Author Topic: When to add yeast to finish a beer?  (Read 909 times)

Offline miguelpanderland

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When to add yeast to finish a beer?
« on: June 15, 2011, 07:48:30 PM »
Brewed a Golden Strong using WLP570 and after six weeks the gravity is down to 1.014.  It's taken some coaxing to get it to this point.  I was hoping for a FG of 1.008.  At this point, do I have to settle for my current FG or is there something more I enhance attenuation?  The beer tastes great right now, but I really want to nail that dry finish.

Offline hoser

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Re: When to add yeast to finish a beer?
« Reply #1 on: June 15, 2011, 08:02:15 PM »
Where did you start at? 1.014 is pretty damn low.  What was your mash temp?  How much/percentage of sugar did you add and when?  What were your ferment temps?  Something tells me that 1.014 is as low as you are going to get and be happy with that.  If it tastes good I wouldn't mess with it.

Offline miguelpanderland

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Re: When to add yeast to finish a beer?
« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2011, 08:19:07 PM »
Fermentables: 11.8 lbs Pilsner malt and 3 lbs of cane sugar.
OG was 1.083.
Mashed at 149.
Added cane sugar in the last 30 min of the boil.
Ambient temp during fermentation was 62F and after four weeks things were stalled so I heated up the carboy a bit which got me a couple extra weeks of action.

Offline majorvices

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Re: When to add yeast to finish a beer?
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2011, 08:39:18 PM »
In all honestly, I don't think adding yeast now will do much of anything. Your beer is pretty dry, but not quite what you are aiming for, I understand. I have a tripel in rotation that gets brewed once every 4-6 weeks and I get around 90% aa everytime and would be disappointed with anything lower than this, so I understand your concern. But adding yeast probably won't get you any lower at this point. If you do go this route you will ant to pitch and active slurry.

How much yeast did you pitch to begin with?
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Offline miguelpanderland

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Re: When to add yeast to finish a beer?
« Reply #4 on: June 16, 2011, 05:16:09 AM »
I pitched an appropriate size starter.  I think I did a 2 1/2 L starter.

Offline Mark G

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Re: When to add yeast to finish a beer?
« Reply #5 on: June 16, 2011, 05:40:58 AM »
If it tastes great now, I wouldn't mess with it. It's pretty close to where you wanted to go. Your odds of making it worse are probably pretty close to your odds of making it better. If you're willing to wait several months, you could try pitching some Brett and see where that takes it. Personally, if it turned out well, I'd just drink it and try to adjust the next batch.
Mark Gres

Offline hoser

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Re: When to add yeast to finish a beer?
« Reply #6 on: June 16, 2011, 06:56:54 AM »
As everyone has said above, 83% apparent attenuation is pretty darn good.  Trying to squeak out those last 6 gravity points is probably not worth it.  The enemy of good is better.  I don't recommend it, but some people will try champagne yeast.  I am not a fan of it.  The other option is a lager yeast because they metabolize/digest raffinos which ale yeasts can not.  IF you choose to go this route, you need to work up a starter to high krausen and then oxygenate the starter a few hours before you pitch it into your beer. I would be surprised if the hydrometer moves even with this.  Something tells me you have fermented out all of the fermentables.  As Mark said above, Brett will DEFINITELY get your FG down, but will change the beer.  I love Brett character and am comfortable with using it and sanitizing everything, but you may not?  I would be happy I have a beer with 83% attenuation that tastes great!  DO NOT USE BEANO UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCE ,NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE TELLS YOU!

Next time if you are shooting for 1.008, mash a couple of degrees cooler.  Add your sugar at high krausen.  Yeast are lazy an will metabolize the easiest food source, i.e. simple sugar.  Adding the sugar later will likely get you your magical FG.  Pitch an appropriate starter cool and let it free rise, then as it ferment starts to stall (usually around day 5, but watch it to be sure) get it to a warmer ambient or ramp up the temp with a belt or heating pad, or etc.  You could also try a different yeast, but I would try the other stuff first if you are happy with the yeast ester profile.

Offline miguelpanderland

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Re: When to add yeast to finish a beer?
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2011, 07:03:37 AM »
Thanks for the process advice.  I was unsure of when to add the sugar and did so based off of a couple other recipes I researched.  I never would have guessed you could add it after you were done making the wort.

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Re: When to add yeast to finish a beer?
« Reply #8 on: June 16, 2011, 07:31:08 AM »
Yep, nifty little trick I learned in the last year or so.  Works great.  Obviously it needs to be sanitized, how you do that is up to you.  Glad to help.

Offline denny

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Re: When to add yeast to finish a beer?
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2011, 07:44:37 AM »
I haven't found any difference between adding sugar to the kettle and adding it to the fermenter...seems to work the same for me either way.  A lower temp mash and a longer mash might have reduced your FG some more.  Did your recipe contain anything other than pils malt and sugar?
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Offline miguelpanderland

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Re: When to add yeast to finish a beer?
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2011, 08:05:10 AM »
I haven't found any difference between adding sugar to the kettle and adding it to the fermenter...seems to work the same for me either way.  A lower temp mash and a longer mash might have reduced your FG some more.  Did your recipe contain anything other than pils malt and sugar?

Nope.  I was following the recipe from Brewing Classic Styles.

Offline Joe Sr.

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Re: When to add yeast to finish a beer?
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2011, 08:25:36 AM »
I've done the champagne yeast.  I don't think I would do it again.

I don't believe it is a neutral as it's supposed to be, but that's just my experience.
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Online morticaixavier

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Re: When to add yeast to finish a beer?
« Reply #12 on: June 16, 2011, 09:52:50 AM »
I've done the champagne yeast.  I don't think I would do it again.

I don't believe it is a neutral as it's supposed to be, but that's just my experience.

I have been told (so take it with a grain of salt, this is not first hand experience) that the idea of trying to dry out a beer with champagne yeast is not very usefull either as the yeast is far better at eating up fuit based sugars (read simple) than malt based. I had a stuck RIS fermentation and I tried champagne yeast to 0 effect and that was stuck at around 1.030 (extract which I suspect was the problem there)
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Offline majorvices

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Re: When to add yeast to finish a beer?
« Reply #13 on: June 16, 2011, 11:16:13 AM »
I haven't found chapange yeast to do anything. As was said, it's not really selected to fermented maltose anyway. Your best bet may simply be to rouse the existing yeast and warm up to about 72-78 degrees. Otherwise an active starter may drive you down a couple points.
Keith Y.
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Offline miguelpanderland

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Re: When to add yeast to finish a beer?
« Reply #14 on: June 16, 2011, 12:14:20 PM »
I haven't found chapange yeast to do anything. As was said, it's not really selected to fermented maltose anyway. Your best bet may simply be to rouse the existing yeast and warm up to about 72-78 degrees. Otherwise an active starter may drive you down a couple points.

That's what I did to get it from 1.018 to 1.014. 

After these responses, I'm pretty sure I'm just going to call this one done, bottle it, and drink it.  It already tastes good at 60F with no carbonation.  Can't wait to enjoy the finished product.