Originally Posted by butterpants
when should i be worried about adding yeast? do you basically have to go through the whole process by trial and error and hopefully there is carbonation.... or is there a general guideline that after 3 months or something like that you need to add yeast??
That depends on a few things like the strain of yeast, igredients, aging conditions (temps), etc. I've aged a Belgian Golden Strong Ale for many months and had a tough time with *some* of the bottles carbing up. But it was a very highly hopped beer, which didn't help.
That is why I would recommend not bulk aging for several months. If you can do 2-3 months and it's clear enough, go ahead and bottle. There will be more yeast that are viable and it will carb up nicely.
Remember, the stronger the beer, generally the longer it has to age before it's considered at it's prime. That might be 1 or more years for beers over 10%.
Keep in mind that this is just my opinion, from my experiences. There could very well be many others who have bulk aged their strong ales for many months that never had a problem with their yeast. I'm just saying I've had better luck with RIS's and Barlewines that were not bulk aged as long and were significantly better tasting in the end.
I'd say that with a month of primary (if necessary) and 2 months of secondary, you should still have very viable yeast and it should be pretty clear. There really isn't a sharp line drawn in the sand on this.