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QUESTION

Our club acquired a 65 gallon American oak wine barrel that we want to age beer in. With the holidays upon us it will be a few more weeks before we can organize a club brew and the barrel is standing upright, dry in my garage.

How should I store the barrel until we can get some beer in it?

{ asked by Dean Brundage }

ANSWER

Found this over at http://winebarrels.com/carenew.html

I'm pretty sure I have read similar things on homebrew forums in the past.

STORING AN EMPTY BARREL

The very best way to maintain a wine barrel is to ensure it is never empty of wine! However this is not always possible so something must be done to keep the barrel sweet.

An untreated empty barrel will quickly begin to produce moulds and bacteria. Replacing the air in the barrel with an atmosphere high in SO2 will effectively eliminate this problem.

  1. Make sure the barrel is tight.
  2. Rinse the barrel well and drain, bung down, for 24 hours.
  3. Use one of the following methods to ensure bacteria free storage.

Method 1 - Sulphur Sticks These should be burned in a device that will collect any drips of molten sulphur. Place the stick in the burner which is suspended from the bung. Light the stick, place it in the barrel and allow it to burn completely. Re-sulphur every 6-8 weeks. Quantity: 225L Barrel approx. 1/4 - 1/3 stick 100L Barrel approx. 1/4 stick < 100 L Barrel approx. 1/8 stick

Method 2 - Sulphite Solution

  1. Make up a 2% KMS solution and place a small amount (about 10% of barrel capacity) in the barrel.
  2. Replace the solution every 6-8 weeks.

SOLUTIONS TABLE

Potassium Metabisulphite

Sodium Percarbonate Standard Cleaning Solution

Citric Acid

{ answered by Jordan }
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