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Old 04-23-2013, 07:03 PM   #11
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Is there a certain type of plastic to get or did you just wing it non food grade?

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Old 04-23-2013, 07:25 PM   #12
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Is there a certain type of plastic to get or did you just wing it non food grade?
They're food grade. Here's a link to where I started when I was trying to figure out what to do - http://www.homebrewtalk.com/f39/usin...menter-195660/

We used these for pizza sauce at the deli I worked at when I was in high school.
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Old 04-24-2013, 05:25 PM   #13
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Just to throw it out there, I would never ferment in a plastic tub and then go to a barrel. If you're making that much beer, why risk off flavors or contamination? Another thing you could do is start with 5 gallons in the barrel, then add each new batch to the barrel, effectively building up each time a larger amount of yeast. As long as you did each batch within 4-6 days, depending on fermentation, you'd have the C02 blanket to keep things safe. I think that would be cheapest and safest.

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Old 04-24-2013, 05:32 PM   #14
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Just to throw it out there, I would never ferment in a plastic tub and then go to a barrel. If you're making that much beer, why risk off flavors or contamination? Another thing you could do is start with 5 gallons in the barrel, then add each new batch to the barrel, effectively building up each time a larger amount of yeast. As long as you did each batch within 4-6 days, depending on fermentation, you'd have the C02 blanket to keep things safe. I think that would be cheapest and safest.
If you want to keep all of the trub out of the barrel, I can't really think of another way to do it, other than using big conicals. I'm using my barrel as a solera, so I want to keep as much trub out of the barrel since I'm not planning on emptying it totally for years. If you're doing a lambic, or planning on emptying and cleaning it relatively frequently, I don't see a problem with just doing it in the barrel.

I'm not sure I follow the difference between using a 6 gallon fermentation bucket vs using a 30 gallon bucket. As long as you're not using it for garbage before you use it as a fermentor...

Either way, cheers!
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Old 04-24-2013, 07:10 PM   #15
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If you want to be as stylistically accurate as possible, lambics are fermented in the wood and allowed to age on the trub and all. Flanders Red/Brown are typically fermented first and then put in the oak later.

You do have to be careful about only filling the barrel part way because the wood above the beer line will stay dry and allow more oxygen in than if it were full. So, if you're doing a lambic and fermenting primary right in the barrel, you'll probably be OK as long as you keep feeding it without too much time in between. If it's a Flanders, I'd recommending using glass for primary and rack it all to the barrel on the same day. Don't forget to save an extra 3 gallons or so to top off from angel's share losses.

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Old 04-24-2013, 07:41 PM   #16
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So I did some more looking into these and I think they are LLDPE #4 plastic, not HDPE. I was going to buy one on Homedepot but then found one on Amazon with free shipping that stated what type of plastic it is. They were the same upc and model number as the BYO article linked to and the homedepot one.

I'm just wondering if maybe they are different at homedepot and are food grade, and the ones on amazon labeled LLDPE are not, or if they are all the same and LLDPE 4 is safe.

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Old 04-24-2013, 09:50 PM   #17
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I don't use 5 gal plastic buckets either. It's stainless, glass, or a barrel for me. There's a reason you don't see much plastic in breweries.

If the beer is actively fermenting, you won't be getting oxygen in due to the amount of CO2 escaping - but you'd want to make sure you fill it as soon as that primary starts to slow down. Unless you're going to rack right on to the yeast cake for your next batch, I would primary a Flanders in the barrel as well just for simplicity. Actually, I just pulled my Flanders out of the barrel after 8 mo to finish aging in stainless (the oak was really getting strong). Came out great so far, very, very similar to Panil.

If you do primary then fill the barrel, you won't want that to sit long since it won't be releasing CO2.

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Old 04-25-2013, 04:41 AM   #18
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I filled a barrel with a couple buds last summer. It was a used wine barrel that was a discard from a local brewery. It has been used a couple times: for wine, obviously, then an imperial saison.

I formulated a saison recipe with two row, wheat and special b. very little bitterness. I Happened to brew 10g of saison a month before, so repitched the fresh slurry into the 10 or 12 carboys of saison wort. we fermented all of it in glass carboys with saison blend (568) then racked to the barrel, full. It was a simple recipe that was at about 4.5 abv into the barrel, I want to say 1.006 or so.

I added Brett and Lacto slurry last fall.

Almost a year later and we've pulled 15 gallons out and added 20 gallons, twice. Once in the winter And again about a month ago. The Brett dried it out to 1.000 and it tastes a little thin, even with about 10% wheat. That's about 5% finished out. Fully carbonated, it has some plum flavors that mix well with the wine and vanilla from the oak. It may have a little oxidation on the finish. Not a lot of funk (used Brett b. 'Trois') or sourness.

The 15 gallons that I pulled out about a month ago are being (1) dry hopped, and (2) aged with apricot. I also aged a portion for several months with a lot of Lacto, but it didn't really sour - guess there weren't enough sugars for the Lacto to play with. It has been really fun to come up with new combinations for this beer. It's also really nice to have a super delicious wine barrel aged beer around at all times.

It's definitely something I will try to replicate when I open my brewery later this year, www.thegoodbeerco.com

Ill have the variations of it on tap at the Southern California Homebrew Fest, a week from Saturday (yay!). Hope this gave you some ideas!

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Old 04-26-2013, 04:38 PM   #19
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thought: brew up 30 gallons on weekend, ferment in carboys, add to barrel and flush barrel's headspace with CO2. this will counter oxidation until you get the second 30 gallons fermented and in there.

edit: BobbyM makes a good point, the top half of the barrel will dry out while waiting for the second 30 gals. if you wet the barrel from the outside would that help?

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Old 04-26-2013, 04:54 PM   #20
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Update. I acquired a 55 gallon food grade lme barrel from my lhbs and have added an airlock. It holds pressure and is airtight. I will probably try to marathon brew 55 gallons or so split between my stove and outside burners. I'll have a couple carboys going with some bug heavy yeast cakes that I will pitch with the 55 gallons once its ready.

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