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Old 11-03-2011, 04:12 AM   #1
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Default Bottling with Champagne Yeast - Question on Timing, etc.

Hey everyone,

I have a Saison that's been in the carboy for a couple of months, now ready to bottle, that I'd like to add a champagne yeast for bottling. I've tried searching the threads and can't seem to find answers as to the timing and method of what I'm trying to do.

Let me say at the outset: the beer is done fermenting out and I just want the champagne yeast in there for bottle conditioning / drying it out a bit more. I'm not asking about dropping the gravity those last few points--as I said, it's done fermenting and hit the target gravity. I only want to use it to carb it all up.

My plan is to make a small starter for the champagne yeast (recommended by my LHBS). After 24-48 hours pitch that into the carboy, and the following day, bottle as usual with dextrose. Is this the right protocol / timing, or should I be doing something else? Should I just pitch the yeast at the same time I bottle them up? Is there an advantage to letting the yeasties settle in?

Thanks in advance...

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Old 11-03-2011, 11:47 AM   #2
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I've always just pitched it in the bottling bucket and just made sure it looked mixed well. You can pitch in the day before with no ill effects but much of it will probably floc to the botttom. Either plan you have should work well. Proofing it will make it easier to mix compared to just tossing dry yeast into the bottling bucket and racking on top of the yeast.

Also in an effort to ward off the eventual "let it sit a while with champagne yeast" comments. As you already know it will not ferment any further with the champagne yeast. All the simple sugars are already consumed and the champagne yeast cannot metabolize the carbohydrates left in the beer.

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Old 11-03-2011, 12:18 PM   #3
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What champagne yeast are you going to use? If you're using dry, there are approximately 20 billion cells per gram. I assume 90% viability and if stored properly you should expect to loose 2% per month in the package. If you don't rehydrate, you'll loose half of the cells. You don't need more than 1 million cells per mL of beer to carbonate. A 5 gallon batch is 18927 mL so you'll need ~19 billion cells. Depending on the age of your yeast packet, you may only need 1 gram of properly rehydrated yeast. I prefer not to overload my bottle conditioned beers with yeast, especially an already hazy beer like a Saison.
When I bottle condition, I add the rehydrated yeast and sugar to the fermenter and counter pressure transfer the beer to a sealed and purged keg. Then I fill the bottles with a blichmann beer gun from the keg, utilizing the CO2 purge. This process insures that minimal oxygen is introduced and that the yeast, sugar and beer are 100% mixed.

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Old 11-03-2011, 03:40 PM   #4
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Thanks, both of you.

@dstar: I'm using dry champagne yeast (Red Star brand) and it's already been turned into a starter. I rehydrated according to the package instructions and pitched into some DME as I usually do for a starter. This was at the strong suggestion of my LHBS. I hope that's fine.

From what you're telling me though, it seems like I'll need dramatically less. How should I proceed then? Any advice appreciated...

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Old 11-03-2011, 03:47 PM   #5
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Won't champagne yeast also ferment more than the beer yeast would? Resulting in overcarbonation?

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Old 11-03-2011, 04:19 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheezydemon3 View Post
Won't champagne yeast also ferment more than the beer yeast would? Resulting in overcarbonation?
I don't think this is a serious issue, because it's already reached its final gravity (1.058--->1.005 over a couple of months, which is way more than I assumed it would drop). I've read around here about people using champagne yeast for its high alcohol tolerance, etc. in order to continue fermentation when a Saison yeast peters out, but I just don't think there's anything in there left to eat!

The thought is that by adding champagne yeast and then dextrose, the yeast will carb the bottles and then go to sleep. Am I right, or am I heading for some bombs? I would, of course, do my calculations to ensure the right amount of dextrose is used, etc.(2.5 volumes) Right now, I'm leaning towards simply pitching the starter when I rack to the bottling bucket...

However, what I'm most after is a little extra dryness at the finish, as well as very fine bubbliness. Anyone have an experience in creating this effect in their own brews?
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Old 11-03-2011, 04:40 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aehernandez View Post
From what you're telling me though, it seems like I'll need dramatically less. How should I proceed then? Any advice appreciated...
Use Mr. Malty to see how many cells you made and only use the volume of starter necessary. Make sure you stir it up well before dividing it.
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Old 11-03-2011, 04:50 PM   #8
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Champagne yeast will not ferment the carbohydrates left behind after ale yeast have fermented a wort. The only time I've seen champagne yeast used to make a beer is for subsequent sugar additions in order to get like 14% or more abv. I know the book Extreme Brewing uses this technique for a Belgian specialty ale. The reason for the addition of the champagne yeast is to assist in drying the beer out with the sucrose additions as the fermentation proceeded. The ale yeast would likely die or be hindered by alcohol toxicity around 12-14% and the champagne yeast lives up to 20% probably. So to push the fermentation to completion with sucrose they use champagne yeast. It is not fermenting the maltotriose, or dextrins in the wort; just the simple sugars.

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Old 11-03-2011, 09:00 PM   #9
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This is great info, guys. Super informative.

I'm guessing the consensus is to just pitch the right amount of the starter (a la Mr. Malty calculations) into the bottling bucket as part of that process. I'll plan to do that unless someone tells me otherwise...

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