Author Topic: Barrel Aging & Space Filler  (Read 633 times)

Offline dmboyd0618

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Barrel Aging & Space Filler
« on: July 02, 2014, 02:42:15 PM »
I have a 55 gallon used whiskey barrel, but will only have about 10 gallons of beer to put into it for aging. I need to somehow fill the rest of the barrel in order to not have the oxygen ruin my beer. I am at a loss as to what to use.
Would filling the remainder with CO2 ruin it or be too much pressure?
Would blown balloons sealed in bags work?
Someone said marbles, but 40 gallons of marbles is a lot of marbles :)
Any suggestions would be helpful.
Thanks

Offline sambates

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Re: Barrel Aging & Space Filler
« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2014, 02:49:44 PM »
I'd say better get brewing to fill it or invite club members or friends to help fill it? I wouldn't put anything else in that barrel besides beer. That's just my opinion though.

Also, filling the barrel with CO2 wouldn't do much because barrels are somewhat permeable and oxygen with hold, especially in an empty space.   
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Offline dkfick

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Re: Barrel Aging & Space Filler
« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2014, 02:50:09 PM »
I have a 55 gallon used whiskey barrel, but will only have about 10 gallons of beer to put into it for aging. I need to somehow fill the rest of the barrel in order to not have the oxygen ruin my beer. I am at a loss as to what to use.
Would filling the remainder with CO2 ruin it or be too much pressure?
Would blown balloons sealed in bags work?
Someone said marbles, but 40 gallons of marbles is a lot of marbles :)
Any suggestions would be helpful.
Thanks
Honestly the only practical thing I can think of is another 45 gallons of beer....

Marbles would work but that's a whole lot of marbles...

Balloons in bags might work if you had something in them to weigh them down still?  Seems like it would be difficult as you would need to blow them up inside the barrel?

Any gas you used would simply dissipate out you would need to use like a cask breather or something... which would likely use a lot of co2 over the months you plan to age in there...
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Offline dmboyd0618

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Re: Barrel Aging & Space Filler
« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2014, 03:03:42 PM »
I would brew more but I dont have enough equipment to do so.
So ya I would have to blow the balloons in the barrel, was thinking put a rock in balloon, wrap, then put all but end in the bunghole, then blow up, tie and drop in.

Offline morticaixavier

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Re: Barrel Aging & Space Filler
« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2014, 03:09:12 PM »
as others have said, the correct solution is to fill the barrel with beer or get a smaller barrel.

If you could find a very large food grade plastic bag then you could put it in the barrel after the beer, inflate in place till it fills the void and tie off. but, much more practically, I would tear the barrel apart and cut the staves into pieces small enough to fit in your carboy. You could seal the pieces you aren't going to use right now in plastic and freeze them for later batches.

the problem is going to be that the barrel won't stay water tight if it's not in contact with liquid. eventually the staves will separate enough to let your 10 gallons of beer just pour out. and in the mean time a huge amount of your beer will evaporate through the sides of the barrel.
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Offline micsager

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Re: Barrel Aging & Space Filler
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2014, 03:17:40 PM »
I would brew more but I dont have enough equipment to do so.
So ya I would have to blow the balloons in the barrel, was thinking put a rock in balloon, wrap, then put all but end in the bunghole, then blow up, tie and drop in.

You could brew a batch every day for five days.  It doesn't all have to be brewed in on batch.

Offline dmboyd0618

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Re: Barrel Aging & Space Filler
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2014, 03:26:44 PM »
I did not even think about the staves separating. Perhaps I should just wait for the 5 gallons barrels to be available.

Offline Jeff M

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Re: Barrel Aging & Space Filler
« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2014, 03:45:42 PM »
+1.  Id brew 5 batchs over a few days and fill it that way.  The most economical thing would eb to contact a brew club you are local to and ask for help filling it.  Make sure you brew an extra 5g or so to top off with over time.
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Offline erockrph

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Re: Barrel Aging & Space Filler
« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2014, 03:58:38 PM »
Cut it in half and plant hops in them. Use the hops in the 5 gallon barrel you'll be getting.

I like Mort's idea of disassembling the staves and using them for aging. If it were me, I'd plane or chip off pieces from the inside of the staves to maximize the bourbon barrel character. The rest of the staves can be used in your smoker.
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Offline mbarnaby

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Re: Barrel Aging & Space Filler
« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2014, 06:45:34 PM »
I like the idea of getting a couple of brewers together to fill it up.  it would be a cuvee of sorts.