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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Lambic & Wild Brewing > Help planning 60-gallon wine barrel fill
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Old 04-22-2013, 01:03 AM   #1
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Default Help planning 60-gallon wine barrel fill

I am currently testing out a couple of recipes before choosing on and finalizing a recipe for a 60 gallon batch that will go into my wine barrel. I'm trying to get down in my head the process of doing something this large. I've read about doing collaboration brews, where a bunch of people brew 5 gallons of the same recipe, ferment at their homes, then bring it over to pour and age in the barrel. I don't have that luxury, I will be doing all 60 here, with a 10 gallon brew pot and some carboys.

Am I going to have to brew 6-7 batches, put them all in 6 gallon carboys (10-12 of them) ferment, then add to the barrel after they're ready? Is there anyway to do it in stages so I wouldn't have to buy so many carboys? Could I ferment 30 gallons, add to the barrel, then get started on the other 30 gallons and add a couple weeks later? Too much headspace in the barrel?

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Old 04-22-2013, 01:00 PM   #2
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What kind of beer are you putting in? All grain? How long of a mash? I've done seven barrel fills now, most of which by myself.
I've done the brew, ferment in carboy, transfer method when I had a smaller system, and then I've done the brew in a day on the bigger system.
You can probably let an initial 30 gallons sit for a couple of days while the primary fermentation kicks off (if you primary in the barrel.) It could be a funfilled two days if you do back to back to back to back to back batches.
My last advice, is make 3 gallons more than you think you need. Sometimes those barrels are + or - five gallons.

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Old 04-22-2013, 04:49 PM   #3
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I wouldn't have too much time in between staged fills, but I don't think its a problem to stage it. If you can schedule 2 weekends in a row to brew, I think filling it 30 gallon the first weekend and starting the fermentation will be fine. There will be plenty of CO2 to protect the beer while it waits for the second half of the barrel fill the next weekend. Assuming this is a lambic/wild beer, there is no need for carboys, just ferment right in the barrel. Its good food for the brett.

Also, wine barrels are 225L or 238L. There should be some kind of stamp or branding on the barrel indicating one of these numbers.

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Old 04-23-2013, 12:52 AM   #4
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I am testing a couple different batches to figure out what to do. Maybe an Oud Bruin or a Flanders Red. I guess I never thought about fermenting right in the barrel. That could make this easier.

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Old 04-23-2013, 01:11 AM   #5
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If you have the carboy capacity, I would brew the largest batches you can back to back in the shortest amount of time (might be a couple of weekends), ferment in primary until all of them are ready, then dump. Not that barrel aging is all that reproducible, but to me this seems like the most logical process that could readily be reproduced in the future. If you were going to try to brew it all in one weekend you could even do a no-chill method to save time and do a quick 5 gallon extract batch to serve as a starter in advance. Do all of your batches using no chill, then pitch from the same HUGE starter you made earlier.

Im not sure how large of a batch you are capable of, but even doing 10 gallon batches you shouldnt have to much of a problem doing it in one long, long weekend. Start early on Saturday, mash, sparge, transfer, clean mash tun while waiting on boil, mash while boiling, transfer to primary using no cool, repeat. Its not inconceivable to think you could do three batches that way in a 10-12 hour brew day, then rinse and repeat the next day! Sounds like a load of fun to me! Also sounds like a good way to get me kicked out of my own house, since I brew indoors

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Old 04-23-2013, 06:25 AM   #6
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I have thought of doing this myself, but after doing a couple of double brew days of 8hours+ i dont know if i would want to do a triple brew day(11+ hours). You will definitely want to do 10gl batches, a good reason to upgrade your brew pot.
It might be worth your time to hook up with a local brew club in your area. Mine does group barral project all the time. eather way take pics and let us know.

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Old 04-23-2013, 01:50 PM   #7
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Look in to the Rubbermaid brute garbage cans at lowes or Home Depot to use as fermentors. I have 2 40 gallon ones that I use. When I filed mine I did 3 10 gallon batches for 2 weekends, plus a batch I started previously to get the bugs and Brett going for a total of 65 gallons or so. Then put it all in the barrel at once.

It was a ton of work, but it really helped me hone my skills and learn my system - and was a reason to get a bigger kettle.

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Old 04-23-2013, 04:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillacandy View Post
Look in to the Rubbermaid brute garbage cans at lowes or Home Depot to use as fermentors. I have 2 40 gallon ones that I use. When I filed mine I did 3 10 gallon batches for 2 weekends, plus a batch I started previously to get the bugs and Brett going for a total of 65 gallons or so. Then put it all in the barrel at once.

It was a ton of work, but it really helped me hone my skills and learn my system - and was a reason to get a bigger kettle.
What!? Why would you not just store it in the barrel? There is no magic to the barrel being filled all at once, and it's certainly better than storing your wort in a rubbermaid. O2 exposure alone. I do like the idea of doing 5 gallons earlier with your yeast and using that as a huge starter.

Weekend 1, fill barrel with 30 gallons of wort and 5 gallon starter. The next weekend fill barrel with another 30 gallons.

This way the beer will be fermenting strong during the week until the 2nd brewing weekend filling the headspace with CO2. Also you would probably have less foam over and save some volume.
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by levifunk View Post
What!? Why would you not just store it in the barrel? There is no magic to the barrel being filled all at once, and it's certainly better than storing your wort in a rubbermaid. O2 exposure alone. I do like the idea of doing 5 gallons earlier with your yeast and using that as a huge starter.

Weekend 1, fill barrel with 30 gallons of wort and 5 gallon starter. The next weekend fill barrel with another 30 gallons.

This way the beer will be fermenting strong during the week until the 2nd brewing weekend filling the headspace with CO2. Also you would probably have less foam over and save some volume.
I did a Flanders Red, so I didn't want to primary in the barrel. I used a clean American Ale strain and the Rubbermaid containers as primary for about 2 weeks and then racked from there in to the barrel with the 5 gallon batch from several months before and that is what had the Roeselare blend in it. Hopefully that makes more sense.
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Old 04-23-2013, 04:17 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cadillacandy View Post
I did a Flanders Red, so I didn't want to primary in the barrel. I used a clean American Ale strain and the Rubbermaid containers as primary for about 2 weeks and then racked from there in to the barrel with the 5 gallon batch from several months before and that is what had the Roeselare blend in it. Hopefully that makes more sense.
Oh, yea, I thought you just left the wort in the rubbermaids and then racked to the barrel for primary.
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