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Old 01-24-2012, 11:54 PM   #1
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Default Used whiskey barrel questions

I am very excited to have obtained this bad boy earlier today…





This 5-gallon oak barrel was previously used to age whiskey at Palm Ridge Distillery here in Florida. I have a few concerns about this barrel and was hoping those of you with more barrel experience might be able to help me out.

I was hoping to pick this up and hear some residual whiskey sloshing inside, however the inside is unfortunately bone dry. There are also a bunch of wood-chips inside that I can only imagine were added to help speed the oaking/aging process. I have emailed the distillery to see if they have any records that might be able to tell me when this barrel was used/emptied. I guess it's possible that chips could also just be char that broke off, but it looks like there are pieces that aren't charred at all, which leads me to believe they were added intentionally.

Here is a photo of the inside of the barrel:



So I have a few questions:

1) Am I likely to get any whiskey character from this barrel now that it is completely dried out?
2) Would it be helpful to add some whiskey to the barrel now to rewet the wood and perhaps add some character to the wood?
3) Do I need to be worried about the barrel no longer being sealed properly? If so, should I float it in a tub of water to swell the wood and hopefully reseal?

Any other tips or suggestions on how to save/revive this barrel would be much appreciated!

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Old 01-25-2012, 12:57 AM   #2
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UPDATE: I heard back from the distillery, they said that this barrel was emptied in March 2011 after holding whiskey for almost a full year, so this thing has been sitting empty for 10+ months. They also said that the woodchips are a result of the charring process at the cooperage.

Still looking for feedback on what I should do with this thing to revive it.

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Old 01-25-2012, 01:06 AM   #3
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If its been dry since March 11, I'd be willing to bet there is something funky growing in there. I'd fill it with 180 water to swell the wood and make sure its water tight. After that, I'd brew a sour beer in it.

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Old 01-25-2012, 01:35 AM   #4
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I would buy a handle of Whiskey and put it in there. Then add enough water to fill it. Let it sit for a week and then fill it with a nice RIS. This is exactly what I did, although mine was brand new.

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Old 01-25-2012, 01:57 AM   #5
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I brew at a local brewpub and we got a Bourbon barrel to age beers in.

Being bone dry is actually a good thing. You must rehydrate before you put you beer in to swell the wood and be sure there are no leaks. Do this with 180 degree water which will take care of nasties that may be in there. Put a stopper in it and let it sit for a couple days to properly hydrate.

Then just drain it and fill it with your beer.

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Old 01-25-2012, 02:04 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xdalisx View Post
I brew at a local brewpub and we got a Bourbon barrel to age beers in.

Being bone dry is actually a good thing. You must rehydrate before you put you beer in to swell the wood and be sure there are no leaks. Do this with 180 degree water which will take care of nasties that may be in there. Put a stopper in it and let it sit for a couple days to properly hydrate.

Then just drain it and fill it with your beer.
Sweet, thanks for the info, you just made my night! I'll add the water tomorrow to rehydrate and then when I drain it, I think I'm going to add a bottle of the Palm Ridge Reserve whiskey to keep it wet until my beer is ready. I'll turn the barrel every couple days to keep all surfaces wet and swollen.
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Old 01-25-2012, 06:24 PM   #7
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Well I heated up about 6 gallons of water today to ~180 and filled up this barrel... I might as well of drilled holes into the bottom of this thing, it was leaking like CRAZY, we're not talk just a little drippage, this was full blown water pouring out of it. I went ahead and drained all 6 gallons of the water I had warmed up and because it was leaking sooo much I only got it about 2/3 filled. The leaking has definitely slowed down considerably, so hopefully as I let it sit it continue to swell the wood and seal it up. Hopefully I can add more hot water to it tomorrow to swell the upper part of the barrel and get that sealed.

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Old 02-16-2012, 11:51 PM   #8
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How did you get the barrel from palm ridge?

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Old 02-17-2012, 01:23 AM   #9
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Default Bourbon barrels

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jersh View Post
Well I heated up about 6 gallons of water today to ~180 and filled up this barrel... I might as well of drilled holes into the bottom of this thing, it was leaking like CRAZY, we're not talk just a little drippage, this was full blown water pouring out of it. I went ahead and drained all 6 gallons of the water I had warmed up and because it was leaking sooo much I only got it about 2/3 filled. The leaking has definitely slowed down considerably, so hopefully as I let it sit it continue to swell the wood and seal it up. Hopefully I can add more hot water to it tomorrow to swell the upper part of the barrel and get that sealed.
1 gal of distilled water (does not need to be heated). Stand barrel on end for 12 hours. It will leak like crazy. Repeat using the other end. After 2 days or so the barrel will seal and stop leaking. Leave the residual water in the barrel once the barrel seals until ready to use for aging. Done...
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Old 08-12-2012, 06:09 PM   #10
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Any info on how to get a hold of palm ridge barrels?

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