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The recipe I'm working on calls for the use of distillers yeast half way through my primary fermentation (among other things like plenty of sugar, aeration, etc...). Problem is, it doesn't really specify how much I should use. I picked up a 1 lb bag of Crosby & Baker's distillers yeast, and plan to get a starter going with it. Only problem is, I highly doubt I am supposed to use an entire lbs when adding it in.

To put some perspective on how much sugar is going into it, I'm waiting for the vigorous primary fermentation to calm down, then plan to add sugar daily, in the amount of 1 oz. per day (cane or demerara, alternating), for five days. After that cools off, I transfer the beer out of the carboy to rid of the dead yeast cells, add the distillers yeast, aerate, then put back into the cleaned out carboy and continue to add 1 oz. of sugar for another five days before I transfer to secondary to let it sit for several weeks.

How much distillers yeast should I add to this batch based off of the size and the amount of sugar?

I probably should have brought up the target 14-16% ABV part. Here is the recipe (source: http://forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=68610 )

Dema-Goddess Ale

Preboil Tea

  • 4 gallons cool water
  • 1/2 pound crushed cara-Munich barley
  • 1/2 pound crushed special B barley
  • Grain bag
  • 2 teaspoons gypsum

Boil

  • 13.2 pounds light liquid malt extract or 11 pounds dry light malt extract (65 minutes) * 2 ounces Tomahawk hop pellets (60 minutes) * 2 ounces Chinook hop pellets (20 minutes) * 1/2 pound cane sugar (20 minutes) * 2 teaspoons Irish Moss (20 minutes) * 1/2 pound Demerara sugar (10 minutes) * 5 teaspoons yeast nutrient (after cooling)

In Carboy

  • Water to the 5 gallon mark

Primary Fermentation

  • Yeast: Wyeast 1214 Abbey Ale or White Labs WLP570 Belgian Strong/Golden Ale. * 1 ounce pure cane sugar (day * 1 ounce demerara sugar (day 9) * 1 ounce pure cane sugar (day 10) * 1 ounce demerara sugar (day 11) * 1 ounce pure cane sugar (day 12) * 1 ounce cascade hop pellets (day 13) * Distillers yeast (secondary) (day 13)
    • 1 ounce pure cane sugar (day 13) * 1 ounce demerara sugar (day 14) * 1 ounce pure care sugar (day 15) * 1 ounce demerara sugar (day 16) * 1 ounce pure cane sugar (day 17)

Bottling

  • Champagne Yeast or Wyeast 3021 * 5 ounces priming sugar

Extra Equipment * Aquarium pump/hose/aerating stone setup

SG: 1.100 (at the start of primary fermentation) FG: "With this many small sugar additions and this big a beer, final gravity is anybody's guess!"

Final Target ABV: 14-16%

Note: Day references in this recipe above are approximations. The day that you actually begin your post primary fermentation sugar additions may vary depending upon fermentation temperatures.

PROCESS

  1. Fill a grain bag with the crushed cara-munich malt and the crushed special b malt. Tie off the top and place the bag in your brewpot filled with 5 gallons of cool water. Add the gypsum to the water. Heat the pot and stir the water and grain bag every 5 minutes.

  2. As the water reaches 170 F (77 C) pull the specialty grain bag using a large stirring spoon. Hold the bag above the brewpot for a minute, allowing most of the liquid to drain into the pot. Do not squeeze the grain bag.

  3. As the water begins to boil, remove the pot from the heat. Add the light malt extract. Stir to prevent clumping and scorching on the bottom of the pot. Return to heat.

  4. Allow the wort to come up to a boil. After preboiling for 5 minutes add the Tomahawk hop pellets and stir. Start timing the 1 hour boil at the point that you can make this hop addition.

  5. 20 minutes before the end of the boil, add the Chinook hop pellets, 1/2 pound of cane sugar, and the irish moss, stir for one minute.

  6. 10 minutes before the end of the boil add 1/2 pound of demerara sugar and stir for 1 minute.

  7. At the 60 minute mark of the biol turn off the heat source. Stir the wort clockwise for 2 minutes as you build up a whirlpool effect. Stop stirring and allow the wort to sit for 10 minutes.

  8. Chill the wort in a cold water bath to a temperature of 70 - 75 F (21 - 24 C)

  9. Transfer the wort into a carboy. Add the yeast nutrient.

  10. Pitch the primary strong ale yeast into the carboy. Top up the wort to the 5 gallon mark with water. Set up the aquarium pump, hose, and aeration stone, and oxygenate beer for 1 hour.

  11. After the vigorous primary fermentation slows down (around 8 - 10 days) you will hear the airlock bubbling less frequently. Once this slowdown occurs, alternate between 1 ounce of pure cane sugar and 1 ounce of demerara sugar additions to the carboy every day for 5 days straight.

  12. A few days after the primary fermentation slows down, transfer your beer into the sterilize bottling bucket while you clean out the carboy. many yeast cells have grown in this sugar rich environment, and you want to leave the layer of dead yeast cells that have dropped to the bottom of the back as you transfer to the bottling bucket.

