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Old 09-06-2012, 03:43 PM   #1
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Default Whiskey barrel rotten egg smell?

I obtained five barrels that are originally from Balcones distillery in Waco, Texas. Three of them were emptied in early 2010 and of those three, two of them have a distinct fart/rotten egg aroma that I can't seem to remove. When I received the barrels, they were dry and I filled all of them with 180 degree water to hydrate the barrels. I have drained and re-filled these two three different times now with 180 degree water and after a week or so the rotten egg aroma reappears. Any suggestions on how to get rid of the funky aroma? I've read about burning sulfur sticks, re-charring the barrels, and citric acid, but do you know/have a technique that you know works for sure?

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Old 09-06-2012, 03:59 PM   #2
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have you tried this Barrel cleaner
EDIT: saw this also "To prevent the barrel from drying out and minimize the possibility of contamination, barrels should always be stored full with spirits or sterilizing solution."

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Old 09-07-2012, 03:26 PM   #3
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Thanks for the info. I'll check into it. I was planning on using both of these barrels for sour beer (since the whiskey flavor and aroma is all gone) but I sure don't want rotten eggs in sour beer. That sounds disgusting.

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Old 09-07-2012, 05:27 PM   #4
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Have you tried using a water + salt. That's what we've used at the brewery as it should kill mold and bacteria, which could be producing sulfur. Seems to have worked so far... although there might not have been anything in there in the first place.

Leave it in there for a few days, then rinse. We used like a pint of salt in 36 gallons.

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Old 09-07-2012, 08:34 PM   #5
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Sometimes barrels are sanitized with a "sulfur wick". You may be smelling remnants of that...

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Old 09-07-2012, 08:54 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChillWill View Post
Have you tried using a water + salt. That's what we've used at the brewery as it should kill mold and bacteria, which could be producing sulfur. Seems to have worked so far... although there might not have been anything in there in the first place.

Leave it in there for a few days, then rinse. We used like a pint of salt in 36 gallons.
I haven't tried it. Pardon my ignorance, but do you mean like table salt or a specific type of salt?
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Old 09-07-2012, 08:55 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zamial View Post
Sometimes barrels are sanitized with a "sulfur wick". You may be smelling remnants of that...
I would agree to that, but none of the other barrels have the same aroma. It is possible, but it seems to fade after I put in the 180 degree water only to return after a week or so. I think it's some form of infection.
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Old 09-07-2012, 10:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bogwart

I haven't tried it. Pardon my ignorance, but do you mean like table salt or a specific type of salt?
Yeah literally table salt (sodium chloride). I think it's the osmotic effect it has on the bacteria... or maybe the chloride?

Don't take my word for it, I've not got much experience with this sort of thing but it's gotta be worth a go right? Use the equivalent of a pint of salt in 36 gallons (these are imperial UK measurements btw that you'll need to adjust)

Use hot water like you have been doing, leave for 48 hours and rinse with warm water.
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Old 09-08-2012, 04:35 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ChillWill View Post
Yeah literally table salt (sodium chloride). I think it's the osmotic effect it has on the bacteria... or maybe the chloride?

Don't take my word for it, I've not got much experience with this sort of thing but it's gotta be worth a go right? Use the equivalent of a pint of salt in 36 gallons (these are imperial UK measurements btw that you'll need to adjust)

Use hot water like you have been doing, leave for 48 hours and rinse with warm water.
Thanks for the tip. I will try it out and see how that works.
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