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Old 12-06-2012, 02:22 PM   #1
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Default Can you always just pitch more yeast?

So I am brewing a very high gravity beer. Starting off with a starter and standard yeast strain and then few days in doing starter again and adding a super high gravity yeast. If by chance the yeast stop working before I hit my desired final gravity (and I still have sugars to add) could I just add another vial of yeast?
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:41 PM   #2
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Yes and no...getting a stalled ferment, especially stalled on a high gravity brew where you are likely trying to start up fermentation when there is already a good percentage of alcohol present is unpredictable and doesn't favor success. There are techniques to accomplish the task that may work; but, the best bet is to have an entire plan of attack on how you will ferment the bad boy out from the get go instead of hoping for the best and relying on a crutch to save you. It looks like you have some thought into it already. My best advice is to use a large starter, yeast nutrient, and plenty of O2, keep the temp in check at first but allow it to slowly rise to help finish it out, and if you are using sugar add it after fermentation has begun as it lowers the osmotic pressure the yeast have to start in and gives them something really easy to chew into after they have gotten used to their toxic environment.
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Old 12-06-2012, 03:48 PM   #3
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thanks for the advice..
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:10 PM   #4
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Agreed. Starting with a yeast for flavor then adding a highly tolerant yeast to finish things out sounds like a good plan of attack. Adding more of the same high gravity yeast probably isn't going to help much. (also +1 to adding the sugar later into the fermentation)
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Old 12-06-2012, 05:56 PM   #5
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I never recommend adding more yeast- treat your yeast properly the first time so they can finish out the job. If you HAVE to repitch, though, you should do it when your starter is at high krausen. You're dumping your yeast into a highly acidic, high toxin (alcohol) environment. It's very different from adding yeast to unfermented wort which is a higher pH and no alcohol, with lots of nutrients.
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Old 12-06-2012, 06:13 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by daksin View Post
I never recommend adding more yeast- treat your yeast properly the first time so they can finish out the job. If you HAVE to repitch, though, you should do it when your starter is at high krausen. You're dumping your yeast into a highly acidic, high toxin (alcohol) environment. It's very different from adding yeast to unfermented wort which is a higher pH and no alcohol, with lots of nutrients.
I agree. Almost any beer yeast will do 10-12% ABV.
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Old 12-06-2012, 08:52 PM   #7
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Going for 22% on this bad boy. Have researched for months. final recipe calls for 8 oz of dextrose added 2X daily for 2 weeks. Hops added each night for 3 weeks.
Hoping the yeast hangs in there long enough to at least get over 20%.
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Old 12-06-2012, 09:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soulshine View Post
Going for 22% on this bad boy. Have researched for months. final recipe calls for 8 oz of dextrose added 2X daily for 2 weeks. Hops added each night for 3 weeks.
Hoping the yeast hangs in there long enough to at least get over 20%.
You will definitely need the WLP099 in that environment...heck, most wine yeast won't tolerate that high of an alcohol percentage.
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:17 PM   #9
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So I did hit my final gravity and beer came in at 21% but its really sweet. Think I went a day or two too much adding the dextrose. Probably should have called that off. Disappointed in how sweet it is but happy with everything else. I just didn't anticipate hitting that 21% so quickly. Hoping carbonation and aging hides the corn sugar taste somewhat. Thanks again for the advice. I did use the two yeast as suggested:

1 Pkgs American Ale (Wyeast Labs #1056) [Did a starter 3 days prior]
1 Pkgs Super High Gravity Ale (White Labs #WLP099) [Did a a starter and pitched 5 days into fermentation]
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Old 01-09-2013, 03:38 PM   #10
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That's awesome! At 21% ABV I wonder is some of that sweetness is the result of autolysis. This is one you will want to rack to a secondary sooner rather than later.

Also, I've been doing some experiments with yeast in high ABV environments, and you may be able to squeeze out a few more gravity points by repitching high gravity yeast from a starter that has reached it's krousen peak.
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