Author Topic: Progressively Adding Yeast to a Big Beer  (Read 2670 times)

Offline dhacker

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Progressively Adding Yeast to a Big Beer
« on: November 16, 2009, 12:26:33 PM »
Getting ready to brew a Wee Heavy and a Barleywine. In the past I've made big starters and added it all at once to the primary after a healthy dose of O2. Does anyone progressively add new, healthy yeast in primary to your biggest brews rather than pitching all at once? Is there any benefit/ detriment? I've added nutrient along the way, but never new yeast.
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Offline blatz

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Re: Progressively Adding Yeast to a Big Beer
« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2009, 12:41:07 PM »
Getting ready to brew a Wee Heavy and a Barleywine. In the past I've made big starters and added it all at once to the primary after a healthy dose of O2. Does anyone progressively add new, healthy yeast in primary to your biggest brews rather than pitching all at once? Is there any benefit/ detriment? I've added nutrient along the way, but never new yeast.

don't know why one would do this - once fermentation begins (with the initial pitch) all the oxygen in the environment is processed.  The yeast being pitched after the initial pitch wouldn't have what they need to grow and do their job. 

The only way I can think this would work would be to pitch starters at high krausen, but why would you want to put starter beer in your main beer? 

do you really have that much of a problem fermenting big beers?  just make a smaller beer first and use the cake - works every time for me.
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Offline ndcube

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Re: Progressively Adding Yeast to a Big Beer
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2009, 01:03:24 PM »
I would think incrementally adding sugars would benefit you more to cut down on the high initial OG.

If your yeast poops out and you want to use new yeast then racking onto another fresh yeast cake is the only thing that has worked for me.

Offline bonjour

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Re: Progressively Adding Yeast to a Big Beer
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2009, 01:05:36 PM »
I have, but only with monster beers, ones where the alcohol has killed the yeast and thus has remaining fermentable sugars.  What I add is an ACTIVE yeast culture in very large amounts.  Think a growler FULL from your friendly neighborhood brewpub.
If this settles you have over a quart of thick active slurry.  The idea is to pitch a full active amount of yeast and not worry about growth.  This also works extremely well for actual stuck fermentations.  This is into a 5 gallon fermentation.  

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Offline dhacker

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Re: Progressively Adding Yeast to a Big Beer
« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2009, 06:37:15 AM »
I was thinking not so much in terms of the aerobic reproduction phase when the yeast DO need an oxygen rich environment as I was about the anaerobic fermentation stage when they get down to the business of chomping sugars. Like Fred says, in monster beers yeast fatigue even at high pitching rates might warrant adding some new, vibrant solders as the alcohol content goes up.

just wondering!   :) 
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Re: Progressively Adding Yeast to a Big Beer
« Reply #5 on: November 17, 2009, 07:42:28 AM »
FWIW on my really big beer (1.200 OG) the initial yeast pitch made it to about 19% ABV before it kicked the bucket. I think most ale yeasts, with proper pitching rates, aeration, and incremental feedings, can make it well into the teens.
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Offline ndcube

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Re: Progressively Adding Yeast to a Big Beer
« Reply #6 on: November 17, 2009, 08:00:03 AM »
FWIW on my really big beer (1.200 OG) the initial yeast pitch made it to about 19% ABV before it kicked the bucket. I think most ale yeasts, with proper pitching rates, aeration, and incremental feedings, can make it well into the teens.

How long did that take?  Which yeast was that specifically?

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Re: Progressively Adding Yeast to a Big Beer
« Reply #7 on: November 17, 2009, 09:11:57 AM »
How long did that take?  Which yeast was that specifically?

The initial pitch was WLP099, then 1728, and finally 3864. The last two were full cake pitches as other things finished primary. Total time for active fermentation was about four months.

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Offline tygo

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Re: Progressively Adding Yeast to a Big Beer
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2009, 10:12:18 AM »
How long did that take?  Which yeast was that specifically?

The initial pitch was WLP099, then 1728, and finally 3864. The last two were full cake pitches as other things finished primary. Total time for active fermentation was about four months.

http://seanterrill.com/2009/02/19/batch-25/


Just read through your NB post on brewing this one.  Sounds like a fun and successful experiment!  I didn't see in the account though when you pitched the 3864 (or maybe I missed it).  What did your FG and ABV end up being?
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Re: Progressively Adding Yeast to a Big Beer
« Reply #9 on: November 17, 2009, 10:22:53 AM »
FG 1.044, ABV ~22%. I *think* I made note of the dates each time I racked, but I can't find them. It was about two months on the first yeast, one on the second, and one on the third.
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Offline corkybstewart

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Re: Progressively Adding Yeast to a Big Beer
« Reply #10 on: November 17, 2009, 11:30:03 AM »
Getting ready to brew a Wee Heavy and a Barleywine. In the past I've made big starters and added it all at once to the primary after a healthy dose of O2. Does anyone progressively add new, healthy yeast in primary to your biggest brews rather than pitching all at once? Is there any benefit/ detriment? I've added nutrient along the way, but never new yeast.


The only way I can think this would work would be to pitch starters at high krausen, but why would you want to put starter beer in your main beer? 


I make my starters a few days ahead and cold crash it.  On brewday I take some runoff from the mash tun, boil and cool it and replace the starter liquid with this fresh wort from the batch I'm brewing.  The starter will usually have a thick krausen by the time the wort is in the fermenter.
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Offline Thirsty_Monk

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Re: Progressively Adding Yeast to a Big Beer
« Reply #11 on: November 17, 2009, 12:30:56 PM »
Does anyone progressively add new, healthy yeast in primary to your biggest brews rather than pitching all at once? Is there any benefit/ detriment? I've added nutrient along the way, but never new yeast.

Check the "Can You Brew It: Dogfish 120 IPA" from brewing network.
They were talking about secondary (High Gravity) pitch (into primary ferment) and feeding yeast with sugar and nutrients while it was fermenting.
No doubt an interesting technique.
http://thebrewingnetwork.com/shows/574
audio file:
http://www.thebrewingnetwork.com/membersarchive/cybi11-09-09.mp3
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