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Mistake Pitching Yeasts

I brewed two batches yesterday, a Nut Brown ale with OG 1.044 and a House Ale at 1.042. I made a mistake and pitched Wyeast London ESB into the Nut Brown, and Wyeast London Ale into the House Ale.

The House Ale is going to end up being a tad drier than I desired, but there is really nothing I can do about it now.

My question is, should I just let the Nut Brown go with the ESB yeast, in which case I think it’s going to turn out sweeter than I wanted, or can I pitch another package of yeast now to ensure it finishes drier?

I would almost let it go to see what happens. You never know, they could both turn out to be fantastic tasting brews. When all your friends rant and rave, and ask you how you got it to taste that way, you can tell them you made a very calculated move based on the ingredients used to try and bring out a better flavor than what you originally were going to expect!

Yeast Test! Go for it and compare notes from previous batches. And if you’re not taking notes you should start now because it is an awesome reference coming from someone who is newly converted to the practice.

I wouldn’t add different yeast to the ESB, you never know which will dominate when you do that and I would think that once the one starts to floc it’ll take the other with it.

You can get the ESB yeast to ferment drier by rousing it back into suspention every day for a week. Part of the reason for it fermenting sweeter is how quickly it drops out.

Thanks all - I guess I’m just going to let it ride. One lucky thing is my mash temp was a little lower than I wanted for the brown ale, and after 60 minutes was down to 149 - where I expected about 153. This should help it finish a tad lower.

How soon should I start rousing the ESB yeast…? Do I stick something in the carboy and stir it? I’m hesitant to try and swirl the carboy as their is 6 gallons of beer and it’s sitting next to the other full carboy in my temp controlled water bath.

I would take it out of the water bath and start to swirl it once the airlock starts slowing down. That temp control is most important at the beginning stages and the warmer temp will help it finish out so you should be fine. Don’t stick anything in there though, just move it and swirl.

I’d do it starting on the 3rd or 4th day once it has started to settle out. The only time I roused yeast I cleaned and sanitized my racking cane and used it to gently stir the yeast up off the bottom.

The ESB yeast is lovely and I would think that it could bring something interesting to your brown. I agree with the rousing…ESB flocculates like crazy. Just give the carboy a little shake every couple of hours for a couple of days…it will finish out nicely.

I just started reading Yeast by Jamil Z and Chris White and they do have a section about mixing yeast strains and how to strategically do so. If you are worried about the ESB yeast you could add a higher attenuating yeast after a week or so. That way the ESB Yeast flavor will dominate but the other yeast, London Ale for example, will finish off the job for you. At least that’s what I got out of it.

Still, I think rousing should do the trick for you. Let us know how it turns out for you.

I have that yeast book so I’ll take a look at it tonight.

I pitched on Sunday @ 64, ramped it up one degree per day so I’m currently at 67, and the ESB yeast started slowing signs of slowing down overnight last night. It’s kind of weird, but this had the lightest krausen of any beer I’ve brewed yet, despite obviously vigorous fermenting action going on. (Massive airlock bubbling and yeast churning through the beer like it’s boiling.) I’m not worried about it at all, it was just odd based on my prior experience.

Anyway, I gave it a good swirl this morning. I’m going to leave the water bath at 67 for at least another 24 hours, since the beer pitched with London Ale yeast is in the same bath and it’s still fermenting strongly, so I don’t want to raise the temperature too fast and negatively affect that one.

I’ll keep swirling a couple times per day, and by Saturday ramp the water bath up to 70, then get a gravity reading and see where we’re at.

I looked at the Yeast book in regards to pitching a higher attenuating yeast to dry it out a bit. It seems that since the O2 will be gone at this point, I would need to get a large starter going and pitch it at the height of fermentation.

At this point I will wait until I take a gravity reading this weekend before deciding whether to move forward with another yeast.

I suspect it’s going to work out fine. I’ve got the temp up to 70 now and I’ve been lightly swirling the carboy 3x per day. There appears to at least be light fermentation activity still ongoing, and the yeast certainly hasn’t dropped completely yet, although it’s clear that some has dropped and the rest will likely be dropping as soon as I stop agitating it.

I think rousing the yeast for a few days and bringing the temp up to 70f did the trick. It finished at 1.011 for an apparent attenuation of 74%.

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