Author Topic: Barrel with Vinegar Smell / Acetic  (Read 2261 times)

Offline aourieff

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Barrel with Vinegar Smell / Acetic
« on: February 14, 2013, 12:38:52 PM »
Hi there,

I recently came into possession of my first barrel (a 60 gallon oak barrel, previously used for aging cab) by way of a local winery. The barrel has a slight vinegar smell, and I'm wondering if there's any way I can cure it. I got the barrel for free, presumably because of the vinegar smell, so I'm not really in a position to try to get it replaced. I'm hoping to use it for aging sours, so pulling out any oak flavor that's left in the process of sanitizing it isn't a concern. I saw something under one of the other topics about possibly using steam to kill off any bugs...something about needing to maintain a temperature of 150, I believe. One of the replies said that that may kill surface bacteria, but that getting deeper into the wood may be more difficult because it would take longer to get the internal temp of the wood up that high. Could filling the entire barrel with boiling water and letting it sit overnight be a possible solution? Is there a better way to go about this?

Your help is much appreciated.

Cheers

Offline mihalybaci

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Re: Barrel with Vinegar Smell / Acetic
« Reply #1 on: February 14, 2013, 01:41:48 PM »
I had recent infection in my 5 gal barrel recently, so I did a few things. First I rinsed it out with a lot of boiling water, just to remove gunk, but maybe it helped kill some of the bacteria/mold that was in there. Then I used Barol Kleen, which is a strong alkali, and let that sit overnight. Rinsed out the barrel the next morning with water and a citric acid solution to neutralize any leftover barol kleen solution. Finally, I filled it to the brim with a citric acid/sodium metabisulfite "holding" solution that I'm hoping is both killing any leftover bugs and preventing them from coming back. I've yet to fill it with beer, so I can't say if my procedure worked.

In your case boiling water would kill some of the bugs at first , but as soon at the temp drops below ~140F then the bacteria can get going again so water probably isn't the best. The barol kleen stuff seems like it should help, but it will strip away some of the character. Something in between would be alcohol, any neutral spirit (vodka/everclear) over 80 proof should work. You might not need 5 gallons, but it would be important to keep all the interior surfaces wet. So a few good shakes, or rotating the barrel often would prevent you from having to buy 5 gallons of everclear.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Barrel with Vinegar Smell / Acetic
« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2013, 01:48:15 PM »
I would do the boiling water if you can get 60 gallons boiling at once and fill. Then I would burn a sulfur stick in it

You might want to do some searching on cleaning and treating wine barrels.

If all fails you have some firewood.  :(
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline kylekohlmorgen

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Re: Barrel with Vinegar Smell / Acetic
« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2013, 02:09:51 PM »
If all fails you have some firewood.  :(

OR you could explore vinegar-making!

(seriously, I've wanted to try this, just haven't had the time to properly research it yet).
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http://southhousepilotbrewery.blogspot.com/

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Barrel with Vinegar Smell / Acetic
« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2013, 03:26:04 PM »
If all fails you have some firewood.  :(

OR you could explore vinegar-making!
(seriously, I've wanted to try this, just haven't had the time to properly research it yet).

He has choices to make.
Jeff Rankert
Ann Arbor Brewers Guild, AHA Member, BJCP Certified
Home-brewing, not just a hobby, it is a lifestyle!

Offline jeffy

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Re: Barrel with Vinegar Smell / Acetic
« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2013, 07:12:48 PM »
I have read that the best way to reduce acetobacter in a barrel is to use steam.  Not much else kills it.
Jeff Gladish, Tampa (989.3, 175.1 Apparent Rennarian)
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Offline aourieff

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Re: Barrel with Vinegar Smell / Acetic
« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2013, 07:57:21 PM »
This is all helpful. I'm thinking that boiling water is similar to steam, but can transfer more heat. I'm leaning toward an all of the above sort of approach, including filling it once with boiling water, letting the temperature of the wood and water equalize a bit, and emptying and filling it again as a starting point.

Online mtnrockhopper

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Re: Barrel with Vinegar Smell / Acetic
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2013, 09:07:40 PM »

If all fails you have some firewood.  :(
Or a sweet table
Jimmy K

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