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Old 03-05-2011, 06:49 PM   #1
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Default 2nd Pitching Advice on a Belgian Strong

I'm getting close to the end of fermentation on a batch of Belgian strong ale (OG 1.078, est. FG 1.012) and looking for a little pre-bottling yeast advice.

I'm brewing a recipe from Beer Captured that calls for pitching a second dose of Wyeast 1388 three days prior to bottling after a seven week fermentation.

I scaled the recipe down from 5gal to 1gal and brewed another small batch of Belgian strong ale (OG 1.058, FG 1.013) at the same time and split the original yeast pack between the two small batches.

I washed and collected the yeast from one of the two batches and my thought was that I'd make a starter and pitch the results (splitting again) into both 1 gallon batches. Before I do that I wanted to see what I'm getting myself into. Is this a good plan? Should I even bother with the starter? Should I just add some dry Nottingham or something else instead?

Thanks for the advice!!

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Old 03-06-2011, 04:04 PM   #2
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I would just pitch another 1388. But with that low of an OG why are you repitching at all? I didn't have to do that for a 1.080 batch I've made.

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Old 03-07-2011, 12:54 PM   #3
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Thank you for the reply Anubis -- I assumed the second pitching was recommended to guarantee that there was healthy yeast available for bottle conditioning and proper carbonation after a two month fermentation but this is my first time with this style and situation so I'm looking to the HBT community for advice.

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Old 03-08-2011, 08:20 PM   #4
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Unleess I get some more advice one way or the other, I'm planning to go ahead and make a starter and reuse the 1388 I harvested. I've never done this before but I'll let the starter go through it's strong fermentation, then cold crash, bring up to room temp and pitch into the two batches....wait three days (per the recipe), then bottle. Hopefully this isn't just a waste of yeast but I'd hate to risk it and come up with uncarbonated beer.

Anyone else have any thoughts?

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Old 03-10-2011, 03:26 PM   #5
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I have done a couple Belgian Strong Ales...

The first one had an O.G. of 1.094 and it got stuck at about 1.04 after 2 weeks in primary using wyeast 1388... I ended up re-pitching White Labs Belgian Strong don't remember the number and it dropped down to 1.02 it was then bottled and now tastes amazing.

Since then I have used the White Labs yeast without starters and never had a stuck fermentation. I have had O.G.s as high as 1.103 and they still dropped to 1.17 within a week to 10 days.

As far as bottle conditioning is concerned I have not had a problem with carbonation due to older yeast cells. I am by no means an expert at all, but my experience has been good without re-pitching. Certainly with any high ABV beer fresh yeast wont hurt as long as its sanitary. But with an O.G. of 1.058 re-pitching seems like overkill to me.

Good luck

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Old 05-13-2011, 05:51 PM   #6
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I wanted to update this just in case anyone stumbles across it in the future. I ended up not doing a second pitch before bottling despite the recipe in Beer Captured (they pretty much all recommend a second pitch) and the bottles carbonated just fine.

In summary -- (2) Belgian strong ales, both dark, OGs of 1.078 and 1.058, fermented six weeks with Wyeast 1388. Bottled conditioned for six weeks, carbonation was right on, beers tasted delicious. Assume the authors were given free yeast to reccomend second pitches.

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