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Gerry P.

Using additional yeast for secondary fermentation of high gravity ale

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I'd like to ask you guys for your opinions on something, especially if you have experience with high-gravity ales.

 

I checked the gravity of my barleywine today. I used Wyeast 1028 (London Ale), and it's been in the lbk for a little over 2 weeks. The OG was 1.105, and today's reading was 1.032. At an ABV 10.7%, it's just under the 1028's stated alcohol tolerance of 11%.

 

Now, here's the thing: This beer tastes good as it is, and would turn out fine if I bottled it in a week or two. However, I've been in this situation before with an imperial stout that didn't carbonate, which probably happened because the yeast was spent. In that case, I made the mistake of not pitching additional yeast prior to bottling. My plan was to let the 1028 do its thing, rack to a secondary, then add White Labs' Super High Gravity to finish the job. That yeast should be able to finish the fermentation and still be in good enough shape to carbonate the beer when the time comes, I think. 

 

Do you think I could leave it in the primary, pitch the other yeast, and let it resume fermentation for another 2 or 3 weeks without any issues? That would make a total of about 5 weeks in the primary, which might be pushing it a little. Am I missing anything?

 

 

 

 

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It looks like the best solution in this case. I don't really want to ferment it completely with the WLP099 because I like it sweet and chewy, and it might lose some of that I let it go to the projected FG of 1.016. That looks like a yeast I would use in the future as well, if I decide not to use the super high gravity yeast from the start. Plus it's cheaper than a tube of WLP099. Good call.

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Just don't use it as a primary. I just started an imperial stout that should come in around the same gravity.

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Any particular reason it can't be used in the primary? I wouldn't use a neutral-flavored yeast for that purpose myself, but the manufacturer says you can. Is it because it's so neutral?

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Per instructions

 

*this yeast does not metabolize maltotriose, so wort is not an ideal priming agent

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Ha that's funny. The instructions seem to contradict their product description. 

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I think it's just different recommendations. For example Per Danstar Website;

 

"CBC-1 has been especially selected for it's refermentation properties and is recommended for Cask and Bottle Conditioning. CBC-1 referments beers up to 12-14% ABV due to its high resistance to alcohol and pressure; it does not produce flavors therefore conserving the original character of the beer.

 

The yeast will settle and form a tight mat at the end of refermentation. CBC-1 can also be used for primary fermentation and is especially suitable for Champagne-like beers and fruit beers."

 

What I take away from that is it's for primary when you don't want the yeast to influence the beer at all. Not like a wheat yeast would do with higher ester flavors.

 

It goes on to say

 

"CBC-1 is best used for refermentation purposes conducted preferably with priming sugars such as dextrose. CBC-1 leaves some residual sweetness in the beer since it does not use maltotriose. Refermentation (100%) can be completed within 14 days at 15-25°C with an inoculation rate of 10g of yeast per hl of beer (1-2 million cells per ml)."

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Actually, I take that back. I was just reading an article that says maltotriose only makes up about 14% of the sugars in wort. Compare that to maltose (45%) and unfermentable dextrins (25%). I just read the part where the manufacturer says that the yeast leaves some residual sweetness because it doesn't use maltotriose. This might be a problem during priming I suppose, because you'd get lower carbonation than you wanted if wort or extract was used. It's why they say to prime with dextrose on the Northern Brewer site, although I don't know why sucrose wouldn't work just as well. Interesting yeast. Here's the article I was referring to, if you're interested: http://www.brewmorebeer.com/brewing-sugars/

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This does bring up one problem. With all those fermentables left in my barleywine, I might get a lot more priming than I want if I add this yeast when bottling. I'd use it in the secondary, and it should be in good shape at bottling time. This brings up the question of whether or not I need to do a secondary, or can just pitch to the primary and let it go for 2-3 more weeks. 5 weeks in the primary might be a bit much...or it might not. Time for some Googlin'...

