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04/25/11 11:29 AM  
Consecration Club Barrel Project
Hey guys.

I'm coordinating a club project with the Garage Brewers Society to brew a consecration clone and fill 2 wine barrels with it. After emailing Vinnie and getting some advice, I found myself with a couple more questions that you guys may be able to help me answer or give recommendations.

We have acquired 2 Cabernet Sauvignon barrels from A&K Cooperage here in Missouri. These barrels were filled with Silver Oak Cabernet from the Napa Valley, aged 4 years and freshly emptied. We are brewing a 1.072 basic Belgian Dark Strong and adding 30lbs of dried Zante currants. In Vinnie's email, he mentioned they brew the beer, ferment with WLP530 down to 1.012-1.016, cool slightly to drop yeast then pitch brett in the tanks and let sit for 8-10 weeks. After a month or so they will then rack the beer to the currant-filled barrels, top off with more brett and add the bacteria to then let it sit for 4-6 more months.

My questions are:

-What strain(s) of brett do you think he is using?

-I have a small bottle of Consecration and Supplication. Is it worth trying to build up these bugs? If so, how would you do it to get a large enough pitch for a wine barrel?

-Do you think there would be an issue with fermenting the beer in carboys/conicals, racking into the barrels after the currants have been added and then pitching the brett and bacteria at the same time?

-Where can I find stainless nails to pull samples so I don't break the pellicle?


04/25/11 11:31 AM  
Re: Consecration Club Barrel Project
It should read they let the brett sit in the tanks for 8-10 weeks then rack to the currant-filled barrels.
05/04/11 01:09 PM  
Re: Consecration Club Barrel Project
No thoughts/feedback?
05/04/11 11:55 PM  
Re: Consecration Club Barrel Project
Here is what I got from VC when I asked him about the SS nail. Your choice on the bretts.


From VC:

Here is the info on the stainless steel nail in the barrel head acting as a poor man’s MacGyver sample port:

We drill a hole using a 7/64 drill bit on the barrel head of each barrel.

The hole can be drilled while the barrel is empty or even with beer in it.

You just have to be ready with the nail if you are doing it with the barrel full. The hole is so small that there is no problem with losing too much beer at this point.

I have two sizes of stainless steel nails that I purchase from McMaster Carr.

1–˝” 4d smooth common nail – 316 stainless steel McMaster Carr # 97990A102

2” 6d smooth common nail - 316 stainless steel McMaster Carr # 97990A104

I use the smaller nail, but, I keep the larger ones around just in case a hole gets boarded out to large, it hasn’t happened yet, but, I’m just playing it safe.

I do use barrel wax sometimes (www.barrelbuilders.com) around the nail after I have pulled a sample. We have never had a nail blow out due to pressure; they are pretty snug in there. Barrel Builders only sells large buckets of wax so if you want some just send me your address and I’ll drop some in the mail to you as I have enough for 10 brewery lifetimes.

You can pull a sample and actually have the flow stop coming out of the small hole in the head of the barrel because the barrel is not vented, but, there is no issue. It is such a small hole that you can’t harm the barrel. If anything, it makes it easier because you can control the flow by removing the bung and putting it back into place. I usually drill the hole about half way up on the barrel head.

Recently we've started to drill the barrel out after the barrel has beer in it as opposed to before. Sometimes you don't get the small hole drilled out all the way. You won't know that this is the case until there is beer in the barrel and you see that you don't even have a small stream of beer coming out of the hole.

I've also taken to the practice of having a backup nail in my pocket when I'm pulling samples just in case you drop the nail on the floor on accident.

The hole at the bottom of the head of the barrel (six o’clock if you are looking at the head of the barrel straight on) for removing beer with fruit in it is a 15/16” hole, the tubing that you use to remove the liquid and fruit is also from McMaster Carr. A Belgian beer bottle cork like we cork with fits in the 15/16” hole. Here is the part number from McMaster for the tubing:

15/16” OD tubing, McMaster Carr # 5231K944

It takes a little practice but you can removing the cork quickly and push the 15/16” tubing in the cork hole. The tubing is than run down to some sort of strainer that you would need to fashion and from the strainer it is pumped to a tank.

05/05/11 08:55 PM  
Re: Consecration Club Barrel Project
This is great. Thanks!
05/19/11 10:55 AM  
Re: Consecration Club Barrel Project
Figured I would post an update on the barrel project:

Barrel 1 was filled at my place last Saturday night, 5/14/11.

Barrel prep:

-Mounted barrel on stand. Derr.

-Prepared 60g of 170-180F water and pumped to barrel. Next time I do this I would try to collect the wine first since that stuff is $100/bottle and I would add it back to the beer if it didn't taste "off".

-Soaked barrel for 2 days but 12-24 hours should be fine.

-Detected no leaks.

-Pumped water out of barrel.

-Added 30 lbs of currants via funnel. Get a big funnel next time- this was very time consuming with the one we had.

-Flushed barrel with CO2 until I had to pull my face away from the fumes.

-Racked ~56g of beer into the 59g barrel via auto siphon. We would have pushed the kegs via CO2 into the barrel but I needed the tank for my kegerator as folks were thirsty. We sampled the beers as they went in to check for off-flavors and none were noticed, although mine was a bit hot which was odd since I fermented Dave B's in the same freezer as mine and his was fine. Assuming the heat was derived from yeast health even though my starter was ridiculously active and large (5L stepped twice- possible overpitch?). I did manage to get a slurry form Tim H. where Dave bought his pack fresh. My beer took off faster than Dave's but fermented slower, much slower. I should also mention that my 2 carboys were innoculated each with a smack pack of Wyeast Lambic Blend for roughly 2 weeks.

-Added 1g starter, stepped up twice, of Brett Lambicus. It smelled nice and funky.

-Added 800ml of a very sour lacto culture propped at 98F on a stir plate with a 1.030 or so solution of apple juice and wort.

-Added dregs from the following bottles: The Bruery Saison de Lente, The Bruery Marron de Acidifie, Fantome Saison, Jolly Pumpkin La Roja, Jolly Pumpkin Bam Biere, Russian River Consecration and Supplication, New Holland Blue Sunday Sour, Cantillon Gueuze, Cantillon Iris, Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus, Lost Abbey Cuvee de Tomme, Lost Abbey Red Poppy, and four other Lost Abbey sours I can't think of. We all could have used some Tums.

By the end of the night the barrel was full, I mean really full. There was maybe an inch of headspace left before I added the stopper and airlock- it immediately began chugging away. By the next afternoon I needed a blowoff tube and it seems to have settled down since then. I'm going to wait a few more days before I trust it without the blowoff and then add a pack of Wyeast pediococcus for long-term souring.

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