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Gymrat

High gravity yeast question

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I want to do a Wee Heavy that will have an OG over 1.080. Will safale S 04 handle that? Or should I use a starter kit? Or maybe 2packages of yeast?

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Gymrat wrote:

I want to do a Wee Heavy that will have an OG over 1.080. Will safale S 04 handle that? Or should I use a starter kit? Or maybe 2packages of yeast?

I'm hoping someone will chime in with actual experience using S 04 and high gravity worts like this. I've used S 04 several times but not for anything this big. Maybe someone will be able to give some better advice than I can.

But I will say that even with a known high-gravity loving yeast, I've had trouble with stuck fermentations when I've gone "big." So, not really knowing what is and isn't necessary, I do "every trick in the book" when I ferment a beer that big. If I did decide to use S 04, I would use 2 packs, aerate the beer as much as I could, watch temperatures like a hawk, and pray many many prayers to St. Arnold. It's possible you don't need to do that much, but I can't be sure.

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I looked back through my notes, I know I at least did one 1.075 with S-04. But, to echo BigDave, if I had to do it over again, I would do a few specific things.

First, start small, if you can. Not knowing your recipe, if there is any LME or simple sugars you can add late, do so. Allowing the yeast to get up and running in a slightly lower gravity is a big deal.

Second, aerate, aerate, aerate. Wait 5 minutes. Pitch. Aerate, aerate, aerate.

Third, watching temps is always good, but if I was really worried about it (which I don't think I would be), as close to 70 as possible, but if you have to decide between 68 or 72, go with 68.

Fourth, yeast nutrient, between days 3-5. Oxygen will be gone, but lots of work still left to be done, so nutrient is a great idea.

Fifth, if you feel like you don't get enough attenuation at the end, add a pack of champagne yeast near the end. It will not contribute any new character to the flavor of the brew at that point, but it will have a much higher alcohol tolerance, and will definitely finish drying out the brew.

Having said all of that...isn't a Scottish Wee Heavy supposed to be on the sweet side? Think carefully, and take a good sample, before sicking a new yeast on it...once it is in there, there will be no stopping it. Don't want your wee heavy to turn into a barleywine.

Brew On!!

David

Oh...and...St. Arnold? Seriously? Dude, go straight to the big man...that's what he's there for. :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

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On my Wee Heavy I used White Labs WLP007 English Ale Yeast and Fermaid K yeast nutrients. I use Fermaid on all my brews to give the yeast all they need to get the party started. Like Sirius had suggested I also added fermentables late. My OG per Q-brew was 1.084 and it fermented to 1.015 with the nutrients. It was still very malty when finished. I have used this yeast/nutrient combo all the way up to 1.115 OG and ended with 1.026. Harvest when finished and it makes that $7 yeast tube go a long way.

Good luck with the Wee Heavy! It is an excellent style.

Whale

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Thank-you so much for the replies. Did you use a yeast starter with that WLP007?

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Yes, but I was already using harvested yeast so I just put a big spoonful in some prepared wort. Once it was warm and started to become active, I pitched. The Fermaid is boiled with the regular wort.

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Yeast Nutrient! Yes, absolutely another "trick" that's in my book and that I forgot to mention. Always a good idea, I think, but particularly for these big fermentations.

A prayer "straight to the big man" too. Sure. Forgot that too, Sirius.

As for the champagne yeast trick, that's one that isn't in my book, but I have heard of it. As Sirius indicates, that's probably only a last resort because they say it really dries the beer out - maybe too much.

Whale's suggestion sounds great if you want to go with liquid yeast. That's a good strain that I've used too - though not on that big of a beer. But I'll bet it would be great for the Wee Heavy. WLP 028 (which I've never used) is also supposed to be good for high gravity fermentations and would seem to match the style well too. With any liquid yeast use a starter and don't simply trust the yeast's "good reputation". I know of what I speak!

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I made a batch that Qbrew said should be 1.081 OG. for some reason (maybe I got the weight of some of the bulk LME wrong) the OG was "only" 1.075. I used S-04 and used olive oil instead of aerating. My predicted FG was 1.019 and that's what I got.

