can I pitch yeast into my secondary?

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ace0005

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I was wondering if anyone had done this. My sg was 1.064. I pitched wyeast002 into primary and had good fermentation. I'm concerned that it wasn't enough though as my gravity was a bit high for this yeast. I plan in racking to a secondary to add flavoring. If my gravity didn't come down enough can I pitch another round of yeast?
 

adamgram

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If you saw active fermentation and then it stopped, that probably means fermentation is complete. If there is food (sugar) for the yeast to eat, they will reproduce quickly until they run out of food. In theory, you only need 1 micro-organism to start a fermentation. If you had an active fermentation, you had a healthy colony of yeast. If that healthy colony died out, that means there is no more food for them, and your fermentation is complete.

If you add more yeast and fermentation re-starts, something is wrong with your beer.
 

Qhrumphf

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Have you check for final gravity with a hydrometer? What was the reading.

There's no brewing yeast I'm aware of that can't handle 1.064 without finishing at a reasonable final gravity, so I'm not sure what you mean that the gravity was high for the yeast. If you didn't make a starter, you're going to have some additional fruity character from yeast stress (possibly excessive depending on your preferences), but they'll be able to handle it. If you did make a starter, you should have had absolutely no problem.

Check with a hydrometer, but my money says your FG should be in the right area.

If you do need to add more yeast, you can do so, although in that case you absolutely need to make a starter to wake them up and get them active, because fermented beer is a highly inhospitable environment even for yeast, and if they're not already active when you pitch them they may just fall out and not do anything.
 
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ace0005

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Thanks a lot for the feedback! It has been extremely helpful. In light of my comment about SG 1.064 being a bit high for my yeast.... I was told by my friend, who was told by a homebrew shop owner, that any SG above 1.050 almost requires a double dose of yeast in the primary if no starter is used (which is the car foot this brew). Anyone ever hear of that? Or is that just nonsense?
 
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I've never heard of Wyeast 002. I think you
meant WLP 002 this is White Labs English Ale. The equivalent Wyeast would be #1968.
 
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ace0005

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Yes it was wlp002, my bad. I'm just starting to learn about yeast and pitching rates. Also he, was talking about pitching 2 vials when pitching into the primary or make a starter. For some reason, 2 vials seems like a lot.
 

dyqik

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Two vials is probably a small to moderate underpitch. Each White Labs vial is about 100 billion cells when packaged (this reduces with viability, i.e. age of the vial), and a 1.064 5.25 gallon batch should have about 230 billion cells pitched in it.

See http://www.mrmalty.com/calc/calc.html to do the calculation.

I've just bottled a 1.064 Porter brewed with WLP002 (2nd generation, harvested from a best bitter). That stopped at 1.019 for 70% attenuation, but that recipe was mashed fairly high, and is very dark.
 

peterj

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I was wondering if anyone had done this. My sg was 1.064. I pitched wyeast002 into primary and had good fermentation. I'm concerned that it wasn't enough though as my gravity was a bit high for this yeast. I plan in racking to a secondary to add flavoring. If my gravity didn't come down enough can I pitch another round of yeast?
WLP002 is a low attenuating yeast. So you're going to end up with a higher FG than if you used something like US-05 or WLP007 or almost any other yeast. If you didn't want the FG to be that high, you could have used a more attenuative strain. So you could probably drop it a couple of points, if you pitch another, more highly attenuative strain. But as was said before you should make a starter to get the yeast active and used to that type of environment.
 

Qhrumphf

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Your friend was exactly right about the yeast. If you look at the actual recommended numbers from the Mr. Malty calculator, if you have yeast that is 97% viable (basically if it's pitched the same day it leaves the lab, the stuff I get from my LHBS is usually closer to a month old by the time I get it, and more like 75% viable) one vial is an appropriate pitch for 5 gallons of wort only as high as 1.028. In practice, if I have very fresh yeast, I'll go up to 1.040 without a starter, and anything higher than that, or anything with older yeast, gets a starter by default.

Not making a starter shouldn't have too much noticeable impact on your FG unless you're going to an extreme level. Rather, the yeast will have to grow more to reach the right level for fermentation, and in doing so can create a lot of off flavors, the first you'd notice would be additional fruity esters.

I would follow Mr. Malty's calculations to the letter for the time being. The guy literally co-wrote the book on yeast.
 

adamgram

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TL;DR Your beer is fine do not add more yeast. Next time, make a starter, and your beer will taste a little better.
 
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ace0005

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Thanks again to you all. This has been very educational as well as helpful. Tomorrow I will take a gravity reading to see where I'm at. I'm hoping for good results even though my be hasn't fermented for two weeks yet. I haven't seen any noticeable action in my airlock for two days now.
 
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Can I cause the yeast to reactivate, out ferment even more by stirring up my carboy? Of so, should I do this?
 
