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Old 07-17-2012, 11:18 AM   #1
funblock
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Default Wine Barrel Project

I recently acquired a used 60 gallon wine barrel. (it is very fresh and smells fantastic) and in the process of making long term plans on its use. I have done a lot of research and there seem to be as many ideas as there are experienced brewers. We do have the ability to fill the barrel with multiple batches over a weekend. My long-term plan is to make this an ongoing Lambic project over many years removing 10 gallons or so at different intervals at least 9 months to a year or more apart. Some of the Lambic removed I plan on racking on sour cherries, raspberries, grapes or other fruit. Some I would just bottle as a straight Lambic. This way……(I am thinking) would be similar to blending. Also, this way I would not have to figure out what the hell I am going to do with bottling 500 bottles at one time. Does this seem like a crazy plan or do you think it is viable?



Also, I am wondering if I should pitch a Lambic blend or make up my own blend with a neutral yeast and vials of different bugs. I have read that it is not good to propagate the blends, as the growth rate is so different for each of the bugs. Should I purchase a commercial quantity made for a one-barrel batch?



Should I pitch everything right into the used wine barrel or pitch into multiple primaries with a neutral yeast and then rack all into the barrel and pitch the bugs?


Does anyone have ideas on this?

wine-barrel.jpg  
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Old 07-17-2012, 01:54 PM   #2
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A group of us were looking at doing this a bit ago. Unfortunately, I don't have advice on the yeast/bugs, but as far as fermentation goes, we were going to ferment the beer, then add to the barrel and pitch the bugs.

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Old 07-17-2012, 02:57 PM   #3
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- Your plan sounds great, and you will find a handful of people here are doing the same thing.

- As for yeast, I would purchase a quantity large enough for the whole 60 gallon batch. Remember this is the only time you are going to need to pitch yeast into that barrel. Even if one day you dump the whole thing, you can fill it up and rely on the yeast/bugs in the wood. So given its a one time thing, you might as well do it right.

- Since you are brewing them all in a single weekend, I would say as you finish brewing a batch, dump it into the barrel. Then once its (nearly) full, add the yeast. I don't think there is a problem with some of the wort sitting in the barrel without yeast for a day or two.

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Old 07-17-2012, 04:39 PM   #4
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sounds like a solera. you can primary in the barrel, just make sure to leave room for the krausen. personally, I would primary outside of the barrel, you'd be wasting a lot of precious beer space otherwise.

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Old 07-17-2012, 06:30 PM   #5
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I have this same project going. I have a bourbon barrel going on two years and a wine barrel going on one. My advice is to pitch a blend because it is simply easier. You should also primary outside of the barrel otherwise you will lose more and more space as you refill. Also, you will find that you can rack off more often than you are planning. If I wanted to I could probably rack off every 3-4 months. This is especially true after you hit the year mark and if you keg. One last tip, see if you can attach a spigot to the side of the barrel. This makes samples really easy.

Also, you might want to think about cleaning the barrel first before using it. I didn't do it with my bourbon barrel but did with my wine barrel. If you know it was recently drained you are probably okay.

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Old 07-17-2012, 06:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by infantej View Post
One last tip, see if you can attach a spigot to the side of the barrel. This makes samples really easy.
Do this:
http://funkfactorybrewing.blogspot.com/2012/02/installing-sample-port.html
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Old 07-25-2012, 03:54 PM   #7
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Are those casters capable of holding the weight of a full barrel? That set up will be well over 500 lbs when the barrel is full.

As for the culture, bottle dregs work well and I'm sure the lambic blend will work well too but I havent tried it. If you use your own cultures go easy on the lacto and pedio as they can overpower the beer and go heavier on the brett. Does anyone have any good info on what proportions of various bugs are found in real lambics?

I agree with doing primary somewhere else and then putting it into the barrel, although the primary may help to purge the barrel a bit.

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Old 07-25-2012, 05:30 PM   #8
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The casters were extra from store displays we make. They are rated at 250 lbs. each.

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Old 07-25-2012, 08:57 PM   #9
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this guy has done something very similar, I would suggest devoting about 15 hours to reading his website

http://www.themadfermentationist.com/2010/03/sour-solera-beer-barrel.html

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Old 07-26-2012, 12:40 AM   #10
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the mad fermentationist has been doing what you are describing basically. he has written a couple articles on it. there is this one and a few other under related posts.

http://www.themadfermentationist.com/2010/03/sour-solera-beer-barrel.html

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