I’ve used Safale F-2 and sometimes CBC-1 for bottle conditioning with good results. Doing so, flavour impact has been minimal. It also drops its dead clear once bottle fermentation is mostly done. It also goes beyond 10% ABV so residual sugar is also minimal for high gravity beers. Alcohol doesn’t kill the yeast easily.

  • Are there any other general purpose yeast strains suitable for bottle conditioning?
  • Is there an easy way to measure F-2? I frequently do batches of 5L, 1.3 US gallon. Packaging says 2-7 g per 100L, which means a minuscule 0.2 g per batch for me.
  • Among my group of brewer friends I’m alone in pitching fresh yeast for bottle conditioning. But it’s recommended when racking on a secondary fermentation vessel, right? Some of my stouts and Belgian ales spend 1-3 months on a secondary (and it sure feels like the yeast isn’t very active any more).

Edit Elaborated the third question about long secondary.

  • Never thought about adding yeast when bottling. But maybe that's why my sour beers have so little CO2. Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 10:50

2 Answers 2

  1. In theory all strains could be used. One thing to watch out for is the attenuation level of the yeast, you don't want the new yeast to ferment more sugars than its primary predecessor. On top of the priming sugars, this can mean gushers/bombs etc. Especially Belgians where the carbonation is already high.

  2. Never used the F-2 (Thanks for notifying! Actually looks like a very good bottle yeast) but I use the same yeast as primary. 0.2g is next to nothing, I don't think it hurt if you pich a bit more. Or increase your batches.

  3. I do think in some cases it is good to pitch new yeast. Like you mentioned, with high gravity beers and long secondary the yeast could be in such roughed up state it is not healthy enough to fully ferment the priming sugars or it takes forever to carbonate... Been there, done that, I'm not taking the risk again. For me, a OG bigger than ~1.080 means pitching fresh yeast.

To clarify, normally it is not necessary to repitch, but for high OG beers and long secondary there is - in my experience - a chance it does not carbonate or it takes a long time. If you already taken the extra steps to make this heavy beer...

  • Good point on #1, you wouldn't want to pitch lager yeast for conditioning when fermented with ale yeast. Or Bret for that matter. Though it could be done by controlling priming sugar and good knowledge of the Maltotriose content in the beer. Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 12:33
  1. Any yeast you ferment the beer with is suitable for bottle conditioning. Pitching more yeast for conditioning is for when something went wrong. There should be plenty of the original yeast still in suspension.

  2. Yes, doing a yeast cell count is actually a simple process. But you do need some minor lab equipment. 400x microscope, dye (methylene blue), hemocytometer grids. As far as measuring small weights, fractional gram weights your best bet is a jewlers scale most read in gram and troy and are good to 100th of a gram.

  3. See #1, the only reason to pitch fresh yeast is if the secondary fined out the beer to the point there is no yeast left.

Edit: It's worth noting that there is the practice of pitching killer yeast strains in commercial beers. This is usually just simple champagne yeast. Breweries do this to prevent thier unique strains from becoming public, and to create effervescent carbonation level in bottle conditioned beers. Duval Belgians would be the best example of this.

  • In regard to question two, I didn’t mean measure the viability of the yeast; Is it better to measure the volume of known weight of yeast, and use a tiny cooking measure. Or, prehaps invest in better kitchen scale.
    – Martin
    Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 21:04
  • @Martin ahh I thought you wanted to calculate how much yeast was in suspension after fermenting. In that case no, just follow the recommended pitch rates. As far as your long secondary fermentations, you may want to address why they take so long, generally a secondary is only useful when you want to harvest the yeast cake, but the beer has late fermentation additions that would add unwanted trub to the yeast cake. Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 21:14
  • @EvilZymurgist: can you provide a source for your answer about the champagne and Duvel? Because there is a thread on the UK brewing forum from someone who propagated Duvel yeast and got a very good result brewing with it.
    – chthon
    Commented May 5, 2020 at 11:57
  • @chthon Yeah, all they captured was champagne yeast. duvel.com/en-us/the-beer/duvel Commented May 5, 2020 at 13:21

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