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Old 03-24-2011, 07:09 AM   #1
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Default How much yeast should I add back for carbonation?

After a beer has been bulk aging for a long period of time, how much yeast should be added back to carbonate the beer? The bottle conditioning chapter in Jamil's Yeast book says "1 million cells per milliliter", but I don't really know how to go about measuring that. I'm looking to add just enough to carbonate the beer, resulting in a very thin layer of yeast at the bottom of the bottle.

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Old 03-24-2011, 03:22 PM   #2
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How long exactly has your beer been aging? Its likely that there are enough active yeast cells still in the brew that all you have to do is add some sort of priming sugar to give them something to munch on. Depending on how active and healthy they still are it will take more or less time to carb up.

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Old 03-24-2011, 04:46 PM   #3
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I second with what above poster said. Unless you have been aging for a comically long time (years), I have to think there is enough viable yeast left in solution to get the job done. It does not take much yeast at all to carbonate a bottle. I made a 1.052 Amber Lager, left it at fermentation temperatures for 1 month (50F), crash cooled it for another month (32F), it froze (obviously somewhere less than 32 F), it thawed, I bottled, and it was completely carbonated in 3 weeks.

A couple things worth mentioning. First, I was using WLP833. Second, no, I did not add more yeast at bottling time, nor did I purposely try to suck some yeast off the bottom of the carboy into the bottling bucket. Finally, I let the beer carbonate in cases sitting on my garage floor in the middle of winter (40F, maybe).

I wouldn't have believed it would work unless I did it myself, but you'll have to trust me; it worked. After I went to bottle and saw that the thing was half frozen, I said, "Screw it, if the yeast can still carbonate after this, then I will never have to question adding back yeast on a future batch." After my experience, I'd imagine that nothing short of fine filtering would remove so much yeast that you wouldn't be able to carbonate with what remains in solution. Like I said, it doesn't take much.

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Old 03-24-2011, 04:56 PM   #4
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I've had beer bulk aging for upwards of 6 months without needing more yeast. Like Jfowler said, if you scrape some yeast as you rack there should be enough to do the job.
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