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Old 11-23-2009, 07:13 PM   #1
jkpq45
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Default Whiskey Barrel Funk: Now what?

So my lovely wife gave me this whiskey barrel for Christmas (early) and it is in need of some cleaning. I popped the bung and poured out some funky smelling liquid--it was only about half full. It's big, bad and funky!

Here's the question--I've seen some nasty gunk on the inside of barrels. Is it the best bet to pop the top off and pressure-wash this thing? I'd leave it alone, but it stinks! At least acetobacter, probably a vast array of funky bugs. What are my chances of pasteurizing the innards if I fill with supply from my water heater (145*F for 30 minutes)? I'll pressure-wash then heat this way. Maybe some washing soda?

Any other tips for cleaning this up? I'd prefer not to do sour beers, but hell--might be my only option, huh?

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Old 11-23-2009, 08:18 PM   #2
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I use secondaries. :p
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I can't really give much advice on this, other than to say that you need water to be over 180 for it to really do a good job at killing buggers.

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Old 11-23-2009, 08:24 PM   #3
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I think I've adjusted my goal to removing the top band, popping out the lid, pressure washing/drying the insides, then...

DOUSING WITH VODKA AND BURNING THE CRAP OUT OF IT!

Might do a good job at killing buggers, huh?

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Old 11-23-2009, 08:38 PM   #4
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I use secondaries. :p
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Indeed it might. Please take pictures when you do this. I want to see a barrel full of fire.

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Old 11-24-2009, 12:42 PM   #5
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I have some limited experience from being in charge of my club's bourbon barrel. When I was fearful of an infection in our barrel I was told that there are "barrel clean" products that will scour the barrel and kill any infection without opening the barrel. However, they will also remove all of the char on the inside of the barrel. Afterward your barrel will be good for lambics and flanders reds, but not your typical barrel aged beers.

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Old 11-24-2009, 04:04 PM   #6
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its wood, i can't imagine you're going to damage it by using boiling water in it. It's not a fragile sculpture, its a barrel. Dump some boiling water in there and kill the bugs. Or, ya, use some whiskey.....

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Old 11-24-2009, 10:37 PM   #7
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I'd fill it with boiling water, let it sit, dump, repeat. See how it smells. If it still smells I'd be afraid of it myself. Campden tablets are used to sanitize barrels.

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Old 11-24-2009, 11:19 PM   #8
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Personally, I like the purification by via method you described ha ha ha.

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