Attenuation question

I brewed a Baltic Porter and came in about .005 low not a big deal so I pitched a healthy dose of yeast. I got better attenuation than predicted by the seller. I ended up with the same ABV as the recipe I was using. Now if I did hit the higher OG I assume I would end at a higher FG and get the same results or not. I don’t know if any of this matters but I often get better attenuation than what’s posted. How do you all handle this ? I’m thinking it makes sense to override the average % posted and add a few % points. The thing is it’s not consistent. Am I making sense?

I have always gotten better attenuation than the range Wyeast prints. Almost all of my beers in the last few years have been pitched with harvested yeast though. There seems to be a consistent drop of 3 to 4 gravity points with the harvested yeast. The only fresh yeast I used this year was WY 3787 for a Tripel. Attenuation was 83% for a given range of 74% to 78%. Wyeast 3711, given range 77% to 83%, attenuation 85% to 93%. Wyeast 1056, given range 73% to 77%, attenuation 86% consistently. Wyeast 1084 is a different story for the Dry Irish Stout. Attenuation had been 71% up until using fresh yeast last November, given range 71% to 75%. WY 1084 is now attenuating to 86%. The final 3 to 5 points have been after 7 to 11 months in the bottle. (That problem will be a separate post.)

I’m brewing mostly extract so OG should be consistent. I just accept what the FG is, especially when using third to sixth generation yeast. You can change the defaults in brewing software, but I wouldn’t make any recipe changes based on estimations of attenuation. There are to many variables which can affect attenuation with each new brew.

That’s good to hear and is consistent with my experience since I almost always repitch. That brings up two questions though. 1 is higher attenuation good and 2 can I pitch less than the yeast pitch calculator says.?

So far I have liked the taste and body difference with the higher attenuation. The styles I brew probably have a lot to do with this, and my changing palate.

Pitching less yeast won’t really change the attenuation. May extend the fermentation though. Under pitching yeast can stress the yeast. This may result in off flavors for most beer styles.

I also prefer to get higher attenuation, which means drier beers. I try to actively push the yeast into as high an attenuation as I can, but raising the fermentation temperature by a few degrees as the fermentation winds down.

Conventional wisdom says that you get higher attenuation by yeast choice and mashing at lower temperatures, but my experience suggests mash temp is not a major factor for attenuation, and I’ve read of some recent tests that seem to point the same way. This is somewhat disturbing, as I can easily understand why it should be a major factor.