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Old 10-06-2012, 05:23 PM   #1
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Default Can you save a barrel?

I didn't do the amount of research I should have and now I have two 5 gal whiskey barrels that made my last beer taste like bile.

The plan was to use them for clean beers to get some of the oak/whiskey flavor out of them and then transfer a sour into them to colonize the barrel with bugs. I let them sit in the garage for a couple weeks full of water while my christmas beer was going through primary. I know (now) I should have had potassium metabisulfide in the water to keep anything creepy from getting in there.

Is there anything I can do like sulfur strips or something? Or is the most likely answer the bad bacteria has penetrated the wood too deep and I should just start over?

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Old 10-06-2012, 06:49 PM   #2
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I would think you should be able to save it, the following is instructions my LHBS gave me for a used barrel i bought from him for a lambic.


Sanitizing Wood Barrels
-For up to a 10 gallon barrel.

*Slowly Dissolve 2 pounds of soda ash in 2 gal hot/boiling water, constantly stirring to dissolve it.

*Add 2oz citric acid to the soda ash solution.

*Completely fill the barrel with enough of the above solution.

*keep it in the barrel for at least 24 hours.

*Dump and rinse well with water.

*Add 1-2oz sodium or potassium metabisulfite per gallon of water.

*Fill The barrel Full.

*keep it in the barrel for at least 24 hours.

*Dump and rinse well with water.

*on the Day of usage, burn a sulfur candle in the barrel.

*Do not breath the fumes.

That is what I was given to use on a used barrel with the past contents unknown.

This should kill anything in the barrel!

Dan

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Old 10-06-2012, 06:53 PM   #3
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Thank you sir! I was hoping I didn't have to spend the $250 for two more barrels.

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Old 10-06-2012, 07:13 PM   #4
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Be extremely careful about that bit at the end where you burn a taper. Several homebrewers and pro brewers have had explosions doing that part.

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Old 10-06-2012, 07:24 PM   #5
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How have they had barrel explosions? He recommended hanging the sulfur candle/wick from a clothes pins at the bung w/o capping the barrel.

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Old 10-06-2012, 08:07 PM   #6
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Probably attributable to residual alcohol fumes in the barrel, not a closed vessel issue.

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Old 10-06-2012, 08:59 PM   #7
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I just have one hole in the top of my barrel. Does that change the method I should use to burn the sulfur?

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Old 10-07-2012, 12:51 AM   #8
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I have used this http://www.morebeer.com/public/pdf/wbarrel.pdf before with good luck.

BW

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Old 10-07-2012, 12:39 PM   #9
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I would think that after having the barrel soak in solution of water for a long time the presence of alcohol would be slim to none for a possible explosion. I could see this happening more with a dry whiskey barrel straight from the distillery. But there is always a chance , also how's the inside smell of the barrel? Is there a strong whiskey smell or not?

Also for before this barrel gets inoculated with bacteria I have my barrel filled with a water/citric / potassium metabisulfite mix to prevent any unwanted crap. Before I just had it filled with water and noticed it smelled like wet dirty wood, now it has a sweet smell to the barrel.

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