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Old 09-02-2011, 10:00 PM   #1
Calder
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Default Need advice on pitching wine yeast

I have never pitched a wine yeast into a beer before, so would like to get input from anyone who has.

I have a barleywine. OG 1.100, Racked at 5 weeks to secondary with gravity of 1.020 (10.5% abv). PacMan yeast.

It tasted sweet to me, and I debated whether to add some simple sugars to bring down the gravity a couple of points. I know it was wrong, and I should have left it alone, but I eventually decided to do it. I added 13 ozs of Dark Brown sugar boiled in 3 pints of water. This was added to 6.25 gallons of beer. 13 ozs of sugar in 3 pints gives the same gravity as the OG of the beer; 1.100. By my calculations if the sugar completely ferments out I will end up with a gravity of 1.018.

I figured there should not be a problem; it is similar to what would happen when carbing the beer.

Well, it is now 24 hours since it was added, and the airlock is doing very little. It is in a sealed carboy, and the airlock would indicate if there is any activity.

I'll leave it a few days and see what happens, but if it doesn't move, I would like to pitch some wine yeast. Will this work? Anyone see any problem? Will the wine yeast only work on the new simple sugars, or will it take the beer down further (not what I want)?

Looks like I'm going to have to bottle with wine yeast anyway.

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Old 09-03-2011, 03:15 PM   #2
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Since the original posting I've been doing a lot of research on this, and the more I read, the less I want to do this.

1) Once the wine yeast is added, I can't try anything else with an ale yeast since wine yeast kills ale yeast.

2) With a fair amount of fermentables, the wine yeast will probably provide some flavors. I'm not sure what flavors the wine yeast I have will make (red start Champagne, and D47), but I don't want to run the risk of getting apple flavors in the beer.

I think I have pretty much confirmed that nothing is happening. I forced some of the air out of the fermenter yesterday, and it has been sitting with negative pressure on the airlock since then. That is, the liquid in the airlock is sitting in the reverse direction to normal.

What I think I will try first: I have several strains of slurry in my fridge. I think I'll make a cocktail of several of them, wash the yeast to get rid of any dead cells, and make a 1 liter regular starters. Once that is going I'll add a liter of this beer, and when that is moving, I'll pitch the lot back into the main batch. Does this seem reasonable?

I still might use the wine yeast for bottling. I would be interested in any information anyone has on the original post, and using wine yeast in general to finish or bottle a high strength beer.

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