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Old 01-03-2011, 02:43 PM   #1
jowilant
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Default Can you pitch more yeast after fermentation has started?

I just finished cooking an Imperial IPA that has an extremely high original gravity - 1.095. I pitched one vial of California Ale and did not do starter with it (I know, I should have...). I cooked and pitched my yeast on Jan. 1. It started visibly fermenting on Jan. 2, about 20 hours after pitching and seems to be going strong.

Because my gravity is so high I am now a bit concerned about my beer being too sweet because due to me only using one liquid vial of yeast and not creating a starter with it. At this point in time I would like to add more yeast. But, that's my question. Can I add more yeast to a batch that is already fermenting? If so, are there any special considerations when doing so?

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks in advance!

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Old 01-03-2011, 03:46 PM   #2
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You can always add more yeast, but there is no need. If your beer if fermenting there is already more yeast in the beer than one more vial will add.

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Old 01-03-2011, 03:50 PM   #3
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I am new to this, but is not using a 'starter' a problem if your fermentation has already 'started'?

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Old 01-03-2011, 04:03 PM   #4
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I am new to this, but is not using a 'starter' a problem if your fermentation has already 'started'?
The idea for a starter is to help create a more perfect environment for your beer. There are no rules for what you can or can't do to a beer. The idea being we want to make the beer do what we want it to do.

Adding a starter to your already fermenting beer, I guess could oxidize the beer. I don't know how noticeable it would be. The bottom line is though, once your beer is started visibly fermenting, the fermentation has already begun long before and the yeast already fermenting would outnumber any yeast you would add (on a reasonable level).
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:04 PM   #5
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Once your yest have gone anaerobic the available oxygen in the your fermenting beer will be nill. Any yeast you add will struggle or not start fermenting worth a damn anyway. I wouldnt do it. Yest really need a good aerobic start to be viable in the fermenter.

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Old 01-03-2011, 11:50 PM   #6
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

wired247 - Wouldn't creating a starter help to remedy what you are saying about the anaerobic environment? Isn't creating a starter helping to oxygenate the yeast before you introduce them to this environment?

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Old 01-04-2011, 06:03 AM   #7
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Thanks for the replies everyone.

wired247 - Wouldn't creating a starter help to remedy what you are saying about the anaerobic environment? Isn't creating a starter helping to oxygenate the yeast before you introduce them to this environment?

Ive just never seen anything good come from late or second pitches. Pitching fully aerated yeast into wort thats been scrubbed of oxygen is like driving 90mph and slamming on the brakes. Off flavors and autolyzed yeast are what you'd end up with. Better to live with the slow ferment.
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Old 01-04-2011, 06:39 AM   #8
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+1 on living with the slow ferment...for now. But after all, such a high gravity beer takes longer than your average beer anyway. I would have double pitched given the very high OG, but California Ale has very high alcohol tolerance, so you may be ok. Leave it be for several weeks and then test every few days with a hydrometer to see how things are progressing. If you do end up with a stall you could look at rousing the yeast, warming the primary, or repitching - but while there's active fermentation, leave it alone...

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