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Old 05-13-2013, 05:14 PM   #1
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Default 15 gallon barrel only 5 gallons of beer.

I'm reaching out on behalf of another brewer friend of mine that has a 15 gallon barrel. He wants to oak a stout and wants to use the 15 gallon barrel but his stout batch is only 5 gallons. What's the verdict.... is it ok to only put 5 gallons into a 15 gallon oak vessel ? isn't there to much head space not to mention the barrel "breaths" so to speak and only the bottom 1/3 would be swelled from the beer and the other 2/3 dry allowing oxygen to fill the head space ? I have little knowledge of barreling so I told him I would ask the more experienced folks here on HBT. thanks for any input.

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Old 05-13-2013, 05:44 PM   #2
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Short answer, yes this would be too much headspace. The only option I could think of would be to purge the headspace by filling the barrel with CO2 first and then he would have to rock the barrel every so often to keep the wood moist. He should just get one of the 5G barrel that you see for sale on here every now and then. Do a search, there are a lot of barrel threads floating around here, written by people who have actually used them (unlike me...who has just read all those threads in hopes of one day barrel aging haha).

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Old 05-13-2013, 05:54 PM   #3
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Does he already have the barrel or is it just one he was looking at? Might be better off buying some oak chips and racking the brew on top of them in a secondary.

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Old 05-13-2013, 05:54 PM   #4
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Sounds like you two should both do a batch and fill her up

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Old 05-13-2013, 05:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pratzie View Post
Does he already have the barrel or is it just one he was looking at? Might be better off buying some oak chips and racking the brew on top of them in a secondary.
No he already has the barrel but has never used it yet. He got a really good deal I think he said he paid $80 or so from keystone homebrew supply.... obviously a used barrel which I think had rye in it before hand. I recommended oak cubes to him as well which is what I use and not for nothing I get great results from cubes and I don't have to worry about space for the barrel or the racks etc....... cleaning.... barstrip and sulfur stripping the barrel periodically. not to mention with sours oak cubes are great for harvesting different bugs.
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Old 05-13-2013, 06:01 PM   #6
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Sounds like you two should both do a batch and fill her up
Heck if I had a 15 gallon barrel that thing would have been filled up in one batch all by my lonesome...... But, that's not a bad idea I haven't brewed with him since last early fall around September or so. Good idea.
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Old 05-13-2013, 06:05 PM   #7
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No he already has the barrel but has never used it yet. He got a really good deal I think he said he paid $80 or so from keystone homebrew supply....
You know... I *don't* want to be snide and cynical but... How on earth can this be a "real good deal" if you simply can't use it? 75 cents is too much to pay for something you can't use.
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Old 05-13-2013, 06:25 PM   #8
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Ok, I'm new to homebrew myself, and know nothing about barrels, and this is such a simple question that I'm sure it has occurred to both you and your brewer friend, but, would simply brewing three batches of stout work?

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Old 05-13-2013, 07:47 PM   #9
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You know... I *don't* want to be snide and cynical but... How on earth can this be a "real good deal" if you simply can't use it? 75 cents is too much to pay for something you can't use.

I totally agree.... but, he can use it as he does do larger batches it just so happened that he had 5 gallons of stout he wanted to oak and the question came up about only putting 5 gallons of stout into the barrel...... I said No he said why and to be honest everyone basically gave the same response I already gave him.

Not to down play his brewing but he is still pretty new to brewing and also has more money than I to spend on things like barrels, therminators, etc and he just wanted the barrel. Like I said he does have the ability to use it this was a specific use for this one beer question.
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Old 05-13-2013, 07:50 PM   #10
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Ok, I'm new to homebrew myself, and know nothing about barrels, and this is such a simple question that I'm sure it has occurred to both you and your brewer friend, but, would simply brewing three batches of stout work?

and you just hit the nail on the head that is what he decided to do..... actually he is in the process as we speak brewing a 10 gallon batch of the same recipe. the only PITA is that now he needs to go a few weeks fermenting before putting it into the barrel together. No biggie it's a pretty big beer and I'm sure a few more weeks for that first 5 gallons in a carboy won't do it any harm.
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