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5 weeks on the trub might be a little long. Just purge the secondary before and/after you rack with co2

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I would have thought that too, except these days people are saying you can do that sort of thing (long periods in the primary) without any problems. Back in the day everybody thought your beer would taste like a tire if you left it in the primary for more than a couple weeks. Now I'm reading about people leaving beers in the primary for months with no problems. All of mine go 3-4 weeks now with good results so far, and I believe racking to a seondary too quickly was a mistake I repeated with just about every batch I made up until my return to brewing this year. I never purged my secondaries with CO2, and in this case the fermentation activity in the secondary would do the purging for me. Between you and me, I think purging with CO2 is unnecessary, except maybe if you have excessive headspace in your secondary and there's no fermentation activity producing CO2. People actually talk about purging their bottling buckets, and purging each individual bottle at bottling time. Those people are insane.  :D

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I decided to go with the White Labs yeast in this case, just because I was concerned with the CBC-1's alcohol tolerance. It's supposed to be 12-14%, according the the manufacturer, who also says that it can be used to ferment ales up to 12%. With my abv already pushing 11%, I'm afraid that the yeast might not be in good enough condition to condition ( :D ) when bottling time comes around. Then I'd be looking at pitching additional yeast with an alcohol tolerance of over 13% to make sure carbonation happens, and I'm back to using WLP099 or champagne yeast. WLP099 is the Thomas Hardy's Ale strain, and I'd rather go with that one over champagne yeast, so to play it safe I'm going to use it for this  I'll see where I'm at in a couple weeks and rack to a secondary, if I feel like that's necessary.

 

I'll tell ya though, that CBC-1 looks like good stuff. I can definitely see myself using it at some point. For example, if I used a yeast with 10% tolerance and my FG put me around 10%, it would be the perfect solution. The fact that it doesn't use maltotriose ensures that it won't dry out the beer too much, which is great for things like barleywines, old ales, and imperial stouts.

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I think the cbc1 will do the job especially with some yeast nutrient and energize but it's your time and money lol

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Ha yeah, I hear ya. A few bucks extra is a little cheap insurance, but knowing my luck it'll backfire in some way. I appreciate your input, thanks for taking the time to help me with this.

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Not a problem, I'm being flooded with so much stuff right now I started waking up thinking about my next batches and alternatives lol. I think I'm set for the next couple years on what to make and alter.

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I would have thought that too, except these days people are saying you can do that sort of thing (long periods in the primary) without any problems. Back in the day everybody thought your beer would taste like a tire if you left it in the primary for more than a couple weeks. Now I'm reading about people leaving beers in the primary for months with no problems. All of mine go 3-4 weeks now with good results so far, and I believe racking to a seondary too quickly was a mistake I repeated with just about every batch I made up until my return to brewing this year. I never purged my secondaries with CO2, and in this case the fermentation activity in the secondary would do the purging for me. Between you and me, I think purging with CO2 is unnecessary, except maybe if you have excessive headspace in your secondary and there's no fermentation activity producing CO2. People actually talk about purging their bottling buckets, and purging each individual bottle at botling time. Those people are insane.  :D

The big problem of sitting on the yeast cake is with the Big Boys who have very tall and narrow fermenters, so you are putting a lot of wort on a small footprint.  Us wee guys do not have that problem for the most part.  I have never done two batches side by side to see if there is a difference.  That being said, when in doubt I secondary because I have the secondaries.

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I remember reading about that, how homebrewers don't have to worry about sitting on the yeast as much as commercial breweries for the reason you mentioned.  Interesting stuff. I'm pretty confident I'll be ok with 4-5 weeks. If I need more fermentation time after that I'll go to plan B. It sure would be nice to have a 2 gallon carboy instead of splitting it into 1 gallon jugs or filling up lbk headspace with marbles or whatever. I've had my WLP099 starter going on my el cheapo stir "plate" since last night, and I'll probably pitch it late tonight or early tomorow. I was thinking of adding some of the barleywine to the starter so the yeast could start getting acclimated to their new home before being pitched, but that's just an idea I had which isn't backed up by any data that I know of. Time for some more Googlin'...

