First Barley Wine attempt - yeast question

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Maddog3025

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Hi,

I've brewed a fair amount of extract sled but am thinking of trying my first barley whine. I was thinking about the recipe in Palmers book. For yeast, it recommends using the dregs from a previous batch, preferably from a secondary. I actually have batches now in primary and secondary. The secondary layer usually isn't that substantial compared to the primary, is that enough yeast to make it 'go'? That secondary batch is actually a Hobgoblin clone so it would match well with Barleywhine I think , but will that small amount be enough ? Any advice is appreciated !
 

PuckX

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You can dump it right on the yeast cake of the primary, I imagine there is enough yeast in your secondary batch as well. But you pour it on the primary and it is going to take off, be ready for a violent fermentation. I have never used the secondary yeast before but there is certainly going to be more yeast in there than you buy in packets so give it a shot!
 

fall-line

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You can dump it right on the yeast cake of the primary, I imagine there is enough yeast in your secondary batch as well. But you pour it on the primary and it is going to take off, be ready for a violent fermentation. I have never used the secondary yeast before but there is certainly going to be more yeast in there than you buy in packets so give it a shot!
+1 to this

It is sometimes recommended to re-use yeast from the secondary instead of the primary because there is often other material in the 'cake' in primary (hop trub, etc), whereas the secondary yeast cake tends to be cleaner. I've had good luck with both though and when going using it for a massive beer with lots of flavor masking potential like a barley wine, you will be fine either way. There will be way more yeast in either one of those fermenters than just about any starter you can make.
 

looneybomber

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I think I've read more posts about using the yeast out of the primary instead of secondary since that's the stuff that will floc out the best and leave you with a clearer beer. Also, when I secondary, I don't get much sediment at the bottom, but I normally primary my beers for 3wks and only secondary if I plan on aging the beer on other things like oak or fruit or just do long term bulk aging for months.
 

zeg

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I've always reused yeast from primary, and I have always rinsed it. Pitching on a cake will work, but to quote the book "Yeast," "it's a bad practice."

Problem #1 - excessive trub, including hops / etc that may not match your new batch (though you have considered this).

Problem #2 - it's likely to be a substantial overpitch, by roughly a factor of 4 for a typical beer. For a big barleywine it might be closer, but I'd guess still about twice what you need.

But, as is so common in brewing, you can do it either way, it's a balancing act between pros and cons. A barleywine is an expensive beer, both in terms of ingredients cost and brewing/aging time, so I would put some care into getting the best results possible. That would mean rinsing and repitching an appropriate amount. However, if you're not certain your sanitation skills are up to the challenge of the extra risk of exposure, you might be better off living with perhaps slightly less optimal fermentation in order to avoid losing the whole batch to an infection.
 

bigbeergeek

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Simple solution: use the yeast from a primary fermentor, but dump out about 1/3 or the cake before racking the wort on top. And don't forget:

Oxygenate, oxygenate, oxygenate!!! Early and often!

Good luck with your monster!
 
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