A little low on filling a barrel

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Squirrels

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Hey all, first time using a barrel and when filling it we came up a bit short. In the 15 gallon barrel I think we got to 13 or so gallons. Lot of trub in the fermenter. We racked pretty well with little aeration.

How much will the head space hurt? The barrel is mostly waxed. Just the front face is unwaxed.

Would it be silly to brew 5 gallons more now and top it off?
 

pvtpublic

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Well, that would depend. What's in there? Did you purge it with co2 before or after? How long until you can top it off?
I would be concerned with oxygenation with that kind of head space, and contamination second. Unless it's a beer that could handle a little funk.
 

mashpaddled

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A major issue is how long the beer is going to stay in the barrel. If it's going to be in there for any meaningful length of time, it's going to make sense to top it up. If this is the barrel's first use after the distillery, it may be ready to go after just a few weeks. In that case, I wouldn't worry about it. If this barrel has been used at least a few times by another homebrewer before it fell into your possession, you can keep the beer for as long as you want. If you intend to age for months or more, you should top up.
 
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Squirrels

Squirrels

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It's a fresh barrel from a distillery (journeyman). I blanketed it with co2, but barrels are permeable.

It's a 11%ish stout so it should be able to handle a bit of funk. Plan is for this to only sit in there a couple months since I think it will absorb the flavor I want by then.
 

pvtpublic

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It's a fresh barrel from a distillery (journeyman). I blanketed it with co2, but barrels are permeable.

It's a 11%ish stout so it should be able to handle a bit of funk. Plan is for this to only sit in there a couple months since I think it will absorb the flavor I want by then.
In the case, I wouldn't worry about it too much. I would probably top it off anyway, and bottle the rest out of the keg. That way you'll have something for a side by side comparison.
 
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Squirrels

Squirrels

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Yeah, think I might just see what happens, but I'm leaning towards brewing a small batch to top it off. 16 gallons was in the fermenter and I learned that I lost a lot more to yeast sludge than I thought I would. Next beer I think I'll brew two 10 gallon batches, fill the barrel and then bottle the leftovers.
 
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