftsmanship of its creators. I think we could have easily spent the entire day at Angkor Wat (pictured above and below).
As the heat of the day quickly creeped up, we enjoyed the short drive to Angkor Thom. This 9-square kilometer temple complex was built at the end of the 12th century and was the last capital of the Khmer Empire. Angkor Thom's architecture is defined by its large-scale construction, use of laterite soil (a more reddish-color), and face-towers (interpreted as guardians of the empire's cardinal points). Its central masterpiece of the Bayon (symbolizes the world of the gods) has been made famous in modern culture in movies such as Lara Croft: Tomb Raider.
Along with Bayon, Angkor Thom contains many structures built before and after its establishment. We ambled through the complex, visiting the massive Buddha statue just adjacent and admiring the grandeur of its grounds before taking a quick break in the shade. The day was wearing on, so we chose two final temples to visit before heading back to Siem Reap for a well-deserved rest.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Bali's Dry Season Debut?

This past weekend saw beautiful weather and good waves here in Bali. Glassy conditions, cloudless skies, and solid overhead surf at many breaks were a welcomed change from the recent poor weather. Hopefully, this trend will continue through the week as a solid swell is due to arrive in just a couple days. The charts are indicating good size and direction, coupled with some nice weather; though it's always hard to predict things this time of year, this could signal the first taste of Dry Season surf.