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Happy Feet
01/07/07 12:35 PM  
Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
I made a La Chouffe clone in September.

The brew day and fermentation went extremely well. Started at 1070 and finished at 1006. I racked the beer into glass carboys and left for 1 month. I then racked into my bottling bucket and added 1 cup of corn sugar. I also made sure to rack in a little yeast from the bottom of the carboy. I then bottled into 1 L bottles. I left the bottles for one month. The beer tastes good…but was only slightly effervescent. I moved the bottles to a warmer location and again left for a month. Slightly more carbonated but not at the high level I wanted or expected from a 1 cup charge of sugar. I have used this amount before with normal gravity beers and had excellent results. Can anyone give me some suggestions for next time? If I leave this batch will it continue to carbonate?

Cisco
01/07/07 12:57 PM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
When bottling high gravity beers it is essentail to make a fresh new yeast starter so that carbonation happens in a few weeks. The yeast left over in the secondary is just too tired to try. You can use the tired yeast to make your starter but be sure to give it pure oxygen and fresh wort every day while you bring it back to life. Your current batch will continue to carbonate but very very slowly. Check it out after 6 months.
Tripel666
01/07/07 01:07 PM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
You'll have to wait for carbonation now. Keep the bottles in a warm place and check them out each week or so. I used to make belgian ales that way and wait 3-6 months for full carbonation. Now I just pitch a neutral dry yeast at bottling, usually nottingham. My 10% ABV Belgian strong Dark ale took 2 weeks to fully carb this way. Good luck.
Happy Feet
01/07/07 03:24 PM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
The dry yeast sounds like the easy way to do this. How do you add it? Dry or re-hydrated? Does the non Belgian yeast change the flavour profile? Thanks,
Tripel666
01/07/07 05:49 PM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
Nottingham or US56 are pretty neutral flavor so you can't tell they are in the beer. I add them without rehydrating, but you can if you like. I just sprinkle the yeast into th bottling bucket with the sugar and beer and mix well.
Cisco
01/07/07 07:02 PM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
If you bottle using the original Belgian fermentation yeast strain then the beer will change dramatically over time and accentuate the characteristics of the particular yeast strain. If you use a neutral yeast strain for bottling then you will not notice any progressive change in the bottle's flavor characteristics as you would using the original fermentation yeast strain. It really does make a huge difference in the end product.
Tripel666
01/08/07 06:19 AM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
The dry yeast is for carbonation only. When I bottle I don't filter the beer so the Belgian yeast strain is still in suspension. So I do get the flavors from the belgian ale yeast.
TedJ
01/08/07 01:10 PM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
"the beer will change dramatically over time"

Cisco, is the change really dramatic? I've always assumed that fermenting the small amount of simple sugars added to bottle condition would have little impact on overall flavor/aromas. I've added a variety of yeasts to condition various beers (sometimes the same yeast as primary, sometimes not) and have never seen much impact, but then again, I never really looked for it.

As far as using dry yeast, a week ago, I used a portion of a US56 pack to repitch/prime a Flemish Pale Ale for bottling. I rehydrated and poured 1/2 into the bottling bucket and the other 1/2 went into a new Flemish Pale primary to supplement a low pitch rate of Wyeast 1214. Bugs to be added later. I figure that only a portion of the dry pack is needed to fully condition the beer and that less used means less sediment.

Cisco
01/08/07 06:23 PM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
The addition of really fresh healthy yeast of the original fermentation strain does make a dramatic difference in the flavor profile as the beer ages. It often takes about 6 months of aging to notice a big change. When I make 10 gallon batches I keg 5 gallons and force carbonate it. The other five get bottled with a fresh dose of the original yeast. I then try a bottle every couple of weeks and by about 6 months the beer's complexity takes on a new level compared to the kegged version. Using a neutral yeast won't contribute anything.
Tripel666
01/08/07 06:42 PM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
Bottling yeast doesn't contribute to the flavor. The primary yeast did all the work.
SteveG
01/08/07 09:33 PM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
Triple666, if that were strictly true then why would Orval bottle with brettanomyces but ferment with a sacchromyces strain?
Tripel666
01/09/07 06:18 AM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
Steve G - I mean using nottingham. It is only for quick carbonation and won't change the character of the Belgian yeast any. My ales are aged and have plenty of 'Belgian flavor' before bottling. If someone wants more flavor, then a more flavorful yeast (ie belgian ale) would work great. :)
DBear
01/09/07 09:45 AM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
Bros

This is a timely topic for me.

For this conversation:

- what is the OG baseline for "high" gravity?

