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Old 03-28-2011, 12:45 PM   #1
permo
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Default Yeast with high alcohol tolerance

I am about to embark on a beer with 1.118 or higher OG and I really want to get a yeast that will do the job properly. I have on hand numerous strains to consider:

WLP001
WLP007
WLP500
Pacman
Bells
WLP029


Has anybody every tested the upper limits of any of these strains? I know pacman is a beast and that is likely what I will use unless I get some encouraging information about another strain.

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Old 03-28-2011, 01:56 PM   #2
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Pacman is my "house yeast", at least for American ales. I've had trouble pushing it beyond 11% ABV. Big, healthy starters, proper wort oxygenation (meaning oxygen, not aquarium pumps or shaking), and minimal temperature fluctuation are imperative. Also consider adding fermentables in stages. Reserve ~2 gallons of wort in a sterile container and add in 0.5-1 gallon increments each day after high krausen.

Another yeast to consider is WLP099 - Super High Gravity Ale. White Labs claims it is tolerant to 25% ABV with proper technique. I don't recommend it personally - I find that it produces tons of fusel oils, leading to ugly hangovers even in small amounts. Perhaps you could minimize this if you fermented it cold, in the low 60s.

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Old 03-28-2011, 02:39 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SickTransitMundus View Post
... proper wort oxygenation (meaning oxygen, not aquarium pumps or shaking)
I disagree somewhat on this point. If your starter is big enough, meaning you have a high yeast count, aeration with o2 is unnecessary because there are enough yeasts to do the job properly. There is a "sticky" on here somewhere by an experienced brewer who advocates HUGE starters in the range of 3 litres.

That said I will tell you have I used WLP500 with huge starter and got an ABV of 14% (OG was 1.16). I did aerate but I used the "pour back and forth" method which is not the most scientific one out there but I had so much foam I had to stop because it was at the top of the bucket. WLP500 is used for its fruity flavor profile so be aware that this yeast does not a neutral flavor profile. I used it for a belgian strong ale.

I've got WLP029 fermenting right now, but its my first time to use this strain so I can't really say much about it. I used a 2 litre starter on a pale ale (OG = 1.056) but it's too soon to take a gravity reading.
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Old 03-28-2011, 05:51 PM   #4
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I wonder if shouldn't just make two starters, one of pacman and one of WLP500, ferment at 65-70 degrees and see what happens. I could mash overnight at 149, use a ton of yeast nutrient, aerate the crap out of it and wait for a blowoff.

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Old 03-28-2011, 06:24 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by permo View Post
I wonder if shouldn't just make two starters, one of pacman and one of WLP500, ferment at 65-70 degrees and see what happens. I could mash overnight at 149, use a ton of yeast nutrient, aerate the crap out of it and wait for a blowoff.
I used a 4 litre starter and no nutrient. I fermented at 64 degF for 6 weeks.

EDIT: I mashed low, too.. 150
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Old 03-29-2011, 01:50 AM   #6
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Here is the recipe I am going to try

23.00 lb Pale Malt (2 Row) US (2.0 SRM) Grain 83.64 %
0.75 lb Black (Patent) Malt (500.0 SRM) Grain 2.73 %
0.75 lb Chocolate Malt (350.0 SRM) Grain 2.73 %
0.75 lb Coffee Malt (165.0 SRM) Grain 2.73 %
0.75 lb Dark Crystal (75.0 SRM) Grain 2.73 %
0.75 lb Extra Dark Crystal (160.0 SRM) Grain 2.73 %
0.75 lb Medium Crystal (55.0 SRM) Grain 2.73 %
3.00 oz Columbus (Tomahawk) [14.50 %] (90 min) Hops 86.8 IBU

Mash at 150 overnight

yeast = ??
OG > 1.114 FG < 1.030

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Old 03-29-2011, 01:57 AM   #7
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Have you looked at Wyeast 1728? Or 1084? Both come in at 12% ABV... I've used 1728, a few times and like how clean it is... Lets the character of the recipe come through... I've been fermenting in the lower half of it's temperature range so far... I do plan on brewing when it's a little warmer, to see how it is in the upper half of the range. The range is wide enough too (55-75F) to make it an easy yeast to use...

Just my $0.10 worth...

BTW, what's up with the ass-load of dark malts?? What ARE you trying to make with an overnight mash??

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Old 03-29-2011, 01:30 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stardust View Post
I disagree somewhat on this point. If your starter is big enough, meaning you have a high yeast count, aeration with o2 is unnecessary because there are enough yeasts to do the job properly. There is a "sticky" on here somewhere by an experienced brewer who advocates HUGE starters in the range of 3 litres.
I look at O2 as extra insurance that I'll get a healthy and complete fermentation. Homebrewers chronically underpitch (c.f. Ray Daniels, Designing Great Beers). For big beers, I typically do two-liter starters which I've propagated twice - smack pack into the flask with 1.040 OG malt extract, chill after high krausen, decant, repeat. O2 gives me peace of mind that my underpitched starter will carry the fermentation to a reasonable final gravity.

So, yeah, massive starters will also help. So will yeast nutrients. This is a hell of a big beer this guy is proposing.
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Old 03-29-2011, 03:05 PM   #9
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O2 isn't just for reproducing - yeast use it for many other metabolic processes. One of the most important is building strong cell walls. In a beer like this your yeast need to be tip-top shape. I don't consider O2 optional.

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Old 03-29-2011, 03:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Golddiggie View Post
BTW, what's up with the ass-load of dark malts?? What ARE you trying to make with an overnight mash??

Imperial Stout minus the roasted Barley. I am going for a super dark, thick, chewey, big beer. I have become a huge fan of the english crystal malts as well, I think this beer is going to be pretty darned good, I just have to get my yeast straightened out.
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