Re-pitching yeast for carbonating a high gravity brew

Discussion in 'Homebrewing' started by jmdrpi, Oct 2, 2012.

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  1. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (3,903) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
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    So do people have a rule of thumb for when it's necessary to re-pitch some fresh yeast in order to carbonate a higher gravity beer via bottle conditioning? A gravity threshold, or length of time in secondary, etc?

    For reference, here is my situation. I've brewed my first higher gravity beer, an Imperial Stout with an O.G. of 1.105. I pitched onto a Wyeast 1056 yeast cake from a previous beer, it was in primary for a month, has been in secondary for another month, and I plan on bottling it soon so that it has plenty of time to carbonate and bottle condition before Christmas time. It was at 1.020 when I racked to secondary.

    The chapter in How to Brew on priming and carbonation doesn't really address the issue, but in the common problems section is says that for a long aged beer, there might not be enough viable yeast left for carbonation.
     
  2. OldSock

    OldSock Defender (654) Apr 3, 2005 District of Columbia
    Subscriber

    I'd say it is worth repitching. For me, anything either over 9% ABV or two months in secondary is enough to add the insurance of a fresh pitch of yeast at bottling. Repitching 10% of the initial pitch is a safe rule of thumb.

    I’ve been brewing a string of high gravity beers aged in five-gallon spirit barrels, lots of tough bottle conditioning in my future.
     
  3. inchrisin

    inchrisin Defender (654) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    It's always preferrable to have some insurance. It's the same price as 50 more bottle caps when you have to crack each bottle open because they didn't carb. I've been down that road once or twice.
     
  4. jmdrpi

    jmdrpi Poo-Bah (3,903) Dec 11, 2008 Pennsylvania
    Subscriber

    Yeah, that's what my plan probably will be - better safe than sorry. $7 for another pack of yeast is better than taking the chance that $50 worth of beer doesn't carbonate.
     
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  5. inchrisin

    inchrisin Defender (654) Sep 25, 2008 Indiana

    1056 and US 05 are equivalent in a lot of ways. If you want to use 1/2 pack of dry yeast, you should be good to go. Reseal it if you can and you'll have insurance on your next big batch too. Dry yeast is 3 or 4 bucks. Either way would work out dandy.
     
  6. CASK1

    CASK1 Disciple (333) Jan 7, 2010 Florida

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  7. Wreckoncile

    Wreckoncile Aspirant (200) Jul 19, 2011 California

    What would be a sufficiently high OG at which point one should think about pitching additional yeast for bottle conditioning? I have an imperial porter in primary right now that started with an OG of 1.073 and should finish at 1.019 and I'm wondering if that ~7.1% beer will require additional yeast at bottling.
     
  8. VikeMan

    VikeMan Meyvn (1,481) Jul 12, 2009 Pennsylvania
    Beer Trader

    Nope.
     
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