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Old 09-24-2011, 01:14 AM   #1
subliminalurge
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Default Best yeast for Brewer's Best Holiday Ale?

I've got two empty fermenters sitting here and only one recipe kit on the way from Midwest. Given that I have a hard enough time keeping the pipeline full anyway, I decided to swing by the LHBS at lunch today and pick something out of their limited selection.

Even though my intention was to get something that could be turned around quickly, the stock on kits was pretty low and none of the quick turnaround stuff looked at all appealing. Ended up with the Holiday Ale kit. Sticker on the box calls for an OG in the 1.070 range, so this is a reasonably big beer and is going to have to age out at least a little. I'm hoping it will be reasonably ready by Christmas.

Since this is going to be taking up valuable carboy space for a while, I want to make sure I get it comes out good.

Anyone who's brewed it before, should I go ahead with the packet of Nottingham in the kit, or is there a better option from White Labs? (LHBS doesn't carry Wyeast, and I'm brewing tomorrow so can't order yeast online.)

Since I'll have to go with White Labs if I go liquid, and I don't really have time for a good starter, how many vials?

I actually have a yeast cake of Nottingham in my biggest carboy from an APA I just did. About an inch and a half thick at the bottome of a 6.5 gallon carboy. Looks to be mostly yeast, not seeing much trub. So I could potentially rack from the kettle onto that, but I'd want to look it over pretty good first. My sanitation and sealing of the carboy weren't done with the intention of racking back into it, so who knows what's gone on in there in the last couple days?

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Old 09-24-2011, 02:43 AM   #2
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AKAIK, you don't want to let that yeast cake dry out if you are going to rack straight to it. But that's just what I've been told by more experienced brewers than myself. I've never tried. Personally, I would be really reluctant to try it. I would use the Nottingham before I did that.

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Old 09-24-2011, 12:56 PM   #3
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Hi sub- I brewed the BB Holiday Ale kit last year and am looking over my notes now since SWMBO really loved this and said she preferred it to Great Lakes Christmas Ale! I swapped the 1lb of corn sugar for 1 lb of Pilsen light LME, and by mistake added the spice pack at 60 minutes rather than at 15 minutes. At the 15 minute mark, I added 1/2 tsp of allspice and proceeded with the recipe as written. After cooling, I pitched WLP011 and measured the sg at 1.068.

In three weeks, FG was 1.014 and stable for three days. I primed to 2.5 volumes CO2- and bottled. This was the end of October 2010. We drank a bottle 2 1/2 weeks later (I bottle in 22 oz bombers for sharing with SWMBO) and it was already terrific. I guess what I'm saying is that this didn't seem to need long conditioning in the primary or in the bottle! The spicing was really nice and quite mellow through the Xmas seasom, and it was difficult but I kept 3 bottles aside to compare to this year's batch, which I am brewing this weekend.

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Old 09-24-2011, 02:10 PM   #4
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cervezarar,

Did you make a starter with the WLP011? If so, how large?

Due to my schedule getting busy soon, today is my last chance to brew for awhile, so whatever route I take I'll probably not do a starter. From your experience do you think it would be significantly beneficial to pitch 2 or 3 tubes?

I still may just go with the Nottingham. It's one of a very few dry yeasts that I actually like.

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Old 09-24-2011, 02:43 PM   #5
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If I recall, I made a 1 liter starter. I sought the liquid yeast because there were issues in 2010 with Nottingham viability, and I didn't want to risk yeast stress and long lag times. I, too, bought this kit on a whim between batches. The same situation, none of the kits really appealed to me, and it was getting close to the holiday season.

I believe Nottingham will be fine and definitely cheaper than 2 or 3 tubes of liquid yeast. I am definitely a believer in going with what you like!

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Old 09-24-2011, 02:56 PM   #6
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I bought this kit yesterday myself. I think it's going to be super good with the crystal, chocolate and all the spices. I think I'm going to go ahead and get it going tomorrow.

I've had nothing but good luck with nottingham so far, so I'm going to stick with that

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Old 09-24-2011, 03:11 PM   #7
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Here's a thought...

I have some Sierra Nevada yeast that I've been growing from the dregs of about 15 SNPA bottles. I'd have to check the growler it's in to see if I have enough yet, but any thoughts on how well that yeast would match with this beer?

It sounds kind of appealing to me. On the other hand, this was one freakin' expensive ingredient kit. Not sure it's one I want to turn into an experimental batch.....

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Old 09-24-2011, 03:20 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subliminalurge
Here's a thought...

I have some Sierra Nevada yeast that I've been growing from the dregs of about 15 SNPA bottles. I'd have to check the growler it's in to see if I have enough yet, but any thoughts on how well that yeast would match with this beer?

It sounds kind of appealing to me. On the other hand, this was one freakin' expensive ingredient kit. Not sure it's one I want to turn into an experimental batch.....
Yea, I paid $55 for it, so I'm not going to mess around with this one. I'd just stick with the Nottingham. Cause $55 is out of my comfort zone to experiment with. When he rang me up, I was flabbergasted. Usually his kits are 30-40.
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Old 09-24-2011, 03:25 PM   #9
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I used the WLP007 because it is highly attenuative and fairly neutral. The chico strain is also, so it will probably be a great substitute. Notty will be good, too. This is a spiced brown ale, so any neutral yeast will be fine to allow the spicing and maltiness to shine. If I recall, Notty is included with the kit-- you can undoubtedly use it and have a great holiday ale!

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Old 09-24-2011, 03:30 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by subliminalurge
Here's a thought...

I have some Sierra Nevada yeast that I've been growing from the dregs of about 15 SNPA bottles. I'd have to check the growler it's in to see if I have enough yet, but any thoughts on how well that yeast would match with this beer?

It sounds kind of appealing to me. On the other hand, this was one freakin' expensive ingredient kit. Not sure it's one I want to turn into an experimental batch.....
You know Sierra Nevada uses plain ol WLP001 right? Just a vial of that sounds like a way more sure thing than a whole bunch of dregs... I've heard that the dreg yeast is the least desirable out of the process
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