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Old 03-10-2011, 07:30 PM   #1
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I can get a 15 gallon, food-grade HDPE barrel for a few dollars. I’ve been thinking of doing a solera, but don’t want to deal with the expense and maintenance of a barrel. Plus, 15 gallons is exactly the size I had in mind.

I know there are plenty of people that will say HDPE will let in too much O2, but I’d like some insight from the collective experience and to perhaps get some ideas. So I guess I’m looking for opinions on
1. Has anyone ever done this with HDPE, and
2. Is there a way to reduce O2 permeability of the HDPE to make this barrel suitable.

Thanks all.
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:40 PM   #2
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For what you want to do an inductor tank is a much better choice... the thickness will be sufficient to prevent too much O2 from entering. If you age for years in a thin plastic HDPE barrel you will end up with vinegar as acetobacter chew up all of the alcohol. Another advantage in an inductor tank, is you can periodically dump the trub from the bottom dump valve, so you won't have to rack off the sediment.

http://www.plastic-mart.com/class.php?item=2800
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Old 03-10-2011, 07:47 PM   #3
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Thanks sacc. That looks like a pretty good price for the tank and stand.
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:12 PM   #4
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The O2 permeability is also a function of wall thickness. Do you have any idea of the wall thickness of your barrel.
Your other option is to cover the outside of the barrel with something that is less permeable. I don't have any ideas off the top of my head, but I'll let you know what I can come up with.

 
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Old 03-10-2011, 08:31 PM   #5
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I haven't seen the barrel, but I imagine it is pretty thin. It's a blue rain barrel-type of container used to store food products like malt extract and other syrups.
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Old 05-31-2012, 08:19 PM   #6
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bump on this thread i have also been thinking about using one of these as a solera

 
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Old 05-31-2012, 10:55 PM   #7
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I have used the opaque white version of THIS to ferment a sour golden ale - after 14 months in the barrel there were no acetic notes. not sure about the exact wall thickness, but these are pretty substantial. I would occasionally purge the headspace with CO2 after sampling.
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Old 05-31-2012, 11:50 PM   #8
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thank you ssf i think i might have to brew up 12 or 13 gallons this weekend now

 
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Old 06-01-2012, 08:38 PM   #9
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I have found no issues/differences in sour beer brewed in sealed HDPE containers compared to glass. It may be more O2 permeable, but it doesn't seem to be high enough to make a noticeable difference to the beer.

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Old 06-01-2012, 10:13 PM   #10
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thanks calder i figured as much i always figured the main problem being the lids on buckets i am doing long primaries and will rack onto fruit at about the year point from there on they will be in glass

 
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