  13. Add the cascade hop pellets to the empty sterilized carboy. Transfer the beer back into your sterilized carboy and pitch your secondary super high gravity yeast. A good yeast starter is a good idea. Set up your aquarium pump/hose/aerating stone unit once again and aerate the beer for 1 full hour. Again you will be adding 1 ounce of pure cane sugar followed by 1 ounce of demerara sugar the next day for 5 straight days. The difference here is that you begin the sugar additions the day you transfer and aerate the beer for secondary fermentation. Secondary fermentation should last 1-3 weeks. 2 weeks after all fermentation activy subsides your beer should be ready to bottle.

  14. For this high gravity beer, you will be adding additional yeast at bottling to make sure that the beer has fresh yeast for the bottle conditioning. While transferring the beer to the bottling bucket, use a cup of the beer to dissolve the champagne yeast. Add the Champagne yeast mixture to the bottling bucket and stir well. Now add the priming sugar dissolved in 1 cup of boiling water to the bottling bucket and stir well before bottling.

  15. In another 3 weeks, your beer should be ready to drink. This is another long keeper and will mature well with age. It will be better after a year of aging, if you can wait that long

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2  
This is a highly unusual fermentation schedule. You should, you know, basically post your recipe, the style you're targeting, &c. :p –  jsled Aug 2 '11 at 4:54
    
I'm with jsled, this is a strange practice. If you could provide some additional details about what style you're attempting or the recipe then that would assist us in answering. –  Nathan Koop Aug 2 '11 at 17:59
1  
The recipe can be seen here: forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=68610 –  Scott Aug 3 '11 at 4:06
    
Thanks Scott, that recipe is an interesting read. I still don't know how much you'll need though. Hopefully someone else has a better response that I can give :-/ –  Nathan Koop Aug 4 '11 at 3:44
1  
When primary fermentation is done right there isn't really anything left for a champagne yeast to ferment. Champagne yeast doesn't feast on the unfermentables left by brewing yeast. So if you add priming sugar and use champagne yeast you'll get the same amount of Carbonation as if you had just pitched brewers yeast. –  brewchez Aug 4 '11 at 21:37
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3 Answers 3

up vote 7 down vote accepted

The process for adding sugar and yeast in your question are very, very strange. I've never heard of using distiller's yeast in a beer, and adding sugar 1oz at a time for 5 days is silly. Furthermore, racking after a few days to "rid of the dead yeast cells" sounds like old school homebrewing mumbo jumbo which has been disproved countless times. I HIGHLY suggest you stop this plan and read up more on conventional, modern home brewing techniques. I can't think of a single beer that needs distillers yeast (which I'm assuming is super-attenuating) nor sugar additions in 1oz units. Some Belgians call for 1-2 pounds of sugar in the boil and regular ale yeast has no problem fermenting the malt and sugar.

If you are trying to dry out a beer completely, then I'd just use a very attenuative ale yeast, like the White Labs High Gravity (WLP099).

But to answer your original question, a 5 gallon batch of wort can be sufficiently pitched with a single 11 gram packet of dry ale yeast for a normal strength beer (4-8% ABV). If for some crazy reason, you want to use distiller's yeast, then I suggest you follow those proportions. Adding even a few ounces of yeast will be pointless overkill.

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1  
I agree that it's strange, but in my opinion overpitching is less of a danger than underpitching, so -- particularly since he has a full pound -- pitching a few ounces shouldn't hurt. –  Dustin Rasener Aug 2 '11 at 22:21
1  
The recipe can be seen in the following link. It isn't verbatim, as I got mine from Sam Calagione's (Dogfish head) book, but this is close enough: forum.northernbrewer.com/viewtopic.php?f=5&t=68610 –  Scott Aug 3 '11 at 4:06
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Ten 1oz sugar additions isn't that much sugar. Your primary yeast strain will take care of it just fine without the addition of more sugar. And aerating it will be a bad idea if you are actually making beer to drink. If you are going to distill it then maybe that's a standard practice.

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+1 for aerating being a bad idea –  Nathan Koop Aug 2 '11 at 18:00
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Its been a while but I have to post. This is the strangest recipe I have ever seen. No offense Scott, but this reads like the author has too much lead in their pipes. Totally bizzare. A fish pump? Seriously?

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He's targeting 15% ABV, so it's not so surprising that he's deviating somewhat from accepted techniques. –  Tobias Patton Jan 29 '13 at 3:02
    
Now that I have a lot more experience under my belt with dozens of batches on the books, I would agree this is definitely very bizarre, but it was quite an experience. When I first cracked a bottle, it shot all the way up to the ceiling from being way over-carbonated. I wouldn't do this recipe again as instructed with the additional yeast, but the fish pump was probably the coolest idea for oxygenation the wort. –  Scott Jan 30 '13 at 1:58
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