I'll be judging the morning session. Not sure what category but I'm thrilled to be judging the final round for the 4th year in a row!
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A recent thread on the probrewers forum points out that using nitrogen to purge vessels is much cheaper than CO2.
But who has a tank of nitrogen?
I think you'll need to use an extract to get this to work. Then you can dose it to taste before bottling/kegging.
Or you could just dry hop with El Dorado...
I don't know, the above mentioned Hell or High Watermelon has noticeable watermelon flavor and aroma and is made with watermelon juice rather than extract.
According to research we did for the book, sweet cherries have about 79 ppg and sour about 65 ppg.
What is ppg?
Points/lb./gal. The number of gravity points you get from one lb. in one gallon.
I would ferment outside the barrel and fill with finished beer for ageing purposes. it would get messy to ferment in the barrel. If you can keep some of the same beer aside it will be useful for topping off as beer evaporates (angels share) and/or is sampled for doneness. I haven't done this yet 30% out of inability to find the equipement and 70% laziness, but I would also 'install' a sampling port aka a vinnie nail. You can find instructions on line but basically you drill a small hole in one head of the barrel and plug is will a stainless nail. then you can pull the nail to let a little beer for tasting without exposing the whole barrel to quite as much as pulling the cork.
I kept my little 20 liter healthy for a few weeks by keeping it sealed and wetting the outside down once or twice a day. But you are better off filling as soon as possible. I would not rinse or sanitize if it's a fresh dump liquor barrel. It's as close to sterile as it's every going to get right now.