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ace0005 said:
Can I cause the yeast to reactivate, out ferment even more by stirring up my carboy? Of so, should I do this?
Short answer no. If they have already fermented and dropped out they have eaten all the fermentable sugars available to them. Stirring them back in will not gain you any lower of a FG. the only time I would recommend possibly stirring gently as you don't want to oxygenate your beer would be if you're yeast stalled and dropped out early. Such as your OG was 1.060 your FG is 1.045 I'd probably consider warming it up and gently stirring then. But if your OG was 1.060 and your FG is 1.015 recipe called for FG of 1.010 I'd say your done and it is what it is.

Generally though your yeast will drop out after they've consumed all sugars available to them. All the stirring in the world can't get then to eat what isn't there.
 
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Thanks. I think I have a stalled ferment. Started art 1.064 and stopped at 1.037. I used wlp002. I tried a stir, but had no results. I have 4 days left in primary and am considering repitching
 
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Refractometer with automatic temperature control
 

peterj

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That's your problem. You can't use the reading from a refractometer after fermentation has begun. The alcohol interferes with the reading. They have calculators to correct for it but I usually just use a hydrometer.

EDIT: I just put it into this calculator: http://www.brewersfriend.com/refractometer-calculator/, and it saying you're probably around 1.019. Which sounds like you're probably about done. But I would use a hydrometer because I'm not really sure how accurate the correction formulas are.
 

peterj

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Thanks. I think I have a stalled ferment. Started art 1.064 and stopped at 1.037. I used wlp002. I tried a stir, but had no results. I have 4 days left in primary and am considering repitching
Also, I don't mean to be nitpicky, but what do you mean 4 days left in primary? Time schedules and days don't really mean anything to the yeast and the length of primary fermentation is determined by them. Just because directions or something you read says to leave it a certain number of days doesn't mean you absolutely must follow that. In fact most of the time the directions that come with kits are terrible.

Maybe I'm reading into that, but I just thought me pointing that out might help you. :mug:
 
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ace0005

ace0005

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Peterj.....that's exactly what I used to do, but now I take the "2 weeks" instruction to man no more than 2 weeks. So my plan was to repitch and make sure my beer was takes at the 2 week point.
As far as my gravity reading.... Now that I've used my hydrometer I get a reading of 1.026! I'm so excited that I didn't ruin my beer! You guys rock!
 

peterj

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There's no problem with leaving a beer in primary longer than 2 weeks. 2 weeks is usually my minimum, and I usually leave them for around 3 (mostly out of laziness) before I bottle. I've left one in primary for as long 6 weeks with no ill effects, and I've heard of people leaving them for several months with no problems. You might be worried about autolysis, but that is more of a concern to commercial breweries with big fermenters that have huge amounts of pressure inside them. Autolysis rarely comes into play on a homebrew scale.

As for your FG of 1.026, that seems a little high but it might be just about all you're going to get with that yeast. It really depends on your recipe. If you post the recipe we'll be able to tell a little more. It won't hurt to go ahead and warm it up a bit and swirl it around though.
 

Qhrumphf

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1.064 to 1.026 with what I'm assuming was an extract beer, with that yeast strain, yeah I'd say it's probably about done.

And I very, very rarely move a beer out of the primary fermenter at less than 3 weeks. Often times it's 4-5 weeks, sometimes even 6.
 
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ace0005

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Chocolate raspberry stout recipe:
Grain bill:
1. 8lbs. Marris otter
2. 2lbs. Crystal 40L
3. 1lbs. Chocolate malt
4. 1/2lbs. Lactose
5. .25lbs. Roasted Bartley
Hops:
1. 1oz. Fuggle pelletized
2. 1oz. E.k. Goldings pelletized
Yeast:
WLP002 English Ale
Other:
1. 4oz Hershey's Cocoa powder (unsweetened) into mash.
2. 1.25lbs raspberry puree in mash
3. 1 tbs. Yeast nutrient (15 minutes left in boil)
4. 1Tbs. Irish moss (15 minutes left in boil).

Secondary:
1. 1.25 lbs raspberry puree to taste.
 
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ace0005

ace0005

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Mash temp.:
1.155 F. 60 minutes
2. 170 sparge 45 minutes
 

peterj

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Ahh...ok. With 2 lbs of crystal malt plus a 1/2 lb of Lactose, that's right about what I'd expect. What was the mash temp?
+1, I'd say it's probably done. That FG is about where you want to be with a milk stout. Also, raspberry puree has a lot of sugar in it so however much you add to the beer now will need to ferment out before you bottle it.
 

peterj

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Soooooo, how do I do that? More yeast?
No there should plenty of yeast in there to ferment it. You just need to give it enough time. I'd say a week will probably be enough. But the best way to know for sure if something is done fermenting is if you get consistent hydrometer readings over the course of a few days.
 
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ace0005

ace0005

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Awesome, thanks guys. Really helpful and educational. I truly appreciate everything.
 

peterj

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Sure, no problem! Anything I can do to advance the cause of homebrewing!
 

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