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I have a Chocolate Cherry Stout that is currently in secondary on fresh Cherries. It has been sitting on the cherries for 2 months now.

As I prepare to bottle I want to be sure I have enough, healthy yeast for bottle conditioning. I've had trouble in the past with 'bigger' beers (this one is ~7, ish) that have conditioned a long period of time.

When do I know I should reintroduce yeast at bottling time? Is it a function of time and ABV?

How should I go about re-yeasting? I'm assuming I should use a neutral strain of yeast, but how much should I use?

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2 Answers 2

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I've heard that for bottling you only need to pitch 1/4 the amount of yeast you would at the beginning, so for a 5 gallon batch, 1/2 a container of liquid yeast or 1/4 of a packet of dry yeast.

However, I would look at the alcohol rating on the yeast you're using. If it's rated above 7 you should be fine. If you're nervous, just make sure a little of your yeast cake gets into your bottling bucket and you should be fine.

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It carbonated just fine, no extra yeast needed. –  sgwill Jan 4 '12 at 18:46
    
I don't know of any brewing yeast that isn't OK up to at least 10% ABV. –  Denny Conn Jan 4 '12 at 18:52

Be careful in repitching yeast as you could end up with bottle bombs. If you pitch a higher attenuating yeast at bottling, it could eat residual sugar still in your beer on top of the priming sugar you added for bottling.

If you're worried about viability of the yeast in your beer I would simply take a small sample of the yeast from your carboy and try to make a starter with it. If the yeast successfully ferments the starter, then you know that the yeast is good and you can simply add priming sugar as normal.

If the yeast doesn't take for the starter then I would just pitch in another vial of the same yeast you used for fermentation along with priming sugar. This way you don't have to worry about over attenuation and bottle bombs.

Also keep in mind that higher gravity brews can take a lot longer to properly carbonate than your standard beer. I've had higher gravity beers take 3 months to properly carbonate. So just because your previous beers have had trouble carbonating, it doesn't really mean a problem with the yeast.

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A higher attenuating yeast will only matter if there are fermentable sugars left. If the beer is fully fermented, the yeast won't matter and will only "eat" the priming. –  Denny Conn Jan 4 '12 at 18:53

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