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Nick P.
02/17/12 10:27 AM  
More Barrel questions...
I appreciate the help from everyone on this barrel project. Last night I constructed a rack. 4x4's on casters with angled wedges!

I opened the bunge and it smelled a bit "cheesy"? Not sure what that smell would be, but hopefully it's not mold.

I have a few questions.

1. This barrel has a small pin hole near the bottom presumably so that I can take samples without letting Air in and oxidizing from taking the bung out. I'm having trouble finding something to plug that hole and I'm leaning towards a Stainless steal SCREW. I'd prefer a SS Nail but can't find one. Will I be fine with a SS Screw, or should I find some sort of spigot?

2. Once I plug that up, here is what I plan to do.

a. Fill it with water to make sure it holds water.

b. drain the water, and power wash the inside with 140 degree water.

c. let it dry and once dry light a sulfur stick, turn it right side up with the bung in, and let it sit for 2 days.

d. rinse it out with the power washer with cold water and fill it up with 60 gallons of a red ale fermented with a Sacc strain.

e. dump in a bunch of yeast cakes from my Flanders (rosealare and ECY yeast cakes!) and let it sit for a year!

f. Top off as needed.

AM I on the right path. Please let me know what you think about all of this! Any advice would be appreciated as I'll be responsible for a fairly large investment that my Homebrew is getting into with this project.



Mike T
02/21/12 04:07 PM  
Re: More Barrel questions...
I talked to Gabe of Anchorage brewing over the weekend and he mentioned that he uses a screw for greater personal peace of mind over a nail. He puts it in finger tight, and then just a bit more with a screw driver.

Otherwise you sound like you are on the right track. For our first three barrels we bought/filled freshly dumped barrels and have had great results. The fourth barrel we got from McKenzie's Brew House and it sat empty for a month before filling. After a year it is slightly acetic, so we are being more aggressive with topping off and temperature control (it is a solera).

Good luck!

Nick P.
02/21/12 04:56 PM  
Re: More Barrel questions...
Hey Mike,

Thanks. We acquired a pretty interesting barrel. It's American Oak, and it was used once for a Honey Wine by a company in Minnesota and then for an American Strong Ale at Town Hall Brewery in Minneapolis.

I filled it last night with H2O and it didn't leak at all. I went with a SS Screw to plug that hole because that's all I could find.

To restrain the acetic acid you top off more frequently to reduce oxygenation correct?

For Temperature control, do you keep it at cooler temps to lessen the acetic acid production?

Mike T
02/22/12 08:52 AM  
Re: More Barrel questions...
Right on both counts. The less headspace you have the less oxygen will be in contact with the beer, but I wouldn’t do it more than once every month or two. I have an AC unit that keeps the room with the barrel below ~65 F, although in the winter it gets even cooler.

Sounds like a fun barrel, good luck!

Nick P.
02/22/12 12:42 PM  
Re: More Barrel questions...
I'm going to empty the barrel tonight. Will my March Pump work to empty it? I'm thinking I'll have to start the siphon by sucking on the end of the out tube? Any experience with best way to empty this sucker so I can power wash it? It rather not use my 3/8 racking cane
02/23/12 08:11 AM  
Re: More Barrel questions...
racking cane really won't take a long time. maybe 30 minutes?

the pump would be fine as well, you won't need to suck if you fill the hose (prime it) with water before putting it in the barrel

02/23/12 12:03 PM  
Re: More Barrel questions...
If you decide you want to go back to a SS nail, you can order them from McMaster. I still need to do that for my barrel project. (Although it's fun to peek in the bunghole, it's not the best for sampling.) :)
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