hist-brewing: oak barrel treatment

adam.franklin-lyons at yale.edu adam.franklin-lyons at yale.edu
Tue Apr 27 11:28:30 PDT 2004

Yeah, actually...having done exactly that before.

Once the barrel has stopped leaking (hopefully entirely), flush it out 
with warm water and citric acid (this can be purchased in crystal form 
from wine stores or homebrew stores...probably online too.)  Then fill 
the barrel up with a mixture of citric acid (around 1 Tbs. per gallon) 
and Sodium Metabisulphite (another powdered substance available at 
brewshops - again 1 Tbs. per gallon).  Leave the barrel like this for 
probably a week.  Around 24 hours before you actually brew the beer to 
put in, light a sulphur strip (outside...they stick) and drop it in the 
barrel and seal it up.  This will burn up all the oxygen and sterilize 
the pourour wood.  If you're using the barrel for primary, leave a 
fairly large head space (a few inches) otherwise it will probably 
overflow.  You can also try the belgian method: stick a small bundle of 
sticks in the top bung and allow the yeast to fill in the cracks and 
seal itself.  For secondary, simply fill the barrel and use a water 
valve or seal it depending on how much more fermenting is left (too 
much pressure and it will start to leak.)  You could probably store 
beer like that for a month or more, although no barrel is perfectly 
free from infection, especially a used one, so expect a little sourness.

As for the brass spout, just make good and sure it fits in whatever 
bung you're using to seal the barrel...a little iodine...sounds great 

good luck,

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