Author Topic: Secondary Yeast  (Read 5132 times)

Offline coulter

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Secondary Yeast
« on: May 06, 2013, 09:38:30 AM »
I have a double IPA that I have made before.
The last time I made it, I racked the beer into a carboy then added
WLP099 Super High Gravity Ale Yeast as my secondary yeast.

My question is -  Do I need to rack it first?
Does it matter if I pitch this yeast into the primary after the initial fermentation
stops?

What are the possible problems with this approach?

Offline denny

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Re: Secondary Yeast
« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2013, 09:45:19 AM »
Do you really need another yeast?
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Offline coulter

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Re: Secondary Yeast
« Reply #2 on: May 06, 2013, 09:51:38 AM »
Do you really need another yeast?

It was a 10% abv beer the last time I made it. Adding the second yeast caused a second very vigorous fermentation. I'm not sure it would be the same without it.

Offline svejk

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Re: Secondary Yeast
« Reply #3 on: May 06, 2013, 09:58:49 AM »
Pitching yeast after fermentation has subsided can be a little tricky.  Can you tell us why you are pitching a secondary yeast? (I now see that you already answered this question)

In general, additional yeast is added to a batch in order to get the final gravity lower than what the first pitch of yeast were able to achieve.  The problem is that the presence of alcohol and CO2 make it a very tough job for that second pitch. 

In my experience, the only time I have had success with a second pitch of yeast having any effect on a batch was when I used a large volume of yeast slurry (either a yeast cake grown up in another batch or some slurry from a local brewpub).

To get to your questions, though, I would go ahead and put the secondary yeast in the primary, but I would check the gravity of the beer after fermentation stops to be sure it is needed.  You may find that the first pitch of yeast finished the job and there is no need for another pitch of yeast.

In the case of your prior experience, it looks like there were still a lot of available sugars for that second pitch to consume and that may very well be the case again if you used the same process.  Can you tell us what strain of yeast was used for your first pitch and how much you used (did you make a starter, use more than one pack of dry yeast, etc.)?

Offline coulter

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Re: Secondary Yeast
« Reply #4 on: May 06, 2013, 10:08:12 AM »
I used a single 'tube' of White labs british ale yeast.
No starter.

Offline svejk

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Re: Secondary Yeast
« Reply #5 on: May 06, 2013, 10:23:11 AM »
In that case, I would expect that you still have a fair amount of available sugars for your second pitch because that is a very big job for one vial to handle.  I still think you're fine with pitching the next yeast in the primary without racking, but I'm also interested in the reasons behind your process.  Since you're re-brewing this beer, I assume the first batch turned out great and you want to repeat it, is that right? 

One reason I can see for taking the approach of using one yeast to start fermentation and another yeast to finish it out would be that you want the flavor profile provided by the first yeast during the lag phase, but you want the better attenuation provided by the second yeast.  For imperial IPAs, usually the flavor contribution of the yeast is hidden by the hops, so most brewers I know use a large pitch of a very attenuative strain (like 1056) to get the beer to dry out in one shot.  Then again, if this process turned out a great IIPA, I wouldn't want to mess with success.

Offline coulter

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Re: Secondary Yeast
« Reply #6 on: May 06, 2013, 11:08:43 AM »
The original batch was based on a Harpoon IPA clone.
It was an extract brew with specialty grains.
The LME wasn't available in the exact quantities that
the recipe called for (5lbs I think), so I just put 2x 3.3lb cans in along with everything
else that the recipe called for.
Of course the FG wasn't what the recipe suggested, so I thought I would give the Super High Gravity yeast that I saw at the brew shop a try.
It came out very smooth and had the highest ABV of any homebrew I have ever made.
I need to play with the hop quantities to make it a little hoppier because this did not come out
very hoppy.
It was still a great beer.
I'm going to try to do this as an all grain batch now that the weather is getting better.


Offline svejk

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Re: Secondary Yeast
« Reply #7 on: May 06, 2013, 11:32:35 AM »
Sounds like a great beer.  For increasing the perception of hops, I'm a big fan of using large amounts (3-4 oz, or even more) of dry hops. It can make racking the beer a bit of a pain, but really gives it a good hop punch.

Offline JasonNewMexico

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Re: Secondary Yeast
« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2016, 11:51:19 AM »
I have a barley wine that I brewed about 8 days ago that is sitting at a gravity of 1.020 and not moving.  The recipe I am using is for Rob's "Big 12" Barley Wine.  It was a 21.5# grain bill with 6 oz. of hops, and my initial SG was around 1.090. I say around because I wasn't able to check an SG for 36 hours after I pitched my yeast.  I forgot I had broken my hydrometer, and was unable to get a new one sooner.  The goal initial SG was 1.096 and I measured 1.080 after primary fermentation had begun, so I was somewhere in between there.  If 1.090 was my initial, then I think that is a 78% attenuation rate, which isn't bad.  I am using a Nottingham Ale Yeast, which typically has a high attenuation rate and alcohol tolerance.  The recipe calls for adding EC-1118 Champagne yeast when primary fermentation is over.  Should I rack my beer and add the champagne yeast now?  I plan on making a starter and having a nice active yeast to pitch.  Should I oxygenate my wort before pitching the finishing yeast?  I've read people's opinions (doubts) about using a champagne yeast to finish, but I am committed to this as it is part of the recipe.  Thanks for the help!

