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Combing through the miriad different ideas about brewing a Thomas Hardy clone, I've become confused about what the consesus is about how "the real thing" is brewed. WLP099 is associated with "Thomas Hardy" on Mr Malty, and has a high alcohol tolerance. But my question is, do they just use that at bottling time to carbonate? If so, then what's the first yeast strain that gives the flavor profile? It looks like there are some people saying it's Wyeast 1084 (Irish Ale) or Wyeast 2206 (Bavarian Lager).

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Using a more-attenuative strain to bottle seems like a terrible idea, unless you are intentionally using less priming sugar that otherwise required, which will take some experimentation to get right. FWIW, commercial breweries ferment under much more pressure than home brewers, which reduces the ester profile of the beer. Its going to be really, really hard for a home brewer to ferment a beer to the 13-14% ABV range that still tastes clean. –  Graham Jul 25 '13 at 13:35
    
The idea was to use the WPL-099 after a few weeks, after the original yeast gave out. Presumably that yeast would take over and carb up the bottles. Yeah, I'd not just throw it in at bottling time...that would be a disaster! –  Dale Jul 29 '13 at 0:18
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Homebrew Talk pulled the recipe from clone brews. Looks like they use 1084 from Wyeast, which judging by the OG and FG, is cutting it a little too close for my liking since 1084 caps at 12% ABV. Wyeast 2206 is a lager strain, which would go against the recipe being an ale, plus it has even less tolerance. I suspect if you lager it with 2206 (or under-attenuate with 1084), then add WLP099 for bottling you're gonna have a 5 gallon batch of bombs primed to blow. If you go with either of the Wyeast strains you mentioned and choose not to add WLP099, you may not get your bottles to carbonate at all. If there's two things that could go wrong with this brew's fermentation, those two are likely it.

I haven't had the beer myself to know for certain, but I know that WLP099 gives off some extreme ester characters in high gravity ales, which I'm suspecting may not be an issue given the high final gravity in the ale. If I had to brew it myself, I would pitch a massive healthy slug of WLP099 after doing a crazy two stage starter. I suspect your biggest challenge is going to be pitching rates at that OG, but thanks to MrMalty, it would appear if you have a stir plate, you'll only need two vials and a 1.6 liter starter. If not, you'll need two vials and a whopping 4.2 liters.

Good luck! This looks to be quite a challenge.

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Yep, the plan is exactly as you have outlined... crazy starter is on the stir plate as we speak, and the healthy slug of WPL099 is planned. BTW, the only reason I'm doing this massive beer is that I won a 55 lb bag of marris otter! –  Dale Jul 29 '13 at 0:22
    
brew 'em if you got 'em. –  Scott Jul 29 '13 at 2:26
    
My crazy starter did quite well...krausen filled 2 gallons of head space and blew off a few cups before I got some fermcap-s on it! –  Dale Aug 12 '13 at 14:26
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