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Fermenting a high ABV Beer

I’m about to brew a beer that’s allegedly around 10% ABV. I plan on using Wyeast 1056 and have been told by an acquaintance at a homebrew club that I need to pitch more yeast than what comes in a Wyeast pack to get the appropriate FG.

My questions:
-Is he right? Will going from ~1.100 to ~1.025 be an issue with 100B Wyeast 1056 cells?
-If so, should I pitch more yeast when the worst goes into the primary or wait until some point into primary fermentation to pitch more yeast?
-Should I forgo pitching more yeast and just use a nutrient blend?

I’ve only made seven batches but never had any trouble hitting the intended OG and FG. I get the feeling the acquaintance was blowing hot air. I don’t care to spend an extra $5-$10 to make sure it works so I’d rather be on the safe side.

for the best results you’ll need much more yeast than 1 smack pack. go to the yeast pitching calculator at http://www.mrmalty.com to determine how many cells you need for 1.100. a starter would be the best and cheapest way to grow more cells, but multiple smack packs will also work. ideally you will add the wort to primary, aerate thoroughly, then add the yeast; give it a good shake to mix it in, then watch it do its thing.

edit: keep in mind, in a big beer the yeast will raise the temperature considerably. make sure you pitch your yeast at the low end of the recommended temperature

Thanks for the info. This will definitely help me now and in the future.

Yes you will need more than 100 …just make a starter with DME as its way cheaper than multiple smack packs.

+1…make up a hefty starter with some DME and you’re good to go.
And WY1056 is a real champ in high ABV brews so you’ll have no worries there.

When I brew beers that big I’ll brew a batch of smaller beer first then pitch the big beer onto the yeast cake left over from the smaller batch.

+1 to the starter beer. Especially if you don’t have equipment to make small yeast starters and don’t want to invest the money to do so. Just make a lighter beer, maybe around 1.050, and then in two weeks rack it to a secondary fermenter on the same day as brew day for your big beer and pitch that on the yeast cake of your starter beer. That way you’ll have more than enough yeast.

Don’t underestimate the importance of yeast! We used to just pitch a package for any batch when we first started out and also went straight for the bigger beers, all of which turned out super sweet and pretty much awful because the fermentation stalled out without an adequate and healthy supply of yeast. Spend the time and money to do it right whether you are pitching 2-3 packs, making a starter or brewing a starter beer. It will be worth it!

Also, make sure you have a cool place to put a big beer like that to keep it within the temperature range. They put off a ton of heat. I just did a 1.090 IIPA and had trouble keeping it below 70* even when it was in my basement which was around 55-60* at the time. I ended up keeping it in a cool water bath for a bit.

Alright, that’s enough from me.

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