I haven't quite found a post that answers my question, when brewing a big beer such as a barley wine I have heard talk about using champagne yeast after the initial yeast has done all it can. If my first yeast doesnt quite drop the gravity far enough could I use champagne yeast to continue the fermentation farther. If so what would be a proper way of going about this?
I've tried using champagne yeast in beer and don't recommend it for a number of reasons. First, and most importantly, if you pitch the right amount of healthy yeast in the beginning, it just isn't necessary. second, champagne yeast ferments different sugars than beer yeast. that can leave strange flavors in your beer. Having followed the advice about champagne yeast when I was a new brewer and gotten poor results, I wouldn't recommend the practice.
I have never had a stalled out beer get moving again with the addition of champagne yeast. I suspect this is primarily because the primary yeast has already consumed the types of sugars that champagne yeast are capable of fermenting. Wen people do report a drop in gravity post additions of champagne yeast I suspect its the primary strain coming back to life a bit when other things were done while adding the champagne yeast (warming it up, rousing, maybe even some fresh sugar additions if a starter was made with the champagne yeast and of course the inevitable addition of a bit of oxygen when opening the fermentor and adding the new yeast).
Brewers yeast WILL get you where you want to go as long as you have learned to use it right and apply it properly to the wort you are trying to brew.
None of these techniques willmake a big impact, but you can squeeze a couple more points out if your careful.
More importantly, don't decide if your beer is good based on SG. The most important measurement is taste.
Adding dry yeast to.already fermented beer doesn't work.
The best thing to do is Krausen. Make a starter and pitch into your beer at the peak of fermentation. Pitch a bunch and oxygenate the starter well to stremgthen the cell walls. I would recommend lager yeast as it can eat slightly larger sugars.
I am currently doing a kit that calls for adding Champagne Yeast upon secondary fermentation. I suspect the champagne yeast will consume different sugars than the yeast I used to start fermentation in the primary.
I've had a hard time finding much information on this subject.
I let my primary go a little farther than I should have. It had stopped when I moved into secondary. I pitched the Champagne Yeast, fermentation started again. I can't say for certain that is the only thing that started fermentation again, it could have been the transfer, but it happened.
The beer has a couple months to go, so I can't speak to taste yet. But there is a very thick cake on the bottom and this beer it is BLACK.
Experimentation is the only way to learn some things.
You can absolutely do this!
After primary, I would rack to a secondary fermenter (keep enough headspace just in case) and pitch a healthy started of the second yeast. You may consider adding some yeast nutrients as well (similar to what would be done for a Mead) to promote good yeast health. Let this go for the same amount of time that you would normally let a primary fermentation go (I use 2 weeks as a rule of thumb). Make sure you take gravity readings after you rack so you have a new OG for this second "Primary" fermentation.
Finally I would rack to a secondary (tertiary?) for clearing and bulk aging. I would also be extra careful about oxygen in these racking steps since this will be a beer kept for a long time and there are additional stages that could lead to oxygen based spoilage.