We are about to undergo a 55 gallon brew as a club, to be added to an oak barrel to be a solera. Is autolysis enough of a concern to primary ferment in glass and rack into the barrel?

As a secondary question, how and when do you remove yeast sediment from the barrel when you're continually (periodically) adding new wort?

2 Answers 2


That may depend on what you're brewing, but I'd imagine that for most non-sour styles that you'll want to get the primary ferment over and done with before you rack to the barrel. I believe that some of the souring wild yeast/bacteria will consume the compounds that are released by autolysis. That being said, we got the fermentation of our barrel brew finished (or close to it) before racking to the sour barrel.

  • We course corrected on the day before the brew, transferring to the barrel this weekend.
    – Mlusby
    Apr 26, 2011 at 16:37

Removing the yeast from the barrel is exactly why I think primary ferment should be done in a carboy. I think I remember reading or hearing the Russian River does it that way. Ferment in stainless, then transfer to barrels with bugs at the right time.

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