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Old 05-01-2014, 07:43 PM   #1
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Default Need to wax a 30 gallon barrel?

Anyone have any experience with 30 gallon barrels?

Just got one and wondering how the oxygen permeability compares to 55/60 gallon barrels and if I need to wax a portion of it for long-aging sours.

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Old 05-01-2014, 09:00 PM   #2
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I have a two 15g barrels. I haven't waxed them, but I've only aged a stout in one for about four months. I'll be using them for sours here soon, but will still not wax them. I think the staves are about the same thickness as bigger barrels. At least they seem to be on mine. With that in mind I don't think (again, THINK) that it will allow more oxygen to enter than the same thickness bigger barrels would. Again, just speculation on my part. If I was too worried I would just flood my ferm freezer with CO2 whilst it ferments. I don't really think I would be opening that much over the course of ~3 years.

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Old 05-01-2014, 09:16 PM   #3
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This 30G feels about as beefy as a regular 60G barrel, staves look similar but perhaps slightly thinner.

I'm planning on fermenting 5-10 gallons in the barrel and then topping off with remainder after a couple weeks. It'll either go in a basement (60F yr/round) or an insulated closet area (62-69 yr/round).

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Old 05-02-2014, 08:04 AM   #4
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the issue with smaller barrels is their higher surface-to-volume ratio. the smaller the barrel, the higher relative amount of surface area it will have.

imagine a sugar cube. say each side has a surface of 1, so the total surface of the cube is 6. now double the volume by gluing on another sugar cube. does the surface area double? no, because a side of each individual cube needs to touch in order to make the new double-volume shape. the surface area is 10. if you quadrupel the volume buy gluing 4 cubes together, the surface area is 16 - volume is 4 times greater, but surface area isn't even 3 times greater.

so the reason you might want to wax a smaller barrel is to limit the relative amount of wood - a porous material - is exposed to air.

another way of looking at it: 10 gallons of beer will oxidize faster in two 5 gallon barrels, vs. being in one 10-gal barrel. therefore, in order to get the same rate of oxidation, you would need to wax part of the 5 gallons barrels.

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Old 05-02-2014, 01:31 PM   #5
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I waxed my 11 gallon barrel before I did my lambic style. I plan to wax all of my smaller barrels, it can't hurt.

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Old 05-02-2014, 02:53 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sweetcell View Post
the issue with smaller barrels is their higher surface-to-volume ratio. the smaller the barrel, the higher relative amount of surface area it will have.

imagine a sugar cube. say each side has a surface of 1, so the total surface of the cube is 6. now double the volume by gluing on another sugar cube. does the surface area double? no, because a side of each individual cube needs to touch in order to make the new double-volume shape. the surface area is 10. if you quadrupel the volume buy gluing 4 cubes together, the surface area is 16 - volume is 4 times greater, but surface area isn't even 3 times greater.

so the reason you might want to wax a smaller barrel is to limit the relative amount of wood - a porous material - is exposed to air.

another way of looking at it: 10 gallons of beer will oxidize faster in two 5 gallon barrels, vs. being in one 10-gal barrel. therefore, in order to get the same rate of oxidation, you would need to wax part of the 5 gallons barrels.
I get all that. I guess I'm wondering what volume a barrel needs to be to reach that surface-to-volume tipping point, where oxygen exposure becomes negligible or acceptable, at least.

From this Wild Brews table, I'd guess that a 30 gallon barrel is in the 13-17 cc/L/yr range.


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Old 05-03-2014, 12:18 PM   #7
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Im waxing both of my 15g, Im not sure why you would risk it with long term aging a mixed fermentation beer.

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Old 05-08-2014, 04:24 PM   #8
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Quote:
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Im waxing both of my 15g, Im not sure why you would risk it with long term aging a mixed fermentation beer.
I have no desire to bulk age 30 gallons of vinegar, so I definitely plan to wax a portion of it, if not the entire barrel.

Filling it soon. Got the first 15 gallons knocked out this past weekend: 60/40 pils/wheat, mashed high, steeped oats, 2+ hr boil, bugs, bugs, bugs
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Old 05-09-2014, 02:33 PM   #9
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I would be more concerned about oak character- make sure your barrel is somewhat neutral (unless you're going for oak) and base your aging time on that.

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Old 05-09-2014, 02:59 PM   #10
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I would be more concerned about oak character- make sure your barrel is somewhat neutral (unless you're going for oak) and base your aging time on that.
Its a new-to-me barrel, in its former life it aged Catoctin Creek rye whiskey, then a few cycles of a local brewery's porter. There are hints of both still present.

I fully expect the first pull to be a slightly oaky 'american wild', which I enjoy. From there, I plan on taking a solera approach over a couple years, likely pulling/replacing ~10G/year.
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