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My strongest homebrew batch to date is now in secondary, and I'm looking ahead to bottling. My O.G. was 1.072, and I think there's a reasonable chance that the final alcohol content will be 8% A.B.V. or higher.

I've never made a batch this strong, and am wondering whether I will need to repitch yeast when I bottle. The initial pitch was with Safale US-05 Ale Yeast. The package doesn't seem to say anything about maximum alcohol. How do I determine whether it is necessary?

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I like this question. I once had a Belgian Golden Strong (8%) never carb properly and its bugged me every since. Curious if we need to add more yeast for "weird" beers like sours as well. –  Graham Sep 26 '11 at 17:20
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

With the parameters you're using, re-pitching is most likely unnecessary. You didn't mention the length of time in batch aging (aka secondary) and/or Primary. The ABV looks fine for the yeast. The big items are to make sure that you provide enough priming sugars (distribute well with minimal aeration in the bottling bucket before going into the bottles to ensure more even carbing) and time/temp. Leave the primed bottles somewhere about 70 degrees for plenty of time. This will be especially true with the higher ABV beers. I've always found that the lower ABV beers carbonate a bit faster, whereas the bigger beers tend to lag a bit more.

You're fermenting a second time, so the time and temp is important. Minimizing air exposure is important to reduce or prevent oxidation as you store the bottles. I would also recommend keeping them somewhere dark, and I like to use large plastic tubs just in case a bottle pops.

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You'll be fine. I don't worry about repitching unless the beer is over 1.100 OG and/or been in secondary more than 6 months.

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You ever do sours Denny? They typically go longer than 6 months, but with all the microbial action going on, I'm not sure if they need a fresh dose of yeast. Any thoughts? I suppose it can't hurt to pitch in some fresh US-05 the day before bottling just to be sure? –  Graham Sep 26 '11 at 20:20
    
Graham, the few sours I've made haven't needed more yeast. I assume that's because the OG wasn't very high. But as you say, it can't hurt to pitch some more yeast. No matter how much you pitch, it will only carb to the extent of the fermentable sugars in the beer. –  Denny Conn Sep 27 '11 at 16:08
    
Groovy. Thanks Denny. –  Graham Sep 27 '11 at 17:26
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I've had US-05 ferment up to 10%, it took it a while though. Never tried higher than that.

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