- what is the response to TedJ's method of <<I figure that only a portion of the dry pack is needed to fully condition the beer>>?

- for desired effervecence if using both corn sugar and yeast how do you rebalance the portion of each component so you don't get bottle rockets? (assume desired attenuation)

Tripel666 - how did you determine the reduced carbonation time time from months to weeks using yeast.

Cheers All

Tripel666
01/09/07 09:56 AM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
DBear- The fresh yeast really improved my carbonation times. With out fresh yeast it would take me anywhere from 4-12 weeks to get good carbonation. The same recipes, with fresh dry yeast added I can't have fully carbed beer in 2 weeks. For a $1 worth of dry yeast it semed a good investment to be able to drink the beer in a more timely manner. :)
ErikH
01/09/07 05:16 PM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
DB -

In response to your "rebalancing" question, I don't believe the addition of yeast at bottling time has any impact on the amount of priming sugar used. You just want to make sure that sugar gets fully converted to the desired volumes of CO2.

I learned this lesson via a mead made last year (11%) that is still not significantly carbonated, and will be sure to take this group's advice when I bottle my Quad this weekend!

DBear
01/16/07 12:18 PM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers

I will be making an 8% BSGA with 2.5-3 vol. of carb. Will my beer bottles (Sam Adams,etc) take the pressure or will I get bottle rockets?

-Cheers

Cisco
01/16/07 01:07 PM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
DBear - you might be living on the edge with 3 atmospheres in a Sam Adams bottle.I wouldn't do it myself.
Mike T
01/16/07 02:00 PM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
I think you'll be fine, SA actually recollects their bottles and refills them, so they are sturdier than many others.

I had a wit that I bottled too soon, including the priming sugar it dropped about 8 points in the bottle. I think that works out to around 6-7 volumes of CO2. Despite that, I only had one bottle (a generic bomber) burst and that was in a hot car on a bumpy road, scared the hell out of me, but luckily/unluckily it was in my suitcase.

TedJ
01/16/07 08:38 PM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
Dbear, a portion of a dry yeast packet should be fine for bottling. Look at the pitching rates for Belgian brewers that repitch for bottling, lower than primary rates. A rule of thumb for primary is 1 millon cells per ml per degree of plato. So for 14 plato pitch 14 millon cells/ml. Priming will increase gravity about 1/2 plato so pitching rate only needs to be 1/2 million/ml.

A dry yeast packet won't give you 14 million/ml, but if you can ferment 5 gallons with a packet, then a half a packet should be able to convert 1/2 plato of simple sugars into CO2.

SteveG
01/17/07 10:33 AM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
Mike, are SA bottles something other than regular US 12ozers? I've never noticed anything different about them (size, weight, shape), my instinct would be to go with Cisco here. I'd start collecting Duvel bottles. Or small Ommegang, though Duvels would probably be easier to come by.
Baums
01/17/07 11:07 AM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
Dry yeast is usually close to 20B cells/gm, so you only "need" about 0.5-1 grams dry yeast to ferment the priming sugar in 5 gallons. The easiest sanitary way I have found to do this is dissolve a 10 gram packet of yeast in some sterile water, and pitch about a tenth of that slurry.
Mike T
01/17/07 06:54 PM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
"Mike, are SA bottles something other than regular US 12ozers? I've never noticed anything different about them (size, weight, shape)"

They have a little "Sam Adams" embossed on the front and I felt like they were significantly heavier. However, I just weighed a couple of empty Sam Adams bottle with the labels removed and similarly prepared generic bottles and they were nearly the same. The Sam Adams bottles were all 215 grams and the others were between 208 and 212 (and most of that difference is probably just the embossed logo). So I take it back, there really is no difference. For comparison a Russian River 375 ml bottle weighs more than 500 grams.

What I was really trying to get across was that generic 12 oz'er can take more pressure than most people give them credit for.

Brian Richards
01/22/07 10:49 PM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
Man, I just pitched a whole pack (rehydrated) of Nottingham to my barleywine. Good to know I only need about a tenth of that amount for future batches.
DBear
01/29/07 10:12 AM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
Bros,

Some Competitions have rules about not using "distinctive" bottles(embosed) but what about shape? I want to bottle a HG BSGA using some duvel-like bottles (11oz) and I know other commercial beligans use that same shape. Also, are the belgian bottle caps same size as generic LHBS types

Cheers

SteveG
01/29/07 11:00 AM  
Re: Bottle conditioning of high gravity beers
Actually I love submitting beers in Duvel bottles, love the shape. I would not worry, I have done so often without incident. Competition organizers covet people who send entries far too much to go there. No need for a special cap.
 
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