Barrel Aging Question

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ace0005

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Hello all. I'm barrel aging for the first time, and I'm super psyched! My question is this: Should I "shake" my barrel every once in awhile once the beer is in it?
 
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ace0005

ace0005

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How big is your barrel?
What did you brew and put in it?
Is it new or was it previously used for spirits, if so what?
25 gallon oak rum barrel only used once for aging rum. I have a belgian strong in it now 🤞
 

Qhrumphf

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More power to you if you can shake a full 25 gallon barrel. From a strength perspective. Don't actually do it.

If it's not full, fill it. Headspace will do you no favors. I understand there is a "to top off or not top off" debate but I am 100% camp top-off, and as far as I'm concerned that doesn't apply to a half full barrel anyway.

Either way, don't shake it.
 

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Because it won't do anything positive and lots of possibility of negative? Seems a pretty simple reason to me.
Like what negative? What is something undesirable that could happen to an ale aging in a barrel if you disturb it a bit now and then? Something that would not have happened had it been left alone.
 

Qhrumphf

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"Disturbing now and then" is different from "shaking" intentionally. If you were trying to re-infuse spirits into the wood, sloshing around a few handles of bourbon would make sense. Other than that, I can't think of a reason to shake a barrel. Oxidation, for one. Breakage and spill risk for two.

If the barrel is full with negligible head space and it gets sloshed a little accidentally, I wouldn't panic. There's no benefit to doing it on purpose, so why do so?
 

Bobo1898

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Assuming this is a sour beer or an acetobacter infection.
It wasn't intended to be a sour. Definitely acetobacter. I had run the barrel to the point it was at, having a few batches in it prior. I didn't want to dilute at the time so I always had a quarter gallon headspace so I wasn't topping off. Those few staves at the top were fairly open by the end of the aging process---I knew better but was being stubborn. In between batches, I was treating the barrel via citric acid and (maybe) campden (can't remember) per a Zymurgy article.

To be clear, I wasn't suggesting not topping it off will give you vinegar. There were other variables in my experience. Nonetheless, I now have a sour Kolsch that I decided to put on cherries to salvage it. It's been in the the bottle for a couple years but I haven't tried it yet.
 

Dr_Jeff

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25 gallon oak rum barrel only used once for aging rum. I have a belgian strong in it now 🤞

Sound delicious, Belgian beers are my favorites.
I have a barrel, that had a RIS in it for the first beer, an old ale for the second, a Belgian Quad in for the third and currently has a Belgian golden strong in now.

It is a ten gallon barrel that originally had rye whiskey in it.

When you decide to pull it out, I'd be willing to swap a couple of bottles.
 
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ace0005

ace0005

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So, the barrel is full of 25 gallons of goodness! TO be more specific about "shaking" the barrel...... my barrel is currently sitting on top of a moving dolly that I modified with 2x4 wedges. The dolly has casters, and it's easy to move!! So by "shaking" I mean move the barrel while on the dolly from left to right.....or right to left 🙄 , to make the beer swish around. I did this once, and noticed that bubbles began coming out of my airlock..... i'm thinking that I may have jumpstarted fermentation??

BTW..... shaking it more than 3 times IS playing with it..... so I hear....:mug:
 

Qhrumphf

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It was offgassing. The agitation was driving out dissolved CO2. Imagine shaking a can/bottle of soda before opening it. As barrels are permeable, this isn't gonna do you any good. I wouldn't sweat it if it happens moving it around when necessary (lord knows it happens to me a lot), but I wouldn't do it on purpose.
 

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Nonetheless, I now have a sour Kolsch that I decided to put on cherries to salvage it. It's been in the the bottle for a couple years but I haven't tried it yet.
I respect your patience as a skill.
 
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ace0005

ace0005

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Sound delicious, Belgian beers are my favorites.
I have a barrel, that had a RIS in it for the first beer, an old ale for the second, a Belgian Quad in for the third and currently has a Belgian golden strong in now.

It is a ten gallon barrel that originally had rye whiskey in it.

When you decide to pull it out, I'd be willing to swap a couple of bottles.
That would be AWESOME!
 
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ace0005

ace0005

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IT IS DONE!!

So here's my update. I brewed a Belgian Strong Ale using the Parti-Gyle technique to fill my 25 gallon rum barrel, compliments of Garden State Distillery located in New Jersey. As a result, Sterk-N-Gyle was born.

It wasn't easy. The barrel leaked like a sieve! I sealed the barrel using paraffin wax, which worked like a charm. It completely sealed the barrel, and there were no further problems. I fermented Sterk-N-Gyle in my conical, then transferred into the rum barrel in April 2021. I bottled and kegged yesterday, and to say that I'm excited and proud is an understatement!! Total time in barrel was 8 months.

I sincerely would like to thank each of you who contributed to this thread. Your help and guidance led me to prove myself, which could lead bigger things to come! I truly enjoyed the experience researching, planning, and creating Sterk-N-Gyle. However, I have a couple of questions.....

WHAT do I do with this barrel now?
How do I clean it?
Can I use it again?
What is the meaning of the universe?
 

odie

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I think you could have just filled it with water and let the wood absorb and expand until the barrel sealed.
 
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ace0005

ace0005

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I think you could have just filled it with water and let the wood absorb and expand until the barrel sealed.
Yessir, I tried that but to no avail 🤷‍♂️. The barrel was old, and had sat for awhile. I was worried about using it at all, but it seems to have worked out! :mischievous:
 

Brew_Dude41

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WHAT do I do with this barrel now?
How do I clean it?
Can I use it again?
What is the meaning of the universe?[/SIZE]
Great problem to have (figuring out what to do next).
Personally I suggest you clean the barrel using hot water and swishing it around or using some sort of CIP to get any loose sediment out. Then look up how to make a sulfite solution to store it while you get the next product in place to fill it. (I would go with a stout myself).
Keep in mind that the wood will impart some rum and your Belgian Stong into the next batch you put in it.
The meaning of the universe: 42.
 

Bobo1898

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WHAT do I do with this barrel now?
How do I clean it?
Can I use it again?
What is the meaning of the universe?
I think in the 2016 June issue of Zymurgy, there's a feature that breaks down a few ways to maintain and care for a barrel.

Best case scenario is you have something that can go in right away, after rinsing with sodium carbonate and hot water. If not, you may have to use a combination of citric acid, water and campden to keep contaminants at bay until you're ready to use the barrel again.
 
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ace0005

ace0005

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The ideal situation would have been to have another beer ready to go in as you emptied it.

I'd like to try a bottle or two if you are willing to share.
I'd be willing to share/tra
Great problem to have (figuring out what to do next).
Personally I suggest you clean the barrel using hot water and swishing it around or using some sort of CIP to get any loose sediment out. Then look up how to make a sulfite solution to store it while you get the next product in place to fill it. (I would go with a stout myself).
Keep in mind that the wood will impart some rum and your Belgian Stong into the next batch you put in it.
The meaning of the universe: 42.
 
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ace0005

ace0005

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Great problem to have (figuring out what to do next).
Personally I suggest you clean the barrel using hot water and swishing it around or using some sort of CIP to get any loose sediment out. Then look up how to make a sulfite solution to store it while you get the next product in place to fill it. (I would go with a stout myself).
Keep in mind that the wood will impart some rum and your Belgian Stong into the next batch you put in it.
The meaning of the universe: 42.
LOL, "42" as in Jackie Robinson?
 
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