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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Fermentation & Yeast > Fermenting in a whiskey barrel.
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Old 10-01-2013, 03:48 AM   #1
melby
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Default Fermenting in a whiskey barrel.

Hey all
I'm planning on fermenting a pumpkin ale in a whiskey barrel. I filled it with water, per its recommendation, for the barrel to swell tonight. I am brewing tomorrow. Though I just realized, you want to use the barrel as a secondary, not primary. Should I drain the water out and wait a week to refill for secondary transfer? Or just keep the water in at this point?

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Old 10-01-2013, 03:51 AM   #2
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I would remove the water and add a decent amount of whiskey as anything 80 proof or higher will kill off any contaminants. The barrel will stay plenty moist.

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Old 10-01-2013, 04:03 AM   #3
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How much is decent? A pint? Half a bottle? Thanks for the advice.

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Old 10-01-2013, 04:21 AM   #4
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how big is the barrel???

first thing to know about barrels is keep them moist, letting them dry then re swelling can cause problems.. CAN not WILL.... mold, and distorted planks are two of the big issues. keep the water in it until your ready to use it. the big issue your gonna have is sanitizing it.

this is how i sanitize for wine making

To sanitize your barrel, fill it half full of water. Dissolve the proper amount of sodium bisulphite in a little water and pour it in the barrel. Then dissolve the proper amount of citric acid in a little water and pour it into the barrel. Now bung up the barrel and mix well by shaking or rolling the barrel. Finish filling the barrel with water and bung tightly. Check the water in the barrel from time to time, completely filling it each time.

When you're ready to use the barrel, rinse it out, then fill it again with fresh water and leave it overnight. Rinse out the barrel again, and it is ready to use.

Use one-half pound of citric acid and one pound (0.45 kg) of sodium bisulphite for each 50 gallons (190 L) of barrel capacity. Do not use less than the stated amounts.

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Old 10-01-2013, 11:45 AM   #5
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Even if you add something to sanitize it, be prepared for it not to be 100% sanitized like a carboy and for wild yeast or bacteria to still be there to change your brew. I think Just-a-sip's method looks good. Let us know how that turns out! Good luck!

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Old 10-01-2013, 01:53 PM   #6
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When I did the Dogfishead brewery tour, they had a large wooden vessel made out of an exotic south american wood whose name escapes me. I believe they always kept it full. When between batches, they filled it with water.

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Old 10-02-2013, 11:00 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by melby
How much is decent? A pint? Half a bottle? Thanks for the advice.
I have a 15 gallon barrel and in between fills I dump a a 750 ml bottle of bourbon in and roll the barrel every few days to make sure the liquor keeps insides moist and clean. Never had an issue.

Additionally, I saw an interview with a vintner in California and he sanitizes everything, barrels included, with small volumes of 80 proof vodka.
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