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bpgreen wrote:

I made a batch that Qbrew said should be 1.081 OG. for some reason (maybe I got the weight of some of the bulk LME wrong) the OG was "only" 1.075. I used S-04 and used olive oil instead of aerating. My predicted FG was 1.019 and that's what I got.

Why olive oil, and how much did you use?

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You can also try White Labs WLP 099 Super high Gravity Yeast. It can ferment up to 25% alcohol. I haven't used that one, but I have had great success with other White Labs yeast.

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wamphyr1 wrote:

bpgreen wrote:

I made a batch that Qbrew said should be 1.081 OG. for some reason (maybe I got the weight of some of the bulk LME wrong) the OG was "only" 1.075. I used S-04 and used olive oil instead of aerating. My predicted FG was 1.019 and that's what I got.

Why olive oil, and how much did you use?

Why olive oil? To avoid aeration. How much? I dip a wooden toothpick in olive oil and swirl it in the wort.

Here is the research behind it:

http://brewcrazy.com/hull-olive-oil-thesis.pdf

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Taken at 60F a 1.080 gravity beer requires 117 billion Ale yeast cells to produce 9.3% ABV. This is the recommended amount of yeast to pitch for a 2.13 gallon Mr. Beer sized batch. Consult your yeast package for the number of yeast cells per package and then go from there.

Click for more...Screwy Calc

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For a dry yeast, what about S-33 from Fermentis? Their website says it will tolerate up to 11.5%

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Screwy the website said this recipe needs 200 billion yeast cells. But I really don't see how that helps me when I have no clue how many yeast cells are in a package of yeast.

They recommend Wyeast 1728 Scottish Ale yeast. But say that it really needs a starter or possibly two packages of yeast. At $6.25 a pop that is really expensive. Then what if it gets here and it is not viable?

Or I can buy a starter kit for $16. One advantage to having a starter kit is that I can test the viability of any yeast I ever use before ruining a batch of beer with dead yeast. One disadvantage is $16.

I have some S 04 on hand but don't know if it can handle this high gravity beer. Or if the beer would be a lot better if I go ahead and invest in the Scottish Ale yeast.

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Gymrat,

Mr. Malty (Jamil) has an online calculator that includes the size of starter needed to achieve the cell count needed.

Click HERE.

I put in your numbers, and it said that you need (using liquid yeast/ 2.13 gal batch):

116 billion cells
1 vial of yeast
starter size of 1 liter (at 1.040)

Dry Yeast - need .6 of a 11.5gram pack.

(So a full pack of dry should be more than enough)

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Gymrat wrote:

Screwy the website said this recipe needs 200 billion yeast cells. But I really don't see how that helps me when I have no clue how many yeast cells are in a package of yeast...

...I have some S 04 on hand but don't know if it can handle this high gravity beer. Or if the beer would be a lot better if I go ahead and invest in the Scottish Ale yeast.


People have given some good advice.

There are approximately 20 billion cells per gram in most dry yeasts. Personally, I agree with Husteak and think one packet of the S-04 would work. It seems like the ~220 billion cell count is enough, but depending on how it is pitched you won't actually get counts that high. If pitched directly and aerated you might only get ~100 billion viable cells.

I would follow the Fermentis instructions and rehydrate it or pitch it on top and let it rehydrate on top of the wort for 30 minutes before aggressively aerating it. This should get you very close to the 200 billion cell count you need. Yeast nutrients might not be a bad idea either (except for when the lid blows off ;) ).

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OK before coming back here I ordered some S 33. It seems as if it is designed for high gravity beers. I will areate vigorously then pitch, leave set for half an hour, then areate again before sealing the container. Plus I ordered some Wyeast nutrient. BTW this is for a 5 gallon batch.

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Gymrat wrote:

OK before coming back here I ordered some S 33. It seems as if it is designed for high gravity beers. I will areate vigorously then pitch, leave set for half an hour, then areate again before sealing the container. BTW this is for a 5 gallon batch.


Then, being the fickle individual I am (and depending on my mood at the moment), I would probably pitch two packs. Here are the specs on the S-33 if you're interested.

http://www.fermentis.com/FO/pdf/HB/EN/Safbrew_S-33_HB.pdf

Make sure you update us and let us know how this goes. Good luck, and have fun.

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Sorry Gymrat - Didn't know it was a 5 gallon batch.

