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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > Equipment/Sanitation > Cheap French Oak Barrels?
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Old 01-24-2012, 11:55 PM   #1
underdogadam
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Default Cheap French Oak Barrels?

found this craigslist ad:

http://losangeles.craigslist.org/wst...800919434.html

any reason I couldn't use these for aging? would love to put 59 Gal of sour in these puppies. I called the guy, his answer was that he just got them from local So.Cal vineyards in the last 3 weeks so there's no reason they couldn't hold liquid again. I don't know if that's enough to convince me to risk 60 gallons of homebrew though.

thoughts? suggestions? 3 for 200$ is so cheap.

fro man for no reason:


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Old 01-25-2012, 12:41 AM   #2
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I wouldn't put a sour in them... yet. I would use that great wine and oak flavor with some stouts or belgian dubbels or trippels before souring the barrel.

But yes, go for it!


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Old 01-25-2012, 03:29 AM   #3
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isn't that title a redundancy?
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Old 01-25-2012, 11:37 AM   #4
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Once you sour a beer, the barrel will only be good for sours from that point forward. I am recommending that he postpone it for a few batches and utilize the good oak and wine flavors for beers fermented with only sacc. yeast.-

Once the oak and wine flavors are depreciated, then sour the barrel.
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Old 01-25-2012, 04:21 PM   #5
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Even though the barrels are only a few weeks old, it still might be risky putting non-sour beer in them. The few pro breweries that reuse wine barrels refill within a few days, and even then assume a degree of Brett contamination. Wine, unlike liquor does not have the alcohol content to ward off microbes, and once additional o2 is introduced ie. draining the barrel, the risk is increased further. So even though the barrels are fresh, they are still likely harboring a stable community of microbes.

Given that they are so cheap, far from trying to dissuade you from using them, I only mean that if you do buy them, start with something high in alcohol, fully fermented, and that would benefit from a possible hint of funk such as a triple, imperial saison etc. Since they are so big, and it would be an investment to fill them, I would tread on the cautious side and not brew something intentionally sour off the bat, but at least something that can tolerate a bit of funk.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thelorax121 View Post
Even though the barrels are only a few weeks old, it still might be risky putting non-sour beer in them. The few pro breweries that reuse wine barrels refill within a few days, and even then assume a degree of Brett contamination. Wine, unlike liquor does not have the alcohol content to ward off microbes, and once additional o2 is introduced ie. draining the barrel, the risk is increased further. So even though the barrels are fresh, they are still likely harboring a stable community of microbes.

Given that they are so cheap, far from trying to dissuade you from using them, I only mean that if you do buy them, start with something high in alcohol, fully fermented, and that would benefit from a possible hint of funk such as a triple, imperial saison etc. Since they are so big, and it would be an investment to fill them, I would tread on the cautious side and not brew something intentionally sour off the bat, but at least something that can tolerate a bit of funk.
Thanks- This is exactly what i'll do. I do an imperial grapefruit saison every spring, and i think i just found an excuse to brew it 4 times in a weekend.
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Old 01-31-2012, 08:37 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by underdogadam View Post
Thanks- I do an imperial grapefruit saison .
Recipe please!
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Just buy a small swimming pool, throw everything in and mash it. Then open ferment in another swimming pool with all the yeast.
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Old 02-01-2012, 12:31 AM   #8
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So, I see that a few people here say that once a barrel is used for a sour, its soured forever. I don't think thats true.

The sour breweries actually sterilize their barrels between batches to make sure that they get a consistent flavor by controlling the populations. What you have to keep in mind is that you can put boiling water in a barrel, which will kill most anything in it, though my understanding is that they use steam wands.
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Old 02-01-2012, 07:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Daemin View Post
So, I see that a few people here say that once a barrel is used for a sour, its soured forever. I don't think thats true.

The sour breweries actually sterilize their barrels between batches to make sure that they get a consistent flavor by controlling the populations. What you have to keep in mind is that you can put boiling water in a barrel, which will kill most anything in it, though my understanding is that they use steam wands.
Even if they do steam the barrels, they will be far from sterilized because of the surface area/porosity of the wood, and the insulation factor which would prevent the heat needed for sterilization from penetrating the wood completely. If a brewery does steam a barrel, it may be to knock back a particularly prominent bug so that they can repitch with their stock culture for product consistency, but they are still making a sour beer. You are asking for disappointment if you try to get a clean beer from a previously soured barrel, regardless of the treatment (sulfites etc.)


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