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chip82 12-10-2012 06:56 PM

Dried barrel question
I have the opportunity to buy a used whiskey barrel. I want to sour in it. How long can it sit dry before it is bad?

NateLTB 12-10-2012 07:09 PM

I recently bought a eight gallon barrel and from what I've been able to find out the only time a barrel is bad is if it gets infected. If it leaks you can always fill it with warm water to swell the wood and get it to quit leaking. When I get a beer ready to transfer into mine I fill it halfway with warm water, roll it and swish it around and then dump the water. I continue with that process until I get clear water running out of it. I then fill it once with cold water and empty it before filling with beer. I currently have batch #3 in the barrel and have only tried the first beer I aged in there (a barleywine). So far so good.

Nightshade 12-10-2012 10:14 PM

Use em for smokers all the time and all you have to do is soak it with water for a couple days and it is good to go.

Like said as long as it isn't infected or moldy you should be fine, but not going to know absolutely until you use it so make the first test batch a small one so you don't cry as hard if it goes bad.

CadillacAndy 12-10-2012 10:19 PM

What size barrel, when was it emptied and how was it stored?

chip82 12-11-2012 07:44 PM

It is a 55 gallon that has been empty for about 5 days.

krackin 12-11-2012 07:49 PM

Fill it with cider while you think about it. No sense in wandering about completely unarmed.

CadillacAndy 12-11-2012 09:09 PM

I'd try to get it filled as soon as possible. If you're going to let it sit DO NOT use a sulphur stick in it. It will explode. If anything, I'd fill it with water and citric acid. I used 3 cups citric acid for my 59 gallon barrel. The idea is to get the pH below 3 or so, so no bacteria or mold grow. Since it was freshly emptied and was a booze barrel, you have some time before that happens.

On a side note, you're probably going to want to get some of the booze and oak flavor out before you turn it in to a sour barrel. Have you thought about anything else to put in it first?

chip82 12-12-2012 06:13 AM

Thinking about doing a Russian imperial stout or a barley wine

NateLTB 12-12-2012 10:40 PM


Originally Posted by chip82 (Post 4674366)
Thinking about doing a Russian imperial stout or a barley wine

Either one would be a great idea! I'm getting ready to brew a RIS to age in my barrel right now.

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