Author Topic: Barrel Size and Acetic Acid  (Read 1402 times)

Offline zambron

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Barrel Size and Acetic Acid
« on: January 28, 2016, 01:30:18 AM »
I'm hearing a lot about surface-to-volume ratio and increased rate of acetic acid production, but I cannot find any data about the observed change of rate with change in volume of barrels of the same wood composition and thickness.  While I can understand the basic argument about increasing oxygen content with smaller volumes, I am curious to know if anyone has published a study looking at acetic acid content of identical beers allowed to age in different sized barrels across time.  I've seen some vintner literature on wines aged in barrels with different stave thickness with surprisingly counterintuitive results.  It'd be nice to know if the magnitude of impact is large or small.  The average homebrewer may find it prohibitive to buy and maintain larger volume barrels, but may want to demystify the amount of acetic acid produced in a smaller, more affordable barrels in comparison to their larger brethren.

Offline kramerog

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Re: Barrel Size and Acetic Acid
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2016, 02:55:14 AM »
A thought and an observation: I think the higher rate of evaporation in small barrels with the increase in oxygen drawn into the barrel could could cause an increased rate of acetic acid production.  I have not noticed acetic acid while aging in a 26- or 52-gallon barrel.

Offline zambron

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Re: Barrel Size and Acetic Acid
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2016, 10:50:06 PM »
Some sour beer brewers are of the opinion that the pedicle offers some protection against excessive evaporation, at least across surface area exposed to air directly.  I guess I'm just looking for a more objective guide to determine length of aging in smaller barrels before crossing a threshold where acetic acid becomes a prominent feature of a beer, particularly a typical sour beer such as a Lambic-style or Flanders Red.  The same concern if aging a high gravity beer in a barrel would exist, too - even more so as a pedicle would likely be absent.