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Old 04-25-2011, 07:21 PM   #1
Feb 2011
Flagstaff, AZ
Posts: 78
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I'm brewing a Russian Imperial Stout pretty soon and I really want to get the most out of it. I was curious if adding another vial of White Labs to my starter will drive my FG up. I do realize this will dry out my beer quite a bit but I'm okay with that.

Thanks for the advice.

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Old 04-25-2011, 07:37 PM   #2
Dec 2010
White Haven, pa
Posts: 35

nope it will give you a better chance of hitting your fg where you want it but more yeast doesnt equal more alcohol. more sugar = more alcohol

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Old 04-25-2011, 07:39 PM   #3
febbrewro's Avatar
Nov 2009
Royal Oak, MI
Posts: 136
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Adding more yeast won't achieve a higher ABV. Adding more sugar will. The yeast convert sugars to alcohol. Even if you added another packet of yeast, if there are no more sugars present for the yeast to "eat" then they won't produce any more alcohol.

Adding sugar will increase the ABV, and also dry the beer out.

What's your OG, and what FG are you shooting for? I usually have an OG of 1.100 for my imperials, but the FG won't go below 1.020 or so. As the alcohol content increases, the environment becomes more toxic to the yeast and they poop out.
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Old 04-25-2011, 08:02 PM   #4
May 2010
Bay City, MI
Posts: 916
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More yeast does not mean more alcohol, more sugars does. Although that isnt completely true. If you had a brew where you were using a yeast with a really low alcohol tolerance, and it died out before all the sugar was consumed, then adding some yeast with a high tolerance to alcohol, might get you some more alcohol out of the batch. In this case the extra yeast finished the job, but if you added more yeast after that you wouldnt get any more alcohol.

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Old 04-25-2011, 08:18 PM   #5
Feb 2009
Scarborough, Maine
Posts: 884
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I'd encourage you to look into starters and calculating the "recommended" pitching rate for the beer you're brewing. Mr. Malty has a calculator to help.

Take it for what it's worth. It's a tool to help you make better beer. People can (and will) debate the pitching rate issue until they die. I look at it as a way to (possibly) improve my beer.

Long and short of it, the previous posters are correct in the more sugar = higher ABV, BUT... The correct amount of yeast will help you achieve your desired beer.

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Old 04-25-2011, 08:57 PM   #6
Mar 2011
Pennsauken, New Jersey
Posts: 142
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Well, if you are looking for a drier / more attenuated beer... certain yeast strains are better at surviving in a high alcohol environment than others and can continue to ferment even at these higher alcohol levels. Of course you would not want to use these in a beer that is supposed to have a relatively high FG (example 1.020 and up) because the beer will not taste as the style dictates.

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Old 04-25-2011, 09:45 PM   #7
PT Ray
Aug 2005
Posts: 1,373
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Using more yeast then you need is called over pitching. It doesn't produce more alcohol or really anything you could call beneficial.

Post a recipe with what you expect out of it. If it's something on the drier side then that can certainly be addressed.

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Old 04-25-2011, 10:55 PM   #8
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ajf's Avatar
Oct 2005
Long Island
Posts: 4,646
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Adding an extra vial of yeast to the starter certainly won't increase the FG.
If (without the extra vial) you had inadequate yeast, and the extra vial made up the deficit, then it could well reduce the FG, and improve the beer.
The best results are produced by pitching the correct amount of healthy yeast. In the case of liquid yeast, this can be done by making a starter. If a simple, one step starter does not produce enough, you could add an extra vial, or you could do a two or three step starter. There are no advantages to be obtained by overpitching, except that you will increase White Labs profits at your expense.

There are only 10 types of people in this world. Those that understand binary, and those that don't.

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Old 04-25-2011, 11:03 PM   #9
ChshreCat's Avatar
Aug 2008
Camano Island, Washington
Posts: 11,533
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Starting with a good amount of yeast WILL help you have a good healthy ferment that will give you the best chance of reaching proper attenuation for that yeast strain, but that doesn't equate to more yeast equals more alcohol. As said, sugar equals alcohol (up to the attenuation of the yeast).

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Old 04-25-2011, 11:49 PM   #10
Feb 2011
Detroit, MI
Posts: 180

I love how the first three replies all say the same thing. Shows how much people read before showering the OP with their 2 cents

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