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Alex L
07/24/12 11:34 PM  
Installing Barrel Port/ Spigot
I have a bourbon barrel that was used several times at a brewery and at this point is pretty neutral. I was planning to fill it with a lambic base fermented with bug county, and then pull off 5g or so from time to time for blending or adding an in season fruit to. In order to not disturb the pellicle when racking and make sampling from time to time easier I thought I would put a port/ spigot in the head of the barrel. I'm familiar with the vinnie SS nail method but would prefer a valve and tri-clover fittings. does anyone have experience with doing something similar to this? as of now my plan is to drill a hole slightly smaller than a 1/2 threaded nipple, screw the nipple into the hole put a valve on it and then a 1/2 threaded male tri-clover fitting. Would this work? my second thought was I could potentially use the port when refilling the barrel. I would use a march115 pump to pump fresh wort through the port and again not disturb the pellicle. would a march pump have enough force to counter the weight of the beer above the port hole? Thanks for your help.
07/25/12 12:22 PM  
Re: Installing Barrel Port/ Spigot
I think this would work. My only question is what would be the long term effect of a port on the lambic. I would fear it would be a source of infection and high O2 permeation.

As for pumping in wort from the bottom, adding fresh wort is going to kick up fermentation and CO2 production, which will likely break up the pellicle anyway, so you might as well add it from the top.

07/25/12 05:15 PM  
Re: Installing Barrel Port/ Spigot
I have seen a few ports on some foeders. Look at this video and about 1:30 in.


Here is a site with some:


07/25/12 07:27 PM  
Re: Installing Barrel Port/ Spigot
I would be more woried about the sanitation art of it.

I am also lazy and for how often you would be racking some beer off disturbing the pellicle very rarely doesnt effect it much

Alex L
07/26/12 11:28 PM  
Re: Installing Barrel Port/ Spigot
thanks for the input. so I see that having any new opening has the potential to increase oxygen pickup and contamination, but when compared to the equivalent method using the bung hole it seems that both would be less.

when simply sampling through the bung hole one has to open the bung hole, which is facing up allowing dust to fall in, then sticking a wine thief breaking the pellicle minimally. The port equivalent doesn't allow anything to fall into the beer, doesn't use an object which sometimes isn't perfectly sanitized ( I use a stainless steel wine thief that I boil prior to using but most are plastic), and doesn't break the pellicle.

when pulling 5 -10 gallons, using a racking cane which in my case is plastic has the potential to infect, and breaks the pellicle giving more oxygen exposure. The port equivalent doesn't put anything in the beer, and minimally effects the pellicle around the edges as the beer level decreases which also occurs when racking.

the next question is whether a valve is easier to contaminate or gives more oxygen exposure than a bung which, as of now, I don't see to be the case. Am I missing something?

07/27/12 12:06 PM  
Re: Installing Barrel Port/ Spigot
Don't most people use a stainless steel nail in the end of the barrel to sample from? Just pull the nail out and catch the pouring liquid.
07/27/12 12:08 PM  
Re: Installing Barrel Port/ Spigot
On second thought, a valve with a nipple like you mentioned is kinda like a really big nail.
07/31/12 03:49 PM  
Re: Installing Barrel Port/ Spigot
The very last set of images on this page is probably your best bet:


It looks like you can purchase just the tapered threaded stainless steel tap. On the end of that tap appears to be a (NPT?) female connection. As you can see, they have attached spigots to the tap. The one with the black shut off handle appears to have a barbed connection. That is the one I would get for a homebrew type setup. This would let you sample the product easily, and then when it comes time to pull off the barrel, you can attach a hose to the barb.

When filling the barrel, I would always fill through the top bung. There is no reason to worry about disturbing the pellicle because the addition of new wort will restart an active fermentation and the CO2 bubbles will disturb the pellicle anyway.

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