Pitching a second dose of yeast

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Pitching a second dose of yeast

Postby Sapper » Fri Nov 12, 2004 6:19 pm

I read an article about high gravity beers in BYO this month that use a second pitch of yeast.

I have several posts on Beertools forum about this Scotch ale I am dealing with. I am considering pitching another dose of yeast. If I do this, I am going to make a sizable starter batch (2 or 3 quarts of starter) and putting it all in what is now my secondary fermenter.

I think this will necessitate a third fermenter.

If anybody has any information or experience with this, any help is appreciated. This is my first big beer.
Sapper
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Hold on for a minute

Postby jayhawk » Sat Nov 13, 2004 1:39 am

In one of your many posts about a Wee Heavy you said "I am obsessing." I think that you need to just take a breath and hold on for a minute here. You are over analysing this beer, and I think your plan to add more yeast, at least the way you have planned it, is going to detract from the beer rather than help it.

(I am assuming you are brewing a high gravity beer with a volume of about 5 gals.)

First off, the only reason you would want to repitch is if fermentation has stopped. If this is the case, scale way back on the repitch starter volume if you are fermenting a 5 gal batch. Adding 2 or 3 quarts of starter solution is going to have a seriously dilutive effect on this beer. Assuming the batch is 23 quarts, adding 3 quarts will dilute the beer by a factor of 13%. The whole point in brewing Scotch Ale is to have a strong beer. Diluting it with large amounts of starter is going to harm the end product.

Remember that it is possible to pitch too much yeast. This can affect the flavour negatively.

Provided you had a healthy amount of viable yeast to start off, the yeast should be fine and be able to do the job. Check the specs on the yeast and make sure it can handle a high alcohol percentage. If fermenting has stopped, it is probably b/c the beer has reached terminal gravity, or b/c the alc % is too high for the yeast. If you want to add some more yeast, then make sure you use a strain that is suitable for a high alc wort.

This is what I want you to do:

1) Look for littles bubbles on the surface or floating up to the surface of your beer. If you see those then the yeast is still working on this project. If this is the case then you have nothing to worry about.

2) If you do not see any signs of fermenting then check your current gravity (SG). Compare that number with the original gravity(OG) and figure out how much alc is in the wort. Also compare the SG with your projected final gravity to see if you are close to being done. If you are far off from your target, then pitch a reasonable amount of yeast (1 qt max).

Remember, a high grav beer will take time. Patience. Patience. Patience.

Let me know how it is going. I am here to help.

Chris
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OCD

Postby Sapper » Sun Nov 14, 2004 10:44 am

So I may have a touch of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

I have told myself to ignore this beer for a while, but I looked at it today.
It has little "islands" of bubbles scattered about the surface. There is also a fine layer of yeast settling in the ridges of my carboy. I have one of those 5 gal carboys that has the criss cross pattern on it, approximately 4 inch squares of raised ridges.

I guess this beer is fine. It is 2 days from the two month in the fermenter mark.

I took a lot of time formulating the recipe for this beer and want to get it right. It's like being Gen. Eisenhower on D-Day. He's been in charge of all the planning and making things happen, but the moment he have the order to attack he had no control at all. It was all in the hands of the men on the ground, or in my case, the yeast in the bottle.

I am tentatively planning to either bottle this beer on the 11th of December or kegging it on the 18th. I'd like to take a bottle to my Father on Christmas. But this might be a new year beer.
Sapper
Light Lager
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Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Feb 01, 2003 9:10 am
Location: Louisville, KY

Check the gravity

Postby jayhawk » Sun Nov 14, 2004 9:38 pm

Make sure you check the SG of the beer. I have bottled beer numerous times when there were still small bubble islands on the surface. If the SG is reasonably close to the target then you are ready to bottle. The beer will still be able to age in the bottle, so there are really no worries. Just make sure the SG is not to far away from the projected final gravity or you may end up with overcarbonation, or worse - exploding bottles.

Good luck.
jayhawk
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