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Scottish Wee Heavy (Secondary Fermentation & Conditioning)

Greetings, all,

I’ve got NB’s Scottish Wee Heavy sitting in my Big Mouth about halfway through its 2 month secondary fermentation. Something I am growing concerned with is bottle conditioning. Is there any reason to think that my yeast will have grown so dormant or have died, that when I bottle with priming sugar, the yeast will not be able to do its thing while conditioning, and that I’ll end up with two cases of flat beer? If that is a concern, is there anything I can or should do to try to keep that from happening? I have never read that doing a yeast starter and throwing that in the beer at the same time as the priming sugar in the bottling bucket is a good idea, but is that a good idea? As always, thank you for the excellent advice!

Grant

You’ll still have plenty of yeast in suspension to bottle. If it were a year or a higher OG beer you could add straight dry yeast. Starters are made prior to fermentation to multiply yeast counts and to kickstart yeast. You wouldn’t make one to bottle.

Thanks, Josh,

I had never seen a yeast starter spoken of being used in such a way. Glad to hear the reassurance that there’s still plenty of yeast in the secondary. Thank you!

Grant

I almost always reyeast any beer over 7%, or one that has sat around for a while. I don’t make a starter. I just add a tea spoon or so of fresh yeast from a previous ferment. I usually have some Wyeast 1968 around, and it will tolerate high alcohol and stick to the bottom of the bottle when it is done. If you do not keep your yeast from previous batches, you can use some dry yeast. I would just put a little bit in the bottling bucket and give it a gentle swirl when it dissolves.

I am not trying to scare you, but I have had batches of strong beer that did not carbonate. One of my barley wines took a year before it had a hint of carbonation, and by then it was oxidized and I did not want to drink it. I have also had to pop the lid on a bottle, add some yeast and recap the lid. This was a real pain in the butt, but I had carbonation 2 weeks later without adding any more sugar. It is much easier and good insurance to add a bit of yeast at bottling. I just bottled a wee heavy about 3 weeks ago, and it has nice carbonation even though the beer needs to mellow out for a couple more months.

Just put a couple of of the wee heavies in the fridge this morning and, on opening, I heard just the slightest of “pfssts” when opening the bottles. No head or obvious carbonation on pouring, though I did notice the settled bits in the bottle. I’m a little worried about the lack of obvious carbonation 13 days after bottling. Do you think I should wait another week before putting a few in the fridge? Is this just an issue with the yeast taking a while to “wake up” after such a long fermentation. I’m worried. Thanks, as always, for all the helpful advice.

Grant

Flip the bottles over for a second to get the yeast in suspension then wait 1-2 more weeks. Make sure there stored at 70 deg or more and you may want to flip the bottles over every other day or so. It should carb up just needs more time. Good luck :cheers: .

I have now flipped them and will report back - thank you!

Grant

IT WORKED! Thank you! It’s got a nice bit of fermentation, but no head yet. I can see it’s on the right track. Thank you again!

Grant

Your welcome cheers. :cheers:

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