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High Gravity Wash

I just kegged a Barleywine and wanting to reuse the yeast. While the OG wasn’t really high for this type of beer I would like to know if anyone would try washing the yeast from this batch.

1st Gen White Labs WLP001 (Large Starter)
OG: 1.095
FG: 1.029

The attenuation was below low end for this yeast and I have read where high gravity batches can do that and I bet I should have used a bigger starter. I also know you should start with lower gravity beers and work your way up when washing/reusing your yeast but this was the first time I needed this strain. This beer is my 4th ever brew.

My plan is to just pull off the most viable yeast when washing. I will use a stainless turkey baster to suck out the high middle layer just as most of the trub has settled. I have heard the yeast that stays suspended the longest is the healthiest.

I will be growing a starter out of this batch for a similar, if not identical, beer in a couple months.

I guess I am curious what some of the master brewers may say to my attempt at this. As well as hear if they have any other advice.


Here is one person’s take on yeast washing. ... posed.html

You said you made a large starter, but don’t mention the size. So I will assume you used a size recommended by various calculators? And the yeast “underperformed”. Doesn’t sound like that batch of yeast is up to the challenge.

One thing you can/could have done, make a starter. Split that starter into 2. Store 1/2, make a starter with the 2nd half for you beer.

Or use a similar dry yeast strain, us-05, and pitch 2 packs.

I would not reuse this yeast.

Although I’m a noted yeast abuser, no way would I reuse yeast from a 1.095 beer. My limit is 1.075, which is still about 15 oints higher than most sources recommend.

I harvested it with the method I noted. I only got about one fourth the yeast compared to my first two attempts at washing/harvesting. I have it split into two batches and I’ll mess with one in a couple days. We’ll see how it goes…or grows.

Obviously as I am new to all this I may likely fail in my experiment but I think if I do a starter and harvest only the top layer and from there move onto another starter I will build up some good yeasties. If not then all I am doing is wasting my time and well, it is my time to waste. I’m sure I’ll learn something along the way.

If it feels right I will do an attenuation comparison against some first gen WLP001 and post the results.

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