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Old 04-28-2012, 08:36 PM   #1
MizooBrew
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Default Decreasing gravity .004 points with new yeast

Hey all! I've got myself a Oktoberfest/Marzen fermenting right now that had an OG = 1.060. Yeah, yeah, I know that's slightly (about 0.005 points) high according to the BJCP guidelines, but I'm brewing this for an Oktoberfest party, so going a little higher seemed appropriate (that, and my efficiency came in higher than anticipated). At any rate, it just got finished with its diacetyl rest and is sitting at SG = 1.021. This is in keeping with the yeast that I pitched, which was a starter of WLP820, their Oktoberfest/Marzen lager blend. It has attenuation values of 65-73%, so it stopping at this point makes sense (expected anywhere from 1.016-1.022).

Despite my high OG I would still like to keep the FG within style guidelines to keep the drinkability of this. So I went out and got myself a pack of Wyeast 2124, their Bohemian Lager which has attenuation of 73-77%. Based upon my calculations, this should put me at an FG of ~1.013-1.016; safely within the style guidelines.

So, my question is should I just smack it and pitch it in or make a small yeast starter and pitch this in at high krausen (of the starter)? It only needs to drop me 1.008-1.005 points, so I don't think I need a big starter, I was planning on make a .6L starter (with 1/4 tsp yeast nutrient) just so I can pitch them in at their peak activity. I plan to pitch the whole starter, which will only be kept on the stir plate to aerate so as to not have a cardboardy-tasting starter. Does this sound like an okay remedy to my situation?

Thanks HBT!

PS. Brewing this on 04/15/12, and have been fermenting in a temp controlled vessel at ~52F, raised up to mid-sixties for its three day diacetyl rest.

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Old 04-28-2012, 08:59 PM   #2
Denny
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I would guess that new yeast won't do much. Attenuation is far more dependent on wort fermentability than the attenuation rating of the yeast. That's meant for comparing ine yeast to another and has little bearing in the attenuation you'll actually get. In addition, it takes a lot of yeast to get a fermentation going again. Something on the order of a qt. of slurry from a brewpub might do it. I've screwed up more than a few beers by trying to "save" them. My advice would be that if it tastes good, leave it alone. If you do add more yeast, don't pitch the whole starter. Decant first.

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Old 04-28-2012, 09:06 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denny View Post
If you do add more yeast, don't pitch the whole starter. Decant first.
Even with such a small starter (that shouldn't be oxidized at all)? I was planning on fermenting the starter and the fermentation temps ideal for this yeast as well, in order to reduce any off flavors. I actually added some hops to it in order to keep the IBUs the same, so I wouldn't think it would affect the taste too much... Don't many people pitch small starters when they're at high krausen? It's only going to be a 600ml starter to chew through just a few sugars.

If the attenuation values are not meaningful, how can they really allow you to compare yeasts based upon this?
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Old 04-28-2012, 10:04 PM   #4
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The attenuation values are based on a standardized wort. They reflect a general ballpark, but I've had yeast rated at 75% go anywhere from 60-85% depending on wort composition.

Make your own decision, but I never like starter wort in my nice fresh wort. You're putting it on a stir plate..there's no way it won't be oxidized. And IMO that's much too small a starter to do much good.

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Old 04-29-2012, 12:07 AM   #5
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Sorry Denny, didn't mean to seem defensive. I very much appreciate your responses!

What I mean with the stir plate was that I was going to put my starter wort on my stir plate to oxygenate, then pull it off and pitch the yeast. Thus the starter would only be on the stir plate before yeast activity began, so the yeast would in theory take up all the oxygen before I pitched it into my mostly fermented beer.

If this really isn't a good idea I will absolutely abort it at this point and just see if it will drop anymore on its own or maybe with a little swirling. I was just thinking that this would be similar to the krausening method, in which actively fermenting wort was pitched into a brew after activity slows. I agree that my starter size is too small for much reproduction. I was mostly going with the starter instead of directly pitching to have it active when I introduced it.

So, would it be better to (1) pitch the yeast without putting it into the starter, (2) go ahead with the starter or, (3) not do anything at all?

Denny, thanks for your help and thank you to anyone else who chimes in.

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Old 04-29-2012, 12:36 AM   #6
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Just tossing yeast into the alcoholic environment is not going to do much for it. You really have 2 options:

1) Make another beer with a higher attenuating yeast, and then rack this one on the cake to finish it off.

2) Make a decent sized starter (half a gallon). Once that has fermented out, add half a gallon of the 'stuck' beer to the starter. Once that is fermenting, add the lot to the beer.

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Old 04-29-2012, 01:08 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Calder View Post
Just tossing yeast into the alcoholic environment is not going to do much for it. You really have 2 options:

1) Make another beer with a higher attenuating yeast, and then rack this one on the cake to finish it off.

2) Make a decent sized starter (half a gallon). Once that has fermented out, add half a gallon of the 'stuck' beer to the starter. Once that is fermenting, add the lot to the beer.
Well... I do actually have another beer fermenting simultaneously with this one that is being fermented with Wyeast 2124, their Bohemian Lager (like I talked about above). It has higher attenuation values, and is still slowly fermenting but has reached an FG I would be happy with, so it could be crashed and racked, then racking the other onto its cake. Should I go this route as opposed to the pitching option I described above?

Edit: After doing a little more reading about pitching onto cakes, it seems there is some controversy on this method. Would pitching something like this, that really only needs to drop a few more points, onto a cake be detrimental? If it would be alright it would be a simple way to get my beer down to the gravity I wanted, but I'm worried about massively over-pitching and any ill effects this can have. Should I maybe rack, wash the yeast, and rack onto maybe just half of the washed yeast?
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Old 04-29-2012, 03:13 AM   #8
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The biggest controversy about pitching onto a cake is when you are starting a beer.

When trying to start a stalled beer, you need lots of active yeast ready to get to work, which is what a cake gives you.

I'd rack your other beer before cold crashing, so the yeast in the cake stay active.

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Old 04-29-2012, 06:20 AM   #9
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Calder, I suppose that makes sense. The theory is that most of the off-flavors and issues associated with pitching onto a cake arise as a result of a prolonged fermentation. With my situation, the yeast cake will only be fermenting a few gravity points worth of sugar, so there won't be the opportunity for a large flavor impact. Is this correct? Assuming that it is, I think that this will be the best route for me to go (aside from maybe just not doing anything...). Thank you!

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Old 05-01-2012, 09:21 AM   #10
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How does the beer taste? This looks like another example of people beating themselves up over numbers. if it tastes ready/done package it and move on....

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