Fermenting in the barrel?

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brownni5

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I've got a 15-gallon Solera barrel going, and I think a chance to brew coming up in the next couple days (gotta take 'em when I can). Normally, I ferment my red in primary with Imperial Gnome (that I have slanted) then rack into the barrel for aging/souring. I do not have my yeast going right now, so it wouldn't be ready by this weekend (and nor do I have a LHBS - nearest one is Northern Brewer, and that's a 3- hour drive).

My last addition to the barrel was in October - would adding the wort directly to the barrel be a bad idea? I'd be adding about 5 gallons - a third of the volume. I don't want a fermentation mess in that space either, but neither do I want a sluggish ferment. How likely is that given now nearly 1-year old primary yeast? My inclination is to go another route (i.e. scouring my yeast supply to see what my other options are), but am open to experimentation.

Thoughts?
 
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You could try dosing your new wort with energizer and nutrients, add it to the barrel, stir and transfer 5 gallons to a carboy. Then just put it back before it goes completely dry. My guess is that you’d be ok just leaving it in the barrel but if a mess in that location would ruin your day, may as well play it safe.
 
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brownni5

brownni5

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I decided to brew with a packet of M31 from Mangrove Jack's that I'd forgotten about in the back of my fridge. Much different than Gnome (I think) but Belgian, and another Sacch strain into the barrel - yay, biodiversity! I'm actually excited for this - I haven't used this yeast before and think I might like it (the description makes it sound like the Westmalle strain, but I've read some wacky reviews).
 

cactusgarrett

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My last addition to the barrel was in October - would adding the wort directly to the barrel be a bad idea?
100% no. There's enough going on there that the resident bugs and sacc should easily handle 1/3 volume addition. I've added more wort, and much later than 8 months with success.
 
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brownni5

brownni5

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100% no. There's enough going on there that the resident bugs and sacc should easily handle 1/3 volume addition. I've added more wort, and much later than 8 months with success.
Chickened out. I'll try it sometime though.
 
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