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Old 12-18-2012, 11:58 PM   #1
lakedawgs
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Default Picking up a bourbon barrel, got a few questions.

Picking up a 53 gallon bourbon barrel Friday. Been doing some good research but have some questions about conflicting things I have read. The barrel was dumped of bourbon about 2 weeks ago. We will fill it with fermented beer in about 6wks.

Concerning not letting the barrel get to dry, I have read that one route is to first check the inside with a flashlight and if there is a decent amount of bourbon left, just roll the barrel every day or two and should be good, otherwise add a gallon and roll around. I also read to empty the barrel as much as possible, light rinse with water and drain completely. Let is sit until a day or two before use, add a few gallons of water and roll around to rehydrate, once ready to fill empty the water and fill with beer. Not sure which way to go.

Also, with a fresh barrel and a 10% RIS, roughly how long should we expect for the beer to age in the barrel on average. I know we will be testing occasionally during topoff, just wondering.

Any experienced input would be most appreciated.
Lakedawgs

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Old 12-20-2012, 06:24 PM   #2
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We usually arrange to pickup the barrel on the day it is emptied. Some places will help you out with that if you tell them what you are doing with it.

From there, we drain as much remaining liquid as possible (It goes in a jar, it's good liquor!) and fill ASAP, usually within a day or two of the barrel being emptied.

Time depends on a lot of factors. The beer going in, the liquor that was in the barrel, the temp swings of the storage area, etc. Only way to know for sure is sample on intervals. Drill a small hole in the face of the barrel. Plug the hole with a SS finish nail. On sample day, pull the nail and beer shoots out. Get your sample and put the nail back in.

I'd say let it go a month and see where it stands.

Have something a little lighter ready to go in the barrel as soon as you empty. We have one barrel that has it's 3rd beer in it right now, still no signs of infection. Don't rinse, don't sanitize, just empty and fill.

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Old 12-21-2012, 01:25 AM   #3
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When I filled my barrel, I got the barrel about a three months before I could fill it. I just kept it tightly bunged till I had all the beer ready and could fill it. It did not leak when i filled it.

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Old 01-10-2013, 07:21 PM   #4
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I had a barrel arrive several months before I used it. As it only had whiskey in it, I don't think there was much of a danger of any type of infection occurring. When I did get around to prepping it, it leaked like a sieve for about 20 minutes. I kept fillling it with water, tapping the barrel rings tighter, and tapping on the staves with a rubber mallet to properly align them. Rotated the barrel to stand on one end, then the other, to ensure the ends were absorbing water, too. I had the majority of the leaks stopped after 20 minutes. I think I let it sit for a day, maybe two, before filling it with barleywine. I was very surprised after dumping out that water at the strength of the whiskey aroma--alaid any fears that I was going to "wash out" the whiskey flavors.

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Old 01-10-2013, 10:15 PM   #5
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I have been rolling the barrel once every week or so. Peeked inside a couple of days ago and there is still a good amount of bourbon inside, I would guess a pint +.

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