Punchdowns and punching "up"


     I practice a routine punchdown schedule. I punch before I go to work in the morning around 5:30 am and then again when I get home around 5:30 pm. This 12 hour schedule works well for me (except on the weekends when the morning punchdown is a little later). The process I use is fairly simple. I use a stainless steel punchdown tool to gently break up the cap and submerge it. I then practice what I call "punching up." This was a technique I started when I originally used BM45 yeast. BM45 had always been described to me as a notorious H2S producer. One of the ways to combat this is to aearate the must, especially the bottom sludge. So, I simply put the punchdown tool all the way to the bottom and gently lift up to pull the sludge to the top. I then can smell if there are any H2S issues. This also acts to pull any yeast that have fallen out back into suspension. In the 4 years I used BM45, I never had any H2S problems, but I continue to perform this "punch up" at every punch down. It provides a really good mixing and has also helped me avoid (if it were ever going to happen) the H2S issues that BM45 was known for.