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I remember reading about that, how homebrewers don't have to worry about sitting on the yeast as much as commercial breweries for the reason you mentioned.  Interesting stuff. I'm pretty confident I'll be ok with 4-5 weeks. If I need more fermentation time after that I'll go to plan B. It sure would be nice to have a 2 gallon carboy instead of splitting it into 1 gallon jugs or filling up lbk headspace with marbles or whatever. I've had my WLP099 starter going on my el cheapo stir "plate" since last night, and I'll probably pitch it late tonight or early tomorow. I was thinking of adding some of the barleywine to the starter so the yeast could start getting acclimated to their new home before being pitched, but that's just an idea I had which isn't backed up by any data that I know of. Time for some more Googlin'...

Let us know what you find about making a starter using high abv fluids.

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instead of adding the barleywine to the starter it would probably be best to pitch a 2 stage starter.

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I was considering a stepped starter, which would be a first for me. I made this starter a little higher gravity than usual, 1.055 or so. Currently the beer is over 10% at 1.032. I haven't found anything online that covers a situation exactly like this. I'm wondering how the yeast would like going to a lower gravity solution (hypothetically). I'll check the gravity of my starter when I get home just to see how my little microscopic buddies (get it? yeast? BUDdies?) are coming along. I might be making this more complicated than necessary. Thoughts?

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Can the CBC-1 yeast be made into a starter and kept in a "yeast bank" even if it doesn't eat some of the sugars in wort? I'm trying to get as many yeast samples as I can and this seems like a no brainer for me to have on hand since I like to make big beers and use a secondary.

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Let us know what you find about making a starter using high abv fluids.

 

I don't think you would, assuming the fermentables in the fluid were already used up. I scoured the interwebs anyway just in case I was missing something, but couldn't find any information on it.

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Can the CBC-1 yeast be made into a starter and kept in a "yeast bank" even if it doesn't eat some of the sugars in wort? I'm trying to get as many yeast samples as I can and this seems like a no brainer for me to have on hand since I like to make big beers and use a secondary.

 

Sorry I didn't know the answer off the top of my head. I haven't used dry yeast in a long time and never used a starter for it. From what I've read, it's generally recommended that you don't use a starter with dry yeast, but it can be done and might even be a good idea if the yeast is old. Dry yeast has a shelf life of a couple years, so putting it in a yeast bank might be more trouble than it's worth. Since a packet only costs a few bucks and is usable for so long, it might be better just to keep a few on hand.

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If anyone is interested: I ended up doing a 2-step starter, then pitching it in the primary. The 2nd step almost blew the foil off my flask after sitting on the stirrer overnight. I'm leaving it out on the counter to warm it up a little. Now we wait...

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They have those little foam cylinders that you sayin in sanitizer. No blow off out contamination.

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Ah ok, I think I know what you're talking about. Can't remember what they're called...

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I think I'm finally ready to bottle this thing. The WLP099 only took it from 1.032 to 1.026, and that was with a 2 step starter and yeast nutrient. A couple weeks ago I put in a pack of CBC-1, and it looks like it's finished at 1.021 for an abv of 12.2%. I was aiming for 1.016, but I'm fine with it where it is and it tastes good so far. It'll definitely put some hair on your chest. I hope my yeasts have enough life in them to carbonate the stuff. I think it should be fine. Probably. I hope. 

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I have a dark cascadian ale that is still carbonating after 5 weeks!

 

On a follow-up note:  I actually remade it this past weekend and I used 2 packets of yeast with a nutrient.  It spilled out the of the airlock yesterday.

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That recipe while sized for the LBK fermenter, looks like it could easily be resized to a 5 gallon recipe with all the HME, LME, and extra hops in it? and then split it into two LBKs.

Tony

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That recipe while sized for the LBK fermenter, looks like it could easily be resized to a 5 gallon recipe with all the HME, LME, and extra hops in it? and then split it into two LBKs.

Tony

Sure could have... eventually I'll be making my favorite recipes in 5 gallon batches but I'm still in the "testing/tasting" phase  :D

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