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General Category => Kegging and Bottling => Wood/Casks => Topic started by: jjflash on May 02, 2011, 03:47:54 AM

Title: What is proper oak keg sanitizing?
Post by: jjflash on May 02, 2011, 03:47:54 AM
So I finially bought my first used bourbon oak barrel for aging beer.
It seems that each place I look for information on barrel sanitizing has a different recommendation.
I am sure there are different techniques for new vs used barrels.
For my used oak barrel i followed these instructions:
1) sulfur strip
2) Barolkleen 3 ounces per gallon hot soak for one hour, rinse well
3) sodiummetabisulfite 2 grams per liter plus citric acid one gram per liter, hot soak for 30 minutes, rinse well
4) rack the beer!
Any suggestions, improvements?
Also, can I save and reuse the Barolkeen for the next few barrels?
Thanks,
JJ
Title: Re: What is proper oak keg sanitizing?
Post by: 1vertical on May 02, 2011, 03:54:51 AM
Well you Must insure that the sulfur does NOT drip down on the interior
surfaces of the Barrel.  If your BBl had residual bourbon inside, that
would probably have been sufficient to get the state of sanitation beer
brewers need.  I followed the instructions here...

http://www.vadaiwinebarrels.com/index.asp?action=page&name=23  (http://www.vadaiwinebarrels.com/index.asp?action=page&name=23)
Title: Re: What is proper oak keg sanitizing?
Post by: pyrite on May 02, 2011, 04:17:44 AM
Since it's a used bourbon barrel, and I presume you want to keep as much of the bourbon oak flavor in the barrel. You can sanitize it by pouring a bottle of whatever type of bourbon that was originally aged in it.
Title: Re: What is proper oak keg sanitizing?
Post by: tschmidlin on May 02, 2011, 04:22:02 AM
DO NOT BURN A SULFUR STRIP IN A USED BOURBON BARREL.

If you don't know why, read Gordon's book.
Title: Re: What is proper oak keg sanitizing?
Post by: phillamb168 on May 02, 2011, 08:50:58 AM
DO NOT BURN A SULFUR STRIP IN A USED BOURBON BARREL.

If you don't know why, read Gordon's book.

Because alcohol in a gaseous or aerosolized state goes boom, no?
Title: Re: What is proper oak keg sanitizing?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on May 02, 2011, 12:01:45 PM
The Big Bang!

Our club got a fresh bourbon barrel several years back.  A bottle of bourbon was dumped in the barrel and the barrel was rolled around.  This bourbon was collect right before filling.  The barrel was filled with an English Barleywine, and each 5 gallon addition was sampled for off flavors.  The beer developed an infection.  It did turn to be a "good" infection that adds to the beer, if you can understand what I mean.

Just saying that other means of sanitation should be considered.  Sulfites might be the way to go.

Do not burn a sulfur stick in the bourbon barrels.  This works for wine and sour beer barrels with lower alcohol.
Title: Re: What is proper oak keg sanitizing?
Post by: tumarkin on May 02, 2011, 12:44:31 PM
+1 on not burning sulfur
as mentioned, sulfur is traditionally used for sanitizing wine barrels, also for sherry barrels. sherry barrels are used widely for aging scotch whisky. sulfur flavors occasionally carry on into the whisky- not a good thing for sure. I'd imagine the sulfur flavor would be more detectable in a beer.
Title: Re: What is proper oak keg sanitizing?
Post by: 1vertical on May 02, 2011, 02:24:45 PM
for sure I would skip the sulfur strip step as well.
Title: Re: What is proper oak keg sanitizing?
Post by: tschmidlin on May 02, 2011, 04:29:43 PM
DO NOT BURN A SULFUR STRIP IN A USED BOURBON BARREL.

If you don't know why, read Gordon's book.
Because alcohol in a gaseous or aerosolized state goes boom, no?
Exactement ;)
Title: Re: What is proper oak keg sanitizing?
Post by: jjflash on May 14, 2011, 02:32:56 PM
My first step with a barrel is to make sure it does not leak.
Fill with water and let it stand three days and let the wood swell.
If it leaks then it is a serious problem - can it be easily fixed or is it scrap wood?
I suppose if a barrel was just freshly emptied in front of me I could be tempted to skip this step.
My barrel was shipped in from across the country.
Barrel could of been emptied yesterday - maybe last year, I don't know.
Barrel could be sanitary, could have crawly bugs, i don't know.
In goes the water, check for leaks and at the same time rinses out the explosive residue.
In goes the sulfur strip, kill the crawly bugs.
In goes the sanitizer, kill more bugs.

Sulfur strip in a fresh spirits barrel...
Like a match in a gas tank...
Appreciate Gordon reminding us all to be carefull.