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05/04/11 09:56 AM  
Secondary Containment for a 10gal Barrel?
What would you guys use as secondary containment to guard against catastrophic failure of your barrel? I live on the 3rd floor of an apartment and would rather not rain beer on my neighbors. I don't think a full barrel would work in my apartment, but a 10gal would be fine. What can you guys think of that would work and be cheap?
05/04/11 01:03 PM  
Re: Secondary Containment for a 10gal Barrel?
How about a rubbermaid storage bin?
05/04/11 02:11 PM  
Re: Secondary Containment for a 10gal Barrel?
That might work depending on the dimensions of the barrel. For some reason I thought it would be bigger.
05/04/11 03:35 PM  
Re: Secondary Containment for a 10gal Barrel?
Are you just super paranoid, or do you have reason to believe your barrel will esplode?
05/04/11 03:58 PM  
Re: Secondary Containment for a 10gal Barrel?
I'm probably just paranoid because I rent and don't want to mess the place up. I also work in a lab where chemical waste needs to be stored in a secondary container.
tom sawyer
05/04/11 04:58 PM  
Re: Secondary Containment for a 10gal Barrel?
You could easily get a plastic bin that would hold the barrel. I will check one of my 11gal barrels dimensions tonight and post them if you're interested.
05/04/11 07:28 PM  
Re: Secondary Containment for a 10gal Barrel?
Tom, that would be awesome. With that said, how long do you normally let your beer sit in the 11gal barrel? I was reading a thread on HBT about the 5gal liquor barrels being sold, and someone left a beer in there for 10 days and it started to get too intense. I guess that could be from him potentially not dumping whatever liquor that was in the barrel out before racking the beer in. I want to try and figure out a schedule for aging since it will be shorter than if the barrel were 55gal. Right now I am thinking: brew, ferment, rack to barrel, age x days/months, rack to carboy or keg for further aging, consume. My problem would be having enough space for all the beer the barrel will produce and just keeping the barrel full. Ideally, at a certain point the oakiness of the barrel will subside and I can age some sour stuff in it for extended periods of time. Hopefully that time comes sooner rather than later.
tom sawyer
05/05/11 11:25 AM  
Re: Secondary Containment for a 10gal Barrel?
I didn't get back online last night and forgot to measure, will be sure to do it first thing this evening.

A used whiskey barrel can hold quite a bit of liquor in the pores of the wood. I don't much care for the flavor in any case so a little would really go a long way for me. 10 days wouldn't really even be long enough to bother, just throw in a few shots of bourbon if thats all you're doing it for. If you want some real barrel aging, go at least three months. And remember you need to keep the barrel full all the time or risk contamination.

I haven't used a new oak barrel for beer, but when I do for wine I'll first soak it a few weeks with water and sulfites to knock down the oak flavor just a bit. Otherwise it can be a little overpowering on the first batch.

I have two 6gal barrels and two 11gal. Three hold wine, only one 11gal holds my Flanders red style wild brew. Sounds like you might be better off with 5 or 6gal barrel. Age in the barrel for at least three months, six would be better. Then its easier to keep full and you get more concentration of flavors. Top the barrel up monthly to avoid acetobacter getting a foothold. Once you've used the barrel a few times you can always add some oak cubes for flavor, and still use the barrel to concentrate the flavors and give the beer more character.

Check out Vadai World enterprises for a good price on a barrel, its about the cheapest place I could find and their products are good quality.

05/05/11 11:49 AM  
Re: Secondary Containment for a 10gal Barrel?
I only read that 10 days was too long with a 5 gallon barrel. It was more a comment on the increased surface area for the beer in a smaller barrel. I was going to get a 10gallon barrel, but I wasn't really sure how long before the booze/oak took over. I'm not going for booze really, I want to tone that down before I turn the barrel sour. I guess I could help the cause by soaking the barrel with water and sulfites like you mentioned. I was looking at barrels from a different source. They previously held whiskey and are pretty well priced ($140 for a 10gal).
tom sawyer
05/05/11 06:00 PM  
Re: Secondary Containment for a 10gal Barrel?
In a new barrel it would only take a couple of weeks to impart a lot of oak flavor. Once you've used it a time or two, it will take longer and longer. And yes bigger barrels have a lower surface area/volume ratio, but even a 10gal will only take a few weeks. Thats why I recommend soaking it for a few weeks with plain water to get rid of the big jolt of oak and let you leave the beer in longer.

I checked and my 11gal barrel is 19" long and roughly 17" diameter at the center, 15" diameter at the heads.

The 6gal barrel is 15" long, 13" diameter at its widest point.

I recall sitting the 6gal in a metal washtub when I first got it, that would be one way to go. The plastic tubs would work well too.

Good luck on your barrel experiments, they are a lot of fun and tasty stuff.

05/06/11 12:53 AM  
Re: Secondary Containment for a 10gal Barrel?
I bet at a hardware store you can get a plastic

drywall mixing tub (usually black) and that would serve your purpose nicely.

05/06/11 12:08 PM  
Re: Secondary Containment for a 10gal Barrel?
You can check usplastics too
05/06/11 01:43 PM  
Re: Secondary Containment for a 10gal Barrel?
I have a 5 gallon barrel. It was new until last October.

I did the caustic soak/citric bisulfite soak/plain water rinse on it prior to use. It sits down in my basement/garage.

First batch was a imperial brown stout that sat in it for 5 months. about 10-11%ABV. Not overly oaky but pleasant oak.

Second batch was an imperial rye stout that has been in for about 6-8 weeks so far. about 11%ABV. Haven't sampled it yet.

Thought the above would be helpful as you plan your aging times.

I refill at the same time that I drain it.


Josh O.
05/06/11 01:52 PM  
Re: Secondary Containment for a 10gal Barrel?
I picked up a 6 gallon rye whiskey barrel from Tuthilltown and have been aging some big beers in it for the whiskey flavors, with the intent to turn it into a bug barrel after the whiskey character has died down. I did prep the barrel by filling it with water first, both to make sure it wasn't leaking and remove some initial flavor. I racked the water out of a barrel into a carboy for storage and have been planning to use it to brew with it, but haven't gotten around to it yet... anyone tried something like that?

First beer was a ~9.2% stout; was in the barrel for about a month and is a whiskey-bomb. If you like those flavors, it isn't bad, but it is strong. It got good feedback from some beer geek friends who are into that sort of thing, but it's a little stronger than I prefer, though I've heard the barrel character can become muted with age, and it is still quite young. I've got a belgian tripel in there now, which has also been in there for a month-- grabbed a sample two days ago and I think it's ready to come out. Will be brewing a dubbel for the third fill this weekend.

It seemed to me that the whiskey flavors on the stout were more muted when the beer was flat but became really strong when the beer was carbonated. Maybe due to a more intense aroma released with the carbonation, not sure.

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