I put the numbers back into the mr malty calculator with 5 gal for batch size, and got the following info:

273 billion yeast cells needed
15 grams of dry yeast needed
1.3 - 11.5 gram packets of dry yeast needed.

So, by Jamil's numbers...you need a packet and a third of dry yeast.

OR - 1 vial of liquid yeast with a 4.06 liter starter.

Just an FYI. It's your brew....do what you like!

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Let us know how it works out for you. Its on my list to use in an upcoming dopplebock (or the ale equivalent anyway).

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Husteak should I call them back and have them send another pack of s 33? Or would it work to put in S 33 and some S 04?

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I just called them and had a second package of S 33 added. This is one that will go into my secondary for a 3 or 4 week fermentation period. Thankyou all very much for the help. I have really learned stuff on this one. I don't think I am ready to get into the whole yeast starter thing just yet.

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Any O.G. over 1.060 needs a starter.. maybe not in mr.beer size batches but in 5 gal brewing one 11g pack is good for 1.059 and down. Any more you want to make a 1L starter with a gravity of 1.03-1.04 wait till its done fermenting dump the beer that on top and pitch the yeast cake that is left. I always make a yeast starter for liquid yeast by the way. Also, make sure you aerate the wort really well before and after the yeast is pitched.

check this is That is how I do it.

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Jcmccoy wrote:

Any O.G. over 1.060 needs a starter.. maybe not in mr.beer size batches but in 5 gal brewing one 11g pack is good for 1.059 and down.


This was my previous understanding as well. But as dry yeasts have become better I don't think this general rule is true anymore. I do, however, agree that a starter is essential for liquid yeasts.

There are plenty of nutrients included in the dry yeast so a starter is not recommended by the manufacturer. Only rehydration is recommended (and can be done on the wort) and people are doing big beers on one or two packs of dry yeast.

I just talked to a guy (because of this thread) who did 5.5 gallons of a 1.095 barley wine with two packs of directly pitched S-04 with good results.

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Gymrat wrote:

Even with dry yeast?

Yes one 11g bag of yeast is good for beer's under 1.060 any higher make a yeast starter or two to get a big population of yeast. If I were you I would make a 1L yeast starter wait 3 days make one more 1L yeast starter. then you should have enough yeast. You should dump the starter beer before you pitch your yeast in to your next starter or in to your beer.

You could always make a small beer O.G around 1.04 and brew your Big beer the day you transfer your finished beer in to secondary or bottling bucket and dump your new Big beer on your finished beer's yeast cake. For example, next bag of bulk grain I buy I am going to make a stout with 7 pounds of grain then the day I keg or bottle that stout, I will brew my Imperial stout with 16 pounds of grain and siphon my wort right on to my old yeast cake. That way I know I will have enough yeast to take down a big beer.

Hope this helps.

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Trubadour wrote:

Jcmccoy wrote:

Any O.G. over 1.060 needs a starter.. maybe not in mr.beer size batches but in 5 gal brewing one 11g pack is good for 1.059 and down.


This was my previous understanding as well. But as dry yeasts have become better I don't think this general rule is true anymore. I do, however, agree that a starter is essential for liquid yeasts.

There are plenty of nutrients included in the dry yeast so a starter is not recommended by the manufacturer. Only rehydration is recommended (and can be done on the wort) and people are doing big beers on one or two packs of dry yeast.

I just talked to a guy (because of this thread) who did 5.5 gallons of a 1.095 barley wine with two packs of directly pitched S-04 with good results.

It's all about yeast population. If you want to make yeast starters to make your population bigger than do that, if you want to pitch more dry yeast do that. It's up to the brewer. I like to make yeast starters so that way I know my yeast is alive and will not be shocked by the large amount of wort they get dumped in to.

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Here is a link to a really good article written by Jamil about this subject. Should help to clear some things up.....

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drbeer wrote:

For a dry yeast, what about S-33 from Fermentis? Their website says it will tolerate up to 11.5%

Be aware that although it will tolerate an ABV up to 11.5%, it doesn't have great attenuation. Don't be surprised if you end up with attenuation in the 65% range.

Mr Beer yeast will also tolerate up to 11% ABV or so, but they recommend using something different for high ABV beers because of the attenuation.

