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Installing a "Vinnie Nail" in a barrel

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BethelLight

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Well I got my 316 Stainless Steel (4d common smooth shank) "Vinnie Nail" in today thanks to user levifunk. (Thanks Levi!)



According to Vinnie Cilurzo you drill a 7/64 hole in the barrel head and insert the nail. He says you can do it empty or full (just be quick with the nail) since it is so small you don't loose much.



I double checked the nail diameter with my micrometer and it was 7/64 also! This made me a little unsure especially since my barrel was full of 3 month old RIS. However I figured if Vinnie Cilurzo says it will work then I'm doing it.

Below is a picture with the nail inserted. Believe it or not its pretty snug. Actually I had to use a claw hammer to pull the nail after I inserted it by hand.

 

Beernip

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I believe it is so you can easily take samples of the barrel. Pull the nail and let it run in to a cup and then plug it again.
 
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BethelLight

BethelLight

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They can be obtained from McMaster Carr. Unfortunately you have to buy a box which is around $22 plus shipping. I was fortunate enough to have a member who bought a box send me a couple.

This is a reply from Vinnie Cilurzo taken from another site. Hope this helps!

Here is the info on the stainless steel nail in the barrel head acting as a
poor man’s MacGyver sample port:

We drill a hole using a 7/64 drill bit on the barrel head of each barrel.
The hole can be drilled while the barrel is empty or even with beer in it.
You just have to be ready with the nail if you are doing it with the barrel
full. The hole is so small that there is no problem with losing too much
beer at this point.

I have two sizes of stainless steel nails that I purchase from McMaster
Carr.

1–½” 4d smooth common nail – 316 stainless steel McMaster Carr #
97990A102
2” 6d smooth common nail - 316 stainless steel McMaster Carr #
97990A104

I use the smaller nail, but, I keep the larger ones around just in case a
hole gets boarded out to large, it hasn’t happened yet, but, I’m just
playing it safe.

I do use barrel wax sometimes (www.barrelbuilders.com) around the nail after
I have pulled a sample. We have never had a nail blow out due to pressure;
they are pretty snug in there.

You can pull a sample and actually have the flow stop coming out of the
small hole in the head of the barrel because the barrel is not vented, but,
there is no issue. It is such a small hole that you can’t harm the barrel.
If anything, it makes it easier because you can control the flow by removing
the bung and putting it back into place. I usually drill the hole about
half way up on the barrel head.

Recently we've started to drill the barrel out after the barrel has beer in
it as opposed to before. Sometimes you don't get the small hole drilled out
all the way. You won't know that this is the case until there is beer in
the barrel and you see that you don't even have a small stream of beer
coming out of the hole.

I've also taken to the practice of having a backup nail in my pocket when
I'm pulling samples just in case you drop the nail on the floor on accident.

The hole at the bottom of the head of the barrel (six o’clock if you are
looking at the head of the barrel straight on) for removing beer with fruit
in it is a 15/16” hole, the tubing that you use to remove the liquid and
fruit is also from McMaster Carr. A Belgian beer bottle cork like we cork
with fits in the 15/16” hole. Here is the part number from McMaster for the
tubing:

15/16” OD tubing, McMaster Carr # 5231K944

It takes a little practice but you can removing the cork quickly and push
the 15/16” tubing in the cork hole. The tubing is than run down to some
sort of strainer that you would need to fashion and from the strainer it is
pumped to a tank.


Vinnie Cilurzo
Brewer / Owner
Russian River Brewing Company
725 4th St.
Santa Rosa, CA 95404
 

Beernip

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The idea is for sour beers where you don't want to break the protective pectile/bellicum that has formed a barrier on top of the beer. Pull the nail below the line to get a sample. I'd also think that it would reduce the likelihood of airborne particulates falling down in through the bung hole. The nail has positive pressure to push it all out in to your sample.
 

DPBISME

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I would think you could just go to Home depot or a cood machine shop and ask for a small peice of SS-Rod.

OR.

Why not just insert a SS-Tube that you can attach a facuet to?

QUESTION:

RIS = Russian Imperal Stout?


DPB
 

kona_dude

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Is there any reason that anybody can think of not to put the hole/nail in the side of the barrel? So putting it in one of the staves rather than the "heads". A friend has a barrel that will not have good access to the heads, so is thinking about putting the Vinnie nail in the side.
 
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BethelLight

BethelLight

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Is there any reason that anybody can think of not to put the hole/nail in the side of the barrel? So putting it in one of the staves rather than the "heads". A friend has a barrel that will not have good access to the heads, so is thinking about putting the Vinnie nail in the side.
Can't see any problems here.
 

kona_dude

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Thanks. I couldn't either but thought I'd run it by people since I don't have much experience with barrels.
 

jferguson78

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Has anyone bought the boxes of these? I'd like to pick up a couple of each size but would rather send someone a few bucks instead of buying whole boxes that I won't need.
 

Anticlimaddox

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Anyone still interested in a set of nails or have any extra? I'd like to buy someone's extras or I plan to order the bulk boxes from McMaster and will sell off the excess.

Please PM me. thx.
// brian
 
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Anyone still interested in a set of nails or have any extra? I'd like to buy someone's extras or I plan to order the bulk boxes from McMaster and will sell off the excess.

Please PM me. thx.
// brian
I can vouch for Brian. He sent me a couple of each nail. Received them today. Thanks again! :mug:
 

Evan_L

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I read the Vinnie quote and one part gave me pause, where he said that the flow can actually stop. Creating negative pressure in the barrel relative to the room would encourage more oxygen uptake to balance the pressure. I wonder if that influences his beers significantly.
 

KobiGirreven

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I'm a little late on this one. I just got two barrels in this afternoon and thought i could pick up SS nails locally. That failed and i just discovered the prices on McMaster. Anyone have any they are willing to sell off?
 

germanicus81

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I couldn't stomach the prices on mcmaster, so I went searching on Amazon. Turns out there are tons of options for stainless steel rod on Amazon that are cheap and ship with Prime. I got 200mm x 3mm stainless rods for ~$6, and drilled a hole in my barrel with a #33 drill bit from my index. A bonus of using the long rod is the ability to bend the rod into an L shape, making it easy to get leverage to pull the rod when it's time for a sample!

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JR5C90S/?tag=skimlinks_replacement-20
 
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ziggy13

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Is there a reason why you'd have to use nails instead of screws? I can find stainless screws locally a lot easier, however I haven't been able to find any information on using a screw instead of a nail. Logic tells me it would work just the same, but I really don't know. Any opinions?
 

TNGabe

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Is there a reason why you'd have to use nails instead of screws? I can find stainless screws locally a lot easier, however I haven't been able to find any information on using a screw instead of a nail. Logic tells me it would work just the same, but I really don't know. Any opinions?
Ever put a screw in wood and removed and reinserted it a few times?
 

Beernip

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Is there a reason why you'd have to use nails instead of screws? I can find stainless screws locally a lot easier, however I haven't been able to find any information on using a screw instead of a nail. Logic tells me it would work just the same, but I really don't know. Any opinions?
You can get a nail in/out a lot quicker than a screw.
 

ziggy13

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Sounds good, I ended up biting the bullet and buying $44 worth of the stainless nails. 1lb of size 4D and 1lb of size 6D.
 
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