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-   -   Will re-yeasting for carbonation HURT? (http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f163/will-re-yeasting-carbonation-hurt-379681/)

Gunpowder 01-08-2013 04:12 PM

Will re-yeasting for carbonation HURT?
OK I seem to be getting a LOT of different answers here regarding this. I've been asking "Should I add yeast for carbonation" for a beer that has to ferment for 9 months in primary. Some people are saying "Yes, add a whole packet" others are saying "No, the yeast will live in suspension if the alcohol is low".

Here's my problem: I don't want to bottle 5 gallons of beer just to find out the yeast are dead and the beer is un-carbonated. I also don't want to screw up the flavor by adding new yeast or worse, creating beer grenades.

Also, if I have to re-yeast before bottling, I don't know if I have to use the exact same yeast as I originally did, or if I should use a different strain. I don't know how MUCH yeast to pitch. So let me ask a NEW question regarding this...

Is it SAFE to throw about half a packet of Safale US-05 into the fermenter maybe a day before bottling? Assuming the original yeast manage to survive 9 months in the carboy, is this going to result in over-carbonation? And assuming the original yeast is dead, will the Safale affect the flavor? So if I decide to add some yeast to be on the safe side, will it actually HURT anything?

Better yet, as I get closer to September, is there any way to TEST the beer to see if the yeast is alive? Maybe take a small sample out, put it in a small jar, add some corn sugar, see what happens over a few days?

Any insight on this would be appreciated.

Revvy 01-08-2013 04:14 PM

It won't do any harm, but you'll have more sediment than if you didn't. And no, there's no way to tell how the yeast will behave until you bottle the beer.

Golddiggie 01-08-2013 04:17 PM

It all comes down to the batch. I'm pretty sure that there will be at least some yeast still in suspension (even if it looks clear, you'll have some unless you filter it out). Depending on the ABV of the brew, it could take a significant amount of time to bottle carbonate the batch. If you're at the limit of the yeast (or gone over it) then it could take a very long time to carbonate (if it does at all). If you have even 1% or .5% left, chances are it will carbonate, it will just take longer.

IF I was to treat a BIG beer with additional yeast (for a batch that's gone above the listed ABV tolerance of the yeast) I would use something neutral, like EC-1118.

A few days, in a jar, won't tell you squat. You could be looking at 6+ months to bottle carbonate the batch.

Without knowing more info about what you'll be brewing, it's virtually impossible to give any real guidance.

Gunpowder 01-08-2013 05:27 PM

Thanks, Golddiggie! I apologize, I should've specified: It's the Tart of Darkness from MoreBeer.com

Gunpowder 01-08-2013 05:29 PM


Golddiggie 01-08-2013 05:31 PM

I've not made any sours, and probably never will. From what I've heard, I don't think you need to give it more yeast to carbonate. But you might want to check with people that have made sours before.

Gunpowder 01-08-2013 05:49 PM


Originally Posted by Golddiggie (Post 4761395)
I've not made any sours, and probably never will. From what I've heard, I don't think you need to give it more yeast to carbonate. But you might want to check with people that have made sours before.

Sadly, I got different answers from MoreBeer. I emailed them, and one guy replied with:


Thanks for the inquiry. I would bottle at least 6 weeks ahead of time to ensure carbonation. You would have to add back yeast for bottling. I would rack to a secondary on any beer that is planned to be stored for longer than a month in a carboy. You would rack after primary fermentation to get the beer of the trub if storing longer than a month. Other than that it should be pretty straight forward. Unfortunately you can't rush a beer like this and have to go off taste to determine when it's ready. Let me know if you have any additional questions.
And I also posted here, and one of their staff replied with:


I would leave it in primary for the entire time, and bottle it when the taste is to your liking. It will get more sour the longer you let it go, but 9 months should be a good amount of time. May might be a little early for the oak, but again, how much oak you'd like is personal preference. I'd let it bottle condition for a month at least, but after a couple weeks you could try opening one to see where it stands. Let me know if you have any other questions!
So I don't know what the hell to think :(

Golddiggie 01-08-2013 05:56 PM

Well, the fact that the guy racks for anything over a month is one sign. IME, it's not needed, at least not with the brews I've been making with ale yeast.

Doesn't sound like you'll need to add more yeast though. I would just give it the amount of time it needs to become great and go from there. See if there's a homebrew club in your area that you can ask about this batch. IMO/IME, that will give you better 'real world' information. Since the MoreBeer people are posting opposite ends of the spectrum, it's a coin toss.

Personally, I wouldn't transfer a beer for aging until it's done all it can on the yeast. For my 12.5% wee heavy, it went about three months in primary before I moved it to an aging vessel for an oak addition. It sat there for several months before I kegged it up.

Gunpowder 01-08-2013 06:15 PM

OK I emailed "TheBruery", the people that invented this beer in the first place, and got an immediate reply. Here's what they had to say:

1. Given that it has to be drink-ready by October, when should I bottle this?
2. 7-9 months is a long time to spend in a carboy. Do I need to re-pitch the yeast before bottling? If so, when do I re-pitch the yeast, what yeast should I use, and how much of it should I use?
3. Should I do a secondary fermentation?

1. Probably 1 to 2 months before you want to drink it.
2. Yes, add fresh yeast right before you bottle. I would use a Belgian Golden Strong yeast strain. We use 2.5 x 10^6 pitch rate for most of our sours.
3. By secondary do you mean racking it to another carboy after primary fermentation? If so, yes.

Gunpowder 01-08-2013 07:20 PM

Also, I contacted Wyeast at the same time (thinking at least one of them would reply) and they just did, with this:

"I recommend adding some bottling yeast. 4021 is an excellent strain for this application. It has a high tolerance to low pH and high alcohol."

And that's from one of Wyeast's microbiologists & brewers, according to the signature. I think I'll trust that girl... lol

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