S-33 is a good yeast, but I think it's better in lower ABV beers. I'd use US-05 or Nottingham for a high ABV beer.

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bpgreen wrote:

drbeer wrote:

For a dry yeast, what about S-33 from Fermentis? Their website says it will tolerate up to 11.5%

Be aware that although it will tolerate an ABV up to 11.5%, it doesn't have great attenuation. Don't be surprised if you end up with attenuation in the 65% range.

Mr Beer yeast will also tolerate up to 11% ABV or so, but they recommend using something different for high ABV beers because of the attenuation.

S-33 is a good yeast, but I think it's better in lower ABV beers. I'd use US-05 or Nottingham for a high ABV beer.

I wish you would have posted this earlier. Now I guess. I better stop by th home brew store.

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I would definitely read the label for directions and rehydrate the yeast before pitching it...

notty-soak-75.jpg

Aerate the daylights out of the wort both before and after pitching the yeast and remember to keep the wort within the optimal temperature range of the yeast.

notty-soak-pitch.jpg

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From what I have read rehydration is not necessary with dry yeast. If anything it should only be necessary ro leave the yeast sitting on the surface for half an hour before stirring it in. As far as reading the packages, there is no information there, other than expiration date.

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Gymrat wrote:


I wish you would have posted this earlier. Now I guess. I better stop by th home brew store.

Sorry. Busy lately.

There's nothing wrong with using S-33 for a high ABV batch. The only drawback is that the FG may not be as low as you'd get from other yeasts.

S-33 is a decent yeast, but in my opinion, there are better yeasts available. Considering the results I've had, I don't think it's much better than Cooper's, Munton's or the Mr Beer yeast.

That may sound like a condemnation, but it's really not. A "utility" yeast definitely has its place.

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Gymrat wrote:

From what I have read rehydration is not necessary with dry yeast. If anything it should only be necessary ro leave the yeast sitting on the surface for half an hour before stirring it in. As far as reading the packages, there is no information there, other than expiration date.

There have been discussions on this. In one of them Eric Greene gave a nice summary of arguments for and against. It's worth a read, I think.

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Very interesting read. I did read on all of the fermentus data sheets that you can either rehydrate or pitch right onto the wort.

From the S 04 data sheet:

Re-hydrate the dry yeast into yeast cream in a stirred vessel prior to pitching. Sprinkle the dry yeast in 10 times its own weight of sterile water or wort at 27C ± 3C. Once the expected weight of dry yeast is reconstituted into cream by this method (this takes about 15 to 30 minutes), maintain a gentle stirring for another 30 minutes. Then pitch the resultant cream into the fermentation vessel.
Alternatively, pitch dry yeast directly in the fermentation vessel providing the temperature of the wort is above 20C. Progressively sprinkle the dry yeast into the wort ensuring the yeast covers all the surface of wort available in order to avoid clumps. Leave for 30 minutes and then mix the wort e.g. using aeration.

So even they are saying either one works. I have better things to do with an hour of my time than babysit yeast.

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Gymrat wrote:

So even they are saying either one works. I have better things to do with an hour of my time than babysit yeast.

:) Yes, I've long had a real (even if irrational) attraction to Fermentis yeast because, while other dry yeast companies seem to insist that you have to rehydrate, they just tell you "do whatever you want" (as if they have to tell me that!)

I should probably mention that many brewers who do like to rehydrate will tell you they can easily work it into their "brewing routine" so they really aren't just "babysit[ing] yeast" as you put it. I agree that it seems to work for them just fine. I can't seem to make it work for me.

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Gymrat wrote:

From what I have read rehydration is not necessary with dry yeast. If anything it should only be necessary ro leave the yeast sitting on the surface for half an hour before stirring it in. As far as reading the packages, there is no information there, other than expiration date.


Heck, I just did a 1.070 beer with a friend and we pitched US-05 on top and let it sit five minutes and aerated the crap out of it. It started in 12-15 hours and it had a pretty violent fermentation and a good attenuation. I've let it sit the whole thirty minutes before but I'm not sure I can tell much difference. It couldn't hurt, however, if you're doing a very high gravity beer.

