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How long is too long to condition a beer in secondary without having to pitch bottling yeast?
What factors do I need to consider when deciding whether or not to pitch yeast at bottling?

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up vote 4 down vote accepted

Time is one factor and strength is another. For average strength (up to maybe 1.070) beers, 2-3 months is no problem. For beer over that very much, I'd add yeast at maybe 3 months of age.

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Is there any way to tell if I need to or not? – Schleis Feb 10 '15 at 22:03
Just the general ROT I gave above. – Denny Conn Feb 11 '15 at 16:51

I had a couple of scottish ales that sat in both primary and secondary for a month (total of 2 months each), and they both carbonated with no additional yeast. One was a 60/- and the other was a Wee-Heavy. Neither of them was cooled below ~55F before I bottled, though.

I'd say it depends on alcohol content and the amount of CO2 you want to put into the beer, though. For something like a strong Saison or Belgian Golden Strong, where you want 3-4 volumes of CO2, it might be necessary.

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