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Secondary Yeast
« Reply #9 on: January 13, 2016, 01:16:08 PM »
I have a barley wine that I brewed about 8 days ago that is sitting at a gravity of 1.020 and not moving.  The recipe I am using is for Rob's "Big 12" Barley Wine.  It was a 21.5# grain bill with 6 oz. of hops, and my initial SG was around 1.090. I say around because I wasn't able to check an SG for 36 hours after I pitched my yeast.  I forgot I had broken my hydrometer, and was unable to get a new one sooner.  The goal initial SG was 1.096 and I measured 1.080 after primary fermentation had begun, so I was somewhere in between there.  If 1.090 was my initial, then I think that is a 78% attenuation rate, which isn't bad.  I am using a Nottingham Ale Yeast, which typically has a high attenuation rate and alcohol tolerance.  The recipe calls for adding EC-1118 Champagne yeast when primary fermentation is over.  Should I rack my beer and add the champagne yeast now?  I plan on making a starter and having a nice active yeast to pitch.  Should I oxygenate my wort before pitching the finishing yeast?  I've read people's opinions (doubts) about using a champagne yeast to finish, but I am committed to this as it is part of the recipe.  Thanks for the help!

the problem with using champagne yeast to finish is that it's not very good at fermenting the complex malt derived sugars found in beer wort so it's just not as attenuative as beer yeast will be. I use it as a bottling yeast sometimes when I want to be sure it Doesn't bring the FG down anymore in the bottle for that reason.

I wouldn't oxegenate your beer before pitching the second yeast though. It's not wort it's beer now.
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Offline JasonNewMexico

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Re: Secondary Yeast
« Reply #10 on: January 13, 2016, 03:10:39 PM »
Morticai,
Thanks for your response.  So, is 1.020 an acceptable final gravity for a barley wine?  I suspect it might drop very slightly over time if I leave it in the carboy.  Should I wait another week and then bottle condition for 4 months, or is it better to leave it in the carboy for several months and then bottle.  And if I leave it in a carboy for that long, would it be better to rack it to a secondary?

Thanks again!

Offline denny

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Re: Secondary Yeast
« Reply #11 on: January 14, 2016, 09:18:22 AM »
Morticai,
Thanks for your response.  So, is 1.020 an acceptable final gravity for a barley wine?  I suspect it might drop very slightly over time if I leave it in the carboy.  Should I wait another week and then bottle condition for 4 months, or is it better to leave it in the carboy for several months and then bottle.  And if I leave it in a carboy for that long, would it be better to rack it to a secondary?

Thanks again!

1.020 is great.  Mine can finish as high as 1.028-33.  If you have a BW starting at 1.100+, you don't want it to go any lower.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Secondary Yeast
« Reply #12 on: January 14, 2016, 12:03:11 PM »
Morticai,
Thanks for your response.  So, is 1.020 an acceptable final gravity for a barley wine?  I suspect it might drop very slightly over time if I leave it in the carboy.  Should I wait another week and then bottle condition for 4 months, or is it better to leave it in the carboy for several months and then bottle.  And if I leave it in a carboy for that long, would it be better to rack it to a secondary?

Thanks again!

1.020 is great.  Mine can finish as high as 1.028-33.  If you have a BW starting at 1.100+, you don't want it to go any lower.

As Denny says, nothing wrong with 1.020. I personally don't mind them a bit drier but the gravity reading doesn't really matter as much as stability and taste. If it tastes good and it isn't changing it's done.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
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Offline denny

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Re: Secondary Yeast
« Reply #13 on: January 14, 2016, 12:06:15 PM »
Morticai,
Thanks for your response.  So, is 1.020 an acceptable final gravity for a barley wine?  I suspect it might drop very slightly over time if I leave it in the carboy.  Should I wait another week and then bottle condition for 4 months, or is it better to leave it in the carboy for several months and then bottle.  And if I leave it in a carboy for that long, would it be better to rack it to a secondary?

Thanks again!

1.020 is great.  Mine can finish as high as 1.028-33.  If you have a BW starting at 1.100+, you don't want it to go any lower.

As Denny says, nothing wrong with 1.020. I personally don't mind them a bit drier but the gravity reading doesn't really matter as much as stability and taste. If it tastes good and it isn't changing it's done.

Keep in mind that the perception of dryness is not wholly based on FG.  With proper hopping and water chemistry, a higher FG can come across as dry.
Life begins at 60.....1.060, that is!

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Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Secondary Yeast
« Reply #14 on: January 14, 2016, 12:09:14 PM »
Morticai,
Thanks for your response.  So, is 1.020 an acceptable final gravity for a barley wine?  I suspect it might drop very slightly over time if I leave it in the carboy.  Should I wait another week and then bottle condition for 4 months, or is it better to leave it in the carboy for several months and then bottle.  And if I leave it in a carboy for that long, would it be better to rack it to a secondary?

Thanks again!

1.020 is great.  Mine can finish as high as 1.028-33.  If you have a BW starting at 1.100+, you don't want it to go any lower.

As Denny says, nothing wrong with 1.020. I personally don't mind them a bit drier but the gravity reading doesn't really matter as much as stability and taste. If it tastes good and it isn't changing it's done.

Keep in mind that the perception of dryness is not wholly based on FG.  With proper hopping and water chemistry, a higher FG can come across as dry.

granted. Taste is the most important factor.
"Creativity is the residue of wasted time"
-A Einstein

"errors are [...] the portals of discovery"
- J Joyce