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.