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Old 01-17-2011, 03:41 AM   #1
Vance71975
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Default WLP099 Super High Gravity Yeast Question

I see a lot of threads on a lot of forums of people asking about using champagne yeast to finish out a Big beer. My Question is this, is there some reason people do not recommend WLP099 Super High Gravity Yeast? It is reported to be able to ferment to 25% ABV, which is about 7% ABV Higher than champagne yeast can do, and it is an Ale yeast. This is what white labs site has to say about it.

Flavors from this yeast vary greatly with the beer produced. The higher the gravity, the more winey the result. Beers over 16% ABV begin to taste less like beer, and more like fortified wines. With low gravity beers, this yeast produces a nice, subtle English ale-like ester profile.As the gravity increases, some phenolic character is evident, followed by the winey-ness of beers over 16% ABV. Most fermentation's will stop between 12-16% ABV unless these high gravity tips are performed:

* Aerate very heavily, 4 times as much as with a normal gravity beer. Less oxygen dissolves into solution at high gravity.
* Pitch 3-4 times as much yeast as normal.
* Consider aerating intermittently during the first 5 days of fermentation. This will help yeast cells during a very difficult fermentation. Aerate with oxygen for 30 seconds or air for 5-10 minutes.
* Higher nutrient levels can allow yeast to tolerate higher alcohol levels. Use 2 times the normal nutrient level. This is especially important when using WLP099 to make wine and mead, which have almost no nutrient level to begin with.
* Do not start with the entire wort sugar at once. Begin fermentation with a wort that would produce a 6-8% beer, and add wort (it can be concentrated) each day during the first 5 days. This can be done together with aeration. This is mandatory if the reported 25% ABV is to be achieved.


So is there some reason people don't use this as their go to yeast with High Gravity ales? Personally this is my go to yeast for any brew over 1.090, and it has never let me down.

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Old 01-17-2011, 04:28 AM   #2
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Just a guess. Cost and availability. A small package of dry yeast that the LHBS stocks vs ordering something that costs more.

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Old 01-17-2011, 11:28 AM   #3
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Just a guess. Cost and availability. A small package of dry yeast that the LHBS stocks vs ordering something that costs more.
I can see how that would be expensive as a "second pitch yeast". I don't see why more people don't use it as their go to first pitch yeast though.
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Old 01-17-2011, 12:10 PM   #4
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I used WLP099 a few times on big beers (OG 1.100 and up). The results were not optimal - it performed as advertised with extremely good attenuation, but the beers had an overwhelming solventy character that did not diminish with age. They also caused rugged, screaming hangovers even when consumed in moderation.

Take it with a grain of salt, tho - this was when I still used extract and hadn't discovered temperature control yet. Were I to use it today I'd ferment cold (<65F) to try and minimize the fusel alcohols.

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Old 01-17-2011, 12:28 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SickTransitMundus View Post
I used WLP099 a few times on big beers (OG 1.100 and up). The results were not optimal - it performed as advertised with extremely good attenuation, but the beers had an overwhelming solventy character that did not diminish with age. They also caused rugged, screaming hangovers even when consumed in moderation.

Take it with a grain of salt, tho - this was when I still used extract and hadn't discovered temperature control yet. Were I to use it today I'd ferment cold (<65F) to try and minimize the fusel alcohols.
Understood. I personally have never noticed these, but then again my brew room,even in Ohio summer never gets above around 76 and in the winter is steady between 68-72, and my closet runs about 55 in the winter(not heated).

I guess i was just wondering if there was something i have missed, some problem, if you have everything optimal such as temp,pitch rate,etc. Some Bad quality that i just have not noticed. But then as we all know even the best yeast can have the problems listed above without proper temperate controls.
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Old 01-17-2011, 12:59 PM   #6
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I'm skeptical that a second pitch is ever necessary as long as you pitch a healthy initial starter into a well-oxygenated wort and properly control temperature/sanitation. I bet a lot of the underattenuation problems we see on here can be solved pre-emptively.

Of course, that's poor consolation to someone who already made an underattenuated batch and is trying to dry it out. I'll often rouse the yeast and raise the temperature a bit to knock out the last few gravity points, but this doesn't work for more than 4 or 5 points.

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Old 01-17-2011, 10:23 PM   #7
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I have had good and bad result with that yeast.

Bad:
I made an imperial stout at ~1.100 OG and 1.010 FG in 2 days... it took over a 6 months for the beer to even be drinkable... very dry and HOT.

Good;

I made a triple IPA started with with wpl001 for 2 days and then used the 099 to finish...

This was a very good beer.

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Old 01-17-2011, 10:32 PM   #8
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I made an imperial stout at ~1.100 OG and 1.010 FG in 2 days... it took over a 6 months for the beer to even be drinkable... very dry and HOT.
Did you have a lot of completely fermentable sugars in this one? Honey,Corn Sugar,Candy Sugar, etc? I don't see how any yeast will hit 1.010 on a wort that started at 1.100, you would think that the sheer volume of grains to hit that gravity would prevent it from getting that low unless there was A LOT of very simple sugars. I know i have never had any of my brews that were in that range get than low, normally if i am over 1.090 the lowest i get is between 1.020 and 1.028ish.
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Old 01-17-2011, 11:29 PM   #9
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nope thats what it measured... It was only grain ... alot of grain 14 lbs of pilsner, 8 lb of MO and 1.75 rye. and 1 lbs of chocolate and black patent malts for a 5 gallon batch.

It was over a 2 hour boil all hops introduced @ 60 mins 400 mL starter.

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Old 01-17-2011, 11:45 PM   #10
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It sounds like more of a pain than it's worth. As a second pitch yeast you really don't want to be aerating the beer constantly, and you'd have to make a really enormous starter to get enough yeast to finish the job in an already toxic environment. With champagne yeast it's start and go.

I've only heard a few people use this yeast as their first-pitch option and report anything other than bad yeast character or bad off-flavor generation due to the harsh environment. If you want to make a beer over 15%, I guess it'd be useful, but why do you really want to make a beer over 15%? If it's just for fun, you might be looking at a big waste of money.

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