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Pitch or not pitch Pliny Yeast Cake on American Barley Wine?

Last weekend I brewed a Pliny the Elder with a starting gravity of 1.068 :cheers: . This weekend I’m looking at doing an American Barley Wine. I was thinking of just throwing the American Barley Wine right on the yeast cake.

Since the yeast will be ready to rock and roll, I’d use my plate chiller and chill the wort to 64F since the yeast will produce a lot of heat.

Your thoughts or suggestions :?:

I wouldn’t.

Just curious…why not?

Just curious…why not?[/quote]

I’m curious too. Personally, as long as the yeast cake was fresh and didn’t have a lot of trub, I’d dump the wort on it and let 'er rip. As long as the yeast was the appropriate strain, of course.
And, for what it’s worth, I think I would try to pitch at around 60 degrees, if possible, then let it rise. :cheers:

I would do it.

You’re trying to make a barleywine which requires a huge pitch of the most viable yeast possible. My philosophy when making barleywines is that one should max out their system to produce the biggest ale possible. Along those lines I wouldn’t take any shortcuts with the yeast-- the cost and time of making a BW isn’t worth the effort you save from not properly growing up yeast under ideal growth conditions. An imperial IPA with high alcohol and a massive amount of hops is far from ideal.

If you do, leave a LOT of headspace in your fermenter, and be prepared with a blow-off tube. I made that mistake once, pitched a 1.105 IIPA onto a WY1272 yeast cake, and even at my basement’s temperature (~60*F) I came home to find the bucket lid blown off and krausen sprayed everywhere. One of the best beers I’ve made, too!

In theory, I understand that. But in actual practice (over the past 26 or 27 years), I’ve been making at least 3 or 4 batches of barleywine per year (to allow for proper eventual aging and occasional blending into a 2 decade solera) and have found that a repitch onto a prior yeastcake has been very effective, particularly if the yeastcake is fresh. I’ve not even had any issues using a yeastcake stored in the fridge for a few weeks. My Barleywines/Burtons range in OG from around 1.085 to 1.110. The last one I made this year was pitched with the yeast cake (ECY “Old Newark Ale”, aka BRY97, 7th generation) that had just finished fermenting another high grav brew.
By day 7, I was racking the BW it into a secondary where it will rest in bulk for some months.

I agree that there are variables to consider, such as sanitation, whether the yeast cake is fresh or has been stored (and how it was stored) etc., but there’s if confidence in those factors and the prior fermentation was healthy and tasty, I’d say ‘go for it.’
If unsure about it, maybe try making a smaller batch to test things out (I’ve done that in the past, but no more…every time I did that I wound up regretting that I didn’t make a full batch. But as porkchop warns, do allow ample headspace or provide for blowoff to avoid a yeasty mess. :shock:
As always, your mileage may vary.


So far using the yeast cake from Pliny for the American Barley Wine has been a success. Starting Gravity was 1.126. After 11 days of fermentation the Final Gravity was 1.020. This gives me a 13.91 ABV :shock:

I tasted the brew and it was awesome. No off flavors. Big and malty with just a little sweetness. It had assertive hops in the aroma and flavor too. Now I need to let the Barleywine age. :mrgreen:

[quote=“Wahoo”]An imperial IPA with high alcohol and a massive amount of hops is far from ideal.[/quote]1.068 is barely an IPA though, so shouldn’t be an issue in this case. :wink:

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