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Mar 22, 2007 06:43 PM

Kosher for Passover yeast

Yes, there is such a thing. Or at least was. I'm a homebrewer, and for many years I've made kosher for Passover mead--fermented honey. Without going into detail, it's analogous to white wine, but with no grapes.

Here's the problem...I'm having trouble finding a kosher for Passover wine yeast. Red Star seems to no longer make wine yeast, and the brand that my local homebrew shop sells isn't Kosher for Passover. Does anyone here make their own wine? If so, what do you do for Pesach?

Thanks in advance for your help. This seems to be a great resource.

Al D.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Red Star does still make kosher l'Pesach yeast, but not all of theirs are. Lalvin (the company is Lallemand out of Montreal, but many of their yeasts are propagated and freeze dried in Denmark) has many kosher l'Pesach yeasts as well. The problem with Red Star is that some plants are kosher certified, some aren't. It's much easier to find Kosher l'Pesach in 1 Kilo or 10 Kilo containers than it is in small packets for home winemaking.

    10 Replies
    1. re: ganeden

      I've been in touch with both Red Star and Lallemand. Both companies have recently changed their packaging facilities, and you're right, ganeden, Lallemand's small packets are not kosher l'Pesach but the large quantities may be. None of Red Star's wine yeast is kosher l'Pesach. A few years ago, Ramapo Brewing had made a kosher l'Pesach "beer" out of honey (pretty much what I'm trying to do), but when I type in their URL my browser shuts down. Does anyone know if they are still in business?

      1. re: Pgh Al

        In February, 2001, Lesaffre Yeast Corporation further expanded its presence in the US yeast industry with the purchase of Red Star Yeast from Sensient Technologies Corporation, formerly Universal Foods. Many of them used to be certified kosher lePesach by OK Labs. I suppose that with the buy out, things changed. The last few years of GAN EDEN's existence as a winery, I was enamored with indigenous yeast fermentations. I had a stockpile of Red Star Kosher for Passover yeast, for use in emergencies, but I rarely needed it, so since I wasn't purchasing yeast year-by-year, I guess I didn't notice the sale of Red Star, or subsequent differences in certification.

        1. re: Pgh Al

          I haven't seen new Ramapo Valley in a few years. I do know that the Rav hamachshir (R Zuishe Bleich) is accessible thorugh the OU. You may want to try him.

          1. re: PapaT

            If you are not making a huge amount of mead, would you consider using KLP beer as your fermenting agent? You can make it without yeast, either with beer or fermented raisins, but it's a lot less stable. I make mead as a summer drink, without a lot of alcohol, and it's strictly a fresh product, so my perspective may not help you.

            1. re: teamkitty

              I guess I'm not sure what you mean by KLP beer. Beer has grain, so it's not Pesachdich. Making a starter with raisins would sort of defeat what I'm trying to do, and I'd think the lag time would be pretty long, as well as having wild yeast and bacteria contribute to the fermentation. My mead is pretty hefty, around 13% abv, and I try to control as much of the flavor profile as I can. For Pesach I've been making two gallons.

              I've since heard from both the OU and OK. Neither of them certify any yeast for Passover, so I may be SOL this year. The rabbi at OK labs said that there is a mashgiach in Europe who certifies yeast for Passover, but getting a small quantity into the US, and in time for Pesach would be difficult to impossible.

              This is a great forum. Thanks for all the feedback.

              1. re: Pgh Al

                Sorry, I had a complete black-out there - having just collapsed from pre-pesach shopping. Unless you make a spelt beer, you're absolutely right. I use a recipe that I learned from farmers in Finland. There, the mead is drunk a) around 1 May by children and adults and b) all summer long as a thirst quencher. Accordingly, the alcohol content needs to be negligible. There are ways around that - with the controlled application of heat/addition of more dark beet syrup to increase the alcohol content. Were one to make a raisin, lemon and, say, vodka mash, you could make a small amount - i.e. 2 gallons - fairly quickly, but it's probably not a great Pesach experiment.

                1. re: teamkitty

                  I know this post is 6 years old, but since the thread has been bumped, I want to mention that spelt beer is no more KLP than regular beer. The 5 grains which can become chametz are wheat, barley, rye, "shibbolet shoal" (commonly translated as oats) and spelt.

                2. re: Pgh Al

                  I'm also a homebrewer, and had long been considering making some mead for Pesach, but I guess this nixxes any possibility of that, but If you do happen to find KLP yeast, please post about it.

                  1. re: Beerhound

                    Does anyone know of currently available Kosher LePesach yeasts? especially wine yeasts.


          2. re: ganeden

            The thing is, I use an ounce. I don't have use for a kilo, let alone ten.

          3. lalvin lallemond uvaferm wine yeast kosher symbol.
            Kosher for Passover. Kosher only in the 500g packages. This pic is of lallemond CEG yeast.


            1. lalvin lallemand uvaferm wine yeast kosher symbol.
              Kosher for Passover. Kosher only in the 500g packages.
              Now I am uploading the photo (instead of the link in my previous post)
              This pic is of lallemand CEG yeast. I ordered from napafermentations and they emailed me the pic of the kosher symbol before they shipped. they told me that alot of their lalvin 500g yeasts have this same symbol. I was getting so frustrated because i could not find a single image of the yeast with the actual kosher symbol online, so now I uploaded to save others the trouble I went through. For a copy of the supervising Rabbi's letter, google "lalvin kosher". it should be one of the first results.

              2 Replies
              1. re: mafrichei


                please tell me how i can get a kosher for passover yeast for wine.
                Do you have any phone number that i can call to get it?
                Thank you!!

                1. re: lapiduseli1

                  You can call Scott Labs. They have offices in Petaluma, CA and somewhere on or near the east coast. They carry Lallemand, and they can tell you which are kosher l'Pesach.