Barley wine active again

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I had my barley wine in the primary for two weeks. No activity through the
airlock. I racked it to secondary on Saturday and now it is actively
fermenting again. The primary is of the plastic bucket type and the
secondary is glass carboy (5 gallon). I did leave a little space and now
that is filled with bubbles. The OG was 1.133 and SG at racking time was
1.062. I have it under my steps in the basement and it is a little warmer
than it was a few days ago (10 degres F). Did I perhaps disturb the yeast
enough to get them going again? Slightly higher temps helping? Is this
normal for such a high gravity beer?

Thanks.

Re: Barley wine active again



The barleywine was underpitched, from the sound of it.  BTDT.  Take a
look at the pitching guides in books or on-line -- they aren't
fiction.  You should have the equivalent of 8-10 slap packs of healthy
yeast.  Wyeast is now selling "seasonal" yeasts that handle 14%
alcohol -- I'd be looking at something along those lines, and using
yeast starters to culture sufficient quantity.

I bottled a barleywine last weekend.  It started at about 1.20 SG, and
attenuated to 1.030 (the high amount of sugar left in your BW is
another clue that you pitched insufficient yeast).  It bubbled nicely
though primary and nicely through secondary.  Earlier editions of the
same recipe, with less yeast, didn't.

I used two slap packs of Wyeast Imperial, IIR.  Each was doubled in a
2L flask, and that yeast was then multiplied again in 3L starters.
Earlier edition used London yeast (IIR) simply doubled in the 2L
flasks, and this was never sufficient for barleywine (too high FG, no
foam after bottle conditioning).

Think of yourself as a yeast babysitter, because that's what a
high-gravity brewer is.

Eelloin  


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Re: Barley wine active again



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Thanks for the tips.  I did use two packs of dry yeast which I rehydrated,
but did not use a starter.  It was also cold for part of the primary, so
that slowed things down too.  The secondary is settling down quite nicely.  
I took a reading about two weeks ago and it was down to 1.040.

Re: Barley wine active again



Correction:  My SG was 1.12, not 1.2.

Glad to hear that the fermentation restarted.  But give the yeast
starters a try.  I think you'll be pleased with the result, even
though it does add a bit of time to the process.

Eelloin


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