I just brewed an imperial stout partial mash kit and racked to secondary. The kit calls for 3 1/2 months in the secondary fermenter. Will there be enough viable yeast left at the end of secondary for bottle conditioning or will I have to add some fresh yeast? If I have to add yeast before bottling, any suggestions? I was thinking of using Danstar cbc-1-cask-and-bottle-conditioned-beer-yeast. I don't want to over-carbonate.

  • This depends on what the % ABV is. Did you get gravity readings along the way? Notably post-boil and at racking? Jan 27 '15 at 13:20

I would definitely repitch fresh yeast when priming an Imp. stout. I've never used the Danstar stuff, but it seems like it has the chops to handle a high-alcohol brew so I'd say give it a shot.

If your Imp. Stout is in the 9%+ category and it's been aging for ~4 months, most of the yeast in there won't be too happy. Some will definitely survive, but it won't be in good shape physiologically. This will make accurate carbonation difficult.

If your beer's really strong, you might get an extra bit of carbonation if you pitch fresh yeast, because there could be residual fermentables from primary that the first yeast crapped out on due to alcohol inhibition. Fresh yeast may ferment this down before giving up again. This very much depends, of course, on %ABV and primary yeast strain, so not sure you'll run into this issue. You could easily take a small sample and pitch some fresh yeast on it though, and see if it does any extra fermenting.

  • Thanks. OG was 1.070, and SG was 1.019 when I racked to secondary on 1/3/15. Jan 28 '15 at 16:39
  • Sure. That beer's ~6.7% ABV (at racking) and even if it had a little fermenting left to do, it won't likely get above 7.5%. I see no need to condition that for 4 months. In fact I'd try to bottle it ASAP because there should be enough yeast in good enough condition to carbonate it right now. Then you can just let it mellow in the bottles for a month or two if you want, no need to repitch yeast. Jan 28 '15 at 16:57
  • Thanks a lot. It looks like it's time to start sterilizing bottles. Jan 29 '15 at 19:16

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