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Old 11-05-2009, 03:06 PM   #1
kanzimonson
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Default Bottling a bigger beer, should I pitch more yeast?

I'm bottling a bigger beer today, something along the lines of a barleywine or IIPA and I'm wondering if I should add some more yeast to ensure carbonation.

At the time of brewing, I was still learning about repitching yeast, yeast cakes and stuff, so I had a few minor mistakes. Here's the beer's stats:

Brewed on 8-23-2009
OG - 1.087
Pitched onto an entire fresh yeast cake of Wyeast 1762 - Belgian Abbey 2 (the yeast cake came from a 5.5gal batch of wheat beer, OG 1.044). This was probably overpitching.

On 8-27-2009, airlock bubbling had completely stopped after slowing down. I decided to rack to a secondary fermenter with 2oz of dry hops to finish fermentation. (SG - 1.033) Unlike normally, I deliberately gave the yeast cake at the bottom of the primary a little stir so I could retain some extra yeast in the secondary. I'm glad I did because within a day it was slowly bubbling again. I was annoyed, however, because I didn't want to dry hop until fermentation was complete or almost complete.

On 9-26-2009, I was getting antsy about the dry hopping having gone on for so long. Fermentation seemed complete, but I wasn't sure. I racked off the dry hops into a third carboy (SG - 1.021). Flavor was freakin amazing, BTW. Again, I stirred the yeast just a tad to make sure some followed into the final fermenter. After racking, the beer immediately cleared up, so I'm sure some of that lengthy bubbling was just CO2 escaping.

The beer has been sitting still since then, and I'm ready to bottle it. I now have about 4.75gal and there's about .75in of yeast cake at the bottom of the carboy.

Do you think I need to add a little extra yeast when bottling? While it's been aging longer than usual for my beers, in reality it hasn't been that long. I can't imagine there aren't some viable yeast in there. I could also deliberately suck up a little of the yeast cake with my racking cane when going into the bottling bucket. And compared to other big beers, an OG of 1.087 isn't that huge. Suggestions? (and thanks for reading my essay of a question!)


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Old 11-05-2009, 05:29 PM   #2
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I just bottled a big christmas spice ale and used a packet of Lalvin EC-1118 yeast. Seems to carbonate it quick and not affect taste/grav.

Dont forget priming sugar too


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Old 11-05-2009, 05:33 PM   #3
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I wouldn't pitch more yeast. 1.087 isn't really that high, and a wine yeast might be able to attenuate a bit more, causing overattenuation or overcarbonation.

The beer is less than three months old, and was stored at room temperature. You could do what you suggested, and make sure to transfer some yeast when you rack to the bottling bucket.
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Old 11-05-2009, 05:37 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by YooperBrew View Post
I wouldn't pitch more yeast. 1.087 isn't really that high, and a wine yeast might be able to attenuate a bit more, causing overattenuation or overcarbonation.

The beer is less than three months old, and was stored at room temperature. You could do what you suggested, and make sure to transfer some yeast when you rack to the bottling bucket.
I agree with yoop. Just remember with a bigger beer it will take longer to carb and condition..so don't start a "my beer is undercarbed or flat or tastes like carp" if it is under 6 weeks....

Lazy Llama came up with a handy dandy chart to determine how long something takes in brewing, whether it's fermentation, carbonation, bottle conditioning....



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Old 11-05-2009, 05:53 PM   #5
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I add extra yeast at bottling for all my big beers, I consider it 'cheap insurance' as I've had some that didn't carbonate. I would use a neutral dry yeast (usually US-05 in my case) and not a wine yeast, be sure to rehydrate it first. A half sachet will do ya, but I just use the whole thing.
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Old 11-05-2009, 06:03 PM   #6
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Im talking beers 1.090 and over. The yeasts are usually tired out to carbonate. My friend uses that yeast on any beer over 8% abv. He's got plenty of gold medals to show for it.
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Old 11-05-2009, 10:31 PM   #7
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Just bottled it and decided to allow some of the flocculated yeast to make it into the bottling bucket.

And don't worry about me testing one too soon - I have plans to save this for many years. Though the temptation to try my first bottle on Christmas or New Years is strong...


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