But the real secret should be sought in the recent wooden spoon thread. I brewed the above with a friend and he used his magic wooden spoon with a long and questionable past. It's so warped and slivery and pitted from water damage that maybe the sanitizer soaks in like a sponge. I don't know, but his beer always turns out great.

He's never had a nasty infection and I've actually seen a fair number of true infections because I worked in microbiology and I get "referred" to local brewers who call and say stuff like:

"Seriously, dude, you've got to see this. Like, man, a hand reached out of the carboy and tried to choke me. It's breathing, dude. I swear." :S :laugh:

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For what it's worth...When I use fermentis, which is tons, when the boil is going and the first hops are in, I boil 1 cup of water in the microwave, and toss in 1/2 cup grape nuts cereal. Let that steep 5 minutes. Add one more cup very cold water, strain into a bowl or cup. Once the temp is low enough (room temp is fine) sprinkle the yeast on. Let sit 5 min, then whisk the crap out of it, cover with saran wrap and set aside. By the time the brew is ready for it, I have a very happy, bubbly, foamy, HUNGRY cup of yeast slurry that goes right in. Works great.

Brew On!!

David

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I've only used the S-04 just once and it was on my last brew which I didn't taste the finished product yet. It ferments insanely fast like the US-05 does.

Speaking of US-05, my biggest beer to date was a Black IPA that I achieved an ABV of 9.7%! It's OG was 1.100 and FG was 1.026. US-05 tore it up! I was only one point off on my FG which was projected to be 1.025.

I did a mini starter by taking a shot glass worth of the ridiculously malty wort and I cooled it down in the freezer while the wort was cooling in an ice bath. Then, I rehydrated the US-05 in some warm water. A few minutes later, the shot glass of wort was cooled down and I mixed it into the rehydrated US-05. About 20-25 minutes later, my wort was cooled down and I poured it into the MB keg. My US-05 was fluffed up like fresh bread dough risen. It was the consistency of mousse. I mixed it up and pitched it into the wort after aeration. Then aerated it some more and off it went. Fermented like CRAZY! the yeast really had a nice little jump start with that little teaser I gave it before pitching it into the wort.

One of (if not) my best beers to date.

Cheers!

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I used S-04 and it made a beer geyser out of my carboy (foam shot all over my fridge :woohoo: ) I now always use a blow off tube!

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Gymrat wrote:

Very interesting read. I did read on all of the fermentus data sheets that you can either rehydrate or pitch right onto the wort.

From the S 04 data sheet:

Re-hydrate the dry yeast into yeast cream in a stirred vessel prior to pitching. Sprinkle the dry yeast in 10 times its own weight of sterile water or wort at 27C ± 3C. Once the expected weight of dry yeast is reconstituted into cream by this method (this takes about 15 to 30 minutes), maintain a gentle stirring for another 30 minutes. Then pitch the resultant cream into the fermentation vessel.
Alternatively, pitch dry yeast directly in the fermentation vessel providing the temperature of the wort is above 20C. Progressively sprinkle the dry yeast into the wort ensuring the yeast covers all the surface of wort available in order to avoid clumps. Leave for 30 minutes and then mix the wort e.g. using aeration.

So even they are saying either one works. I have better things to do with an hour of my time than babysit yeast.

+1 It really comes down to the individual brewer on how much time we want to spend on doing 'beer things' The simple guidelines for pitching yeast remain the same...use the right yeast for the ABV you expect at the right temperature for that yeast and in sufficient amounts.

Fyi: In June I brewed the Novacaine recipe from Mr. Beer, it's rated at 11.3% ABV and it came with 1 smack pack of their liquid ale yeast.

Novacaine (2.13 gallons)
REFILL INCLUDES:
1 Can West Coast Pale Ale HME
1 Can St. Patrick's Irish Stout HME
1 Can Golden Wheat UME
2 Cans Pale Export UME
2 Packets Dry Brewing Yeast (not used)
2 Packets Sterling Pellet Hops
2 Packets Northern Brewer Pellet Hops
1 Pouch Ale Liquid Yeast

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Gymrat wrote:

How did that taste?

Gymrat, It taste 'freakin awesome'! this is one beer that no matter who has tasted it always rave about how good it is. We had a beer tasting again last night and the top beers were my Weizen/Weissbier recipe and the MB Novacaine recipe.

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